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Surprises And Wrong Turns

The DSC Ed is on holiday at the moment and was travelling by train into the city centre, facing his wife and daughter as they made their way into town for a day of sightseeing.

Then he was stopped in his tracks as the train paused at a suburban station – “Do you know Maranello Motorsport?”

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I’ll admit to being choked when I heard the name, that station was Burnley on the outskirts of Melbourne and Maranello Motorsport were, of course, the team that gave the late and always great Allan Simonsen his big break, team owner Mark Coffey picking up the affable Dane and offering him the first of many drives down under.

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From winning the Bahrain GT Festival with David Brabham in the Coopers sponsored Ferrari 550 Maranello through to an outright lap record around the Mount Panorama Circuit in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, the Dane became synonymous with the team, and with his trademark attacking style.

Mark responded almost immediately to a brief email and, of course, offered a chat when we were next close by.

That opportunity came two days later when, put frankly, we were lost and found ourselves driving through Melbourne’s southern suburbs and stumbled across Burnley!

My reckoning was two-fold. I hoped Mark might still be there (4:30 pm on a Friday) and I hoped someone might have a road map!

Sadly Mark had left for the day but I was welcomed with open arms (and given very good directions back to our holiday digs!)

Simmo is clearly held in very high regard here – There’s still a pitboard on display from the Bathurst 12 Hours, and it seems that the Great Dane will be remembered at the 12 Hours from 2014 onwards too – Watch out for a new trophy for the pole winner with a very appropriate name.

And whist the workshops were well occupied with Ferrari and other roadgoing exotica, and several Ferrari 458 GT3s too, there were a couple of cars that were just that bit more…. special!

A Ferrari 333SP that is liveried for the 1998 Sebring winning car and a very real Ferrari F40 GTE, the very car that was campaigned by Jolly Club and won the 1994 Italian Supercar GT Series for Vitorio Colombo.

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One lost legend and a couple of very real ones – Not bad for a wrong turning!

GG