Wrapping Up 2017’s Sydney Classic Speed Festival

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Wrapping Up 2017’s Sydney Classic Speed Festival

Heritage Touring Cars just wrapped up the second round of the 2017 series, which was held over the 10th & 11th of June as part of the Sydney Classic Speed Festival at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The event ran over an occasionally wet weekend that saw changeable conditions challenging drivers and shuffling up the order. We enjoyed some great races with close dices throughout the field.

Qualifying unleashed 24 historic Australian touring cars upon the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit early on Saturday morning. The Heritage Touring Cars were only the second group out, following Regularity, and the circuit was still wet from overnight and morning rain.

2017 Sydney Classic Speed Festival

This didn’t seem to bother the trio of BMW M3s driven by Duncan MacKellar, Harrison Jones and Richard Allen. The drivers had the light and nimble Group A cars hooked up supremely and monstered the competition for the entire session.

Duncan MacKellar set a stellar 1:54.0467 to lead the field in his ex-Anthony Reid car. He was more than a second clear of Harrison Jones, in an ex-Jim Richards JPS M3, who led Rick Allen in the ex-Tony Longhurst/Johnny Cecotto Benson & Hedges BMW by another three seconds.

Craig Foster put in an immense drive in the wet to qualify the ex-Toyota Team Australia AE86 Group A Toyota Corolla Coupe in 6th overall. The lap was a top effort and put the little 1600cc Corolla ahead of some much more powerful machinery.

Steve Axisa was quick in the 1972 Holden XU-1 and qualified fastest in Group C competition ahead of the RX7 of Phil Verwoert and the Army Reserve Falcon of Frank Binding.

Conditions had improved significantly by the time the field headed out for Race 1 on Saturday afternoon. A full morning’s racing had dried out the track and laid down a fresh layer of rubber, giving drivers much more traction to play with and allowing the more powerful cars an opportunity to stretch their legs.

2017 Sydney Classic Speed Festival

Tony Alford and Godzilla, the GIO 1991 Nissan Skyline GT-R, jumped from a 5th place qualification into the lead, with a fastest lap of 1:41.7597 – Tony’s time tumbling more than 20 seconds from his qualifying pace.

Terry Lawlor also jumped up the order, finishing second in the 1990 Dick Johnson Shell Sierra which Chris Stillwell drove so beautifully at the Bathurst 6-Hour this year. David Towe leapfrogged his fellow M3 competitors to finish third after a brilliant dice with Harrison Jones.

In the dry, Steve Axisa was unable to hang on to his Group C lead, dropping to 6th in the group while Phil Verwoert moved up to lead the group in seventh overall. Frank Binding also moved up the overall ladder, and Michael Logiudice put in a brilliant drive to climb from 17th into the top 10, finishing 9th overall and 3rd in Group C.

Race day Sunday kicked off early for the Heritage Touring Cars field, and we were again second out. While the track was drier than it was on Saturday morning, it lacked the grip available in Race 1. This again made for great racing as the M3s were able to give Godzilla and the RS500s a serious run for their money.

Duncan MacKellar was quick out of the gates and able to move up from his 5th place finish in Race 1 to get the better of Tony Alford and lead the field home. Harri Jones was also able to topple a monster of the period, moving his M3 past the Sierra RS500 of Terry Lawlor to take third. This left Lawlor in striking range of David Towe in the ex-Jim Richards/Tony Longhurst JPS, the pair finishing close together in third and fourth respectively.

2017 Sydney Classic Speed Festival

Frank Binding continued a strong weekend, moving his Falcon up into 6th overall, now leading Group C as Phil Verwoert slipped back into 12th overall and 5th in the group. Michael Logiudice followed Binding up the order to finish 7th while Steve Axisa fought his way back up the field to finish 10th overall and third in Group C.

A little further down the field and Tony Pallas and John Mina enjoyed a good battle, finishing just a tenth apart in the ex-Garry Willmington Jaguar XJ-S and 1980 Falcon XD.

Quicker conditions in the final race of the weekend saw the order in upheaval once again, with Tony Alford passing Duncan MacKellar to take the win. Terry Lawlor was also able to move up onto the podium, while Adrian Allisey completed a strong recovery from a 13th place finish in Race 1 to finish fourth in the Group A V8 Commodore.

Phil Verwoert completed his weekend at the head of Group C, moving up five places to finish 7th. George Nittis also enjoyed a brilliant race, recovering from a DNF in Race 3 to finish 8th overall and second of the older cars home. Michael Logiudice was on the receiving end of Nittis’ pace, finishing just a few tenths slower in 9th and third Group C.

Thanks to the ARDC and Sydney Classic Speed Festival organisers, as well as everyone behind the scenes in Heritage Touring Cars, for putting on another brilliant weekend of racing!

Scroll on for some photos from the weekend, thanks to Brent Murray of At Speed Images and Seth Reinhardt.

The Heritage Touring Cars series will return in just over a month at the Lakeside Classic, where the Legends of Bathurst will contest round 3 over the 12th & 13th of August.

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

Images thanks to Brent Murray

Images thanks to Seth Reinhardt