TACCOC Spring Classic
Words and photos: Steve Ritchie
The Thoroughbred and Classic Car Owners Club (TACCOC) Spring Classic was the first of the three race meetings organized by the TACCOC for 2016. Taking place under fine skies on October 8, the meet featured the AES/ Tradezone and Arrows Wheels classes, both of which are under the European Race Classics (ERC) umbrella, as well as the various open-wheeler classes, which include Historic Formula Junior and Formula 3 (F3), Sports Racing, and Formula Ford, the PPG Classic Trials, Trofeo Series, and Historic Muscle Cars.
Being a one-day event, practice and qualifying took place in the morning, with racing starting at around 10.30am with the AES/ Tradezone cars being first out on track. Each race consisted of eight laps, with exception of the Classic Trials, which were timed at 12 minutes due to the regulations of the class. All classes were provided with three races apiece. Several incidents occurred throughout the day, some of which brought out the safety car or red flag. With all the rain in the previous week, it wasn’t a good idea to get any wheels on the grass!
The Aes/tradezone class had a large 23-car field. Peter North, in a Ford Escort RS2000, was in the box seat, as he started from pole and continued on to finish the race first. The following two handicap races were won by Steve Bolton, in his newly restored Mercedes 190E, who started sixth off the grid, and Simon Mills, in a Alfasud Ti, who started from 14th, gaining a place or two each lap.
The Historic Formula Junior, F3, and Historic Sports Cars were three separate categories but raced within the same field. All three races had standard grid starts, and all three had Keith Mainland in the Van Diemen RF79 Formula Ford taking overall victory, while, further down the field, we were witness to lots of overtaking.
In the Arrow Wheels races (for the faster ERC cars), Ray Williams was no match for the competition, leading from start to finish in race one, while the first of the two handicap races saw Ricky Cooper take to the chequered flag first in his Datsun 240Z and Mal Clark take out race three in the Rover P6 3500. Adrian Hayman was one of the many causalities of race one when he pulled over to the side with a suspected broken axle, while the Ohlsen Cobra of Rogan Hampson also finished its day early, with Hampson’s retirement bringing out the red flag in just lap four.
The Trofeo Series has four classes — GTA for the real fast guys, GT Junior, Veloce, and Trofeo. Points are gained from the handicap races in which all the entrants have a fair shot at winning. Going into this round (round two), Ross Olifent was top of the leader board in his Alfa 33, and with his fourth place in the handicap race he was able to retain it. Phil Neely in his Alfetta was, however, the winner of this race, in which he started in fifth place and gradually picked off all those in front to be in first place come lap eight.
The PPG Classic Trials was another class to have its second meet of the season this weekend. Being a trials event, it was not about who could obtain the fastest lap times to win the race. Instead, the emphasis was on consistency, lap after lap, for the 12 minutes. At the time of writing, the results have not yet been published.
Finishing the day was the field of Historic Muscle Cars and Historic Saloon Cars. Roger Williams and the magnificent Chevy Camaro won the first race, while, behind him, Peter Stephenson (Ford Mustang) and Dale Mathers (Mustang Boss 302) battled for second and third place, the former winning the second step of the podium. Race two was a replica of the first, although it was a hardfought battle throughout the field.
The fastest lap time of the day was logged by the Formula Ford 1988 Swift of Graeme Cameron, with a time of 1min 12.664s.
The next TACCOC event will be the Summer Classic on November 27.