By Luke Voogt
Three Geelong men united by their love of racing have appeared in a photographic book celebrating Australian sheds.
Craig Wetjen’s Men and Their Sheds came out last month and prominently featured locals Barry Ward, Bill Evans and Alan Hudson.
For the last few years the trio have met in Barry’s Newtown shed, known as The Motor Shed, to rebuild and modify cars.
“We just got together and mucked around with our racing cars,” Barry said.
“It was a great place for few years.”
A pastry chef by trade, Barry was a veteran of Australia’s Formula Two racing circuit.
“It’s a smaller version of a Formula One,” Barry said.
“I always wanted to race cars, so that’s what I did.”
The Queenscliff grandfather left the circuit in 1992 and began importing motors, gearboxes and historical cars to rebuild. He purchased The Motor Shed in 2003.
“I’ve got to keep busy,” he said.
“Retirement’s not the word for me.”
A decade later, Barry started to invite friends to his Newtown shed to help out as well as work on their own projects.
“That’s all we’ve been doing for the last three or four years,” he said.
One of these men is 75-year-old mechanic Bill Evans, who met Barry in 1971 after working on one of his cars.
“I built his first engine for him when raced a Ford Escort twin-cam,” he said.
Bill moved to Leopold four years ago, only to find out he had lung cancer, which eventually resulted in him losing a lung.
“It hasn’t stopped me from doing things,” he said.
“It’s slowed me down quite a touch, though.”
Bill was a racer himself, competing in a Datsun 1200 in Armstrong 500 Class A in Bathurst in 1972, 1973 and 1976.
“They used to call me Wild Bill, now they call me Mild Bill,” he said.
Back in the ’60s and ’70s Bill said there were no co-drivers and much less protection on the track.
“Not that you were going as fast as V8 supercars but you were going as fast as you could.”
Bill said the shed had been something extra to look forward to each day and that he was a big advocate of men’s sheds.
“It’s a bit of exercise, and exercise for the brain, rather than sitting on the couch all day and watching television.”
The two men were joined in the book by retired panel beater Alan Hudson who had an MG that he wanted to restore.
“My friend Barry kindly suggested I could use his workshop to work on it at my leisure,” he said in the book.
“As his workshop is so well equipped I took him up on the offer.”
Unfortunately for the trio, Barry sold the shed in August at about the same time the book came out.
But that hasn’t stopped them from meeting in each other’s garages to work on their automotive passion, Bill said.
“Together we talk and solve the problems of the world – not that anything actually happens – it’s just heaps of fun.”