The Boss has stepped down and accolades on the Historic Touring Cars Victoria FaceBook page said it all. Respected and well-connected throughout Australian motorsport, Les was one of the most effective Presidents the Club has ever had.
He worked his already-skinny arse off, connecting, persuading, comforting and never confronting – he was the person everyone could go to and know they would get wise and patient counsel, based on his natural empathetic talents honed by years of experience running teams in the building industry.
Les never has an axe to grind, no personal agenda, he was there to serve the Club and that’s what he did 100%, staying for five years when he only thought he’d be in the seat for a couple. His phone connections are legendary and he became the unofficial historic touring car broker – it’s no exaggeration to say that more than a million dollars of race cars changed hands through his connections and influence. He did it purely for the love of the category, the Club and the cars.
In the middle of it all he accidentally and reluctantly became Club Champion in the re-engined Silver Bullet. The Charger had been off the road for several years while Les worked hard to fund up, ferrying vehicles from interstate for Eddie Abelnica of Melbourne’s Cheapest Cars. When it all came together it was a rocket ship and Les, arguably the best driver in the Club, did it proud and scored enough to win the Championship. “I felt embarrassed,” he said, “I thought Adrian Read in the Mini was going to win and thought he deserved it.”
But then jaws dropped and FaceBook howls rose when the news came through that he had sold the Charger. It was time he said, he’d been made plenty of big offers but he wanted it to go to someone he’d mentored, fellow Mopar maven Ben Dahlstrom and have the pleasure of watching him improve each meeting.
And then, it was back to his 1990s starting point in the Club in the ex-Darrin Davies, ex-Bob Cracknell Cortina – he and Tino Leo bought two from Queensland and they both ran at Historic Winton. Les battled endless Cortina teething problems with previous use of E85 suspected, but now with a brand new set of Webers it’s flying.
So, from the Committee and the whole Club, mate, thank you for a great effort and the results it generated. Have fun touring with the caravan and tearing the up the field in the Cortina – and don’t stop broking race car sales…