His­toric Mus­cle Cars

Words: Steve Holmes Phil Noble

New Zealand Classic Car - - Nationwide Events - Pho­tos:

His­toric Mus­cle Cars (HMC) / His­toric Sa­loon Cars (HSC) made its de­but at the MG Clas­sic, at Man­feild on Novem­ber 11–13, mark­ing the first time the group had ven­tured fur­ther south than Hamp­ton Downs since its in­cep­tion. There is al­ways a lit­tle trep­i­da­tion when ven­tur­ing to a new lo­ca­tion. Will enough cars enter? Will the lo­cal crowd en­joy the rac­ing? Will the event or­ga­niz­ers ap­pre­ci­ate the show? But, as it tran­spired, the en­tire event was a huge suc­cess.

The com­bined HMC/HSC group amassed an im­pres­sive 32-car field for the MG Clas­sic, with an ex­cel­lent mix of V8 big­bangers, mid-sized Ford Capris, and nim­ble small-bore ma­chines. The rac­ing right through­out the field was hugely en­ter­tain­ing, and it re­mained fairly com­pact dur­ing the early laps, un­til dis­tinc­tive groups be­gan to ap­pear as the race wore on, each one hav­ing its own multi-car bat­tles. Three of the four races fea­tured rolling starts, with a strict no-over­tak­ing rule ap­plied un­til the field had passed the start/ fin­ish line, and care­ful ne­go­ti­a­tion of Turn 1. While putting on a good show was im­por­tant, so, too, was avoid­ing car­nage.

The four races held over the MG Clas­sic week­end pro­duced multiple win­ners, but, more im­por­tant, ev­ery­one took their cars home in the same con­di­tion as they had ar­rived. There was no panel dam­age, de­spite the close-quar­ters rac­ing. A few un­for­tu­nate car own­ers did suf­fer me­chan­i­cal fail­ures, most no­tably Grant Sprague (Ford Es­cort), Roger Wil­liams (Chev Ca­maro), and David Wood (Dodge Aspen), whose week­ends all ended be­fore the conclusion of the first race — me­chan­i­cal fail­ures and his­toric car rac­ing some­times go hand in hand.

It was im­por­tant also that the big MG Clas­sic crowd, com­pris­ing many who had never seen HMC/HSC be­fore, was hugely en­thu­si­as­tic about the group, as were the or­ga­niz­ers, who have al­ready ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to re­turn in 2017. And, while the rain was ever-present dur­ing the event, some­how it stayed away dur­ing each of the four HMC/HSC races, cap­ping off what was a hugely suc­cess­ful week­end all-round.

This was a very re­ward­ing event for HMC/HSC, and for New Zealand his­toric rac­ing as a whole, as it proves that there is a lot of in­ter­est from com­peti­tors, spec­ta­tors, and event or­ga­niz­ers for rac­ing proper, pe­riod-cor­rect his­toric cars. Ev­ery one of the 32-car HMC/HSC field had a Mo­tor­sport New Zealand Cer­tifi­cate of De­scrip­tion, and fit­ted ei­ther the HMC or HSC rules, 100 per cent. It was im­por­tant, too, to have cars such as Nigel Mac­don­ald’s hugely sig­nif­i­cant ex–red Daw­son 1967 Shelby Mus­tang (the 1970 NZ Sa­loon Car Cham­pi­onship– win­ning car) run­ning with the group, as it pro­vides gen­uine his­tor­i­cal cars with pe­riod rac­ing his­tory with a safe place to com­pete against sim­i­lar, if more re­cently con­structed, his­toric ma­chin­ery.

HMC/HSC will now move on to the Thor­ough­bred and Clas­sic Car Own­ers Club (TACCOC) one-day event at Pukekohe, be­fore gear­ing up for the next big event, the back-to-back fes­ti­val week­ends at Hamp­ton Downs in Jan­uary.

Find more info on HMC at his­toric­mus­cle­cars.co.nz, or at the HMC on­line dis­cus­sion fo­rum at The Roar­ing Sea­son: theroar­ingsea­son.com.

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