There’s a special bonus for members of the Historic Touring Car (NZ) Association travelling to Invercargill for the final round of the inaugural Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series this weekend – the official opening of the Bill Richardson Transport World museum’s latest special exhibition, a celebration of Ford’s local motorsport heritage, on Friday evening.
The brainchild of H W Richardson Group director, and keen classic racer Scott O’Donnell, the exhibition features an iconic line-up of Fords either built and raced with success here in New Zealand or with a strong New Zealand connection.
Included are both PDL Mustangs (PDL 1 & PDL 2), the Mk 1 Ford Escort FVA and Cologne Capri raced by Paul Fahey, Phase 1 and 3 XY Ford Falcon GTs, local motorsport personality Inky Tulloch’s XA GT, plus a genuine Eggenberger-built, Texaco-liveried Group A Ford Sierra RS500 Group A car, and the Ford Mondeo BTCC car – which O’Donnell now owns and races in the Archibald’s series – Kiwi Paul Radisich won the World Touring Car Cup in in 1994.
A special opening ceremony will be held in the main hall of the Bill Richardson Transport World building with the racing Fords surrounded by the museum’s own 40-strong collection of road-going Ford cars and commercial vehicles. Start time is 6.30pm with tickets still available at www.iticket.co.nz.
Two-time World Touring Car Cup race winner (1993 at Monza in Italy and 1994 at Donington Park in the UK) Paul Radisich is the special guest of the HW Richardson Group at the opening ceremony and at the Evolution Motorsport Classic Superfest meeting at nearby Teretonga Park on Saturday and Sunday, while former Ford New Zealand sales and marketing manager Garry Jackson has accepted an invitation to be Masters of Ceremonies.
Having been welcomed with open arms by event organisers and fans alike at circuits in the North Island late year and in January this year, and at the annual Skope Classic at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park Ruapuna earlier this month, the Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series has attracted an 18-strong grid for this weekend’s final at the Evolution Motorsport Classic Speedfest meeting at Teretonga Park.
The mix of classic rear-wheel-drive Group C and Group A machines and later-model front and rear-wheel-drive 2.0 litre Super Tourers and NZ2LTCs provides real interest for aficionado and casual race fan alike.
Based on recent form Christchurch’s Phil Mauger looks like the man to beat in his ex-Matt Neal/Team Dynamics BTCC-spec Nissan Primera Super Tourer, with close competition expected to come from the Group A E30 BMW M3 of Mosgiel man Arron Black and the BMW 320i E36 Super Tourer of Christchurch’s Bruce Miles.
Father and son Lindsay and Matthew O’Donnell will also be quick in their Super Tourers, O’Donnell Snr in his late model front-wheel-drive Volvo S40, O’Donnell Jnr in his earlier model E36 BMW Super Tourer.
Dunedin is well represented in the entry list with Warren Good in his BTCC title-winning two-door E36 BMW (the ex Tim Harvey/Listerine-backed car) rescued and rebuilt to original title-winning spec by event sponsor Rick Michels, Stephen Grellet who has recently bought a Peugeot 406 raced in the BTCC by Paul Radisich, and Dennis Ham who owns and drives an ex Ashley Stichbury NZ2LTC-spec Alfa Romeo 155.
Other NZ2LTC-spec cars entered are a Neil Allport-built, Yellow Pages-liveried Ford Telstar owned by Scott O’Donnell but to be driven by Alan Dippie from Dunedin, a similar Telstar owned and raced in period by Timaru’s Kevin Pateman, and an ex-Brett Riley BMW 320i built in Auckland by International Motorsport and now owned and raced by Steven Kelly from Christchurch.
With Paul Radisich driving the Rouse-built Ford Mondeo he raced to World Touring Car Cup victory in 1994, car owner Scott O’Donnell will be behind the wheel of his other Ford Mondeo Super Tourer, a recently acquired Wolf-built car originally raced in the German (Class 2) Touring Car championship.
Other BMWs from the era will be driven by Nick Young and Simon Crampton from Christchurch, while local (not to mention, Holden) honour will be upheld by Invercargill’s Tony Forde in his 5 litre V8-powerd Walkinshaw Commodore.