A huge gathering of spectators flocked to Winton Motor Raceway for the Festival of Speed on the weekend. The region turne
d on two days of gorgeous weather for the iconic event, and fans were treated to a magnificent array of display cars, some highly competitive motor racing and even the chance to meet the patron of the meeting, Murray Carter.
The racing was highlighted by the second annual Rose City Touring Car Trophy 20-lap endurance race, and while it may have attracted big V8 Camaros, Mustangs and Falcon GTs, it was the lighter six cylinder cars that ultimately proved the weapons of choice.
Michael Hibbert was the star of the show in his Valiant Charger, and Angelo Taranto finished second in his Torana XU1. The best of the V8s was Cameron Worner, who finished third in his XW Falcon GTHO.
Stephen Coad (Holden Torana XU1) actually crossed the finish line in first place, but he was relegated to seventh with a penalty for pit lane speeding during his compulsory pit stop. Leo Tobin (Ford Mustang) was another driver to be penalised for a pit infringement, slotting back to fourth after initially finishing third.
Hibbert also won the two six-lap Group N sprint races to cap off a dominant weekend.
Mike Roddy claimed victory in the Precision International Cup Group A / Group C race in his Jaguar XJS. The 15-lap race was interrupted by a brief safety car period when David Towe (BMW M3) stopped at turn three, during which the majority of drivers made their compulsory pit stops. At the restart, Roddy’s main rival Luke Ellery retired with mechanical problems in his Nissan Skyline, and from there Roddy was able to pull away to take the win from Stephen Perrott (Holden Torana A9X) and Milton Seferis (Holden Commodore VH).
In the two Group A / Group C sprint races, it was one win apiece for Ellery and Roddy, with Ellery’s car suffering some gearbox problems throughout the weekend.
Geoff Morgan won the Group S Tourist Trophy in his Group Sc Porsche 911, with Rohan Little making it a Porsche 1-2. Laurie Burton was third outright and highest-placed of the Group Sb cars in his TVR Tuscan, and Peter Jackson took Group Sa honours in 11th place overall.
2007 Australian Formula Ford champion Tim Blanchard won all three Group M / Group O / Historic Formula Ford and Formula Vee races in his Van Diemen RF88, the car formerly raced by his father John Blanchard, and Kim Jones took an equally dominant clean sweep in the Group Q and R Racing and Sports category. Jones was beaten off the start by Andrew Makin in each race, but used the superior corner speed to overtake Makin through Turn 7 in all three races.
The oldest cars at the Festival of Speed raced in the Group J, K and Lb races, with Ken Bedgood proving too good for the rest of the field in his Lola Mk1. Dick O’Keefe (Photon Special) and Derek McLaughlin (Mallock Mk2) filled the minor places.
The MGs produced some of the most exciting racing of the weekend, with the MG Midgets of Greg Hewson and Damien Meyer and the MGB GT of Rob Whitwell all staging a ferocious contest throughout all three races. In the end, Meyer won the first two races but suffered mechanical problems in the final, allowing Hewson through for the win. Jason Holmes led home the newer-model cars in his MG ZR190, finishing fourth outright.