27-28 July Historic Race Meeting- Queensland Raceway
Final preparations are being made for the 25th Anniversary Shannons Historic Racing and Classic Car Festival, after an unprecedented response from local and interstate race competitors, show and shine entrants and car clubs.
The event, promoted by the Historic Racing Car Club of Queensland (HRCC), promises to be the biggest race meeting the club has ever staged.
For the third time in the last four years, Queensland Raceway has been chosen as the venue for the historic festival, with its new user friendly facilities, great vantage points for spectators, and a layout which is kind on the Historic race vehicles.
For the first time in 17 years, the Group C 'big banger' touring cars will be back on a Queensland racetrack.
Leading the charge will be the 1965 Armstrong 500 winner Barry Seton, who will bring his immaculate Ford Capri back out onto the track.
Seton has a total of 22 Bathurst starts to his credit, with his second last start (1983) being made in the very car he will be competing in, which he coincidently shared with his son Glenn Seton, at his first ever start at Mount Panorama.
Joining Seton on the grid in another Capri will be current V8 Supercar driver Craig Harris, who has four Bathurst starts under his belt.
In total there will be over 50 years of Bathurst 1000/500 experience on the circuit over the weekend.
Also from the Harris Racing stable will be Lloyd Bax (Ford Falcon XC Hardtop), and Vic Cameron (Ford Falcon XE).
Other cars expected on the grid include Escorts, Toranas and a Gemini.
Special guest for the meeting will be 1981 James Hardie 1000 victor John French, who will be joined by two of his Falcons from the 1960's, out of David Bowden's sensational collection of competition vehicles.
French started his racing career in 1958 at the Easter Bathurst meeting, and in a long and distinguished career competed in the 'Great Race' at Bathurst and before that at Phillip Island, a total of 20 times.
In his career he competed in all manner of Touring Cars, including Falcons, Alfas, Cortinas and Coopers.
The Group C tourers won't be the only tin tops on the track for the weekend, with the Group N Historic Touring Cars making up a large portion of the entry list.
The Minis will once again be featured in a special challenge race, which this year will include the Torana XU-1s.
Leading the charge is expected to be young Matt McGrath, who will once again be travelling to the event from his northern New South Wales home of Casino for the event.
McGrath has been a mover and shaker in recent times against the bigger cars in the class, by snatching a pair of pole positions and several podium finishes.
Other Historic Touring competitors to keep an eye on include the always-spectacular former rally driver Bruce Dummett (Holden Torana XU-1), touring car veteran John English (Valiant Charger), Wayne Rogerson (Mazda RX2) and John McKeon (BMW 2002).
The field will also be boosted by the largest contingent of pre-1958 cars in the event's history.
Last year, the Historic Racing Cars turned on some of the closest, and fastest racing of all of the classes.
This year there will once again be a quality field, including at least one F5000 machine.
Some of the cars fighting for the win will include Andrew Fellowes (Brabham BT36), Richard Carter (March 73B), Chris Farrell (Chevron B35), Geoff Wiseman (Cheetah Mk8), and Paul Scott (Auscam 600M).
The Golden Oldies of Groups J, K, L and M will provide a drive down memory lane for classic racing enthusiasts, with vehicles from pre-1931 Vintage cars, to pre-1965 Racing and Sports Cars.
Competing cars will range from Rob Harcourt's 1927 Lancia Meadows, to Dick Vermeulen's 1935 Ford V8 Special, Bruce Richardson's Nota Minx, and Peter Yeoman's 1957 Lotus Eleven Le Mans 85.
The Group 2 Sports Cars combine the best of modern Sports Cars with classic clubmans, and radical Marque Sports Cars.
Competitors worth keeping an eye on include Gerry Geltch (Datsun 2000), Chris Hatfield (GT40 replica), Steve Morcombe (Westfield Clubman), Brian Ferrabee (Mazda MX5), Norm Singleton (Fiat Abarth), Colin Berneville-Claye (Fraser Clubman), Steve Cooper (Porsche 911), and Troy Chaplin (Esprit Sports 1300).
The 1941-1977 Production Sports Cars will provide a mixed bag of cars, with the field including MGBs, and Austin-Healey Sprites.
Perhaps two of the more interesting vehicles will be Trevor Bassett's thumping Ferrari GTC4, and David Whitehouse's Nota Fang, both being cars that performed well at the May HRCC meeting.
The regularity trials allow all manner of Historic vehicles to race against the clock, with consistency being the key to success.
The winner will be the driver who keeps as close as possible to their nominated time.
Shannons Insurance representative Phil Ross will be competing in his 1966 Mustang, in a 'race' where anyone can be a winner.
The Shannons Show and Shine will once again be a highlight in the pit area, with over 150 show cars expected to enter.
An emphasis will be on British Sports Cars, with Shannons presenting a special award for the best entrant.
Spectators will have the opportunity to win special gate prizes from a pool of prizes valued at over $2,000- including personalised plates from new sponsors, Personalised Plates Queensland, and a ride around the track for one lucky person with John French in the Phase III Falcon GTHO.
Many car clubs are expecting to use the day for some unforgettable day runs, while the venue is fully catered and licensed.
Parking will be allowed around the circuit and along the spectator mounds.
Racing starts from around mid-day on Saturday and 9.00am on Sunday with a total of 37 events expected over the 2 days.
Admission costs- $15 Saturday, $25 Sunday (or both days) including pit entry Children under 15 free
Location- Queensland Raceway is at the end of Champions Way, Willowbank, adjacent to the Willowbank Drag Strip, and just off the Cunningham Highway (just south of the Amberley RAAF Base).
Competing drivers who have experience in the Bathurst 1000/500- Barry Seton (22 starts), John English (12 starts), Craig Harris (4 starts), Steve Land (4 starts), Wayne Rogerson (3 starts), Brad Stratton (3 starts), Frank Binding (2 starts), Richard Carter (2 starts), Ray Hanger (1 start).