Wrapping Up the 2017 Heritage Touring Cars Season at Muscle Car Masters

Gallery / News

Wrapping Up the 2017 Heritage Touring Cars Season at Muscle Car Masters

Over the 28th & 29th of October, the Heritage Touring Cars series wrapped up 2017’s touring car action with a brilliant weekend of racing at Muscle Car Masters. We left the circuit with class winners decided, one lap record broken and big smiles on our faces.

While they may have been a little warm to get the absolute maximum out of the cars and circuit, conditions over the weekend were perfect for us mere mortals. The warmth and sunshine gave the event a relaxed and festive summertime feel and moods were high wherever you looked.

37 Legends of Bathurst opened the event on Saturday morning, heading out for a generous qualifying session. Qualifying kicked off with fireworks when series frontrunners Tony Alford and Duncan MacKellar exited turn one, sadly ending MacKellar’s weekend and championship contention all too soon. Carey McMahon went on to set pole, muscling the 1990 Benson & Hedges Ford Sierra RS500 around Sydney Motorsport Park in 1:39.41. He was followed by Jack Perkins in the Barbagallo Castrol VN Commodore and Terry Lawlor third in the 1990 Dick Johnson Shell Sierra.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

Fastest of the Group C cars was the Mazda RX7 of Peter Lucas with a 1:47.37. He was followed by the Army Reserves Falcon XD of Frank Binding and Phillip Verwoert in the second RX7.

Race 1 saw the combined field head out after lunch. Carey McMahon took the one second lead he had over Perkins in qualifying and ran with it, stretching out a clear margin by the end of the race. Tony Alford, meanwhile, unleashed the spirit of Godzilla, monstering the pack to climb all the way into second by the end of the race. Perkins finished third with plenty of clear air around him.

With Lucas leaving the race at half distance, Frank Binding moved quickly up into the lead of Group C. Michael Logiudice had qualified his Lucky 13 Racing entry in lucky 13th, but was happy to move up three spots in Race 1 to complete the top 10. George Nittis also had a great run, moving up five places into 11th to round out the Group C top three.

Following them were Phil Verwoert, Jamie McDonald, Hugh Harrison, Dean How, Craig Foster and Justin Matthews, who made up a big mid-field pack and diced magnificently. A little further back and 1601-2000cc Group C drivers Bill Magoffin and Russel Keam were closely matched in both performance and pace.

During the race, Carl Muller broke his own Group C 2001 – 3000cc lap record for the Sydney Motorsport Park Gardner circuit. He had the Ford Capri 3.0s hooked up beautifully, putting in a 1:53.82 lap that knocked nearly two seconds off his previous mark.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

We were out again on Saturday afternoon to wrap up the day with a combined Race 2. Alford managed to complete his charge to the front, the Skyline eating up Sydney Motorsport Park’s open layout and taking him to a near 15-second lead by the end of the race. Perkins was able to get the better of McMahon in Race 2, sneaking the five-litre Commodore past the Sierra and stretching out a comfortable gap.

Binding and Logiudice maintained their position at the head of the Group C cars, While Ed Singleton was able to move the John Goss Racing Ford Falcon XC up into third Group C.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

Deeper into the order David Paterson and Justin Matthews were busy pitting two Bob Holden cars from different eras against each other. Paterson in the 1600cc Group A Corolla Sprinter just got the run on Matthews’ 2000cc Group C Escort MKII at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, just behind them, Bob Holden himself was engaged in a duel with Bill Magoffin, bringing his Group A AE82 Corolla home ahead of the Group C Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV, with Russell Keam close behind them in another Holden car – an Escort RS 2000.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

Sunday kicked off with the full Heritage Touring Cars field split into separate races for Group C and Group A. Group C was up first, and Frank Binding maintained his tremendous pace, deftly steering the Army Reserve Falcon to the chequered flag.

Phil Verwoert had a brilliant run in the RX7, jumping Dean How, George Nittis, Ed Singleton and Michael Logiudice to bring it up to second place. The rest of the order remained the same, with Logiudice holding on to third and Singleton and Nittis rounding out the top five.

