With a unique mix of cars and stars assembled specifically for this weekend’s meeting, the Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series provided some of the best - and definitely most entertaining – racing on the first day of competition at the 30th Skope Classic at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park on Saturday Feb 01.
Though it was multi-time Bathurst 1000 race winner Steven Richards (Volvo S40 ST) who set the competitive tone with an impressive 1:29.013 lap to claim pole position in the qualifying session in the morning, come the first two series’ races of the meeting he was beaten to the finishing line in both.
In the first it was by second quickest qualifier and fellow front row starter Phil Mauger (Nissan Primera ST) after a thrilling three-way battle with Stu Rogers (Nissan Skyline BN-R32 4WD). In the second it was by Rogers and one of the other guest drivers, Greg Murphy (BMW E30 M3 Gp A).
The two other distinguished Kiwi pro drivers in the field, both driving the very cars that helped them establish their reputations, were Paul Radisich in the Ford Mondeo ST he won the Touring Car World Cup race at Donington Park in the UK in 1994, and Jim Richards in the Group C BMW 635 CSi he raced across the Tasman in period.
All up the 25-strong field was one of the biggest and best yet assembled by the Historic Touring Car (NZ) Association,
The mix of types and era of cars helped contribute to the spectacle, as local ace Stu Rogers proved in both races his Gp A Nissan Skyline BN-R32 4WD replica. After qualifying fourth quickest Rogers used the sheer straight line stonk of the twin turbocharged Nissan to blast his way into an early lead in the first race until he outbarked himself after four heady laps in the lead, allowing both Phil Mauger and Steve Richards through.
Behind Rogers, who recovered quickly to cross the line in third place in the first race, came top local driver Bruce Miles (BMW E36 320i ST), Greg Murphy (driving local car owner Peter Sturgeon’s ex Brancatelli Gp A BMW E30 M3) and Arran Black in fellow Dunedinite Warren Good’s similar era BMW E30 M3.
Scott O’Donnell worked his way up to 7th place in his late model ProDrive-built Ford Mondeo ST ahead of Aucklander Graeme Cameron in his BMW E30 M3 followed by Paul Radisich (in the earlier model Ford Mondeo ST also owed by Scott O’Donnell), and a close-finishing Nigel Arkell in his ex-North American Super Touring Car Championship Honda Accord Super Tourer in 10th place.
Timaru racer Kevin Pateman (driving the Ford Telstar he and his brother built and raced in period and never sold) was again the best of those running NZTC-spec cars in 13th with Jim Richards in the Peter Sturgeon-owned GP C BMW635 CSi 14th.
The entertainment continued in the second race later in the day with Steven Richards, Greg Murphy and Stu Rogers this time disputing the lead until the last alp when Rogers threaded the needle in a daring move to take the lead down the circuit’s long start/finish straight.
This time it was Murphy who managed to fend off Steven Richards to take second place with Bruce Miles 4th, Arron Black 5th, Graeme Cameron 6th, Murray Cleland 7th and Nigel Arkell up to 8th this time, with Phil Mauger credited with 13th after copping a 20-second time penalty for a breaching a start rule.
Archibald’s Historic Touring Car action at the Skope Classic meeting continued on Sunday with two more races, a 6-lapper in the morning and a final 8-lap feature in the afternoon
The 2020 Archibald’s Historic Touring Car Series then concludes at the George Begg Classic Speedfest at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park in a fortnight (the Feb 15-16 weekend).
1. Steven Richards (Volvo S40 ST) 1:29.013
2. Phil Mauger (Nissan Primera ST) 1:30.652
3. Bruce Miles (BMW E36 320i ST) 1:31.947
4. Stu Rogers (Gp A Nissan Skylien BN-R32 rep) 1:32.037
5. Greg Murphy (GpA BMW E30 318i)1:32.455
6. Arron Black (Gp A BMW E30 318i) 1:32.911
7. Graeme Cameron (DTM BMW E30 318i) 1:34.274
8. Steven Kelly (BMW E36 320i ST) 1:34.389
9. Paul Radisich (Ford Mondeo ST) 1:34.541
10. Murray Sinclair (Nissan Primera ST) 1:34.584
11. Murray Cleland (BMW E36 320i ST) 1:34.855
12. Nigel Arkell (Honda Accord ST) 1:34.967
13. Kevin Pateman (NZTC Ford Telstar) 1:36.240
14. Stephen Grellet (Peugeot 406 ST) 1:36.594
15. Jim Richards (Gp C BMW 635i) 1:36.836
16. Scott O'Donnell (Ford Mondeo 5-dr ST) 1:37.498
17. Liam MacDonald (NZTC Nissan Primera) 1:37.639
18. Allan Dippie (Gp A Rover Vitesse 3500) 1:37.662
19. Trevor Crowe (Gp A BMW 635 CSi) 1:40.722
20. Warren Good (BMW E36 318i coupe ST) 1:41.007
21. Dennis Chapman (BMW E36 320i ST) 1:41.102
22. Michael Buist (BMW) 1:42.415
23. Tony Forde (GpA Walinshaw Holden Commodore rep) 1:42.768
24. Austin McKinley (NZGpA Holden Commmodore) 1:44.689
25. David Beattie (NZTC Toyota Corona) 1:45.567
1. Phil Mauger 9:22.949
2. Steven Richards +1.322
3. Stu Rogers +1.792
4. Bruce Miles +2.678
5. Greg Murphy +3.170
6. Arron Black +7.356
7. Scott O'Donnell +12.120
8. Graeme Cameron +12.585
9. Paul Radisich +16.747
10. Nigel Arkell +16.969
11. Murray Cleland +17.190
12. Brett Stevens 26.539
13. Kevin Pateman +28.235
14. Jim Richards +32.98
15. Steven Kelly +33.607
16. Stephen Grellet +34.761
17. Allan Dippie +42.152
18. Dennis Chapman +50.011
19. Liam MacDonald +50.622
20. Trevor Crowe +59.094
21. Warren Good +1:00.448
22. Tony Forde +1:08.739
23. Austin McKinley +1:24.263
24. David Beattie +1:24.344
DNF Michael Buist, Dennis Ham
DNS. Murray Sinclair
1. Stu Rogers 13:54.782
2. Greg Murphy +0.864
3. Steven Richards +0.895
4. Bruce Miles +1.767
5. Arron Black +6.949
6. Graeme Cameron +9.702
7. Murray Cleland +12.562
8. Nigel Arkell +21.190
9. Murray Sinclair +22.164
10. Paul Radisich +23.197
11. Stephen Grellet +25.197
12. Kevin Pateman +31.062
13. Phil Mauger +32.348
14. Brett Stevens +34.906
15. Jim Richards +42.073
16. Allan Dippie +42.104
17. Steven Kelly +43.448
18. Trevor Crowe 1:00.017
19. Warren Good +1:01.646
20. Dennis Chapman +1:08.070
21. Tony Forde +1:09.465
22. David Beattie +1:30.789
23. Austin McKinley +1:31.076
DNF. Liam MacDonald
Pictures: Fast Company/Euan Cameron