Wrapping Up Muscle Car Masters 2018


Wrapping Up Muscle Car Masters 2018

Lead image thanks to Brent Murray of At Speed Images

2018’s Muscle Car Masters, held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend on the 9th and 10th of June, got off to a spectacularly soggy start. Things would only get better, however, as conditions improved, racing got closer and we celebrated Australia’s touring car history with round two of the 2018 Heritage Touring Cars series.

Heritage Touring Cars was given the honour of opening proceedings on Saturday morning, and 25 historic Australian touring cars rolled out onto a Sydney Motorsport Park that was equal parts soggy and slippery. With track temperatures low and rain falling throughout the session, times were warm instead of blistering. Nevertheless, competitors put on a great show for spectators and kept things impressively tidy as they fought to get both power and lap times down.

Norman Mogg was fastest in qualifying, wrangling the HRT Group A Holden VL Walkinshaw around Sydney Motorsport Park in 2:00.75. Rick Allen was just a hair slower in the lighter and more playful Benson & Hedges BMW M3, while Russell Keam put in a spectacular effort to put his Group C Ford Escort RS 2000 into third place. Bob Holden was hot on his heels in a Group A AE82 Corolla.

Conditions improved slightly for the first race of the weekend, which was held just before lunch on Saturday afternoon. Greg Keam knocked some 20 seconds off his qualifying time and steered the FOX Mustang through the field for a race win, relegating Norm Mogg to second in the process. After running well, Russell Keam sadly pulled the Escort RS off just a lap before the finish, helping Bob Holden to climb up onto the podium in third.

Edward Singleton had Elvis well sorted in the wet, steering the big VH Commodore from qualifying eighth to fourth overall and first Group C. He held Craig Foster’s ex-Toyota Team Australia AE86 Corolla and the Escort of Neville Butler at bay in what proved to be the battle of the race. With Butler in second Group C, Frank Binding finished third in class in the Army Reserve Falcon XD.

With the weather slowly improving and conditions doing so with them, we went out just after four o’clock to wrap up the day’s racing. Norm Mogg was quick again and added another race victory to his weekend’s tally, consolidating his position as the class of the field on Saturday.

Frank Binding and Ed Singleton put on a spectacular Ford VS Holden dice during the race, fighting neck and neck and putting the two Group C cars onto the podium in second and third. On the way they jumped past Greg Keam, who brought the Mustang home fourth overall and second Group A.

Steve Axisa climbed from a 15th place finish in race one all the way to 5th overall and third Group C. With the older cars giving the more modern machines a real run for their money, David Harris was ninth home overall and claimed third Group A. Meanwhile, Craig Foster, John Mina and Lindsay Woollard put on the fight of the day to finish barely a tenth of a second apart in tenth, eleventh and twelfth.

The sun did a much better job of rising on Sunday morning and set the stage for a beautiful day of racing. The two Heritage Touring Cars groups would start the day apart, each going out for a feature race in the morning.

Group C was out first, opening the day’s action bright and early at 9AM. Ed Singleton exacted his revenge on Frank Binding after race two and nudged Elvis barely a pompadour ahead to win by four hundredths of a second. Tony Sawford completed the podium in the A9X Torana and claimed fastest lap as well with a time some 15 seconds faster than the fastest qualifying laps 24 hours earlier.

The Group A cars were out an hour later, and Norm Mogg picked up right where he left off on Saturday afternoon, winning the race with some breathing room back to Gregory Keam. Garry Kirwan joined them on the podium in the Jagparts VL Walkinshaw. A little further back and David Paterson and John Abbott put on a great show in two very different Toyotas – Paterson in the Bob Holden Sprinter and Abbott in the ex-Peter Williamson MA61 Celica Supra.

After some reliability issues back at The Bend, we were pleased to see a near-complete field contest the final race of the weekend, when the full might of the Heritage Touring Cars field reunited to take to the circuit one final time just after lunch. Norm Mogg once again brought the Commodore home in first place, although Garry Kirwan was able to snatch fastest lap of the weekend from him with a 1:44.09 before unfortunately retiring early. Frank Binding kept the two Group A cars honest, finishing hot on Mogg’s heals in second.

David Towe put his M3 on the podium to finish the weekend strong, finally separating the Binding/Singleton duel that had been going back and forth over the past few races. Ed Singleton was fourth home and second Group C, with Phil Verwoert climbing up into fifth overall and third Group C. Meanwhile, Greg Keam finished seventh overall to complete the Group A top three.

A little further into the field and Tony Pallas and John Abbott had a great dice, with Pallas putting the long nose of the V12 Jag a hair ahead of the Supra when it counted.

With round two in the books Tony Sawford sits at the top of the Group C tables, followed by Neville Butler and Justin Matthews. David Paterson moved into the top spot in Group A followed by David Towe and Craig Foster. In a magical mathematical conclusion, the three drivers are separated by 3.3 points.

You won’t have to wait long to catch the Legends of Bathurst in action again. Round three of the series is coming up in just a few weeks and will be held at the HRCC’s Historic Queensland at Morgan Park over the 14th and 15th of July. A very special field is already assembling for that event, and we’ll be sharing details of it with you shortly!

Stay tuned to www.heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from Heritage Touring Cars – the Legends of Bathurst.

Round 3 – HRCC Historic Queensland at Morgan Park, Warwick, Queensland, July 14 – 15
Round 4 – HSCC Baskerville Historics, Baskerville, Tasmania, September 22-23
Round 5 – VHRR Historic Sandown, Sandown Raceway, Victoria, November 10 – 11

Trophy Presentation, thanks to Terry Lawlor

Images thanks to Brent Murray of At Speed Images

Images thanks to Seth Reinhardt