HIS­TORIC MUS­CLE CARS

Words: Steve Holmes Me­dia 77

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Photos:

His­toric Mus­cle Cars (HMC) and His­toric Sa­loon Cars (HSC) com­pleted a hugely suc­cess­ful South Is­land de­but, rac­ing at the Enzed South­ern Clas­sic at Ti­maru In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Race­way on Fe­bru­ary 10–12 and at Tere­tonga’s Clas­sic Speedfest one week later.

Com­ing after the hec­tic back-to-back sched­ule that took place at Hamp­ton Downs in Jan­uary, which in­cluded the Tas­man Re­vival and Ken Smith Fes­ti­val, it came as no sur­prise that car num­bers for the South Is­land tour took a hit. The Hamp­ton Downs events saw a num­ber of ca­su­al­ties strik­ing me­chan­i­cal is­sues, and, as such, a mod­est field of 14 cars headed south come Fe­bru­ary: Gary Raiti (Fal­con), Pete Steven­son (Mus­tang), Glenn Alling­ham (Ca­maro), Den­nis Mccon­nell (Es­cort), Neville Hills (Es­cort), Bob Hys­lop (Mazda RX-2), Sean Mccaughan (Fal­con), Howard Wood (BMW 2002), Craig Horn (To­rana XU-1), John Samp­son (Capri), Gareth Samp­son (Capri), Colin Camp­bell (Es­cort), Tony Mexted (Mus­tang), and Nigel Mac­don­ald (Mus­tang).

The Mac­don­ald Mus­tang is the fa­mous Red Daw­son ma­chine that won the 1970 New Zealand Sa­loon Car Cham­pi­onship, and which hasn’t raced in the South Is­land for nearly 45 years.

In­ver­cargill HMC racer Colin Daw­son also joined the grid in his 1968 Ca­maro. In ad­di­tion, an in­vi­ta­tion was ex­tended to Roy Mac­don­ald (Mus­tang) and Richie Bid­dles (Ca­maro), whose cars are very close, but not 100-per­cent HMC com­pli­ant.

For many, the chal­lenges be­gan long be­fore any laps were run, as just get­ting to Ti­maru with the SH1 road clo­sure proved chal­leng­ing enough. One team de­stroyed two wheels and tyres on their trailer on the Saint Ar­naud road, go­ing through a huge pot­hole. The team was stuck in Reefton for three days wait­ing for re­place­ment wheels/tyres to be sent from Hamil­ton. Sev­eral oth­ers suf­fered cracked wind­screens from the roads break­ing up due to the heavy amount of traf­fic pass­ing over them. All were re­lieved to reach Ti­maru.

At Ti­maru In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Race­way, Colin Camp­bell suf­fered en­gine fail­ure in his Es­cort and headed home; Craig Horn crashed his To­rana after hit­ting oil on the track, but Colin Daw­son ar­ranged re­pairs for the car in In­ver­cargill, so he was able to race at Tere­tonga; and Gary Raiti also suf­fered en­gine fail­ure, but con­tin­ued to In­ver­cargill re­gard­less to sup­port the group.

And so it was a slightly de­pleted field that raced at Tere­tonga, but the mix­ing up of the grid pro­vided hugely en­ter­tain­ing rac­ing both week­ends, with mul­ti­ple win­ners. Best of all, ev­ery­one had an en­joy­able time, and was warmly greeted by the amaz­ing race fans at both venues. The South Is­land fans are the best in the world, and re­ally made the whole trip worth­while. In ad­di­tion, the South Is­land tour cre­ated plenty of in­ter­est in the HMC/HSC con­cept of proper pe­riod-cor­rect his­toric sedan rac­ing.

On a very sad note, just one week after the Tere­tonga event, Ca­maro HMC racer Colin Daw­son suf­fered a heart at­tack and passed away. He had a fit­ting send-off, as fam­ily and friends gath­ered at his home track of Tere­tonga and lined the front straight while his beau­ti­ful sil­ver Ca­maro per­formed the per­fect tribute, smok­ing up its rear tyres in its owner’s mem­ory. He will be missed. RIP Colin.

HMC and HSC now move back to Hamp­ton Downs for their fi­nal event of the 2016/’17 sea­son, the Leg­ends of Speed meet­ing in late March.

More info on HMC can be found at the HMC web­site — his­toric­mus­cle­cars. co.nz or through the HMC on­line dis­cus­sion fo­rum at The Roar­ing Sea­son — theroar­ingsea­son.com.

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