EVO­LU­TION MO­TOR­SPORT CLAS­SIC SPEEDFEST

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words and photos: Quin­ton Tay­lor

It was the 25th an­niver­sary of Clas­sic Speedfest in 2017, and the South­land Sports Car Club will be very pleased after an­other mem­o­rable Evo­lu­tion Mo­tor­sport– spon­sored clas­sic event. The club also cel­e­brated 60 years of Tere­tonga Park mo­tor-race cir­cuit as the south­ern­most Fia-ap­proved cir­cuit in the world.

The Cars are the Stars was a theme very ev­i­dent in not just num­bers and the va­ri­ety of cars but also the level of pre­sen­ta­tion of cars, com­ple­mented by an abil­ity for spec­ta­tors to min­gle and chat with driv­ers and their ve­hi­cles in the laid-back at­mos­phere. In the lunch break, spec­ta­tors were en­ter­tained by the wail of a Fer­rari 412TB For­mula 1 (F1) race car.

This year’s cel­e­bra­tions were boosted by the large con­tin­gent of the For­mula Ju­nior Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Tour of South Africa, Europe, Aus­tralia, and New Zealand. With all the cars un­der one mar­quee, it made for a fas­ci­nat­ing time cap­sule of this class as it would have been back in the day, for all to view and ex­pe­ri­ence.

There was noth­ing laid-back about the rac­ing, though, as spec­ta­tors were treated to a week­end of close, full-on mo­tor rac­ing with large fields and the oc­ca­sional lap record get­ting smashed. It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that the out­right lap record set in 1998 by Greg Mur­phy in a For­mula Holden still stands at 51.208 sec­onds.

For­mula Ju­nior Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Tour

The For­mula Ju­nior Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Tour cel­e­brates this in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in­ter­na­tional his­toric cat­e­gory. The cat­e­gory and the ju­bilee tour had at­tracted a large con­tin­gent of cars and driv­ers from around the world.

In Class One, An­thony Olis­soff of Auck­land, driv­ing an Emeryson Elfin MKI, took the hon­ours in the first race from Jac Nelle­mann of Den­mark in an Alfa Dane MKIII. In the sec­ond race, Jac came back to switch the re­sult around. Th­ese two bat­tled through the week­end, with Nelle­mann again the win­ner first up on Sun­day, and Olis­soff win­ning the fi­nal on Sun­day.

In Class Two, Martin Bullock of West­ern Aus­tralia in his Lo­tus was just too good, and he took hon­ours in all four races. Auck­land’s Noel Wood­ford must have been in­flu­enced by a 10-sec­ond penalty in the first race for jump­ing the start, as he set a new lap record for the class in his Gem­ini MKIIIA.

Orig­i­nally from Gore, Grant Clear­wa­ter was, at one time, with the Mit­subishi World Rally Cham­pi­onship team, and now lives in Kerik­eri. He ap­peared this year in a Cooper T59 For­mula Ju­nior, in­stead of his usual Capella II.

His­toric Tour­ing Cars

There was a big field of some 25 cars in this cat­e­gory, and Gian­franco Bran­catelli of Brazil was supreme in the Ford Sierra RS500, show­ing that the for­mer F1 driver had not lost his touch win­ning by all four races. Just like the close bat­tles of the past, it was the BMW E30 M3 of Stephen Grel­lett, from Dunedin, that placed sec­ond in all four races.

Clas­sic Sa­loon Cars

Lo­cal racer Brendan Ma­son had the Chevro­let Ca­maro fly­ing for two wins in the Clas­sic Saloons over 2.0-litre cat­e­gory, but he didn’t have it all his own way. Threats came from the very quick Ford Capri of Tony Mann of Dunedin and the huge Dodge Chal­lenger of Duane In­g­ley, of Queen­stown, for a win each in the other two races. In the up to 2.0-litre cat­e­gory, Dean Sutherland pow­ered his Toy­ota Star­let to wins in the first and last race. A great ef­fort by Howard Wood in the BMW 2002Ti had him across the line for first in the hand­i­cap race.

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