Wrapping Up Round 2 of the 2019 Heritage Touring Cars Series at the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6-Hour


Wrapping Up Round 2 of the 2019 Heritage Touring Cars Series at the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6-Hour

Images thanks to Bruce Moxon

The Legends of Bathurst returned to Mount Panorama over the Easter long weekend, the 19th to 21st of April, to contest round two of the 2019 Heritage Touring Cars series at the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6-Hour. Perfect weather, a quality field and exciting racing made for a great event.

Mount Panorama Circuit needs no introduction. Made up of a little over six kilometres of public road, 23 corners and a whole lot of very steep elevation change, it’s earned a place in motorsport history alongside circuits like the Nürburgring Nordschleife and Circuit de la Sarthe.

It’s also where many of the historic Group C and Group A touring cars that make up the Heritage Touring Cars series formed their own legends, with the iconic Bathurst 1000 hosted on The Mountain since 1963. Twenty five of those historic touring cars made their way to Bathurst over the Easter weekend, looking forward to tackling the track again after last racing there in 2017.

We followed the Hyundai Excels of the Circuit Excel Challenge out to hit the track for the first time in practice on Friday morning, making for a great juxtaposition between our two groups of cars.

Qualifying followed on Friday afternoon and saw Ford lock out the front row, with Terry Lawlor running away with a 2:24.6 in the Dick Johnson Shell RS500. It took Tony Karanfilovski just two laps to earn a spot on the front row, going second quickest with a 2:27.2 in the Glen Seton Peter Jackson RS500 before engine troubles ended his weekend all too early. Greg Keam put the FOX Mustang ahead of Stephen Webb’s Caltex RS500 to go third (2:30.99).

It was the Holdens that shone in Group C, with Jeff Trembath going fastest on a 2:35.5 in the Advance Australia VC Commodore. He was followed by Milton Seferis’ Janson Commodore VH (2:36.9) and Shaun Tunny in the ex-Bob Forbes/Kevin Bartlett A9X Torana (2:38.6).

Racing got under way on Saturday morning and saw The Mountain creating drama straight away. A runaway wheel left Greg Keam in the sand trap at Murray’s Corner and brought the safety car out. Terry Lawlor held on to his P1 from qualifying, but not without fierce competition from BMW M3 driver Bill Cutler, who set the fastest lap as he chased Lawlor down to finish just three tenths behind. Jeff Trembath followed in third, sneaking the big Group C Holden onto the podium amongst the younger Group A cars just a few car lengths clear of Mark Taylor’s VL.

Milton Seferis moved up the order after a great dice with David Towe to finish fifth, second in class. Tony Sawford worked his ex-Allan Grice Craven Mild A9X up the results sheet as well, finishing third Group C in the midst of a pack that featured Stephen Webb, Shaun Tunny, Ed Singleton and the Roadways A9X Torana of Stephen Perrott.

The Bob Holden Class

Bob Holden’s race machinery was very well represented in the smaller capacity cars, with four of them closely matched in race one. David Paterson led the group home in the Sprinter, followed by the Escort Mk2 of Justin Matthews, the RS2000 Escort of Russell Keam and Bob Holden himself in an AE82 Corolla.

Terry Lawlor was able to find some breathing room in the second race of the weekend, pulling out a seven second lead to claim his second win. Stephen Webb had a strong run, setting fastest lap as he worked the Caltex RS500 up from eighth to second. He led Mark Taylor home, with Mark just outrunning a charging David Towe after a closely-matched duel.

Jeff Trembath Leading a Close Battle

With the Group A cars warming up, Jeff Trembath slipped to sixth, with some clear air and the VK of Michael Logiudice between him and his nearest Group C rival Shaun Tunny. Lindsay Woollard was able to move the Re-Car VC Commodore into the top ten, third Group C, but not without a serious challenge from Ed Singleton in the John Goss K-Tel Falcon XC, the pair finishing with barely a coat of paint separating them.

The 1983 Bob Holden AE86 Sprinter of David Paterson and Ex-Garry Willmington Group A Jaguar XJ-S of Tony Pallas made for an interesting combination as they crossed the line just a few hundredths apart in thirteenth and fourteenth. Meanwhile, Justin Matthews and John Abbott were forming a great rivalry, Matthews just putting the Mk2 Escort ahead of Abbott’s Peter Williamson Supra.

Terry Lawlor in the Shell RS500

The Legends of Bathurst went out for the third and final race early on Easter Sunday morning. Terry Lawlor completed his clean sweep of the weekend, mirroring Chris Stillwell’s efforts in the car the last time we were here in 2017. His last lap of the race was the fastest of the weekend, and saw the Shell RS500 clocked at 290 kilometres an hour down Conrod.

After knocking on the door to the podium all weekend, David Towe was able to get his JPS M3 past the RS500 of Stephen Webb to finish in second, with Stephen finishing his weekend in third.

Chasing Mark Taylor to the chequered flag, Jeff Trembath completed the leading pack to finish fifth overall and first Group C after a very competitive meeting. Shaun Tunny was next home in Group C, leading a three-way scrap that covered just a second’s worth of track space. Michael Logiudice followed in the Group A Billington/Crosby VK Commodore, with Lindsay Woollard claiming third Group C and ninth overall.

Just behind them, John Abbott and Justin Matthews were back at it in their closely-matched Group C vs Group A duel. This time, Abbott was able to get the better of Matthews, pulling two tenths out by the chequered flag. Russell Keam and Bob Holden brought our final fight home, closely matched in the RS2000 Escort and AE82 Corolla.

Craig Foster set a new benchmark for under 2000cc Group A cars at Mount Panorama over the weekend, knocking four and a half seconds off David Paterson’s old mark with a 2:46:06 in the ex-Toyota Team Australia AE86 Group A Toyota Corolla Coupe.

Thanks to Hi-Tec Oils and the Bathurst 6-Hour for a well-organised event and great opportunity to conquer The Mountain once more. Thanks as well to Heritage Touring Cars major sponsors Shannons for their support.

The Legends of Bathurst will return over the 13th and 14th of July, when we run round three of the 2019 Heritage Touring Cars series at the Historic Racing Car Club Queensland’s Historic Queensland at Morgan Park Raceway in Warwick.

From there we head to New South Wales for Muscle Car Masters at Sydney Motorsport Park August 31 and September 1st before wrapping up the year at the VHRR’s Historic Sandown at Sandown Raceway in Victoria over the 25th to 27th of October.

Stay tuned to www.heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from the Legends of Bathurst.

Images thanks to Bruce Moxon

Shaun Tunny Torana Leading Steve Webb RS500