The final event on the 2014 racing calendar, The Tasman Trophy, was run by the HSRCA (Historic Sports and Racing Car Assoc) on Nov 29th – 30th. Like the inaugural Tasman Cup and Tasman Revival meetings, the Tasman Trophy is a celebration of the original 1960’s Tasman Series which saw sports cars of that era travel from all over the world to race in Australia. Similarly, this weekend saw competitors from the UK, USA and New Zealand come together to reprise those heady days of open wheeled sports cars and production sports and touring cars.

David Kent, Acting President of HSRCA said “… many of the cars that are here for this event are the actual cars that raced here in the beginning. Today these cars, whilst cherished by their owners, are nevertheless driven in a spirited and competitive fashion. We expect to see some very good racing this weekend.”

Patrick Quinn, publicity manager for HSRCA said “…over 250 cars converged this weekend on SMSP to recapture the iconic days of these wonderful period vehicles. Back when names like Clark, Stewart, Rindt and Hill came with marques like Lotus, Cooper, BRM and Ferrari’s to fight it out for the Tasman supremacy. Competitors this weekend will take part in 36 races ( four per group) of between fourteen and eighteen minutes duration. There will also be one enduro of fifty minutes for Group S. With a two driver option, well known celebrity driver John Bowe was seen suiting up in Andrew Purvis’ garage.

The conditions for this race meeting were the same as we have been experiencing in Sydney over the past month. Unsettled with strong cloud bands, strong gusty winds bringing storms bearing rain squalls and lightning.

Saturday was fine and quite warm, but Sunday was clear and fine UNTIL around 2:30pm. Then an almighty weather event brought torrential rain, lightning and strong winds. Group N had just gone out for their warmup lap, when the storm hit.. A rolling start and as the first six cars came out of turn one, the first three cars of Wheatley (Cooper S), Tierney ( XU-1 Torana), and Robertson (Charger)aquaplaned and slid straight off the track across the grass and into the gravel trap.

In just a few short minutes the water had pooled and there was absolutely no adhesion. In trying to avoid the ballet of misadventure being performed by the previous three cars, Alan Mayne (Mazda Rx2) and Danny Berry (Cooper S) found themselves swamped on drivers left at turn one. The race was called off as the conditions were just atrocious. The resources of tow trucks and rescue vehicles was stretched, and one of the rescue vehicles very nearly joined the bogged and stranded cars.

In Formula Ford, Barry-Cotter (PRS82F) had a Sunday morning to forget. Not content with spinning at turn two and coming into contact with Lynn Cowan, (both resumed, however Cowan car succumbed to its injuries and retired early) but Barry-Cotter had a second go at perfecting the pirouette on turn six, and this time hit the wall ending up in a dangerous position. Up at the business end of the racing Garry Watson ( Mawer) gradually got faster as the weekend wore on, and as a result in each race led by a larger margin eventually recording four wins from four starts. Dave Holland (Reynard) took all four second places and Ed King (Reynard) grabbed a trio of thirds.

Ian Bailey (1962 Lynx) got a fright when one of his wheels passed him at turn 15. Michael Anderson (XY GT) led from start to finish in Group N and took all four wins for the weekend. The fierce battles were for second and third between Andrew Whiteside (Mustang) and Wayne Rogerson (Maxda RX2) with Marty Macri pushing those two with his late under brakes dives. In race three it worked, as Macri took a third out from underneath Rogerson. It was an eventful race as Mark Broadhead hit a large strip of oil and spun ending up sidelined while Michael Collins (Cortina) got crossed up trying to avoid hitting Mark and nearly coming to grief himself. The oil stretched from turn 14 down to turn 15 causing a delay in proceedings as it was cleaned up.

Formula 5000 cars are always a crowd favourite. These massive open wheeled gargantuans bellow their 5Litre V8 power as they scream around the track. Tom Tweedie reigned over the weekend with two wins from both his starts, showing his dominance from start to finish with a twelve second clear victory in race two. Clark Proctor took race one over Steve Ross, but as soon as Tweedie entered the contest, both the others were relegated to the minor placings.

Paul Zazryn held two thirds places to round out the weekend. Russell Greer retired early in race two and Greg Thornton only made it for one race as his campaign was cut short with a dropped rod and a massive bellow of smoke. So much smoke in fact that the fire Marshall stopped by Gregs’ garage to make sure a fire didn’t erupt. Another early exit was Warren de Guara’s 1965 Mustang. Suffering the same fate as Thornton, a massive belch of smoke whilst cruising past pit lane had Warren ending up sidelined around turn one with a blown engine.

The Trophy winners for this meeting were:
The Bernie Haehnle Trophy: Daniel Bando
The Bib Stillwell Trophy: Rob Tweedie
The Bill Brown Shield: Geoff Morgan
The Brian Foley Trophy: Darryl Hanson
The Frank Matich Trophy: No Competitors
The Ian Forsyth Shield: Graham Henshaw
The Ian Geoghegan Trophy: Graham Russell
The Jack Brabham Trophy: Ed Holly
The Jack Myers Trophy: Phil Anseline
The John Leffler Shield: Tom Tweedie
The Kevin Bartlett Trophy: No Competitors
The Leo Geoghegan Trophy: Damon Hancock
The Peter Finlay Trophy: Matthew Price
The RACA, Sa Trophy: Peter Jackson
The RACA, Sb Trophy: Wayne Seabrook
The Ron Tauranac Trophy: David Kent
The Spencer Martin Trophy: Richard Knox

Special mention must be made in regards to Wes Dayton’s marvellous induction as an Honorary Life Member of the HSRCA, for his exceptional and sustained contributions to the HSRCA and motorsport in general.

– Words and pics by Rob Annesley