Australia's HRCC Morgan Park preview

Warwick's Morgan Park Raceway is in readiness for an invasion of Historic motor racing competitors this weekend, with the Historic Racing Car Club of Queensland (HRCC) hosting their first event at the venue. There will truly be something for ...

Warwick's Morgan Park Raceway is in readiness for an invasion of Historic motor racing competitors this weekend, with the Historic Racing Car Club of Queensland (HRCC) hosting their first event at the venue.

There will truly be something for everyone, with cars wide ranging from the 1930's V8 Specials, to Chris Farrell's incredibly quick Ralt RT4.

Another initiative is that the meeting will include multiple formats.

Not only will there be races for touring, sports and racing cars, but also supersprints and regularity trials, which will take in a wide array of historic vehicles.

The touring car field will be comprised of nine different manufacturers, including Ford, Holden, Porsche, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Volvo, Chevrolet, Morris and Datsun.

The classic Holden Torana XU-1s will be out in force, with nine examples set to start, while six Mini Cooper Ss will represent the best of British automotive.

Some hard chargers are likely to include former rally ace Bruce Dummett, Garry Brown in the Chev Camaro, and HRCC President Bill Westerman in a Mini.

The Touring cars will be split into two divisions, before a 10-lap feature race on Sunday, with the weekend finishing with a crowd favourite handicap race.

The action may also continue on Saturday night, with an optional nighttime sprint for competitors wishing to do some extra laps on the short circuit.

Bathurst Comes to Warwick

Without a doubt, the highlight of the Morgan Park Historic meeting will be the Historic Touring Cars, with an over subscribed entry of 34 cars, five of which piloted by former Bathurst 500/1000 drivers.

Barry Seton, Don Smith, Bruce Stewart, Kevin Heffernan and Steve Land bring to Morgan Park this weekend the experience of 79 Bathurst starts.

Seton is in an elite class, after winning the 1965 Armstrong 500 mile race in a Cortina GT500.

Seton's Bathurst career spanned 22 years, in which time he drove cars such as Ford Falcons, Minis, Holdens Toranas, a Jaguar, a Ford Escort, a Ford Mustang, and Ford Capris, the type of car he will be competing in this weekend.

The last time Seton was seen in action on a Queensland track was July last year, when he raced the Capri in which he shared with his son Glenn in 1983, Glenn's Bathurst debut.

Seton shared three drives at Bathurst with Fred Gibson in GT Falcons for the factory Ford team.

Don Smith was Seton's co-driver on eight occasions, and he will also race a Capri this weekend.

Smith was another to finish his Bathurst career with 22 starts, and a best finish of sixth with Seton in 1977 in a Capri.

Another not to stay loyal to one marque, Smith raced Fords, Holdens, Toyotas and Datsuns in his Bathurst career.

Another driver pairing coincidence- Smith made his Bathurst debut in 1965 with Bruce Stewart in a Holden X2, with Stewart this weekend campaigning a Holden Torana XU-1.

Stewart's Bathurst career spanned 30 years and 26 starts at the mountain.

In his time, Stewart raced Holdens, Datsuns, a Mazda, Fords, and a Nissan, with his best finish a fifth in 1988 in a Ford Sierra, although he did come first in class on three occasions.

He is a veteran of the historic racing scene, racing in this class since near its inception.

Kevin Heffernan has the most recent Bathurst experience, racing V8 Commodores through the 1990s, with a best finish of 12th in 1995.

Heffernan started racing in 1977 in a Gemini at Brisbane's Lakeside circuit, and since then has driven a large range of cars, concentrating on Historic competition in recent years.

Steve Land competed in four Bathurst 1000s in a Torana and a Celica.

Land has been a hard charger in historic competition for some time now, and has been very hard to beat in the under three-litre class in his Capri.

Ferrari Powers to Morgan Park

Michael Schumacher might not be coming to town, but a little bit of Italy's finest will hit the 2.11km long Morgan Park Raceway this weekend.

Trevor Bassett is set to steal the show in his 4.5 litre V12 Ferrari 365 GTC4, with its unmistakable lines, and ground shaking engine note, with a top speed of 260km/h.

The best of European automotive engineering will be on show, with other competing marques including Alfa Romeo, MG, Jaguar, Fiat, Triumph, Lotus and Porsche.

Iain Nowell is entered in his Porsche 356A in the regularity section.

The 356A is a very rare early model Porsche, with this particular example passing through many different owners hands, after spending much of its life in New Zealand.

Many of the cars at the Historic Morgan Park meeting have had long and interesting competition histories.

For example, Andrew Fellowes' Brabham BT36 was raced in 1972 by Grand Prix racing legend Graham Hill, after being raced in 1971 by Australian Tim Schenken, mainly in the European Formula Two championship.

The car was part owned by McLaren Formula One boss Ron Dennis.

Terry Hanley's Nedelko Special, which dates back to the mid 1950s has a competition heritage which includes racing in the Australian Grand Prix, and the legendary Tasman Series.

Fire destroyed the car in 1990, but since then, Hanley has lovingly restored it to its former glory.

Fast Facts
Practice Starts- 9:30am Saturday
Racing Starts- 1:30pm Saturday, 9:00am Sunday
Saturday Night Sprints- 6:00pm Saturday approx (to be confirmed)

Location- The Morgan Park complex is located just outside of Warwick. From Brisbane, turn left at the second set of traffic lights into town. Turn right, then left over the train tracks, and right again. Follow the road through the industrial estate, and follow the signs at the roundabout. Inside Morgan Park, follow the access road past the drag strip to the race circuit.

Classes racing- Touring cars, Sports cars, Racing cars, Regularity trials, Supersprints.

Internet sites-
www.hrcc.org.au - Home of the Historic Racing Car Club (Qld) Inc.
www.qrda.asn.au - Accelerate- for more stories and information on State level, Hillclimb and Historic competition in Queensland.

-hrcc-

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