ANDRA Fastlane ANDRA_FASTLANEED26 - Page 11

11 fastlane breakaway from the AHRF prior to resigning in late February of 1973. At the time I was heavily committed to my business and declined the request. Then Dennis Syrmis became Interim Director prior to John Storm’s (of White House Publishing) election in March of 1973. John also sought my help in establishing a ‘standalone’ administration for Drag Racing, to which I agreed. “It was also clear that many on the Hot Rod side were keen for the AHRF to remain the ‘Overall Governing Body’ as the highest court of appeal controlling each segments’ interests. This was not what we wanted; our plan was for a completely autonomous entity to govern Drag Racing. “We ambushed the AHRF AGM meeting on Saturday August 19, 1973. We had decided to pull out all stops to break away completely and in a last minute move, we planned to catch our opposition off balance with drag racing delegates, all attired with shirts and ties, arriving as a group at the meeting start time – flagging that we were serious about the business at hand. Ormsby was also instrumental in drag racing’s split from the AHRF (Australian Hot Rod Federation) and the founding of ANDRA, becoming its first Chairman of Honour. Over the years he also managed three major racing venues – Calder Park, Adelaide International Raceway and Heathcote Park – and was the General Manager for both RPS Promotions and the ANDRA Winfield Australian Drag Racing Series. “Simply stated, the joint interests of Drag Racing and Street Rodding were no longer compatible. The major difficulties were that while some rodders were racers, most drag racers were not rodders or interested in the Show/Street community. Changes had been discussed at Club level over a protracted period but without a clear indication of how the stakeholders saw a satisfactory outcome,” Ormsby remembers. “Wayne Ruckley as Drag Racing Director contacted me seeking support for a “Earlier in the morning I had set up the meeting room with place cards indicating to delegates where to sit. The Street Rodders’ primary delegate strength was made up of Bob Dykes, Bob Moule and Kevin Mayo and our seating arrangements distanced each in the most inconvenient manner with Dennis Syrmis covering Bob Moule; Trevor Mobbs looking after Kevin Mayo; and Bob Dykes sandwiched between Larry Ormsby and Paul Rogers. After the briefest of meetings lasting just over two hours, we decimated the AHRF having any role in either Show/Street or Drag Racing administration. “(Being Chairman of Honour) was a vibrant period with John Storm as National Director and the new direction for Drag Racing underway. One of my most satisfying contributions was in submitting a proposal for ANDRA to operate the Injured Drivers Fund.” There is no doubting the fact that Ormsby’s contribution to Australian drag racing has been significant and he is a thoroughly deserving Hall of Fame inductee. “My initial reaction was one of surprise, and then after a mental review of my time in the sport, it was a feeling of satisfaction to have been recognised by my peers’ at this level,” Ormsby said. “I’m not sure what may follow the induction, but I am honoured by the selection and thank my nominees. “I also would like to record a special thank you to all of the team members who over a period of almost 16 years gave freely of their time, talent and determination to give me the best shot at winning through their meticulous preparation of my competition vehicle. “There are also two individuals who were pivotal in my career highlight wins who should be thanked. First is Colin Russell who was at my first competition event in 1968 and the 1984 Nationals win at Surfers Paradise International Raceway. Second is Mark Watson who was one of Colin’s apprentice students at Batman Automotive School. Colin eventually passed the Crew Chief responsibility for the Top Fuel dragster on to Mark and he was crew chief when we ran 5.903 at 244.55mph.” The Larry Ormsby Scrapbook – the Ford Years is available now and documents the early years of Australian drag racing, including the formation of ANDRA, while covering the Big O’s famous Ford factory-backed GT Falcons. The book is available from www.larryormsby.com/shop at just $75 plus P&H.