Mus­cle Car Masters re­port

U Can’t Touch This year’s Mus­cle Car Masters for on-track ac­tion, with some of the best rac­ing ever seen at the an­nual per­for­mance party, plus the de­but of a new road car ac­tiv­ity for those keen to put the ham­mer down.

Australian Muscle Car - - Contents - Images: Clay Cross Steve Nor­moyle Sto­ries:

All the ac­tion on and off the track from this year’s Mus­cle Car Masters.

Back in 1990 Amer­i­can record­ing artist MC Ham­mer had a mas­sive hit in Aus­tralia with his num­ber one sin­gle ‘U Can’t Touch This’. The song rock­eted up the charts much like the road­go­ing Aussie mus­cle cars that zoomed down Syd­ney Motorsport Park’s dur­ing the new­est ad­di­tion to the Mus­cle Car Masters week­end, the MC Ham­mer Time ses­sions. That’s right, Ham­mer Time!

The idea was to give own­ers of Ford, Holden and Chrysler mus­cle cars (of a de­sired vin­tage – more or less pre 1990) the chance to take them out on the track and stretch their legs. This, af­ter all, is what most of them were de­signed to do! Mus­cle Cars putting the ham­mer down, hence the fancy la­bel.

The MC Ham­mer Time ses­sions were all about spir­ited driv­ing rather than at­tempts on the out­right lap record, and for this rea­son the laps weren’t of­fi­cially timed. Par­tic­i­pants were en­cour­aged to have a bit of a go with­out go­ing over­board, and that’s pretty much what ev­ery­one did.

Typ­i­cal of the Ham­mer Time en­trants was Terry Lanes­bury and his 351 XB Fair­mont (pic­tured right). It was the rst time Terry had driven on a race track in any car, and he had a ball. He drove the Fair­mont back home to New­cas­tle on the Sunday night af­ter the event, al­ready vow­ing to re­turn next year if the MC Ham­mer Time ses­sions con­tinue at the 2019 Masters. Ev­ery like­li­hood of that, Terry. Stay tuned! We’ll re­serve you a slot with de­mand ex­pected to be huge.

On the sub­ject of next year’s event, it’s con rmed the Masters will be back on the Fathers Day week­end, by pop­u­lar de­mand. Re­turn­ing to early Septem­ber wasn’t an op­tion for 2018 given the make-up of this year’s rac­ing cal­en­dar, which saw a one-off Queens Birth­day long week­end slot.

The MCM again saw a mix­ture of race ac­tion, demon­stra­tions and off-track dis­plays, span­ning cars from the ’40s to Noughties! More mod­ern was a strong con­tin­gent of V8 Su­per­cars from the late 1990s and early 2000s on track for the Mas­ter Blasts ses­sions, for his­tor­i­cally signi cant race­cars in the pe­riod liv­er­ies, along with their fore­run­ners.

The 2018 event paid homage to two very signi cant events in the his­tory of Holden: the 70th birth­day of the rst Holden, the orig­i­nal 48-215 model, and the 50th birth­day of the rst Holden mus­cle car, the HK Monaro GTS 327.

To that end, the event fea­tured prob­a­bly the largest col­lec­tion of old Humpy Hold­ens, both the 48-215 and later FJ mod­els, ever seen at the Masters, as well as a dis­play of HK Monaro road cars – in­clud­ing the Karl Bratkovic-owned Sil­ver Mink GTS 307 which fea­tured in our My Mus­cle

Car sec­tion last is­sue, as well as the 186 GTS Karl’s daugh­ter Chris­tine has owned since 1979.

The Masters fea­tured a spe­cial dis­play of for­mer AMC cover cars, span­ning is­sues #3’s The Great Su­per­car Scare ex­pose to #94’s Eureka! edi­tion, fea­tur­ing the car John Goss should have driven in the Bathurst clas­sic in 1971 but didn’t. Oh, and is­sue #76’s HQ GTS four-door.

Speak­ing of leg­ends, many braved the win­ter cold, in­clud­ing the afore­men­tioned JG (see over­leaf) and his co-win­ner at Bathurst in ’74, Kevin Bartlett. The lat­ter fronted at the Masters with some­thing very spe­cial. In KB’s case, it was a se­lec­tion of trea­sured per­sonal items from his vast col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bilia from his long and dis­tin­guished ca­reer. What a treat it was to see the old hel­mets, the race suits, the tro­phies – in­clud­ing Bartlett’s two CAMS Gold Stars as well as his pair of Bathurst 1000 pole po­si­tion win­ning tro­phies.

The late-run­ning Alfa pa­rade meant Bartlett had to miss the Leg­ends Lunch, where he was due to ap­pear with Al­lan Grice and Garry Rogers as the guest leg­ends. With KB a DNS, Sue Ran­som stepped into the breach, and the trio re­galed the gath­er­ing in the Hinx­man room with some fas­ci­nat­ing and of­ten funny tales. For those not com­pletely fa­mil­iar with Ran­som, she may well be our most ver­sa­tile fe­male racer ever: she was a handy rally driver, made ve Great Race starts and went on to com­pete in Top Fuel and even Jet-pow­ered drag rac­ing.

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