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.
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.