Heritage Touring Cars Debut at Baskerville Raceway with an Exciting Baskerville Historics Weekend


Heritage Touring Cars Debut at Baskerville Raceway with an Exciting Baskerville Historics Weekend

Lead image thanks to Scotty B Photography / facebook.com/scottybphotography

The Bakserville Historics was held at Baskerville Raceway in Tasmania over the 22nd and 23rd of September, and saw Heritage Touring Cars head south to Tasmania for the fourth round of our 2018 series.

It was a historic occasion, being Heritage Touring Cars’ first appearance at the circuit, as well as the first time that Group C cars had contested an official race at Baskerville Raceway in over thirty years, and the first time that a Group A race had ever been held there.

Terry Lawlor was quick out the gate, setting a 57.2 benchmark for a commanding pole position in the Shell Ford Sierra RS500 on Friday afternoon. David Towe would share the front row with him, qualifying the John Player M3 second on a 57.7 while John Douglas qualified third in the ex-Brian Callaghan Holden VL ‘Walkinshaw’.

Phil Verwoert was quickest of the Group C drivers, qualifying the Berklee RX7 fifth overall on a 1:00.3. Ed Singleton was a shade slower on a 1:01.1 and George Nittis followed with a 1:02.2.

The Heritage Touring Cars field rumbled onto the Baskerville circuit late on Saturday morning for the first race event of the meeting. Terry Lawlor and John Douglas entertained the crowds from the front of the field on their way to claiming the top two spots. They would finish just two tenths apart and some ten seconds clear of Targa Tasmania icon Jason White, who piloted Ben Henson’s VK Commodore at the meeting and claimed third in his first race event with Heritage Touring Cars.

Phil Verwoert kept up his pace from qualifying, moving up into fourth and first Group C. David Towe finished fifth with Ed Singleton breathing down his neck in sixth, second Group C. Lindsay Woollard was able to squeeze the VC Commodore past George Nittis to claim seventh overall and third Group C, the pair taking their duel down to the line.

Further down the field and Neville Butler and Justin Matthews would enjoy the first of many great dices over the weekend with a very closely matched duel in the Ford Escort Mark 2s.

On-board with Tony Sawford in the Craven Mild A9X – this is a 360 degree video, so make sure to click and drag to have a look around!

With Terry Lawlor unfortunately leaving race two at two-thirds distance, John Douglas was able to claim his first race win of the weekend. It was a hard-fought win, with David Towe on a charge after falling a few positions in race one. He would climb back into second place, setting fastest lap along the way.

Meanwhile, Jason White held on to third – but not without a few battles of his own in amongst it with Phil Verwoert and Ed Singleton. Phil and Ed would be first home in Group C, followed by George Nittis, who was able to claim his Group C podium back from Lindsay Woollard.

The VC Commodore of Woollard led the biggest pack of the race home, with Steve Axisa in the L34 Torana, Tony Pallas in the mighty Group A Jaguar JXS and Tony Sawford in the ex-Grice Torana A9X completing the top 10.

Behind them the Escort action continued, with Neville Butler leading a trio of the cars home and Greg Keam splitting the duelling Mark 2 cars.

The handicap race shuffled the order for Saturday afternoon, but John Douglas was able to once again manoeuvre the VL Commodore onto the top step of the podium. It was a photo finish, however, with Phil Verwoert just three hundredths behind him. In fact, the top eight cars were separated by just four seconds, Ed Singleton bringing ‘Elvis’ home third overall just a few tenths behind Verwoert.

David Towe secured fourth, second Group A, with George Nittis not far behind him in the John Sands XE Falcon. Behind him, the Torana trio of Shaun Tunny, Tony Sawford and Steve Axisa crossed the line with just a second between them.

Craig Marsland got the best of Lindsay Woollard in a closely-fought dice, putting his XC Falcon into ninth, and Greg Keam and Justin Matthews organised another photo finish, separated by under four tenths.

With a big mid-field Group C presence and both Terry Lawlor and Jason White leaving the race early, Tony Pallas was able lay claim to third Group A, finishing lucky 13th in the Jag.

We were back on track at midday on Sunday for the penultimate race of the weekend, which saw the Heritage Touring Cars field back to full strength and a full field of finishers. David Towe was able to make good on the pace he’d shown all weekend, narrowly edging-out John Douglas for the race win.

Having claimed a step of the podium in the handicap, Phil Verwoert clearly had no intention of stepping down and put his Group C car into third. Ed Singleton was once again hot on his heels, finishing fourth overall and second Group C. Terry Lawlor was back on good form and was chasing down ‘Elvis’ when he saw the chequered flag at fifth overall, third Group A.

Once again the mid field was responsible for some magic motorsport, with Lindsay Woollard leading Steve Axisa and Tony Pallas in a bumper-to-bumper dice. John Abbott and Greg Keam gave the crowd a few thrills, enjoying a great fight in the ex-Peter Williamson Supra and Bob Holden Escort.

The final race of the meeting saw John Douglas back on top in the Walkinshaw. He and David Towe were door to door most of the race, with Towe eventually coming home in second.

With mechanical gremlins forcing Phil Verwoert to start from pit lane, and therefore rear of grid, Ed Singleton’s third place overall gave the STP VH Commodore a Group C win to add to its in-period success on the circuit.

George Nittis and Tony Sawford scrapped for almost the entire race, with Nittis eventually taking home fourth overall and second Group C and Sawford fifth overall, third Group C. Another scrap followed, with Shaun Tunny eventually getting the better of Lindsay Woollard, Steve Axisa and Tony Pallas – our third place Group A finisher.

At the rear of the field Neville Butler, Greg Keam and Justin Matthews continued to have fun in the Ford Escorts, crossing the line separated by less than a second once more.

This was Heritage Touring Cars’ first outing at Baskerville, and five drivers left the circuit with lap records to their names. Greg Keam set the 1601 – 2000cc Group C benchmark with a 1:03.54. Peter Woods drove a clean weekend in the Volvo 242 GT and set a Group C 2001 – 3000cc lap record at 1:08.43. Meanwhile, Ed Singleton steered the VH Commodore around in 00:59.92 for the over 3001cc Group C record.

In Group A David Towe set the 2001-3000cc mark at 00:57.91 in the JPS M3 and John Douglas set the over 3000cc record at 00:58.16 after a competitive weekend in the Walkinshaw.

With round four in the books we’re off to Victoria in November to wrap up the series at Historic Sandown. With the series honours relying on a “best of four rounds” points count back, competition is tight at the top of both groups. David Towe, David Paterson and Tony Pallas are in contention for Group A, while Neville Butler, Ed Singleton and Phil Verwoert are battling it out for Group C honours.

We’d like to send a huge ‘THANK YOU!’ to Motorsports Tasmania and the Baskerville Historics for a magic weekend of motorsport and a well-run event.

Stay tuned to www.heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from the Legends of Bathurst and we’ll see you at Historic Sandown November 10-11 at Sandown Raceway.