Winter racing at Sydney Motorsport Park is always exciting and this past weekend’s running of the 2nd Annual Sydney Retro Speedfest, an event jointly sponsored by the Historic Sports and Racing Car Association (HSRCA) and the ARDC, did not disappoint.
Featuring a massive field of 246 entrants across the eight events on the program, spectators and competitors alike received great value for money. Cars filled the track four times each for their 20 minute racing stints over the two day event. As well as the cars on track, marquees lined the length of the pit area filled with static displays of classic cars with owners only too happy to chat about them.
Specialty cars rarely seen in Australia graced the pits and track. An ex- Niki Lauda 12-cylinder BRM P160, as well as a pair of Le Mans style Porsche 926Cs, were extremely impressive and dominated the O, Q & R category. The chief mechanic of George Nakas’ Blue/White 962C team said “This car no longer has any fuses, it has been completely rewired and is exclusively programmed by computer for every electrical instruction. The wiring loom has 585m of industrial electrical cabling, which took us over 140 hours to install!”.
The car performed well under Nakas’ guidance with second place in all three races. Nakas was unlucky not pull a win in either of the first two races as only half a body length separated the two thundering Porsches across the line. Well done to Peter Harburg’s “Jagermeister” entry on his two hard-fought wins. Duncan MacKellar took full advantage of Harburg’s race three DNF to record a 4 sec win from Nakas, whose car is being packed into a shipping container next week for its upcoming campaign in the USA at Laguna Seca.
Regularity is always a well attended category and this weekend 37 cars filled the dummy grid to almost capacity. In race one Brian Wilson in his Ford GT40 took the honours with 2 laps exactly on his predicted speed of 2:03 and another only three one hundredths underneath his nominated speed. Race two accuracy went to Chris Scheffer ( MGB) also with two laps on his nominated time and race three saw Aaron Lewis (E-type Jag) nail 4 laps on his nominated time. Craig Duthie was the most consistent with second place in both race two and three. Dave Lawrences’ beautifully turned out red Austin Healy 100/4 gleamed in the sunlight and Dave was also beaming with pride as he sang happy birthday to his pride and joy on its 60th birthday. You see, on Sunday June 6th, his ‘Healey was “born” back in 1955.
Group C& A is the baby boomers favourite racing event. With Skyline R32’s and Ford Sierra’s on track rest assured that the Goliath vs Godzilla arguments of the ‘90’s were reinvigorated trackside. Whilst the ‘boomers are much more mellow nowadays, sporting greyer hair (and less of it) the enthusiasm for this category hasn’t wained. With current high profile driver Rick Kelly feeding the Retro Speed press machine this past week driving Terry Lawlor’s Godzilla ( Car #4 – Skyline R32) this publicity might have been the catalyst that Terry needed in his campaign to overcome his nearest rival , Anthony Alfords, with his equally quick R32. With absolutely nothing in it, Lawlor was narrowly victorious in al three races, but they were hard fought as the margins were ultra slim in all three races. In fact, Terry had a mirror full of Alford all day as there was less than five one hundredths of a second between both cars at the finish of each race. Tony Compton was only a second back and took the final podium place in each race.
Group Sc was dominated by a foursome of determined Porsches: Geoff Morgan, Stan Adler, Wayne Seabrook and Andrew Purvis. For the most part Geoff Morgan’s birch green Carrera 911 was regularly out the front of each lap, however a determined grab of the lead by Purvis in race 3 proved unsustainable and somewhere along the way black tire marks ( which weren’t there at the beginning of the race) appeared on Geoff Morgans left side door showing how intense the racing had become late in the day. Group Sb was being fought out back in the field some 25-30 seconds behind the lead group as Damien Meyers smoothly kept two thundering Shelby Mustangs at bay (Laurie Sellars and Kevin Luke) as he went on to grab two wins and a third for the weekend. Sellars took the spare win as well as a second and third to round out his weekend. Colin Goldsmith was trying not to skin his knuckles in the cold foggy damp air very early on Sunday morning in his garage as he changed his front shocks. Deftly wielding a torque wrench Colin said”…I must have had a premonition that they needed changing because I brought a spare pair with me, and being that prepared is very unusual for me”
In Q & R John Bowe driving a 3 Litre March 741 was getting comfortable with the car behind Alex Davison ( Lola T332)and Tom Tweedie.(Chevron B24/28). Late in race two Bowe came to grief at turn 17 with steering and suspension problems causing a very untidy swerving manoeuvre and ultimately a DNF requiring a full uplift to return the car to the pits, ending his weekend. Stephen Borness slotted into the third spot vacated by Bowe joining Davison and Tweedie on the podium for the race two and three results respectively.
Words and pics by Rob Annesley