THE classic cars at the Mobil 1 Classic SpeedFest at Teretonga Park near Invercargill at the weekend provided some classic racing for spectators with two days of enthralling racing.
The Ricoh Historic & Classic Saloons Pre 78 featured a massive field which provided great action and four different winners during the weekend. The first race finished under the safety car with Scott O’Donnell, of Invercargill, leading in his Ford Capri ahead of Rodger
Cunninghame, of Te Anau, in a Mustang with Bruce Farley, of Nelson, in his Vauxhall Viva GT third.
Mark McGuinness, of Wellington, in an Alfa Romeo GTV won the second, a handicap event, taking the race on the line from Neil Greene, of Dunedin, in a Ford Anglia 100E.
Sunday morning saw a Mustang trifecta with Cunninghame winning from Stacy Lines, of Invercargill, in a Leon Hallett owned Mustang with Hallett third in his other Mustang.
Hallett, of Mosgiel, then won the finale from Cunninghame and O’Donnell.
The Archibalds Historic Touring Car class provided some epic battles, particularly between O’Donnell in his Ford Mondeo ST and Arron Black, of Dunedin, in a BMW E30. Black took the first race ahead of O’Donnell with his brother Stuart Black, of Dunedin, third in a Toyota Camry. That trio had a good battle in the second with O’Donnell winning from Arron and Stuart. O’Donnell and Arron Black then had an epic battle in the third in which O’Donnell prevailed before O’Donnell scored another victory in the last.
Steve Ross, of Dunedin, won two of the four Southland Tyre Centre Classic Saloon races in the PDL 1 Mustang, the first after coming from the back of the grid to pip Guy Stewart, of Christchurch, (Porsche 911 IROC) by .416 of a second.
However, he could not overcome the handicap given to him in each of the weekend’s handicap races, coming through to third on Saturday behind Christchurch driver Marcus Stewart (Porsche 964 RS) and Darin Hills, of Tauranga, in a Ford Escort and third on Sunday behind Bruce Goodwin, of Kimbolton, (Ford MK3 Zephyr) and David Robertson, of Invercargill, in a Ford XP Falcon.
Mike Baker, of Picton, in a Porsche 911, won the first Downer Sports & GT race from Marcus Stewart (Porsche 964RS) before Stewart beat Baker in the next two. With that duo absent from the last, Mark Scott, of Wellington, in a TVR Tuscan picked up the win from Invercargill driver Jamie Robertson.
Paul Coghill, of Dunedin, in his Jaguar Special won both i-Hire Vintage Racing Car races on Saturday, the first from John Rapley, of Wellington, in a Brabham BT2 and Russ Haines, of Ashburton, in a Holden Special and the second from Neil Longman, of Invercargill, in a Mallock U2 and Haines.
Sunday morning’s race went to Jim Bennett, of Dunedin, in a Furi Impulse after a sprint to the flag after a safety car period. Royce Bayer, of Rangiora, in a Bello RNB1 shaded Longman for second by .005 of a second. Coghill dropped down the order as the race progressed and did not appear in the fourth which was won by Mark Barrett, of Christchurch, in a Lotus 23B Replica from his wife Tracey in another Lotus Replica with Haines third again.
John Williams, of Christchurch, comfortably won all four Formula Libre races in his Crossle FF2000, leading home Steve Heffernan, of Invercargill, and Steve O’Donoghue, from Tauranga, in a Mirage M5 in the first two, then Peter Grant, of Christchurch, in an Elden and O’Donoghue in the third, and Grant and Keith Cowan, of Christchurch, in the finale.
Invercargill driver Jordan Michels, in his Ford Focus V8, had a top weekend in the Noel McIntyre Drainage Club Saloons class, winning all four races from Liam MacDonald in his Ford Falcon, the Flying Farewell featuring a great early dice between the two.
The next meeting at Teretonga Park is the NZ Super Truck and Mainland Muscle Car event on March 19-20.
– Lindsay Beer is the Southland Sports Car Club publicity officer