Classic racing keeps spectators entertained at Teretonga

An exciting and varied line up of cars kept spectators entertained at Teretonga Park near Invercargill this weekend.

The Evolution Motorsport Classic SpeedFest featured Sports and Racing Cars through to Touring Cars and Muscle Cars and all provided their share of action.

Stephen Grellet of Dunedin won four of the five Jesco’s Historic Touring Car races in his BMW E30 M3 from Aucklander Conrad Timms in another M3 in a field graced by the presence of 1985 European Touring Car Champion, Gianfranco Brancatelli. Timms and several others were absent from the final race which was won by Scott O’Donnell of Invercargill in the ex-Paul Radisich 1994 World Touring Car Championship Ford Mondeo. Kevin Underwood of Auckland (M3) was second ahead of Stuart Black of Dunedin in yet another BMW M3 who grabbed three third place finishes overall. O’Donnell had earlier secured a third place on Saturday as had Gary Wilkinson of Christchurch in a Zakspeed Escort.

The Sievwright Autos Mainland Muscle Cars were a crowd favourite with plenty of close racing. Tony Mann of Dunedin won the first race on Saturday in his Ford Capri establishing a new lap record of 1 minute 03.901 seconds. That mark was beaten in the second race by Graeme Allan of Christchurch (Chev Camaro) in a race won by Leigh Derrick of Rangiora (Ford Falcon Coupe) after Mann and Allan jumped the start. On Sunday morning it was Derrick again from Mann and Paul Clarke of Dunedin (Mustang) with Paul Muir of Gore winning the handicap race in a Holden Commodore VK from Ross Graham of New Plymouth (Torana) and Andy Lloyd of Christchurch in a Ford Capri.
Damon Leitch of Invercargill was the quickest in qualifying for the Southern Paints Formula Libre Class in a Ralt RT4 but suffered mechanical problems throughout the weekend. Gary Cooper of Mosgiel won the first race on Saturday in a Reynard 92H while Steve Ross won the second in his McRae GM1. Ross won all three races on Sunday with Leitch picking up a second and third behind the more powerful F5000 car. Cameron Freeman of Mosgiel, John Williams of Christchurch plus Jordan Michels and Dave McKenzie of Invercargill were also among the top placings.

Colin Dawson of Invercargill won four of the five races in the Professional Real Estate Classic Saloons Class in his Chev Camaro. Jim Wallace of Cairns won the other in his BMW E30 M3 from Dawson. Graeme Fraser of Queenstown was prominent in his BMW E36 M3 as was Richard Quin of Tauranga in the ex-Trevor Crowe V8 Starlet. Quin led the second race only to be pushed off track on the final lap.

Paul Coory of Mosgiel dominated all five races in his Chevrolet CAE in the Probuilt Engines Vintage Racing Car Class. Paul Coghill of Dunedin in a Jaguar Special scored four second places and Mark McFadden of Christchurch in a Zephyr 260M a second and four third placings. Eighty-four year old Douglas MacDonald of Motueka, who raced at the very first Teretonga race meeting 59 years ago, also picked up a third placing during the event.

Allan Dippie of Dunedin looked to be on course for a clean sweep in the Southland Tyre Centre Sports Car Class. He won the first four races in his MGB GT V8, each one from Jason Crosbie of Invercargill in a Beck Special and Stuart Black of Dunedin in a Porsche 944. In the last he slowed drastically leaving victory to Crosbie from Black and Phil Horn of Bannockburn in another Porsche.

The Macaulay Ford Pre 65 Saloons provided close racing with Paul Clarke of Dunedin winning a very close first race on Saturday in his Mustang before fellow Dunedin driver Keith MacDonald won the second, a handicap event in his Chevrolet Nova after Rodger Cunninghame left the track while leading before recovering to finish second. On Sunday Wayne Patrick of Christchurch won the first in his Ford XP Falcon before Clarke won the final race. Invercargill driver Wayne Tuffley took two seconds and a third over the weekend in his Mustang while fellow Invercargill driver John Smolenski took a best of fourth.

The Noel McIntyre Drainage Clubmans Saloon races featured huge fields. Brian Scott of Dunedin in his Corvette which is now supercharged won the first three races of the weekend with Invercargill drivers Liam MacDonald (Falcon) and Jason Crosbie (Fiat 124) and Paul Beattie of Cromwell (EVO) claiming the placings. The Handicap Race was won by Todd Blackmun of Invercargill in his Ford Star Car from Cromwell’s Dayne McIlwrick (Toyota Corolla) and Scott while Scott led the Flying Farewell only to slow and drop to third, allowing MacDonald to take the win from Arron Black of Dunedin (BMW E46).

There were only a small number of racing incidents over the weekend, the most spectacular being a rollover in the final Muscle Car race and Gary Johnstone of Rolleston hitting the wall immediately after crossing the line in the last Historic Touring Car race in his Jaguar XJS.
The next race meeting at Teretonga Park is over the weekend of 19/20 March.

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