The Annual “Muscle Car Master” carnival rolled into town at Sydney Motorsport Park on Fathers Day weekend September 4 – 6. It was a wonderful weekend of celebration of all that is exceptional about Australian motorsport combining the best of both Australian and US motoring muscle. Evergreen celebrity drivers such as Bob Holden, Jim Richards, John Bowe, Glenn Seton, ( Happy Birthday, Glenn – who turned 50 this week), Charlie O’Brien, Andrew Mediecke, Leo Tobin and Rusty French got behind the wheels of various brands of muscle cars and over the weekend reminded us all why we love these heritage marques.
Our past racing legends were oh so generous with their time and spent countless hours over the course of the weekend signing autographs, posing for photographs and chatting extensively, between racing commitments, with hundreds of fans many of whom recounted and relived exploits of these giants of Australian racing with blow-by-blow accounts of their favourite racing moments.
As well stellar examples of original and restored classic metal including 50 of the best examples of heritage vehicles (30 of which are original cars) that graced our race tracks in decades gone by. Each and every one of the shiny concourse prepared cars played a significant part in the fabric of our rich Australian racing history. These cars carried our hopes and dreams as we watched our race suited gladiatorial heroes do battle in their brightly coloured liveries. Commonplace throughout our magnificent history these steeds had colloquial names which easily rolled off our tongues…names such as “XU-1, A9X, ‘Cuda, Charger, GTHO, ‘Stang as well as a myriad of letters meaningful to the motoring initiated such as VL, VS, VH and VK.
The headline feature category over the weekend is always the Touring Car Masters race series. This field is littered with racing masters, and 26 sensationally prepared hotted up V8 muscle cars. It was a surprise to see John Bowe in a Torana this weekend, especially as his most notable (and usual) ride was also running around in the field: Mustang Sally. This weekend she was in the capable hands on Neil Crompton. Although, one has to wonder how Bowe and Mustang Sally felt when Crompton got caught up in a mid field “nose to tail debacle which in fairness was not of his own doing. As it turned out Seton nudged Mediecke who spun 360 degrees right in the middle of the exit from turn two, and in the ensuing melee and bottleneck Compton had his front and rear crumpled. The carnage was not limited to him alone as some five cars all came back around the track sporting various assorted crumpled fenders and grills. The immediate resulting carnage at turn two looked like an untidy second hand car lot with cars pointing in all directions and those drivers trying to avoid the mess were mounting the ripple strips dodging and weaving through the infield to get some clear space to literally escape the blockage. In racing, John Bowe was sensational with three clear race wins in his personally race prepared Wilson Security Torana. This weekend brought John Bowe a double milestone. Firstly he celebrated his 200th career race win on Saturday and on Sunday competed in his 1000th career race event. Congratulations John.
Almost equal favourite racing category over the weekend was the mighty Trans AM Sports Sedans category. Featuring more legends of Australian motorsport driving 5 Litre+ American muscle cars made popular in the 60’s and 70’s. With teeth rattling power plants, the field of Mustangs, Firebirds, Camaro’s, GTO’s and even a Plymouth Barracuda growled and fiercely fought for supremacy around the Eastern Creek GP circuit. Seventeen cars from Qld and four from New Zealand rounded out the field for this tribute series second appearance at MCM. Charlie O’Brien (Firebird) drove gangbusters all weekend and took all three race wins. Crowd pleaser Glenn Allingham got the crowd roaring with his wheel spinning “drifting” style of driving. Plenty of smoke and noise: What more could you want at MCM 2015?
The crowd was spoilt for merchandise choice as the semitrailers with TCM, Holden and other memorabilia were a part of the whole fantastic vibe. It was great to see the grandstand almost full and the rooftop above the pits was crammed with spectators cheering their heroes and enjoying all the racing that was on offer. This year there were three separate Heritage Hot Laps which meant their was ample time to see all your favourite cars of yesteryear. As well, a parade lap for the many car clubs that attended with their exquisitely prepared privateer vehicles was a marvelous sight with over a hundred cars. Featuring AC Cobras, classic Mustangs, Chargers, Corvettes, HSV Holdens, it was great to perve on some beautiful metal and chrome.
Words and pics by Rob Annesley