I Remember One Time … by Chic Henry

Continuing my occasional Tasmania theme, I picked up this book by Chic Henry. My dad was a motor mechanic who loved V8 Fords, and I have fond memories of (especially) race meetings at Symmons Plains.  And I enjoy reading books that remind me of growing up in Launceston.

‘I’ve tried my best to take life seriously…’

I picked up this book because, although Chic Henry is ten years older than me, we grew up in the same area of Launceston: his family lived on one side of the Carr Villa Cemetery, we lived on the other. I also recognised some of the names (such as Gene Cook) because my father was a motor mechanic with a keen interest in Fords (especially Customlines) and most forms of car racing. So, amidst my nostalgia for the ‘Flying Mile’ at Longford, occasional visits to the Carrick Speedway and strategic parking above what is now called ‘Brambles Hairpin’ at Symmons Plains (just in case there was a prang), I was keen to find out what Chic Henry did before establishing Summernats in Canberra in 1988.

I enjoyed the read. I kept reading parts to my husband (who once used to drag race at Castlereagh, so knew some of the names mentioned, and is much more familiar with that aspect of car racing than I am).

Chic Henry has fitted a lot of living into his 71 years: he’s had some great adventures, made some questionable choices (as do we all), made mistakes and had a whole lot of fun. Occasionally, my resident inner editor itched to correct some typos, but it was easy to just go with the flow. Chic Henry’s style is idiosyncratic, full of enthusiasm and passion. If you are interested in cars (whether racing, restoring, rebuilding or showing) if horsepower is your metric of choice, then this is a book for you.

Thanks, Chic Henry, for the memories of Launceston and thanks, too, for founding the Summernats here in Canberra.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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