Leg­ends of Speed W

Words and photos:

New Zealand Classic Car - - NATIONWIDE NEWS -

Steve Ritchie

ith sum­mer com­ing to an end, the Leg­ends of Speed was the last event for many of the classes — there­fore also the last chance for driv­ers to gain points for their re­spec­tive cat­e­gories. It was held at Hamp­ton Downs Mo­tor­sport Park over two days in the first week­end of April. The un­pre­dictable and change­able weather con­di­tions made for quite some chal­lenges. Although the track dried up and the sun shone down for Sun­day af­ter­noon’s tro­phy races, the track sur­face re­mained rather greasy.

The card for this event in­cluded the His­toric For­mula Fords and For­mula Ju­nior, Clas­sic Tri­als, BMW Race Se­ries, ERC Race Se­ries, Alfa Tro­feo Se­ries, His­toric Mus­cle Cars and Sports Cars, and His­toric Sports Sedans. Th­ese cov­ered a to­tal of 33 races, with ap­prox­i­mately 190 par­tic­i­pants en­tered. Tro­phies were awarded to the win­ners of Sun­day af­ter­noon’s races, which acted as ‘fea­ture’ races. The Clas­sic Tri­als only raced on Satur­day, so had its fea­ture race that day. This was its last race of the sea­son, with Brent Mid­dle­miss tak­ing cham­pi­onship hon­ours with his Mini 1275 GT.

If points were awarded to cat­e­gory with the most in­ci­dents, they would have gone the way of the BMW Se­ries. As usual, it put on an en­ter­tain­ing show — no doubt the panel beaters were also rub­bing their hands to­gether come the Mon­day af­ter. This was the sixth and fi­nal round of the 2015–’16 cham­pi­onship, with the over­all win­ners be­ing an­nounced fol­low­ing tech­ni­cal scru­tiny.

The ERC AES Trade­zone saw the new MGB TD (aka ‘cream cracker’) of Grant Kern make its de­but.

Un­for­tu­nately, Kern fin­ished the Jack Brab­ham Tro­phy well down the or­der. Although the se­ries win­ner will not be an­nounced un­til the ERC Awards Din­ner in June, it was Karl Sentch in the Dat­sun 240Z who won the tro­phy, but only by a cat’s whisker over Rod Hem­mings. Mean­while, the Se­bas­tian Vet­tel Tro­phy for the faster Ar­row Wheels cars was taken out by Paul Hal­ford in a Porsche 993RS.

With the track still slightly greasy, the His­toric Mus­cle Cars and Saloon Cars race was all about the smaller sa­loons in their fi­nal race for the Al­berto As­cari Tro­phy. That said, it was the Ford XY Fal­con of Sean Mccaughan that crossed the fin­ish line ahead of the two Es­corts of John Den­nehy and Neville ‘Hillsy’ Hills. Ear­lier in the week­end, David Stur­rock in his ’67 Chevy Ca­maro won the first race of the week­end, while Peter Steven­son took out race two in his ’66 Ford Mus­tang.

The Alfa Tro­feo Se­ries is made up of five classes on track at the same time. How­ever, its tro­phy race, the Jackie Ste­wart Tro­phy, was a hand­i­cap start, there­fore plac­ing ev­ery­one on a sup­pos­edly even play­ing field. This en­abled James Kuita and his Alfa Sud Ti to come to the fore­front and win the tro­phy, with good, clean rac­ing and only one re­tire­ment.

To round off the week­end, we wit­nessed the small field of spec­tac­u­lar-look­ing His­toric Sports Sedans. They were rac­ing for the Gra­ham Hill Tro­phy, and the field in­cluded the likes of Colin Mead­ows’ Chevrolet Ca­maro RS, Jon Telford’s Mazda RX-8, and Gor­don Burr’s Alfa Al­gie Alfetta 5000. How­ever, Den­nis Run­ning was the man of the mo­ment, rac­ing his Chevy Ca­maro to vic­tory.

The week­end was a huge suc­cess for most par­tic­i­pants and just as en­ter­tain­ing for spec­ta­tors. The garage doors have now closed as win­ter sets in for many of the driv­ers on what was an­other ex­cep­tional sea­son.

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