The historic motor races at Winton in Victoria’s north were held recently for the thirtieth time on its traditional yearly date – the last weekend in May. The Austin 7 Club’s Historic Winton race meeting has now established itself as Australia’s longest continually run all-historic race meeting, and also now boosts the title of the only race meeting in Australia that combines both historic car and bike racing.
Of this year’s large overall entry list a strong group of 120 of bikes entered with a staggering 22 side-cars. Away from the track, one of the event’s major sponsors Shannons provided the “Shannons Classic Car Park” which featured a large range of enthusiast’s most loved possessions on display.
“Cars are our Stars” was Historic Winton’s official slogan, and the cars delivered. They included the famous Chamberlain 8 along with what could be stated as the largest turn-up of Aussie-built cars in recent years, mainly of which were competing.
Formula Ford were combined with Group Q & R racing, and had a somewhat eventful weekend. Saturday afternoon’s race saw Phil Randall involved in a racing incident, which saw him taken to Wangaratta hospital overnight for observation. Then in Sunday’s feature race three Ford’s collided on the final lap with David Nethercote (driving father Rob’s car) being turned over and skidded along the ground (track and dirt), but survived un hurt. Barry Johns and Chris Ralph were the other two in the incident, in which some fellow competitors on their cool-down lap pulled over to offer their assistance, mainly in putting the Nethercote car back on its wheels. Both David and Phil are fine, with the car’s needing some repairs. The victor in the Formula Ford’s main race was Tom Tweedie, who narrowly beat Nick McDonald. In the faster cars Andrew Makin in a relatively underpowered March 73B got off to a flying start in the eight-lap race, which he maintained throughout keeping at bay the competition from Andrew Robson driving the RALT RT4.
In the M & O Racing field Murray Bryden driving his Lotus MRC 22 Formula Junior won the handicap race on Sunday morning, whilst Ken Bedggood in the Penrite Oil’s Brabham BT 16 won the other two setting a new lap record in the final race of 1:02:2078 This may be attributed to the fact that Bob Cracknell in the Elfin 600B was storming through from the rear of field to finish second ahead of Tim Kutchel (BT18) & Ed Holly (BT15) after having mechanical problems in an earlier race.
A Penrite Oil car also dominated the Group LB Sports and Racing races with the Lola Mk1 taking two wins in the hands of Keith Simpson. Keith took home the Mark Dymond Trophy in Sunday afternoon’s race. The dice of the race was between Stuart Powell (Faux Pas), Bill Hemming (Elfin Streamliner) and John Medley (Nota Formula Junior) who finished within a second of each other.
The historic touring cars fielded a strong 60+ field over two grids with the faster qualifying cars on the track first. In the starch races Tony Hubbard was unbeatable in his Chevy Comaro streaking the field. Bob Cox (Mustang) was next, and reportedly tried everything he could to try and stay on the tail of Hubbard all weekend. Russell Pulvin is really showing incredible pace in the Datsun 1600 recording at fastest time in thigh 1:10’s, and now has his sights set on making it past the 289 Mustang of Jervis Ward.
The Group SC production sports cars were separated from the SA & SB field for a reason historicracing.com.au doesn’t know, but the SA & SB races were weekend highlights. The Marcos GT of Roger Ealand won the two starch races, in a car which is so under-powered when compared with others on the track. By others we’re talking about the cubic-capacities under the bonnet of the Chev Corvette’s of Graeme Hooper and Paul Sabine, and also the two genuine Shelby American GT350’s of Ian Ross and George Nittis. Ross lites up the tyres in an awesome start to the final race, but soon came un-stuck with a spin, which put him at the rear with the whole of Victoria hearing the sound of the high-revving Shelby as it roared before becoming a late retiree.
The SC cars were combined with M, O, Q & R Sports cars (that was a tongue-twister in commentary!)With Phil Verwoeret triumphant in his RS Carrera Porsche in the SC finishing in eighth place overall. Overall victor in the scratch races was Paul Mander who only had to tap the accelerator in the Tiga SC83C2 to fend off others, mainly John Smith in the Stephen Fryer MRC Lotus T23. Excitement was created by another Ian Ross who raced his simply awesome to look at (& hear) MRC Repco – with a rare 5 litre motor as he carefully handled the Can-AM car around the track finding its limits a couple of times in spins.
There were over 40 race events across the weekend, which means that memories of every inch of every event sometimes fade so that’s the brief report on Historic Winton for 2006 – a great meeting!
Report by: Charles Rogers