Words: Chris Ralph
Photos: Wayne Rogerson and Phil Wisewould
The twin black Mazda RX-2s of racing veterans Wayne Rogerson and Allan Mayne have been a familiar sight at larger Victorian historic meetings over the past decade. But this big story goes back to the RX-2’s release in Australia - and way further back…
Wayne and Allan met in 1962 as motorsports-mad young apprentices at MGH Motors (later McLeod Ford) in Rockdale, a spanner’s throw from the Sydney airport. Together they built and shared drives in an Anglia Sports Sedan at Oran Park, Warwick Farm and Bathurst.
Growing the Anglebox’s capacity to 1650cc, Wayne and Allan’s fertile young minds produced some clever handling tricks, too. Castrol R30 racing oil in the Cortina GT front struts and lever arm rear shockers were the start, but once Wayne’s idea of quarter elliptic rear springs (firmly clamped at the front and softer at the back) bore fruit, the results really came home.
Enter the fearsome ‘Faltang’
By 1968, the Anglia had maxed its development and the friends had maxed their racing apprenticeship. Enter ‘The Faltang’, an ex-Ray Morris, Mustang-badged 289ci XP Falcon coupe bought by Jubilee Motors and run by the legendary Brian Lawler, who anointed Wayne to drive it when he retired.
Much work had been done lightening the car. Too much, as it turned out: “It was quick but the worst built car I have ever driven,” recalled Wayne. “It had no integral strength left and the motor moved around. Oversteer through a given corner would change next lap to understeer or vice versa. It tried to kill me - twice!”
The Faltang’s first attempt at vehicular homicide was at Catalina Park, where the monster dumped itself unceremoniously atop the Armco. Then, at the 1969 Bathurst ADC Easter meeting, it tried to finish the job.
“I hit this big pothole leaving the pits avoiding a marshal who jumped in the way. Seemed ok, but the body must have twisted.,” Wayne recalled.
“At full noise in third out of the Cutting, the accelerator linkage jams between the extractors and the chassis rail. Split second decision – spectators to the right, wooden ‘safety’ fence to left - maybe that would slow me down. It collapses, we barrel roll down the mountain, landing between two huge trees with only inches to spare… Something was watching over me that day.”
The twisted Faltang shell found its final resting place in the Wanda Beach tip - then came the car that made Wayne’s name.
…leads to jubilation
Built by Allan and Wayne (now Rogerson Mayne Motors), the Jubilee Motors Falcon XT Sports Sedan was a crowd favourite, even making the cover of Racing Car News. At Oran Park and Warwick Farm, Wayne duked it out with big names like Moffat, Brock and Geoghegan – whose complete Weber-fed 302 Mustang engine the team had purchased.
Wayne won the coveted Oran Park Cup for Sports Sedans and, in 1970, became the NSW Sports Sedan Champion.
But this Falcon also had a death wish.
A well-known suspension firm had made a 5-link rear end which was trialled at Warwick Farm. However, the Panhard rod was only tacked in place... Another big one for Wayne and the end of a great sports sedan, now broken in two. Or was it? Such was the regard for the car, it’s now being painstakingly re-created and even has its own FaceBook page (look for ‘Jubilee Motors Falcon’).
Next, Rogerson + Mayne + Mazda
At the ’71 Bathurst enduro, Wayne and Allan, driving for the Mazda Dealer Team, had their RX-2 in a class winning position. But five laps from the end, it was the end of the brakes at the bottom of Conrod. With the front end crunched, Wayne nursed the broken car into the pits. With bent struts and no bonnet or mudguards, he staggered out again, to finish fifth in class.
The next year, Allan couldn’t make it to Bathurst and the replacement driver was so far off the pace that Wayne opted to go it alone. The strategy worked and he was almost a full lap ahead of the class and just in front of Peter Brock as the chequered flag is waved – disaster! Flagged into the paddock with the winner, Wayne lost a lap and was recorded as finishing second in class.
Third time lucky – with co-driver Bernie Haehnle in ’73, Wayne secured the class win: no prangs, no arguments and a great respect for those plucky little rotaries belching flame from their exhausts.
Wayne goes to water
Apart from a good run in the 1975 300 Enduro at Oran Park in Gary Wilmington’s ex-Goss/Bartlett Falcon XA GT, Wayne found himself on a 25-year motor racing sabbatical at Coffs Harbour, with boats taking centre stage.
Decades in paradise passed as a Hobie dealer and yacht broker - then historic racing legend Dick Willis took Wayne to Historic Lakeside.
“I hadn’t been to a meeting since I stopped racing”, Wayne said. “Seeing, hearing and smelling the cars – meeting old mates like Alan Boughen and Kevin Bartlett – I was gone!”
But two things were missing: a Mazda and a mate.
The return of the terrible twins
In 2000, Wayne found a four-door RX-2 in a paddock in Urunga, painted it black and started racing it. Four years later, he bought a two-door from RX-2 super-expert Darren Baker, who became a great friend and adviser (Darren sadly contracted MND and passed two years ago). He painted that car black, too, then dangled the four-door to coax his old mate Allan Mayne out of retirement. By 2005, he'd finally got the band back together…
The terrible twins proceeded to develop their cars and make their presence felt on track.
Soon after, Wayne and wife Maurie started drifting south from a much-changed Coffs Harbour, settling for ten years in the Southern Highlands of NSW where Wayne worked as a chauffeur for the limousine business of redoubtable Mazda punter, Jason Humble.
Welcome, cough, to Melbourne
On New Year’s Eve 2019, in the middle of Australia’s worst-ever bushfires, the need to be near their son Brad in Melbourne saw Wayne and Maurie hauling their monster caravan through 100kms of hot ash and dense smoke. It was barely any better on the outskirts of Melbourne, so they kept going to Ballarat. Bang! They drove into months of Covid lockdown, but fell in love with the place and bought a house…
The NSW/Vic fast Mazda balance is now tipping more to the south. At Island Magic last November, our wiry, fit 77-year-old hero showed his legendary speed, slipping on to the front row with a stunning 1.53.2 and setting fastest lap in Race 1. Wayne’s battles with rapid young Mazda charger Peter McNiven lit up the weekend, each taking a win in their private stoush and barely a tenth of a second apart at the finish. There’s more brilliant racing to come from these two – and others.
No doubt ‘his Mayne man’ with the other black RX-2 will be coming down to carry on their fine partnership. However, Wayne’s sitting out the Island Classic this March, as there’s need for some minor repairs and maintenance – on him. The Mazda’s fine!