Ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri Mk. II to Join Us at The Bend


Ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri Mk. II to Join Us at The Bend

Images thanks to Darryl Leslight

When we head to The Bend Motorsport Park this April 13-15 for Round 1 of the 2018 Heritage Touring Cars series, Darryl Leslight will join us for his first run in the ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri.

The car was originally imported from the United Kingdom as a road car and built up by Peter Hopwood early in 1978, with the help of UK Capri specialist Peter Watson, to Australian Group C touring car regulations. It inherited at least some of its good looks, and funding, from sponsor Speedo in the form of a magnificent black with red stripe livery.

Peter Hopwood debuted the car in the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1978, running it at Amaroo and Oran Park. Next up would be the 1978 Hardie-Ferodo 1000, where Hopwood drove alongside Jim Davidson. The pair survived the endurance epic and brought the car home 14th overall and fourth in class. He did a little better in the 1979 race, running with Alan Cant and finishing 18th overall with a third in class.

The early ‘80s brought the Capri its most successful years. Steve Masterton bought the car from Peter Hopwood, handing it over to Colin Bond to drive under the Masterton Homes Racing banner. Bond was sublime in the Capri in 1981, securing class wins in all seven of the races he contested and driving confidently to a class win and third overall in the drivers’ championship.

At the conclusion of the 1981 ATCC Bond and the Capri would run in the 1981 Better Brakes 3.5 Litre Series at Amaroo Park (a precursor to the AMSCAR series). The pair finished third overall, with Steve Masterton taking the win in the team’s sister Capri and Alan Grice second in a JPS BMW 635.

Ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri Mk.2

It was then time for Bond and the Capri to head to Bathurst for the 1981 James Hardie 1000. Don Smith joined the team as the second driver, and the pair took the car to an impressive eighth outright after qualifying 32nd.

In 1982 Steve Masterton drove the car at an ATCC round at Oran Park as well as two rounds of the Better Brakes AMSCAR Series at Amaroo Park, before moving on to his XE Ford Falcon and selling the Capri to Brian ‘Bernie’ Parmenter.

Parmenter continued the car’s 1982 campaign, entering it in three rounds of the Australian Endurance Championship – the Perrier Gold Cup, Gold Coast 300 and Nissan-Datsun 300 – and finishing 10th overall. He then ran the Capri in the 1983 ATCC and drove it to a competitive twelfth outright.

At this point the car had several competitive seasons under its belt and was beginning to lose its competitive edge, so it was moved into a well-earned retirement. The Capri moved through several owners’ hands, becoming one of the earliest cars to receive CAMS 5th Category historic recognition and playing a significant role in the early years of historic touring car racing here in Australia.

Darryl Leslight took ownership of the car in January of 2017 and has spent the past twelve months tidying it up and going through a thorough race preparation process – he’s even had Glenn Seton do the suspension.

“I’m the world’s oldest P-plater! I have a little Group C Gemini that we’ve run for some time. It was the entry point for me, really. I’ve always been a Holden guy, but I loved the shape of the Capri.”

“I missed the Bond car last time it was for sale, so when I saw that it was available again I didn’t want to miss it. It has a great history and is a well-known campaigner, and that’s very special to me. I see the cars as moving museum pieces and it’s important to preserve that history and paramount to get the cars out in front of spectators who love seeing the big bangers doing what they do best.”

Ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri Mk.2

“We drive with a lot of respect and give each other plenty of room, but we’re still out there getting amongst it and the cars are being driven in the manner for which they were designed.”

“The social aspect of the category is great, and I’m looking forward to being more involved in it. For me, the events are about family fun and a relaxed atmosphere, so we turn them into a family trip. I have a toy hauler that accommodates my family and we go a few days early or stay on a few days after events. It’s a great way to explore the country as well. My kids love it. I have a little grandson, and he shakes with excitement when the cars are out.”

“I’m looking forward to driving at The Bend for the first time. It has a great potential. And because it’s a new track it’s an unknown for everyone. It’s an even playing field, which is good for the less experienced drivers and slower cars, so it should make for some exciting races and interesting mix-ups!”

We’re looking forward to taking to the track with this magic ex-Colin Bond Masterton Homes Ford Capri Mk. II in just a few weeks when we head to The Bend Motorsport Park with the 2018 Shannons National series. Join us at The Bend when the Legends of Bathurst bring a true taste of Australian motorsport history to the country’s newest race track this April 13 – 15.

For more information on the event, hit this link to the official website.

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