We’re back, hopefully fully rested and perhaps even completely dry, following a magic weekend of historic motorsport at the New Year Historics, held at Wakefield Park over the 29th and 30th of January. Scroll along, and enjoy a few photos from the weekend.
With 2021 offering far too few opportunities for being outside, let alone on the track, and the recent summer holidays presenting our first real experience of living with the pandemic, we were keen to get back on track and enjoying the open air, classic and historic cars and our wonderful community. The New Year Historics offered an early opportunity to hop in the cars, blow out a few cobwebs and get the season under way and we were thrilled with the response from the community, with good fields throughout and a healthy spectator attendance.
Image thanks to Campbell Armstrong Rider
The prevailing condition was not the only challenge we faced over the weekend, with our run of rough weather continuing unabated. Conditions were grey, but mostly dry, until a heavy rain and electrical storm hit just as we were shifting into top gear for races at lunchtime on Saturday. The severe conditions, poor visibility and threat of lightning strikes forced us to abandon proceedings early for the first time in many years.
While this was unfortunate, we were able to make up for the missed races with longer events and some shuffling on Sunday, and it provided a good opportunity to catch up socially in the pits and paddock.
Image thanks to Syd Reinhardt
Speaking of Sunday, we hosted a well-attended and much enjoyed track walk in the morning. Two of our quickest and most experienced drivers, Richard Carter and Wayne Seabrook, very kindly lent their knowledge and enthusiasm to the walk, sharing tips, tricks and experiences that surely knocked a few tenths off the times of all in attendance.
It was Group S that opened the event on Saturday morning, with a field of 23 drivers going out for qualifying. Mikki Piirlaid set the bar at 1:10.95 followed by Doug Barbour on a 1:11.22 and the MG Midget of Damien Meyer on 1:11.44. This set up a rivalry that would continue throughout the weekend, with Barbour grabbing the win ahead of Piirlaid in Race 1, this time with Michael Byrne on the podium in his Lotus Seven S4. Piirlaid took the lead back for the two races on Sunday, which saw Simon Meyer get the better of his brother for a podium in race two and Damien finishing third in the final race.
In Regularity, Bernie Tressider was most consistent in the first run, followed by Colin Wilson-Brown and David Ellis. After that, Richard Cardew got into gear and claimed the next two, with Steven Byrnes second in run two, followed by David Ellis, who promoted himself to second in the final run ahead of the Alfa Romeo GTV of Bruce Melville.
It was great to see a strong field of M & O Sports & Racing cars out on the weekend, with 15 drivers going out for qualifying. Laurie Bennet went fastest in the Elfin 600B, followed by Richard Carter and David Kent. Carter was able to move up into the lead for the first race, with Wayne Seabrook taking his Rennmax BN-3 into second and Bennett dropping to third.
The order shuffled again on Sunday, with the field going out first thing and Bennett taking the win again ahead of Richard Carter and Wayne Wilson. Wayne Seabrook rejoined the fray in the third race, securing third with the top two places unchanged. Laurie Bennett topped off a strong weekend with a win in the final race, Wayne Wilson scoring a second place, fastest lap of the race and a new Group P lap record, and Richard Carter completing the podium.
Group N brought the field of the weekend out to play, with 25 drivers going out on Saturday morning and putting on a great show throughout. Qualifying was dominated by the Tilley Mustangs, with Brad going fastest and Jamie second. Chris Thomas put his Torana third on the grid alongside the Mini of Andrew Bergan in fourth. Race one saw Brad Tilley hold on to the lead, with Chris Thomas getting past Jamie Tilley for second.
Race two on Sunday morning repeated that order, but a DNF for Brad in race three saw Jamie claim a win ahead of Chris Thomas, Mark Lenstra joining the podium. Chris Thomas enjoyed a well-earned win in the final race of the weekend ahead of Jamie Tilley, with Andrew Bergan finishing on the podium.
Another good field and particularly well received by spectators, Formula Vee and K & L had some great races. Matthew Pearce was quickest out of the gate in a hotly contested qualifying session. Tony Paynter followed just a tenth slower, setting up a duel that would last throughout the weekend. Greg Stott qualified third alongside Don Greiveson. Paynter was able to outrun Pearce to the finish of race one, however, with Gary Meyers climbing three places to finish third.
Sunday morning saw Pearce back in front to claim a win, followed by Paynter and Dean Briggs from Victoria. Paynter and Pearce’s competition continued in the third race, with Stephen Normoyle slowly working his way up from an eighth place finish in race one to the podium. With Pearce missing the final race of the weekend, Paynter had a fairly lonely run up front, finishing ahead of Gary Meyers, who had been busy climbing through the field following a twelfth place finish in the first race. Dean Briggs completed the podium just a few tenths behind.
Fourteen Formula Fords rolled out for their weekend’s competition, and things were immediately close at the front. William Lowing put in a 1:05.40 for p1 in qualifying, followed a few hundredths slower by Tom Tweedie on a 1:05.46 and Andrew Taite in third. Lowing had first place on lock from that point on, winning every race until the final one, which saw Tom Tweedie finally break past for a win. Second and third was a battle between Tom and Andrew, with Andrew claiming second in the rain-affected first race, before Tom got it back in race two and held on to it until he graduated to first.
Four drivers were up for challenging Wakefield’s layout in a Q & R Sports & Racing car, with David Hardman all but in a class of his own throughout the weekend. He opened the event with a 1:00.2, winning the two races comfortably. Joe Calleja qualified second in the March 73S with Joel Brown third in a Tiga SC84 Sport. Malcolm Oastler had a good weekend sorting the Mildren F5000, improving from a 1:20 qualifying lap to second place ahead of Joel in the first race and putting in a 1:02.7 by the final race with another second place finish.
Supersprint continues to be a popular and entertaining category, welcoming some interesting and varied cars out to play. The Toranas of Peter Kotz and Col Robinson were quickest in practice, followed by newcomer Garth Selig in the GSM Dart.
Missing their first event due to the storm on Saturday, Supersprint wasn’t out again until late morning on Sunday. It was Garth Selig who got to grips with the conditions and went quickest, Peter Kotz second and Bruce Tresidder in third. Three Toranas would lock out the next run, with Kotz, Robinson and Bruce Tresidder the order. The final event of the weekend saw a few Regularity drivers join in. Bruce finished at the top of the time sheets, with Phillip Hoad putting another Torana on the podium in second and Thomas Derwent claiming third in a Triumph TR7.
There was also a special BMC Challenge event held on Sunday, with a field of 10 MG Midgets, Mini Coopers from both Morris and Austin and an Austin Healey S challenging each other. With the Midgets taking command of the race, the two Meyers were again competitive, with Simon winning the race ahead of Damien and Lyall Moyes third.
Our thanks to everyone who came out and supported the meeting! With so much uncertainty in the world, we were thrilled to see such an excellent field come out for a run. The cars were beautifully prepared as always, and the pits and paddock a very pleasant place to be surrounded by friends, family and fellow fans of classic motorsport.
Thanks as well to the Wakefield Park team for hosting, and especially the many volunteers who continue to devote their time and expertise to supporting our community.
With that, let’s move on to the photos. Thanks to Campbell Armstrong Rider, Riccardo Benvenuti, David Jenkins, Wayne Jones, Seth and Syd Reinhardt, Mark Richards, Stuart Row and Mark Walsh for braving the elements and covering the event. Make sure to click their names to head to their websites for prints and more images. If you’d like to reach out to Jeremy, Syd, Mark or Seth just send Seth an email at [email protected] and he’ll put you in touch.