Wrapping Up Father’s Day Weekend at the ARDC SUPER70


Wrapping Up Father’s Day Weekend at the ARDC SUPER70

Images kindly provided by Craig King

Over the Fathers’ Day weekend, September 3 & 4, 2022, we rolled out onto Sydney Motorsport Park to take part in the ARDC SUPER70.

The SUPER70 jubilee celebrated the 70th birthday of the ARDC, bringing together cars and drivers from those 70 years for a two-day motorsport event that featured circuit racing, a colourful car show down the main straight, drifting on the figure eight and a drone-powered light display in the evening.

Heritage Touring Cars pulled together a field of 18 cars for the non-championship event covering qually and five long races contested over close to 200 kilometers of racing. The grid was split evenly between Group C and A and, as is the way in Sydney at the moment, competitors faced tricky conditions and tyre choices, with sunny periods punctuated by heavy rain.

We welcomed the return of a few cars including Carey McMahon’s B&H Sierra, Gary Chick in the 1980 Craven Mild Commodore, Steve Axisa in his newly acquired Taylor VH Commodore and Garry Kirwan and Norm Mogg in the VLs. Sixteen year old newcomer Henderson Leslight stole the show in the ZZ Gemini, along with invited guest Greg Boyle in the 1993 12hr Falken Nissan GTR. The 1981 Willo green Toyota Celica made its debut driven by Chris O’Connor, along with Vern Young in his recently acquired Isuzu 1600cc Gem.

For a very wet qualifying on Saturday morning, Carey McMahon set the pace in the 1990 Benson & Hedges Ford Sierra RS500, running over six seconds faster than the rest of the field on a 2:06.48. David Towe put in two wet laps in the ex-Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst JPS M3 to claim second at 2:12.87 and Norm Mogg completed the top three a few tenths behind.

Group C drivers commanded the mid field with Queensland driver Brian Henderson quick in the ex-George Fury #15 Nissan Bluebird Turbo, leading the two Geminis of Henderson Leslight and Vern Young who made good speed in the wet conditions. Craig Neilson in his Turbo Starion rounded out in 17th on slicks.

With conditions improving slightly for the first race event of the weekend, times lowered and the drivers bunched up. Carey McMahon and the Sierra still had the run of the field, but Rick Allen was able to move the ex-Tony Longhurst/Johnny Cecotto Benson & Hedges BMW E30 M3 up from 6th to second, relegating David Towe to third.

With Brian Henderson falling a few places to third in Group C, Henderson Leslight was able to claim a class win as he chased Michael LoGiudice in the NZ VK Group A Commodore. Adrian Allisey had a great run in the ex-Leeson/Willmington Walkinshaw VL Commodore to break into the top ten after qualifying lucky thirteenth, Vern Young holding on to second in Group C just in front of Henderson.

Rick Allen had an unfortunate DNF in a shortened race two on Saturday afternoon with a punctured tyre beaching it in the kitty litter just before the last turn. This led to David Towe moving up to second just behind McMahon. Norm Mogg and the HRT Walkinshaw VL reclaimed his place on the podium, with Adrian Allisey continuing to charge and climbing all the way to fourth.

Henderson Leslight was able to move up to seventh overall, claiming a Group C win, with Steve Axisa in the VH Commodore getting the better of Brian Henderson to claim second.

Sunday morning’s race started out sunny and dry, with conditions uncertain and drivers left with a difficult tyre choice. When the Falken GTR stopped with gearbox failure and brought the safety car out, the heavens opened and brought that unpredictability into the mix.

By the time the safety car went back in and racing resumed, conditions were no longer the best for cold racing slicks. The two Group C Nissan Bluebirds of Adam Workman and Brian Henderson – who had chosen to run wets after checking the radar before the race – stole the show. McMahon in the Sierra was able to escape their clutches, but the pair claimed a well-earned second and third overall.

Rick Allen followed in the M3, second Group A and fourth overall, with Norm Mogg claiming third Group A, fifth overall and Steve Axisa enjoying the chaos and moving his way up to sixth overall and third Group C. Meanwhile, Gary Chick joined us for his first outing of the weekend, bringing the Craven Mild Commodore, one of the first two Commodores to race in an Australian Touring Car Championship event, out to play.

Race four saw conditions settle and the order attempt the same, McMahon leading Allisey, who had now completed his charge to the podium, and Norm Mogg. Steve Axisa continued his strong performance to move the Group C VH Commodore up to fifth. Adam Workman made the most of his efforts in race three to finish sixth overall, outrunning Michael Logiudice by a few tenths for second Group C. Gary Chick was able to claim a category podium, holding off a very quick Darryl Leslight in the MkII Capri. Gavin Adamson and Henderson Leslight organised one of the closest finishes of the weekend, separated by only a few tenths after a closely-fought run in the two Gemini.

The fifth race of the weekend was held late on Sunday afternoon and saw Carey McMahon complete a clean sweep of the meeting. Adrian Allisey held on to second, very nearly matching the Sierra’s lap times, with David Towe besting Norm Mogg to finish the weekend on the podium.

Steve Axisa held off Rick Allen, returning from a DNF in race four to start 16th and finish 5th overall with the Group C win and a blistering 1:45.89. Gary Chick moved up to finish second in Group C after a successful day’s racing, Henderson Leslight and the Gemini returning to the podium to finish third Group C with Chris O’Connor hot on his heels in the Celica GT.

The ARDC SUPER70 Group A plaques went to 1st Carey McMahon, 2nd Adrian Allisey and 3rd David Towe. The Group C plaques went to 1st Steve Axisa, 2nd Gery Chick and 3rd Henderson Leslight for his first HTC meeting with a bright future ahead.

Thanks to the ARDC for a most enjoyable event, and a hearty congratulations on the incredible milestone. We’re looking forward to another 70 years of excellent Aussie motorsport.

With the season finale running at the Baskerville Historics on Baskerville Raceway as this goes out, we’ll be back shortly with more news from the Legends of Bathurst. Stay tuned!

Please enjoy these images provided kindly by Craig King. If you’d like to get in touch with him to see more, or organise a print of anything, send us an email at web@heritagetouringcars.com.au and we’ll put you in touch.