Tight racing in the midfield saw Michael Ward, Dean How and Justin Matthews finish barely a second apart. Following them were Russell Keam and Bill Magoffin, who charged to a nailbiter of a finish – the Escort RS 2000 and Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 just a few hundredths apart.

The younger cars headed out just after lunch and put on an exciting race, shuffling up the order at the front. Jack Perkins would claim a win in the Group A feature race, putting in a brilliant 1:40.78 lap and demonstrating growing confidence in the car and setup. Carey McMahon steered the RS500 past Tony Alford to take hold of second, with Alford falling to third.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

Enjoying a consistent weekend, Terry Lawlor brought the Shell Sierra home in fourth. Adrian Allisey returned to the fray to claim fifth after qualifying his Commodore in sixth and then missing the first two races.

Norm Mogg and David Towe put on a fantastic dice in the VL Walkinshaw and JPS M3, crossing the line separated by just a few hundredths and followed closely by the Benson & Hedges M3 of Rick Allen. The pairings of Craig Foster and John Abbot, and Jamie McDonald and Hugh Harrison put in similarly exciting runs a little deeper into the pack.

The Heritage Touring Cars field was reunited for Race 3 – the final race of the event and of the 2017 season. This time out Tony Alford was able to regain the lead, but Perkins did not make it easy for him, bringing the Commodore home hot on his heels in second.

Terry Lawlor may have taken some pressure off Perkins, keeping McMahon busy as the two Sierra drivers enjoyed a classic dice. He finished the season on the podium, while McMahon had to settle for fourth. Norm Mogg got the better of Adrian Allisey in Race 3, bringing the HRT VL Walkinshaw up into fifth.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

The first Group C cars home were part of a magic three-car finish, with Frank Binding barely edging out the Group A FOX Mustang of Gregory Keam and the ex-Murray Carter XE of George Nittis. Dean How put in a weekend-best effort to steer the ex-Grice/Richards JPS Team BMW 635CSi to third Group C – it was great fun watching him work to get the power down out of turn two, with its marvellous engine note an awesome reward when he did.

The 2017 running of Muscle Car Masters more than lived up to its status as one of New South Wales’ great motorsport events, and we were honoured to be a part of it. Thank you to organisers for your efforts running this benchmark event, and a very special ‘THANK YOU!’ you to the many volunteers who support this sport and make all of this possible.

Heritage Touring Cars at Muscle Car Masters 2017

One of the great joys of Heritage Touring Cars racing is seeing a hugely varied field compete successfully amongst each other. Cars from the early Group C days run alongside machines like the Skyline GT-R that dominated Group A racing, while lower capacity machines dice amongst near 6-litre monsters. This leads to interesting and exciting racing and means that there’s always an awesome machine about to come ‘round the bend.

So, it’s important to recognize great drives throughout the entirety of the field. Congratulations to the following 2017 Heritage Touring Cars class winners:

  • Tony Alford, A1 Over 3000cc, Nissan Skyline GT-R
  • Duncan MacKellar, A2 2001-3000cc, BMW M3
  • Craig Foster, A3 Up to 2000cc, Toyota Corolla GT
  • Frank Binding, C1 Over 3000cc, Ford Falcon XD
  • Peter Woods, C2 2001-3000cc, Volvo 242GT
  • Bill Magoffin, C3 1601-2000cc, Alfa Romeo GTV 2000
  • Cole Spender, C4 1301-1600cc, Ford Escort T/C

With that, we bid farewell to the 2017 Heritage Touring Cars season! Thank you to all who have taken part, whether you’ve done so behind the scenes, behind the wheel or from the grandstands. We’re already looking forward to doing it all over again in 2018!

The Heritage Touring Cars will return to Australian race tracks in 2018. In the meantime, stay tuned to www.heritagetouringcars.com.au for more from the Legends of Bathurst.

Scroll on and enjoy two massive galleries from the weekend, with thanks to Brent Murray of At Speed Images and Seth Reinhardt.

Thanks to Brent Murray – At Speed Images

Thanks to Seth Reinhardt