Now that we’ve had a few days to congeal after slowly melting over the course of the weekend, it’s time to take a look back at the 2020 HSRCA Summer Festival and enjoy some photos.
2020 was a year that was all too thin on the motor sport, until it suddenly rushed in during the closing laps, more than a bit dishevelled and a little sweaty. No sooner were the cars off the trailers following the Spring Festival than we were already chasing everyone’s entry to the Summer Festival.
A huge amount of preparation goes on behind the scenes, both for the organisers (doubly so during a pandemic!) and entrants, who would have been crunching to prepare the cars and ensure that they were in fighting fit condition. We appreciate everyone’s effort to make the Summer Festival happen, and were thrilled to see such a strong entry roll into the circuit on Friday morning to enjoy a weekend of historic racing.
The cars were as beautifully-prepared as ever, which was a good thing as that fighting fitness we mentioned earlier was set to be tested. In the week leading up to the meeting our mates at the Bureau of Meteorology were predicting a warm weekend, and they were bang on.
By the time we were getting ready for qualifying early on Saturday morning, it was already 30 degrees. This qualified as a cool morning in context, as temperatures rose to 40 during the day (Alan Sebesfi measured the track temperature in the pits on Saturday afternoon at 61.9C). Night brought little respite and Sunday was much the same, although the breeze (gale?) seemed to take the edge off. While temperature records were being set around the state, they were unlikely to fall on the track.
Saturday began as it always does, with qualifying, and we got stuck into the racing in the afternoon. The heat meant that fields shrunk a little during the day, either due to drivers making the perfectly sane and wise call to stay in, or cars struggling in the heat.
That heat also affected our marshals, who are perhaps most exposed to it. Saturday’s conditions left several unable to proceed on Sunday, which necessitated some improvisation.
This is a good opportunity to thank our marshals, and all volunteers, who endure rain, hail and an overabundance of shine with an endless supply of good spirits to keep us safe and allow us to pursue this sport. Without you, none of this would be possible and we are deeply grateful for all that you contribute to this community.
Sunday, then, began as it rarely does – with practice. With fewer marshals available to cover the circuit, we moved to Sydney Motorsport Park’s shorter ‘Druitt’ or ‘North’ circuit. The Druitt circuit swaps the normally right-handed turn four for a left-and-then-right-hander to rejoin the back straight, removing the run around the back of the circuit. Changing the layout necessitated another practice session, which did wonders for our carefully-planned program and sadly resulted in the cancellation of the BMC Challenge race.
All involved were patient and gracious in dealing with the disturbance, for which we are most grateful. Especially to our friends in Group S, who should have been heading out for their endurance event first thing in the “cool” morning air, but instead challenged 22-odd laps in the middle of the day.
Speaking of the endurance event, it was a lot of fun – even if a little subdued compared to normal. Few entrants ran in the team format with driver change out of respect for the prevailing condition, and the stifling heat took a toll on both drivers and cars. Wayne Seabrook, who was running double-duty competing in Group L, M and O as well, won the enduro in his Porsche 911. Lady Luck Racing, comprised of Mustang pilots Terry Lawlor and Brad Tilley claimed second in the Shelby GT350 with Mikki Piirlaid third in his 911.
The Dawson-Damer trophy race for Groups L, M, O and invited P ran in the early afternoon, with Leslie Wright leading the field home in the beautiful Brabham BT21/23. Laurie Bennet took second in his Elfin 600B, with Wayne Seabrook third in a Renmax BN3. Their slightly younger, bigger and more flamboyantly bewinged brothers in Q & R Sports and Racing were led by Daniel Nolan and the Nola Chev, with Malcolm Oastler second in the Kaditcha AF2 and David Kent in the Ralt RT4 third.
On the other end of the horsepower and downforce spectrum, Donald Greiveson claimed the Formula Vee race in his Spectre, with David Clark in the Avanti second and fellow Spectre pilot Norman Johnstone third. In Formula Ford the John Leffler Shield was awarded to Thomas Tweedie. In their race after lunch on Sunday, William Lowing in his Van Dieman RF88, Tom Tweedie in the Van Diemen RF86 and Bruce Connolly in the Elwyn 003B put on a cracker of a show that ended in a photo finish.
Sunday’s Group N trophy was a Mustang lock-out, with Brad Tilley winning overall ahead of a photo finish between Adam Walton and Jamie Tilley, who was also first in Nb. The Nc order was Brad Tilley, Adam Walton and John Burke, with Jamie Tilley leading Nb ahead of Gregory Toepfer and the Cooper S of Francis Meier.
In Regularity, David Ellis won the Ian Forsyth trophy, Trevor Bly the Peter Finlay trophy and the Peninsula Sports Cars trophy went to John Croft. Peter Kotz took home the Graham Henshaw trophy in Supersprint.
Thanks to some incredible persistence from our new Club President Wayne Wilson, who campaigned tirelessly to NSW Health for an increase to our venue capacity, we were able to welcome a few more people to the Summer Festival. That exemption was only given on the Thursday before the event, so unfortunately it was not in time for all entrants to take advantage of it, but it did allow more to bring family, friends or crew along to the meeting.
It was not, however, enough to welcome spectators, and we continue to long for the days when the pits, paddock and viewing areas would be abuzz with the full community out enjoying the motor sport, cars and each other’s good company. Keep practicing good hygiene, be safe and hopefully by the time we head to Wakefield Park next year for the Autumn Festival we’ll be able to do it with gusto.
Thanks to Sydney Motorsport Park for hosting the meeting, helping us to run a safe and enjoyable event under challenging conditions, and for the continued support of the club and community.
In wrapping up the wrap-up, we’d like to send a big ‘THANK YOU!’ to everyone who joined us at the Summer Festival. Despite the heat and the challenges faced along the way we had a great meeting and look forward to doing it all again next year.
Only, preferably without the pandemic and with some milder weather. And maybe after a mince pie or two.
Please enjoy the following photo galleries, with thanks to Sam Snape, Peter Schell, Geoff Russell, Mark Richards, Seth Reinhardt, Brent Murray, David Jenkins, Mackenzie Green, Jeremy Dale, Riccardo Benvenuti, bitesizepics and Campbell Armstrong Rider. Please click their names to head to their websites and see more of their work or get in touch, and if you’re looking from Seth, Jeremy or Peter, send Seth an email at [email protected].