Elsewhere in this issue we recall Amaroo Park’s earliest AMSCAR Series, run from 1979 at the rustic Sydney track. It’s a tting way to mark the much-loved venue that closed down in August 1998, the 20th anniversary of which falls while this issue sits on newsstands.
That inaugural AMSCAR Series attracted all the major players on the touring car scene at that time, with the exception of the HDT. It also attracted at least one unlikely entrant...
By 1979 Chrysler’s participation in touring car racing was a fading memory. It had exited the sport as long ago as 1972 – six years had passed since the last Charger started at Bathurst. But there was a Charger in the ’79 AMSCAR Series. Local club racer Jeff Henley-Smith, perhaps noticing that his orange Group C Charger E49 was as quick around Amaroo as the slowest quali ers in the opening AMSCAR round, decided to give it a go. Sure enough, while the big 4.3-litre six was never a serious contender against its much newer V8 opposition, it was fast enough to run with the pack and not get left behind. On more than one occasion Henley-Smith managed to get the old Charger ahead of the odd Falcon XC or Torana A9X – in qualifying and the races.
It looks positively out-dated in photographs, but that only adds to the AMSCAR Series’ charm in giving unheralded privateers the chance to shine and race against the biggest names in racing. Good on him for having a crack.