Perfect weather in New South Wales on 2 & 3 June for the HSRCA winter historic race meeting at Oran Park. For the first time since 2003 the South Circuit was used. A small, but quality field of 180 cars entered, which included PRB Clubman cars “in the spirit of historic racing”.
The meetings draw card was touring cars, focusing on Group N and the more modern Group C & A.
Group N provided two outstanding races on Saturday for the spectators, including a new initiative for the HSRCA, a 25 lap relay race. The relay race was quite an interesting spectacle, particularly with some of the “drawn out of the hat” driver/car pairings, including that of the fastest and slowest competing cars of the Group N category for the weekend – Cameron Tilley’s ex Bob Asher Valiant Racer paired with Geoff Rose’s Na Simca.
Tilley started first opening up a substantial lead on his closest rivals. At the end of his stint the gap was over 30 seconds. Things soon changed when Rose hit the track in the Simca. After a couple of laps of freedom with the large gap, Rose started to slip back into the clutches of the hard charging Lotus Cortina of Scott Fleming. Within a short space of time the Simca fell back to sixth place, and continued. Fleming and teammate Ullrich eventually won this epic race from Alan Reid and Lynn Brown in second, and rounding out the podium places was the horsepower pairing of Chris Strode and Michael Kennedy (competing in Kennedy’s XY Falcon).
Group C & A
A field of 11 Group C & A Touring cars. Always an exciting race to watch, remembering memories of these cars competing around the Mountain and other Australian race track from the mid-1970’s to 1992.Race one was a battle between the Army Reserve ZD Falcon of Frank Binding (Group C) against the Group A Gibson Motorsport Nissan Skyline of Rod Markland. But the drive of the race went to David Towe (John Player Special BMW M3) who came from the rear of grid to finish in third ahead of Justin Matthews’ Escort and the John Player Special BMW 323i of Michael Spies. The Volvo 246T of Richard Prince smoked off the start line, but competed well throughout the race till the turbocharger expired in pit lane on the way back to the pits at the end of the race.
Race two saw the battle continue between Binding and Markland right to the line as Markland in the ex. Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline made a last lap lunge under brakes into CC corner, but couldn’t hold off the skillful Binding who narrowly increased the gap to an exciting win.
Formula Ford provided a decent field of some 14 cars for the weekend’s races. Saturday’s first event was a clear victory to Tom Tweedie in Elwin 002. Into race two and things looked unlikely to change with Tweedie opening up a 300m gap on the first flying lap, and continuing to extend his lead over the minor placing cars. His reign ended on lap three though, as he pulled into pit lane to retire from the race.
The attention then passed to the battle of the race between Doug Matley (Reynard) and Don Holland with Damon Hancock in close pursuit in Peter Addison’s Van Dieman. The lead changed countless times between Matley and Holland with Matley taking home the victory in race two.
Group L Sports & Racing and invited car Handicap Race
An action packed handicap event saw the invited Group Na Simca of Geoff Rose first off on scratch. Hillis was fourth off the line in his Lynx FJ and eventually took the handicap win from the hard charging Brian Wilson (Brabham BT5) who started from rear of grid. Jonathon Williamson and Don Thallon closely followed to complete the top four places in their Formula Junior’s. Chris Reeks finished fifth in his Elfin Hallmark Formula Vee.
Groups Q & R sports and racing cars provided solid racing, although Vivian King did have it all his own way across the weekend dominating in the RALT RT4. This was even after he, and fellow RALT driver Peter Landen had a very scary moment off the start in race one almost coming together as the RT4 flicked, but both got away safely. Race two, and they finished with King first, from Landen (RALT RT1) second from the great horsepower of Rob Tweedie – Elfin MS7 and Aaron Lewis’ Chevron B42 F5000 who were only tens of a second apart all race, as to were the dice of Ian Ross – Elfin 360 and Malcolm Miller – Birrana.
Group S Production sports cars showed up with a decent sized field, but put on some excellent racing weekend long. It was a Porsche benefit at the front between Bryan Taylor and Terry Lawler, who swapped places frequently. In race two it was a mix of horsepower, good driving and car handling in the dice of the race between the British front runners of Brett Morse’s Sunbeam Tiger vs. Tony Dains’ Triumph TR6. Dains was behind all race, but never too far away from Morse’s tail till he took 3rd away from Morse briefly on the 7th lap of the eight lap race, but only briefly as Morse quickly snatched it back on the final few corners.
A very enjoyable and exciting weekend was had by all, including the officials who were supplied with gourmet salad lunches from Subway, and the superb catering on Saturday evening in the hospitality suites.
We’ll see you all at the next historic race meeting!
Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia