A Quick History
The latest word on the Historic motor racing scene
The Heritage Touring Car grids were smaller than usual at the Sydney Retro Speedfest, but quality more than made up for quantity. Nissan came out swinging, with Tony Alford making his debut in the 1992 Bathurstwinning GT-R previously owned by Terry Ashwood. There was debate how Alford would go against Terry Lawlor’s seasoned GIO version and the lap times tell the story. Alford was right on the pace and quickly got to grips with the technically tricky Godzilla. They consistently finished and qualified, Lawlor first and Alford second, but by Sunday afternoon it was clear that Lawlor had to push hard to stay ahead. Anthony Crompton flew the Ford flag in Group A with his ex-Seton RS500 taking third, from Chris Stillwell’s very popular DJR Sierra in fourth.
Frank Binding’s Army Reserve XD Falcon was a popular winner of the Group C category at the SRS, with Chris Bowden’s Tokico RX7 second and the George Nittis-driven ex-Carter XE Falcon third. Fourth was Phil Verwoert having his first run in the ex-Grose Berklee Exhaust RX7.
Queensland’s second HTC round, the Lakeside Classic, is scheduled for July 25-26. The format will mimic that of past Muscle Car Masters, where Group A and Group C cars will split for individual races. It’s especially popular with Group C runners, who tend to be overshadowed by the later-built Group A cars. In Group A, the ex-Anthony Reid 2.5-litre BMW M3 will be making its debut under new owner Peter Jones. Jones also owns the ex-Finauer/Longhurst 2.3-Litre JPS BMW M3 but plans to campaign the faster Japanese Touring Car Championship racer, leaving the JPS car for ‘special occasions’. In Group C, Ed Singleton’s VH Commodore returns after copping a nasty blow at the Australian Grand Prix round. Lakeside’s fast, flowing curves have always benefitted the smaller, nimbler cars so perhaps the Nissan/Sierra domination will be dented.
Monterey in August will be its usual amazing array of events and cars, with the jewel being the Rolex Historics. The mighty Trans-Am cars will be a highlight, with Australian Mustang fan Don Dimitriadis entered in his newly-acquired 1969 Shelby ’Stang. Single-seater fans will be in a lather as F5000 is a feature category. A 16-strong contingent of NZers (12) and Australians (4) will head over for the main weekend and the ‘pre-reunion’ held a week earlier. Meantime, races for F1 cars, 1967 to 1984, will see a large grid of Matra V12s and DFVs all screaming for the title of best-sounding category of the weekend. Road cars fans will not be left in cold with the GT350 Shelby the featured car for the event. Shelby’s Mustang-based ‘sportscar’ dominated the USA grass roots sportscars scene for years, knocking off the C2 Corvette. Thus, Shelbys of all types will flock to Laguna Seca.