BRIAN SPANN’S LONG HISTORY IN BRISBANE VINTAGE SPEEDWAY RACING
Unknown to most islanders, marine mechanic Brian Spann of Bay Islands Marine Service, has another life and another love.
He is a huge fan and participant in Queensland Speedway racing.
Not just the average Speedway racing either.
Brian loves vintage Speedway cars and he has a stable of them to prove it.
Up the back of his Bay Islands Marine Service operation in Cliff Terrace, Macleay Island, there is a big shed.
In it are some of the best vintage Speedway cars of the true classic style.
They have been lovingly built from the ground up by Brian in his island workshop.
In many ways they are not just mechanical masterpieces, but works of art.
These are beautiful machines.
Brian has been heavily involved with the sport since he was 13 years of age.
Currently he has two vintage Speedway cars in his island garage; both in pristine condition.
One is the famous and stunning Stan Burrow Gardner 4Bar VW Scat Midget, and the other is the flaming hot orange red Gardner Speedcar.
The Stan Burrow powder blue midget is a unique vintage speedcar that Brian now runs with his long time friend Ken Stanaway.
It won the first Speed Car feature race at Archerfield way back in July, 1979.
It was the premium Speedway car of its era, with the legendary Stan Burrow winning feature races just about everywhere and particularly at the Brisbane Ekka Speedway in 1980.
Even USA driver John Pearson came to Australia and won with the car when it was fitted with first a VW engine and later a famous Cosworth.
It went through the hands of several owners until Stan Burrows acquired the car back in 2014 and started a restoration project.
Unfortunately, Stan passed away before it was finished.
His wife, Lerlene, graciously gave the car to Brian Spann so that the restoration project could be finished.
Many others have been involved, all friends of Stan’s.
The car was awarded Best restored last year by the Vintage Speedcar Association of Qld.
The other orange red speedcar has a similar history to the blue Gardner car and has been raced right around Australia by Stan, Brian and their team.
Stan won several feature races with the car between 1977-78 .
It was then sold and went to Perth, but Brian says: “In 2004 an old friend rang me from Perth to tell me he has found the chassis behind an old shed and asked me if I wanted it.
“I couldn’t believe my luck, so it was transported to Brisbane.
“It was in a sad condition, just the bare bent chassis, bonnet and some bars and took me four years to restore.
“My first run in the car was at the 2008 vintage Speedcar Spectacular at the Brisbane exhibition grounds
“I was lucky enough to win the Best Engineered & Best restored awards that year and won Best Engineered again in 2009.
“Since then I have run it at tracks around SE QLD including the Mt Cootha hillclimb which was unique and lots of fun,” Brian said.
Brian Spann is renowned for his mechanical and engine building skills, very handy for our islands as he also happens be a superb marine mechanic as well.
“I have always loved the sport, and I particularly enjoy working on these vintage vehicles.
“They are wonderful classic Speedway cars,” Brian told The Friendly Bay Islander.
By the way, Brian has another Speedcar in his garage and it is for sale. It comes with a brand new 2322cc engine with new Hilborn injection and is ready to race. The cost $27,000.
If you wish to know more, give Brian a call on 0408870078.
• Brian Spann and the brilliant blue Stan Burrows Gardner Midget vintage Speedway car.