Heritage Touring Cars Stretch Their Legs at Historic Warwick & The Bathurst 1000


Heritage Touring Cars Stretch Their Legs at Historic Warwick & The Bathurst 1000

Images thanks to Peter Buchanan

After an unusually quiet year, the Legends of Bathurst enjoyed two outings in October of 2020. Our Queensland-based drivers put on a show at the Historic Racing Car Club of Queensland’s Historic Warwick meeting early in the month, and just a fortnight later the New South Welshmen took to The Mountain in support of the 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

With travel restrictions still in place and events running under constricted capacity, neither meeting was run as an official points round of the 2020 series – they were just good opportunities to get the cars out for a blast and put them in front of fellow fans of classic Australian touring cars.

Heritage Touring Cars Historic Warwick

Historic Warwick 2020 was up first, running over the third and fourth of October. The event was a replacement for what was to be round three of our 2020 series back in June, before that event was cancelled. The meeting was only open to Queenslanders due to border closures, and we couldn’t share the action with spectators, but competitors enjoyed the opportunity to get out and ease their itchy feet.

Ten competitors signed up for the fun, with Peter Woods looking at a potentially successful weekend for his first outing in the ex-Graeme Bailey Chickadee Chicken Celica. He recently purchased the car from Beach Thomas and was our only Group C driver, surrounded by the youthful Group A cars.

In qualifying it was Tony Alford in the HR31 Skyline who jumped to the head of the field. He set a 1:25.837 ahead of the VL of Mark Taylor and Mitsubishi Starion of Craig Neilson. However, in the first race of the weekend Taylor was able to get past Alford to win, with Wayne Clift getting the better of Craig Neilson in a close run to the finish.

Heritage Touring Cars Historic Warwick

Taylor and Alford maintained their scrap during race two, with Alford setting fastest lap and hanging on to Taylor, but unable to reclaim the top spot. Brian Henderson put in a massive drive to put the ex-Mark Skaife Gibson Motorsport Nissan Gazzelle on the podium, and broke his own Group A under 2000cc lap record, which had stood for six years, by a whopping three seconds.

Alford wasn’t able to start race three on Sunday morning, giving Taylor an easier run out front. Craig Neilson and Wayne Clift were able to move up the order, while Peter Woods recovered from teething troubles in Saturday’s races to claim a class win and sixth overall.

The final race of the weekend was a quiet one. Tony Alford rejoined the competition to give Mark Taylor a hurry up, once again setting fastest lap and finishing hot on the VL’s tail, but ultimately unable to break Taylor’s winning streak. Wayne Clift finished third, followed by Craig Foster in the ex-Toyota Team Australia AE86 Corolla Coupe and the second Corolla of Ian Helsdon.

Two weeks later, nine Heritage Touring Cars made the pilgramage to our spiritual home – Mount Panorama – for the 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. We were out to support the main event, running in a combined group with Group N touring cars, and had a great weekend playing on The Mountain, with the unusual benefit (for 2020) of doing so while entertaining spectators.

With the main event keeping Sunday well and truly occupied, we got stuck into the thick of things on Friday with qualifying. P1 was occupied by the Group N Mustang of Brad Tilley, with Steve Webb in the Sierra RS500 second and another Tilley Mustang piloted by Jamie third. Heritage Touring Cars drivers David Towe, Terry Lawlor and Ed Singleton were able to lay claim to rows two and three, qualifying fourth to sixth.

Terry Lawlor and the ex-Bob Morris 1980 Falcon XD had a good run in race one to finish third overall in amongst a trio of fast Mustangs, with David Towe next in sixth overall and Ed Singleton eighth. Michael Logiudice completed the top ten in the Lucky 13 VK Commodore, edging out Steve Webb. Not far back, Jamie McDonald had a good run chasing down the Mustang of Dale Parry, with Tony Pallas wrangling the XJS Jag around the mountain while chasing the Ford Falcon XY GT of Mark Le Vaillant.

We were out first thing on Saturday morning, although the Mustangs clearly had quieter evenings and handled the early start better, claiming five of the top six spots. Terry Lawlor was again the first Heritage Touring Cars driver home, and he, Michael Logiudice and Ed Singleton organised a good scrap for seventh, eighth and ninth. Jamie McDonald secured twelfth in the VN Commodore, followed by Tony Pallas lucky thirteenth in the XJS. After missing race one, Steve Axisa was back on board the Holden Gemini.

A few hours later we were on for our third and final race of the weekend, which saw Terry Lawlor knocking on the door of a podium. He set the fastest lap of the race, breaking Milton Seferis’ Group C Over 3000cc record by half a second, and finished fourth overall. Michael Logiudice was able to move up to seventh, with Ed Singleton and Elvis holding on to ninth. Jamie McDonald jumped up a place to finish the weekend eleventh, with Tony Pallas bringing the Heritage Touring Cars crew home in fourteenth.

We’d like to send a huge thanks to Supercars for inviting us to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. It’s always good to be back on our home circuit, sharing the classic Group C and Group A fever with fellow fans. The TV commentators were very excited to see the Group C Falcon and Commodore side by side down Conrod; it was a blast from the eighties and they loved it. We hope to be back at The Mountain very soon!

Thanks as well to the Historic Racing Car Club Queensland for persisting through the numerous, creative and unusual challenges this year continually presents and putting on an enjoyable and safe Historic Warwick meeting. The opportunity was greatly appreciated by all!