Records Smashed at 2016 Winton Festival of Speed


Records Smashed at 2016 Winton Festival of Speed

Image courtesy of Rebecca Thompson, Revved Photography

Lap records were smashed over the 6th and 7th of August when the Heritage Touring Cars series went to Winton for the 2016 Festival of Speed.

Conditions over the weekend were perfect for racing, and were made even better by Winton Motor Raceway’s recent resurfacing. The new surface is both great fun to race on and blisteringly fast especially with the right machinery in the right hands.

“The new surface is smooth and grippy, so we expected some fast times, but the results are amazing.” – David Paterson

Records fell in five of the category’s six classes, with long-standing efforts bested by big margins.

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, however. The action picked up on Saturday morning with qualifying. Tony Alford, Carey McMahon and David Towe set the podium and the pace for the weekend with some great Group A times.

Daniel Cotterill put in a quick one to lead the Group C cars out ahead of Lindsay Woollard and Shaun Tunny in the ex-Bob Forbes/Kevin Bartlett Torana A9X. Competition was extremely tight in the under two-litre Group C cars, with Steve Axisa and Russell Keam separated by just six hundredths.

When racing got under way on Saturday afternoon, Group A series leader Tony Alford went out strong and showed no intention of slowing down. He brought the ex-Mark Gibbs 1991 Sandown 500 winner home to the top step in all four races.

Carey McMahon was a hard charger on board the ex-Tony Longhurst/Tomas Mezera Benson & Hedges Sierra RS500. He was within a second or so of Godzilla throughout the weekend, aside from race three when Alford got a run on him and pulled out a gap.

David Towe had the ex-Jim Richards/Tony Longhurst JPS BMW M3 on song all weekend long and picked up third in the first two races before a driveshaft failure during warm-up for Race 3 dropped him out of the day’s racing. This allowed Mark Eddy to jump onto the podium in race three and stay there for the final race of the event, wrapping up the weekend with two podiums.

Group C saw Daniel Cotterill, Lindsay Woollard and Shaun Tunny duelling for the top three spots throughout qualifying and the first two races. Milton Seferis entered the racing on Sunday morning and was quick out of the gate, taking Group C honours for both races.

The Group C under two-litre cars were responsible for some of the most exciting racing of the weekend. Russell Keam and Steve Axisa were virtually inseparable with Axisa taking qualifying by a hair and leading Race 1, then Keam slipping by to take the lead on Saturday evening and then again on Sunday morning. Sadly their duel was brought to a premature end during warm-up for the final race when a throttle failure put Keam out of contention. Gavin Adamson would take his place in the ’75 Isuzu Gemini.

At the end of the weekend Tony Alford had beaten Luke Ellery’s Group A lap record by a full five seconds, David Towe had knocked three and a half off his own two to three litre Group A record and Brian Henderson put in a screamer to best Bob Holden’s under two-litre Group A record by a monster eight seconds.

Group C was similarly quick with both Milton Seferis and Steve Axisa besting their own records. Milton Seferis went four seconds quicker than his previous Group C lap record and Steve Axisa took four out of the under two-litre Group C record.

Heading in to Muscle Car Masters in October the series points tables are looking very close indeed.

“A trifector of under two-litre cars lead the top of Group C, and although there was no change to the order this weekend it’s extremely close between the top five.”

“Tony Alford is way out in front in Group A, but there’s a great battle going on for the rest of the podium and minor placings. Carey McMahon took over second place after Winton, which bumped David Towe into third. Meanwhile, Brian Henderson leapt into fifth place and relegated David Harris to Sixth.”

“With just one round left in the series, it’s wonderful to see that ten drivers have taken part in every round. It’s interesting to note that all but two of them are currently running top six in their respective classes. Most importantly, they’ve made a great commitment to the series and we’re very grateful for their dedication!” – David Paterson

The final round of the 2016 Heritage Touring Cars Series will be held at Muscle Car Masters over the 29th and 30th of October at Sydney Motorsport Park. This is always a highlight in the year’s motorsport calendar, especially for fans of tin top racing. Be there, and hear the big cars roar!

Stay tuned to for more from the Legends of Bathurst.

Image courtesy of Rebecca Thompson, Revved Photography. Hit this link to her website to enjoy more of her work and to order prints.