14-15 June 2008, Oran Park Grand Prix circuit
Those who attended the Shannons Winter Invitation of the Festival of Sports Cars series at Oran Park Raceway on 14 & 15 June witnessed the closest sports and touring car duels seen in some time.
A capacity field of 250 entries spread over 7 race categories had 5 races each to race in. Weather conditions all weekend were quite overcast with some sunny periods, but very windy.
The battles race after race was close and fierce. There seem to be more and more Mazda MX-5’s making their way on to the race track, but still it was David Radditz who dominated all races he competed in throughout the weekend, particularly in the Marque Production & Improved Production ‘phase 1’ races.
In the phase two events the start line duel went to Tillett on every race in his Alfetta GT with blistering starts, but others like the Hagerty Commodore, or the MG Midgets of McIntosh or Dodds, or event the MX-5 of Gough had more power and better cornering speeds to come out in front race after race.
The Mixed Sport Special Sprint – that title soon became a tongue tqister for the announcers! Provided perhaps the best racing for the weekend. Geoff Williams made his presence felt in the Morgan Plus 8 after mechanical problems at Bathurst by smoking the tyres on all race starts in both first and second gear. Don’t know whether it was for the crowd, or that the red mist came down! Spud Spruyt kept Williams honest during their battles while Trevor Booth watched on from a distance. The two had a ding dong battle with the power of the Morgan passing the MGB on the main straight, but the cornering speed around the circuit, particularly in Robin Orlando corner proved useful for Spruyt where he carried so much more speed. He came out victor in all races, but only by less than a length of a car.
The Group S cars, as witnessed in the above piece were split up with the Sc cars featuring in the GSRA Challenge races. There were two distinct battles in these races – Germany and Japan. The Porsche domination continued with some hard fought battles between friendly rivals Bill Pye, Geoff Morgan, Terry Lawlor, Brad Tilley (driving Bob Fraser’s car) and David Withers. While the Datsun battle for the Japan crown was on between Don McKay, Peter Hall, Chris Gray, James Flett and Russell Stafford. Both these battles were a pleasure to watch with the positions changing quicker than words could come out of one’s mouth!
Another true festival of the sporting car was had for all who attended – more coming our way at Wakefield Park later in the year.
Report by: Charles Rogers / HRA