His­toric Mus­cle Cars Up­date

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide News - Words: Steve Holmes Pho­tos: Phil Noble

The mighty Gulf Oil How­den Ganley New Zealand Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor Rac­ing has come and gone, and for His­toric Mus­cle Cars, it was a mile­stone event. This marked the first time HMC ran as a stand alone big-banger class, with 20 legal HMC cars, plus eight in­vited cars from the Aus­tralian Trans-am group mak­ing for a bumper grid of 28 pe­riod– cor­rect com­pe­ti­tion mus­cle cars.

HMC got fully into the swing of things, mak­ing the most of the oc­ca­sion to en­ter­tain the ca­pac­ity 22,000-strong crowd that took in the event over the two week­ends, by in­cor­po­rat­ing rolling starts, and us­ing a clas­sic Ford Mus­tang con­vert­ible to lead the field, fur­ther adding to the sense of drama. The rac­ing it­self was ex­cel­lent, and close, with seven dif­fer­ent win­ners emerg­ing from the nine races. Although HMC and ATA run to dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tions, the per­for­mance of the two groups is very sim­i­lar, and over­all, the lap times were very close as were the races, with horse­power, weight, brakes, and wheel and tyre size be­ing the equal­iz­ers.

A full re­port will fol­low in the next is­sue of Nzclassiccar.

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Uk–based se­ries regular Greg Thorn­ton (Sur­tees TS11) who ended up fourth over­all also had car is­sues, not just with one car ei­ther. In Australia he raced his unique Ford–pow­ered March 75A, the car with the hi tech 3.0–litre DOHC V6 en­gine orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for the iconic Cologne Capri tour­ing cars of the era. The March was quick but frag­ile, so the globe–trot­ting char­ter air­line owner shipped two of his other cars — the freshly re­built ex Sam Posey Sur­tees TS11 and ex Peter Gethin Chevron B24 — to New Zealand for the re­main­ing four rounds.

Fifth over­all, mean­while, was a case of ‘what might have been,’ with Mel­bour­nite Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) com­ing back from a high-speed and cor­ner-crunch­ing crash on his home round at Sandown to be a regular top-four qual­i­fier and fin­isher at Syd­ney, Hamp­ton Downs and Mike Pero Mo­tor­sport Park (for­merly Rua­puna). Had he cho­sen to stay on for the NZGP meet­ing at Man­feild, he could well have chal­lenged Ken Smith for the fi­nal podium spot.

Though ul­ti­mate grid num­bers were down from their peak on both sides of the Tas­man, there were 18 cars on the grid for the first race at Sandown, and over 50 (count­ing dis­play-only en­tries) at the two F5000 ‘World Se­ries’ rounds at Hamp­ton Downs.

Six Ki­wis — Ross, Proc­tor, Rus­sell Greer, Ian Cle­ments, David Banks (Talon MR1) and David Ar­row­smith (Lo­tus 70) — started the two Aus­tralian rounds, and two Aussies — Paul Zazryn and Lola T330 driver Peter Bren­nan — crossed the Tas­man for two or three of the rounds here.

Msc-se­ries reg­u­lars are look­ing for­ward to join­ing their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts at the an­nual Rolex Mon­terey Pre-re­u­nion and Re­u­nion His­toric and Clas­sic mo­tor rac­ing meet­ings at La­guna Seca in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia be­tween Au­gust 8–16 this year.

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