We were blessed with a picture perfect winter weekend for the 2023 HSRCA Sydney Classic over June 10 – 11, which turned out to be a rather relaxed affair at Sydney’s iconic Sydney Motorsport Park. Fetch a hot beverage and settle in for a few minutes to relive the racing and enjoy a wonderful collection of images from the weekend.
A lighter entry than anticipated did little to dampen the mood or impede the racing, which was excellent throughout the weekend in near-perfect conditions. The atmosphere throughout the pits and paddock was supremely relaxed, social and friendly, which made for a great weekend and good vibes all ‘round.
As usual, private practice was hosted by the circuit and ARDC on Friday, giving competitors an opportunity to get settled in and put the final touches on the cars ahead of a big weekend of motor sport. Regularity opened the meeting with the first practice session on Friday morning, and the circuit sang all the way through to Sunday afternoon, when the historic Group C & A touring cars of Heritage Touring Cars brought the meeting to a close.
These were amongst the feature categories of the weekend, running their inaugural meeting with early 5.0-litre V8s and 2.0 Litre Super Tourers. Jonathon Webb, who won the Bathurst 1000 in 2016 driving with Will Davison, qualified the 1995 Ford Falcon 5.0-litre on pole ahead of Terry Lawlor in the ex-Dick Johnson Greens-Tuf Mustang and Michael Logiudice in the Lucky 13 VK Commodore.
With Webb suffering a DNF in race one, Chris Stillwell steered the 1988 Caltex CXT Racing Sierra RS500 into the lead, Logiudice moving up a spot to second ahead of Lawlor’s Mustang. Stillwell held on to the lead in race two, claiming fastest lap along the way, with Webb challenging just two tenths behind and relegating Logiudice to third. Race three saw Webb back at the front, running a mega 1:38.93 in clean air, followed by Stillwell and Terry Lawlor back on the podium. The final race of the event saw Webb go even faster, threatening the 1:37s with Jamie McDonald making his first appearance on the podium.
Heritage Touring Cars were joined on the roster by the inaugural Group N endurance race, which ran on Sunday morning and brought some additional action to pit lane. Brad Tilley won the race in his 1966 Ford Mustang, pulling out an early lead from the ’68 Mustang of David Stone, who picked up fastest lap of the race on a 1:46.52. The pair had some breathing room back to Anthony Colton in third place, Chris Collett having a magic run in his ’64 Mini to get fourth overall and first Nb.
Having qualified P1 ahead of David Stone and John Burke, Tilley had a strong weekend with wins in all but one race, David Stone claiming race two ahead of John Burke and Anthony Colton.
Consistently strong, Group S once again brought out a great field with 36 cars starting the weekend, and put on some excellent races. Wayne Seabrook was in a class of his own throughout the weekend, despite some stiff competition from Terry Lawlor, Doug Barbour and Wayne Potts. Having qualified first, Wayne made a clean sweep of the racing, with a 1:43.54 being a highlight of his performance and an HSRCA Group S lap record. Darren Harris produced another highlight performance, in amongst the 3.0-litre Porsches with his 2.0-litre Alfetta and finishing fifth overall in the final race of the weekend.
While the front running positions were rather static, the mid pack was where the real action was as is so often the case. Sydney Motorsport Park is great at highlighting how cars with totally different performance profiles race together. The big V8s stretched their legs down the long straight, only to be reeled in by the more nimble cars across the back sectors. How exciting to see cars three wide over corporate hill with battles and overtakes every lap.
L, M, O Sports & Racing were joined by Formula Vee for the weekend, resulting in an excellent field and closely matched racing. We were pleased to welcome our first female competitor in the category for some years, Nat Anderson driving Doug Anderson’s lovely 1962 Elfin Catalina very competently and safely in her second competitive outing – let’s hope that Doug acquires a doublet railer and can bring his Elfin 600 to race as a couple.
One of our younger racers, and an accomplished Formula Ford driver, Travis Clark qualified fastest in the 1969 Rennmax BN-3, followed by the Brabham BT21Cs of David Kent and John Ashwell. David Cutts went quickest of the Vees followed by Tony Paynter and Matthew Pearce.
The first race saw David Kent take the lead, with Club President Wayne Wilson just a tenth behind in the Brabham BT35 and Richard Carter moving up onto the podium in third. Tony Paynter held on to 8th overall to win the Formula Vee race, Matthew Pearce and David Cutts not far behind.
Recovering from fuel problems on Saturday, Clark had a great run in race two to get the race win, relegating Kent and Wilson to second and third. Tony Paynter was consistent at the front of the Vees, Stephen Normoyle making his first appearance on the podium for the weekend. David Kent finished the weekend on top with a win in the final race ahead of Wayne Wilson and Richard Carter, the leading Vees fighting their way into the overall top ten, with Tony Paynter leading Matthew Pearce and David Cutts.
