The HSRCA’s Sydney Classic was held over the 8th and 9th of June, 2019, with the club returning to host the winter race meeting slot after a year or two away. A total of 29 Group N historic vehicles were entered, a good sign for the remainder of the season.
HGNA Group N members presented with various car marques including David Roberts, John and Paul Battersby in their Minis. David Stone campaigned his magnificent Mustang. Brian Titheradge was present to support John Shuttle who was there with the Jaguar, as well as Holden Torana campaigner Paul Tierney who had an entertaining race with David Noakes in the Ford Escort. Noakes in the Escort would win out in the end.
As winter race meetings go, the HSRCA’s Sydney Classic kicked off in good weather. Friday was mainly overcast but otherwise clear, which allowed most Group N competitors to achieve some valuable practice laps.
On Saturday morning, however, the weather deteriorated and we woke to a heavy fog settling on the circuit, delaying the start of the event by an hour. Although it was not raining, it was at times bitterly cold and visibility was non-existent to the point that flag points could not see each other. Despite this inconvenience, qualifying was completed without incident and the competition that followed was close and enjoyable to watch.
Nc qualifying would see Jamie Tilley win out ahead of Ben Wilkinson. Third went to the fast Torana of Chris Thomas. Alex D’Onorfrio in the Mini was the best qualifier in the Nb category.
Race one presented some exciting racing at the front, with the three front runners contesting the podium rigorously and without incident - a credit to their driving skills. Ben Wilkinson would take a close win ahead of the fast-finishing Torana of Chris Thomas. Alex D’Onorfrio continued his display of driving flare to be the first Nb car to complete the event.
Race two demonstrated just how tight the Nc group were at the front of the field and presented some magic motorsport. Jamie Tilley was to come out on top on this occasion, Chris Thomas in the Torana second and Ben Wilkinson was relegated to third. Alex D’Onorfrio continued his strong weekend, the quickest of the Nb group.
Not to mention the rest of the field, who provided excellent historic racing entertainment for spectators. Interstate driver Daryl Hansen, Ford Mustang, Laurie Griffiths, Ford Capri, Mathew Windsor, Lotus Cortina, and a large group of Morris Mini Cooper S, John and Paul Battersby, Francis Meir, Ken Lee, Nathan Goulding, David Roberts and Nathan Stephenson all drove well throughout the weekend.
On Sunday race 3 was completed in the vastly improved weather that saw the sun finally breaking through to reveal pleasant and warm conditions. Unfortunately, the race was yellow flagged after two separate start line incidents.
Ben Wilkinson had differential failure that left the Mustang facing backwards against the concrete wall. The Ford Capri of Laurie Griffiths experienced a scary situation when the quick connect steering wheel disconnected from the splines on the steering shaft, making it difficult to negotiate turn one. Laurie thankfully avoided collision with other competitors before ending up on the grass on the right side of the track.
The race was restarted after several laps under safety car conditions, with Jamie Tilley taking the win, Chris Thomas second. Adam Walton brought the Mustang home in third. Alex D’ Onofrio again a credible win in Nb ahead of many Nc competitors. Mathew Windsor in the Lotus Cortina was second and Nathan Goulding third in Nb.
Race four, the final event of the weekend, saw the field again under safety car conditions after a short period of racing when fluid was reported to be on the track. Unfortunately the race was halted and declared as a non-event.
Thanks to the HSRCA for hosting another enjoyable and well-run meeting! We look forward to racing with the club again at their Spring Festival, which will host round six of our 2019 series at Wakefield Park over the 28th & 29th of September.
Thanks also to the many HGNA NSW members who joined us at Sydney Motorsport Park for a fun weekend, and especially to the family and friends who come along to support our motorsport.