Classic SKOPE Enthralls Spectators
Spectators and enthusiasts enjoyed yet another great SKOPE Classic meeting at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch in early February. Many turned out in the glorious summer sunshine to watch over 250 historic and classic race cars competing from all around New Zealand.
Several performances stood out over Waitangi weekend. Among these was local driver Brent Collins who dominated the PKMC Mainland Muscle Cars. Driving his ex Don Grindley V6 Buick– powered Mazda RX-7, Collins won three of the four races in the class as well as the annual Sir Robert Stewart Grand Prix Invitation.
“Fortunately for me, I qualified on pole,” commented Collins. “We had two wins on Saturday and I was privileged to have been invited to run in the Sir Robert Stewart Memorial Grand Prix.”
“On Sunday we were off the rear of the handicap grid and I was going very well when the left rear broke its wheel studs and I lost the wheel. Then in the last lap I again started off the back of the grid with a 50 second handicap. I was able to get through the field and just win despite a problem with the gear box.”
Class sponsor Paul Kelly competed in his newly–built 1970 Pontiac Trans Am 6.5-litre with some good results including two podiums.
The Murray Maxwell Vintage Car Club class played hosts to Formula Junior with a number of entrants visiting from Australia and the UK. Among those was Ray Mallock who went on to win three of the four races, finishing second in the other. His vehicle of choice was, of course, a Mallock manufactured by his family’s company, a 1960 U2 Mk2 in British racing green. This was a stand-out machine in both originality and speed.
Also on the podium were Australian Neil Mccrudden (Lotus 20/22 Formula Junior) who won the first race, John Rapley (1962 Brabham BT2), England’s David Innes (1963 Lotus 23) and Christchurch’s own Rob Cope-williams (1962 Wilco Lotus 23).
Doug Price (1984 FF Continental Reynard) won three of the five Pat Hoare Formula Libre races with Martin Bullock (1976 Chevron B34/39) winning the other two.
While Steve Ross (1973 Mcrae GM2) dominated and won all three MSC F5000 Series races it was Rotorua’s Brett Willis (1973 Lola T330) who won the Stan Redmond Memorial Trophy after a superb drive to second in the 12–lap feature race.
“It was certainly a great way to finish the weekend, and great for the team,” commented Willis.
The trophy is awarded to the MSC series driver who puts in the most spirited performance at the SKOPE Classic meeting and the popular choice this year was Willis who worked his way from seventh spot on the grid to second at the flag.
The pre- 65 competition was a friendly clash between North and South Island drivers. John Michelle (Ford Cortina Mk 1), Wayne Patrick (Ford Falcon XP), John Smolenski (Ford Falcon XP) and Keith Macdonald (Chev Nova) all won a race each.
Murray Sinclair (1970 Chevron B16) won both Saturday’s races in the Stanton Brothers’ Sports and GTS class. Guy Stewart (1991 Porsche GT2) finished on the podium three times including winning the race on Sunday morning while Hugh Jolliffe (1972 Datsun 240Z) won the final five lapper. Angus Cockram in his newly–acquired 1985 Porsche 944 GTR gained three podiums.
Arron Black dominated the Ron Silvester Saloons & Historic Classics in his 1989 BMW E30 M3 with two wins and two third places. Brett Stevens (1991 Ford Sierra Cosworth Group A) and Stephen Grellet (1991 BMW E30 M3) each had a win.
In the Harold Heasley Saloons, Grant Constable (1978 Hillman Avenger) won two races. Ian Williamson (Mazda RX2) and Andrew Downs also each won a race.
The weekend was taken as an opportunity to farewell Eion Young with the scattering of his ashes on Saturday afternoon.
On display for this meet was the newly completed 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Ferrari replica built by Oamaru’s Rod Tempero, now owned by a Christchurch customer. The very sleek and stunningly stylish Ferrari was put through its paces with a number of demonstration laps.
Officials, volunteers and the Canterbury Car Club are to be congratulated for another successful SKOPE Classic. Many sunburnt enthusiasts will now look forward to 2016.