In the big wings ‘n slicks cars David Hardman piloted the Hardman JH-1 to P1 and two race wins, Vivian King and Malcom Oastler chasing hard throughout the weekend. Consistency paid off for them in race three when a DNF from Hardman led to a race win for King and second for Oastler, Andrew Kluver in the Budweiser Lola claiming third. The final race of the weekend saw King back on top, Kluver enjoying a great drive to second and Col Haste third in the Lola T560.
Nick McBridge was strong in Formula Ford, making a clean sweep of the weekend in the Swift DB-1. Peter Lucas took second in qualifying and race one, Bruce Connolly finding his measure in race two and Andrew McInnes moving from third in race two to second in race three. Third place reflected the highly competitive nature of Formula Ford, moving from William Liston in quali to Bruce Connolly in race one, Andrew McInnes in two and Garry Watson in race three. The final race saw Peter Lucas back on the podium behind Connolly.
The timed categories saw some interesting machinery out on track together, and some quick laps. The BMW E36 Sports Sedan of Frederick Geissler was unbeatable once dialed in, with Keith Carling mounting a strong effort, actually quickest in qualifying and second in the first run, before unfortunately bowing out early. Hussan Aly made consistent improvement throughout the weekend, qualifying fourth on a 1:54.34 and improving that to a 1:50.74 by the end of the weekend.
Regularity highlighted the diversity in these timed groups perfectly, with Craig Duthie’s immaculate Porsche 911 on one side of the grid and Graham Hodkinson’s Valiant AP-6 on the other. We were very pleased to welcome Eli Solomon from Singapore in Geoff Piggott’s lovely 1958 MG ARA Special, and to see husband and wife team Kristy and Luke Crampton make the most of the weekend, cross entering their 1958 Buckle Special in Regularity and L, M & O.
We saw two Lotus Elises take the lead in qualifying, piloted by Philip Abraham and Peter Ireland, the GSM Dart of Garth Selig third. In the first run, Ireland moved up to first, Louis Brittain making his first appearance on the podium and Selig consistent in third.
The MGB of Stephen Brankstone took home run two, Peter Ireland second and Lous Brittain third, Ireland was back at the top for run three ahead of Tim Mallyon’s Jaguar MK2 and Brankstone. The final run of the weekend saw a complete switch-up of the order, Tony Pallas at the front ahead of Graham Hodkinson and Trevor Bly – the pair of Mk 2 Jaguars a rare and wonderful sight together throughout the weekend.
Despite getting off to a slow start when a race car did race car things and left oil on the track to be cleaned up in the race before lunch, then another off and red flag after the re-start, the MS hot laps were another highlight for many. Organised by Dave Williamson, these provide people suffering from MS an opportunity for passenger laps in race cars at speed. Our guests were very happy sitting and chatting in the cars while we waited to get going – all part of the authentic race experience, which when finally out on track included an out lap, then three laps at speed and in lap.
The smiles and excitement amongst both passengers and drivers was wonderful to see. Thanks to everyone involved in getting this idea up and running, in particular Kumaresh Siva, whose idea it was to get these wonderful people into a race car for some hot laps. We hope to continue the event, and will look for more opportunities to improve and expand it.
As always, we’d like to extend a massive ‘THANK YOU!’ to all of the competitors, family and friends who joined us over the weekend with their beautifully prepared machinery and good company. The quieter weekend made for a very social event, and we were pleased to spend time with everyone following the long break after the 2022 Summer Festival.
Most importantly, it takes a huge amount of work from many people to make an event like the Sydney Classic possible and we would like to send our thanks to the many volunteers and supporters who put this meeting on. We’d be going nowhere fast without you and are greatly appreciative of all that you do.
Thank you from Noel, Robyn, Rod, Wayne, and the HSRCA committee for your support of the 2023 HSRCA Sydney Classic. We’ll be back at Sydney Motorsport Park for the Summer Festival over November 24 to 26 and look forward to seeing you there.
Until then, click through the following links and enjoy a wonderful selection of images with thanks to the many talented photographers who help us document our meetings.
With thanks to Campbell Armstrong Rider, Grant Carroll, Steve Haskell, Craig King, Steve Koen, Coree J Luck, Toby McConnell, Seth Reinhardt, Mark Richards, Stuart Row, Geoff Russell, Peter Schell, John Smith, Mark Walsh and Josh Whitby. Click their names to head to their websites for more, or email Seth at email@example.com if you’re looking for something from him, Jeremy, Mark, Peter, Toby or either Steve.