Masters Mile­stone

Australian Muscle Car - - 2014 Amcm -

The 10th an­nual Aus­tralian Mus­cle Car

had a cer­tain sense of déjà vu about it.

The Aus­tralian Mus­cle Car Masters reached dou­ble fig­ures at Syd­ney Mo­tor­sport Park in Septem­ber. So it was apt, if a tad dis­ap­point­ing, that the Masters’ 10th run­ning was held in con­di­tions that mir­rored the soggy in­au­gu­ral event in 2005. Dodg­ing show­ers didn’t seem to faze spec­ta­tors, though. Not with big fields of clas­sic mus­cle putting on a great on-track show. As AMC has al­ways said of mo­tor­sport: when the rain falls the spec­ta­cle rises. Cars slid their way around all three lay­outs that hosted the packed pro­gramme of rac­ing. That’s right, three tracks.

Sun­day’s rac­ing com­menced on the 4.5km Brab­ham Cir­cuit (the long­est track), be­fore switch­ing to the 3.9km Gard­ner Cir­cuit late morn­ing. Then, from mid-af­ter­noon, the trophy races were held on 2.8km Druitt Cir­cuit. The idea was to mix up re­sults, with each lay­out favour­ing dif­fer­ent cars.

The new kid on the block at this year’s Masters was Aus­tralian Trans-Am – the Queens­land­based cat­e­gory that pays trib­ute to a golden pe­riod of rac­ing in the mus­cle car’s home­land, North Amer­ica. AMC was blown away by the level of pre­sen­ta­tion of th­ese clas­sic pony cars – Ford Mus­tang, Pon­tiac Fire­bird, Chev Ca­maro, AMC Javelin and even a Ply­mouth AAR Cuda – and the gusto with which they were driven.

“Judg­ing by the re­ac­tion from the fans, our races were a big hit, so we hope to be able to bring our cars back in greater num­bers in 2015,” cat­e­gory boss John English said. AMC takes a close look at what goes into build­ing th­ese fab­u­lous cars else­where in this edi­tion.

Another new ad­di­tion to the Masters was an his­toric rally demon­stra­tion on SMP’s fig­ure-eight track. Dave Thomp­son brought along ve­hi­cles from his col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing the XY GT crowd­pleaser known as ‘The Hoey’ and a replica of an Audi Quat­tro rally mon­ster.

Subaru and Toy­ota also sup­ported the new ini­tia­tive via, re­spec­tively, Cody Crocker’s ARC win­ner and Neal Bates’ Cel­ica.

Of course, mo­tor rac­ing leg­ends were out in force again. One of those in the spot­light was Leo Geoghe­gan, who is cel­e­brat­ing 60 years in rac­ing this year. It’s fit­ting that the bloke who won the An­gus and Coote Di­a­mond Trophy at Oran Park six times, is this year cel­e­brat­ing his di­a­mond an­niver­sary. Leo was taken on a much slower jour­ney than he might have been used to, in a Daim­ler SP250, the same as the car he and younger brother Ian used to win the Bathurst 6-Hour in 1962.

The tra­di­tional mid­day pa­rade re­mem­bered two of Leo’s ri­vals who passed away ear­lier this year: Harry Firth and Sir Jack Brab­ham. A se­lec­tion of cars the pair cam­paigned turned laps on Sun­day as the crowd paused for a few mo­ments to pay their re­spects.

On the sub­ject of pay­ing trib­ute, V8 Su­per­car driver David Wall had his dis­play of his­toric Sports Sedans be­hind his pit garages again. Not con­tent with (suc­cess­fully) driv­ing the Ian Geoghe­gan Mus­tang him­self in Group Nc and chuck­ing our mate John Bowe the keys to the Bob Jane HQ Monaro, the just-fin­ished-its-restora­tion HDT To­rana was in the tent (along with fa­ther Des’s Toy­ota Supra-Chev and Alan East’s LH To­rana hillclimb car.)

Those at the track on Fri­day might have seen (and heard) David do a cou­ple of quiet laps in the To­rana, the first time it had turned a wheel in over 20 years. The car sounded gor­geous, looks a mil­lion bucks and we can’t wait to see and hear it strut­ting its stuff again.

It was that kind of week­end, with a typ­i­cally eclec­tic mix of cars, classes, cat­e­gories, colours and char­ac­ters re­mem­ber­ing Aus­tralian mo­tor­sport’s glo­ri­ous – and glo­ri­ously di­verse – past. Over the fol­low­ing pages, AMC turns the spot­light on a small se­lec­tion of cars that caught our at­ten­tion.

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