A Quick His­tory

The lat­est word on the His­toric mo­tor rac­ing scene

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Sport - Chris David­son

The 2014 Phillip Is­land Clas­sic saw R32 GTR pace pre­vail in the Her­itage Tour­ing Cars. Terry Lawlor stamped his new GIO Godzilla’s author­ity by win­ning all four races, how­ever it was far from a cakewalk with Lawlor fre­quently over­taken and hav­ing to claw his way back. He missed out on the cov­eted fastest lap time, that hon­our go­ing to ‘Hari Carey’ McMa­hon’s HR31 Nis­san. Bryan Sala had his Sierra RS500 wound up and he kept the Gibson Mo­tor­sport Nis­sans hon­est. Craig Mark­land ac­quit­ted him­self well in Lawlor’s old ex-Bond RS500, al­ways nip­ping at the heels of the Group A fron­trun­ners, which in­cluded the likes of Jim Richards (1990 ATCC-win­ning HR31).

In Group C, the much an­tic­i­pated VH Com­modore show­down be­tween Ed Sin­gle­ton in his candy- striped STP car and Mil­ton Se­feris in his ex-Jan­son Cad­bury Sch­weppes car was a fizzer. Sin­gle­ton’s car suc­cumbed to me­chan­i­cal mal­adies and it was left to Adam Work­man’s Blue­bird to take it to the hard-charg­ing Sere­fis. The pair shared the wins.

Un­for­tu­nately, the VHRR, who usu­ally do an ex­em­plary job with the event, took it upon it­self to hin­der the ef­forts of the Her­itage Tour­ing Cars-ap­pointed driv­ing stan­dards of­fi­cer, Peter Doul­man. This likely con­trib­uted to driv­ing which was scrap­pier than usual. Many of the mid­pack Group C and A cars went home with bent pan­els, with seem­ingly none of the more over ex­u­ber­ant driv­ers be­ing asked to calm down by the VHRR, as has be­come the stan­dard set by the Doul­man.

The much-hyped five-litre tour­ing car demon­stra­tions for early V8 Su­per­cars were also hob­bled by ques­tion­able de­ci­sions, with the fast cars only al­lowed to pass on the main straight. This frus­trated the driv­ers, who were mostly very com­pe­tent racers and keen to put on a show. It also led to con­fu­sion from spec­ta­tors, many of whom voiced opin­ions that these cars are not ‘his­toric’ yet. Other PIC at­ten­dees ques­tioned why other gen­uinely his­toric classes were not al­lowed the track time. Con­versely, many in at­ten­dance en­joyed the added va­ri­ety to pit­lane, in­clud­ing John Bowe. JB chuck­led with ironic de­light at see­ing his old CAT-spon­sored AU Fal­con en­ter the pits early with me­chan­i­cal is­sues, while feel­ing the cur­rent owner’s pain.

With Group Sc dropped for 2014 it was up to Group Sb to wave the flag for the pro­duc­tion sports car, some­thing they did with gusto. Don Thal­lon’s C2 Corvette Road­ster was the star car, us­ing his boom­ing 327 to his ad­van­tage, with only Chad Par­rish’s gen­uine 1965 GT350 Shelby tak­ing it to him in race three. The Corvette cer­tainly had the grunt over the 289, but Par­rish would make up ground through Phillip Is­land’s flow­ing curves.

An­other con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion that marred a star class was the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Tom Tweedie and John Bowe from the Groups Q, R and F5000 com­bined class. They were warned for trip­ping the track’s noise sen­sors and, of course, some lo­cals felt the need to com­plain, as you do when you buy cheap land near a race­track. This forced the VHRR’s Michael Hol­loway to make the de­ci­sion he did not want to make. Both teams, who were run­ning first and sec­ond by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin were very dis­ap­pointed, es­pe­cially af­ter ef­forts were made to muf­fle the F5000 and the F1 March’s ex­quis­ite DFV, but it was all to no avail. The F1 March’s owner, Joe Calleja, took it all well and promptly set a per­sonal fastest time in his boom­ing ex-Peter Brock C2 Corvette.

Truck­ing mag­nate and Phillip Is­land cir­cuit owner Lind­say Fox was seen strolling around the pits chat­ting to ran­dom driv­ers and spec­ta­tors, ask­ing pointed ques­tions about how the event could be made even bet­ter. The mag­nif­i­cent cir­cuit has pros­pered un­der his own­er­ship, so you could as­sume his fi­nan­cial clout, com­bined with the VHRR’s es­tab­lished sys­tem and con­tact base, could make for a world class event. We would like to see Lind­say us­ing his FOX trucks to freight in Aus­tralia’s best cars as a starter and the VHRR’s in­ter­na­tional budget, which is quite large, be­ing limited to gen­uine, sig­nif­i­cant cars only. The 1970s Le Mans’ Ma­tras and Can-Am ma­chines that at­tended last year’s PIC are a good ex­am­ple of cars with wide ap­peal and draw­ing power. More please.

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