We were blessed with an utterly spectacular winter weekend over the 12th & 13th of June, with conditions almost living up to the on-track action at the 2021 HSRCA Sydney Classic, honouring the late Ron Tauranac AO. Put the kettle on and take a break for a few minutes to relive the action and enjoy a huge collection of photos from the meeting.
After an arctic blast brought winter to Sydney in a big way during the week, we were quick to thaw out at Sydney Motorsport Park, enjoying near-perfect conditions that persisted throughout the weekend. This was an especially pleasant change following on from the Autumn Festival’s torrential rain and the blast furnace we ran the 2020 Summer Festival in.
While the atmospheric conditions were stunning, the prevailing global condition remains what it is, and more than a few spanners were thrown into the works in the lead-up to the event. Our display of significant Brabham and RALT cars and MG Racing Australia were particularly hard hit by the Victorian lockdown, and the absence of our Victorian friends was felt throughout the paddock.
Nevertheless, thanks to some herculean efforts behind the scenes, we were able to get everything in place and the meeting was a great success, bringing one of the biggest entries we’ve seen in years to the circuit for two days and one evening of motor racing.
The action kicked off on Friday morning with private practice hosted by the circuit, giving competitors an opportunity to test, tune and settle in ahead of the meeting proper. By the time the sun was up on Saturday morning the circuit was wide awake with everyone preparing for qualifying and the action didn’t let up until around 8:00pm, when the Group C & A cars of Heritage Touring Cars saw the chequered flag of their night race. Despite the late finish, everyone was back at it with the sparrows on Sunday morning for another full day of racing.
The circuit barely went quiet during the whole weekend, and on the odd moment it did, the pits and paddock maintained a happy buzz thanks to the return of spectators for the first time since we entered the new normal at the Autumn Festival last year. It was great to see the parking hill full of cars and the roof of the pit building full of people again and we thoroughly enjoyed spending a weekend with the broader community of historic racing fans.
With near-perfect conditions and great fields throughout the entry, there was thoroughly enjoyable motor sport on offer throughout the weekend, whether you were driving or spectating. The Group S field in particular was magnificent, coming very close to track density and providing some close and exciting racing every time they went out. Wayne Seabrook had a great weekend, winning all three races including Saturday evening’s night race.
The fourth race late on Sunday afternoon ended early after an incident on the main straight. MGB GT driver Greg Smith spent a few nights under observation in hospital, but is now home, on the mend and already making plans to do the same for his MG. Greg expressed his thanks to everyone who rallied around him on the day, and helped to trailer his car back from the track.
Group N and the Heritage Touring Cars both put together strong fields and some excellent races. Brad Tilley in the ’66 Ford Mustang was unassailable, winning all four races. In fact it was Mustangs that locked out the podium for the whole weekend, except for the final race when Mini Cooper S driver Andrew Bergan climbed to third.
Heritage Touring Cars enjoyed a longer feature race on Sunday afternoon, which was won by Anthony Alford in the iconic Nissan GTR R32 Skyline. Anthony and the mighty ‘Godzilla’ were unstoppable all weekend and the Skyline, along with the rest of the field, was great to see in action recapturing such an iconic era of Australian motor racing.
On the other end of the power to weight spectrum, Formula Ford and Formula Vee & Group L ran in two closely-competed fields. Their drafting-heavy, closely matched racing is great fun to watch and this weekend was no exception. In Formula Vee & Group L Mathew Pearce and Stephen Normoyle were closely matched all weekend, winning two races each. William Lowing won two of the four Formula Ford races, with Harrison Cooper taking out the night race and Bruce Connolly grabbing Sunday morning’s race.
Group Q & R Sports and Racing had a good weekend, bringing an interesting and storied selection of cars out to play. Although perennial front runner Tom Tweedie kept him honest in the mighty Elfin MS7, the 1986 Benetton Formula 1 car piloted by Joshua Kean was too quick, winning both of Sunday’s combined events.
With nine Brabhams entered into the Group M, O & P races and other Brabham and RALT cars throughout the entry, the development efforts of Ron Tauranac were well demonstrated over the weekend. Sean Whelan was in a class of his own, and claimed victory in all four races in a 1969 Brabham BT30. Paul Hamilton snuck his Elfin 600 onto the podium in race one, but Leslie Wright and David Kent ensured an all-Brabham podium for races two, three and four.
Regularity and Super Sprint brought large and varied fields to the event, and are always fun to watch as they encourage interesting and historic machines to hit the track. Richard Carter was quickest in all four sprints, pedaling the Renmax 23B to a weekend best of 1:44.59. In Regularity, David Ellis won two events, with Bruce Melville and Craig Anderson also making visits to the top of the tables.
A huge thanks to all of our competitors not only for bringing your cars out for a great meeting, but also for your patience in the run-up to the event as we dealt with the fallout from the Victorian lockdown, and your cheerful cooperation and clean driving throughout the meeting. Things ran very smoothly all weekend, in no small part thanks to you. Thank you!
As always, a very special thank you to the many volunteers who contributed to the Sydney Classic. A huge amount of work goes into making a race meeting like this happen – especially one as large and complex as this – and we would not be able to do it without you. Thank you!
Thank you from Rod, Wayne, Mark and the HSRCA committee for your support of the Sydney Classic. Put August 28th and 29th in your diaries and join us for a weekend away at the Spring Festival at Wakefield Park.
With that, let’s move on to the photos. Click through the following galleries, and enjoy.
Thanks to Campbell Armstrong Rider, Riccardo Benvenuti, Jeremy Dale, Andrew Hall, David Jenkins, Craig King, Steve Koen, Bruce Moxon, Brent Murray, Mark Richards, Stuart Row, Peter Schell and Sam Snape for covering the event, and sharing their images!
Please click their names to head to their websites and get in touch if you’d like to see more or order images. If you’d like to get in touch with Craig, please contact him here, or if you would like to reach out to Bruce, Jeremy, Peter, Steve or Seth, or are looking for something in particular, send Seth an email at [email protected].