Hot rodding in Australia was making some headway in the early 60s, but it took one person with a high level of drive, ambition and ability for the sport to advance to the point that hot rodding and drag racing needed a full time Director. That man, the inaugural National Director of the Australian Hot Rod Federation (AHRF) that was formed in 1966, was Trevor Edmonds.
His vision of seeing hot rodding and drag racing becoming professional and accepted didn’t wane, even under some very trying conditions. That interest was initially cultivated within the Crusaders Hot Rod Club that was formed in the early 60s in Adelaide, primarily to get a drag strip so a bunch of mates could race their cars as the Americans did. Trevor took on the role of club secretary.
Trevor knew that all of Adelaide’s rodders needed to band together to achieve a dedicated two lane dragstrip and in April 1965, pushed for the formation of the South Australian Hot Association (SAHRA) that saw the Crusaders, Pioneers, Eastern Districts, Port Adelaide Roadsters and SA Rod & Custom Club as pioneering members, with Trevor emerging as its inaugural State Secretary.
While Trevor was active administratively, he was also part of the team involved in the physical and feverish building of the Brooksfield venue in the desolate saltbush back blocks of northern Adelaide. His drive, like his mates, was that he just wanted to compete. Brooksfield opened in October 1965 on the same weekend as the inaugural SA Hot Rod show. Trevor was the Brooksfield Meeting Director and both were a hugely popular success.
At this point, Trevor could see that to survive long term, the sport needed to be progressive with a united national front. He worked with the other state bodies, the NSWHRA and VHRA, and drove to Albury in 1966 to a combined meeting of the three state bodies. The result was the formation of the AHRF. The initial purpose was to ensure CAMS could see the AHRF was a responsible governing body for hot rodding and drag racing.
Trevor and a working committee had to contend with a heavy workload in putting together a structure that encompassed both the high growth of drag racing which required licenses, a multitude of rules from strip to drag racing categories, vehicle and track safety, strip sanctions, as well as controlling and developing very active hot rod shows, event sanctions and the establishment of show classes and judging points. On top of all this was the need to expand the membership base to put some money in the bank.
The AHRF looked professional with the issuing of regular bulletins and questions and answer columns in various magazines and via mail addressed to the ‘office’; all done by Trevor at home. He coordinated the putting together a drag racing rule book in 1967 and this was followed by an expanded Hot Rodder Handbook in 1969 that contained the national show and drag racing rules. For all of this part time work, he was paid $2.00 per week.
In December 1969, he chaired the first major AHRF conference in Sydney that included the media, promoters of both shows and the drags and state representatives for both drag racing and street rodding. He was aware of the need to go to the next level and he was appointed as full time National Director in 1970.
The financial crisis came to a head in 1972 with drag racing not attracting enough income to move the body forward. Trevor tendered his resignation in May 1972 and the AHRF split into two separate bodies. This happened in October 1973 and Bob Dykes became the first ASRF National Director.
While Trevor had resigned from the AHRF, he still supplied solid support to Mal Christie in the organising of the first Street Rod Nationals in 1973 at Narrandera that fell under the control of the AHRF. Trevor was an active supporter of street rodding in other ways while he was at the helm. He happily got involved with the looming issue of street rods and the threat of no registration as they were deemed unsafe by bureaucrats from various Government bodies.
What Trevor did was take the hobby/sport of street rodding from a structure that had a loose, amateur-based club structure, and under the gathering of the primary state bodies of the VHRA, NSWHRA and SAHRA, nurtured the formation of the AHRF. This new body was, in a short space of time, granted the rights by CAMS to govern the sport of hot rodding and drag racing in 1967. That achievement alone speaks volumes for Trevor’s competencies. The AHRF was now a group of hot rod enthusiasts that was good enough to stand alone as a body that had the competencies and integrity that would in a short six years, evolve into the sanctioning bodies of ANDRA and the ASRF.