EVOLUTION MOTORSPORT CLASSIC SPEEDFEST
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.