2024Competition ReportsNews

Magic Mallala All Historic

26-28 April 2024

Report by Darren Knight. Pics by John Lemm

No fewer than a dozen JUST CARS Historic Touring competitors made the trek across the border to descend on Mallala Motorsport Park, north of Adelaide. Numerous FaceBook posts and general cajoling from teams that had journeyed over last year had rounded up a great grid. With two practice sessions, qualy and five races it was a busy schedule on a very busy track!

Race 1, early Saturday am, 6 laps

Off the line, pole-winner Andrew Williams (Torana) bogged down badly to lose a few spots as rapid local Adam Smith (Falcon), squeezed on to the grass, got back onto the black stuff to move into third just before the tight T1. But the big XW slowed momentarily shortly after when the clutch pedal went to the floor as the dominator of this event last year, Darren Hossack (Mazda), led the pack.

Williams recovered from his slow start to begin harassing Hossack at the front, further back the Cortinas of Stu Barnes and Don Knight had a close tussle with the Mini of Richard (everyone calls him Harry) Harris and the Datsun of Derek McLaughlin. In his first visit to the track in 26 years Darren Collins (Mustang) had a stonking battle with Josh Axford (BDA Escort) as Justin Elvin proved the quickest of the Minis in tenth.

Mallala first timer Michael Hibbert (“I like this track!”) retired South Australia’s very own Charger with a carbie issue, Phil Barrow in his ridiculously quick FJ Holden lost brakes within sight of the flag, extracting himself on the edge of the sand trap as Hossack just beat home Williams in a thrilling finish. Fellow Vic Peter McNiven (Mazda) was third from Axford, Collins and veteran Tony Hubbard (Camaro).

Race 2, early Saturday pm, 6 laps

Williams made a better getaway as Hossack suddenly slowed out of T2 with clutch dramas – but the two-time National Sports Sedan Champion continued the chase after losing several places. Smith dropped the Falcon into the sand at the entrance to the esses and eventually re-joined well down the order.

Hubbard came in after a plug lead jumped ship as local Historic Open Wheeler and Clubman stalwart Keith Williamson (making his Historic Tourer debut in a Cortina) pursued Racer Industries trackside hero and perennial wise cracker Gordon Cox (Mk.II Cortina). After being caught up here last year in a serious prang not of his own doing Ian Pringle (Mini) was showing all his old speed in front of Kim Shearn (Lotus Cortina).

Williams took the win from McNiven and Hossack followed by Axford and Kirk Davis, making it three Mazdas in the top five.

Race 3, late Saturday, 6 laps

There was early drama for Knight who found himself facing the wrong way on the first corner after local Paul Atkins clipped the massive inside curb and tagged his fellow Cortina runner. McNiven jumped out to an early lead after Williams was slow at the flag drop. Hibbert and Smith had a great battle around the outside at T1 before the latter stopped with the shifter snapping off the Ford’s top loader gearbox. Barnes continued his barn-storming form (sorry…) by holding out newcomer David Cheney (Mini) and Shearn. At the checker Williams led home Hossack and McNiven.

Darren Collins had lost a couple of spots after a brief excursion in the busy Warhorse Mustang, the old warrior also being run in the mixed category sprint events by gun engine builder Mark Johnson.

Race 4, early Sunday am, 8 laps

Hossack got the jump as Collins moved past Axford to grab fourth place while Hibbert parked the Charger with a split oil cooler. McNiven was all over Hossack who then dropped back a couple of places with driveline issues that would subsequently rule him out of the last race.
Atkins retired with a constant miss that had bugged him all weekend as did Elvin – with Davis coming in with gearbox woes it was a rough patch for the locals. Williams bagged another win after getting past McNiven who beat home Collins in third.

Race Five, early Sunday pm, 6 laps

McNiven got the hole shot in the final, but Williams blasted past on the back straight to begin building what would become a race-winning lead. A lack of tyres hampered Hubbard in his pursuit of the lead bunch but he never gave up, the big Chev sideways frequently as Barnes held a narrow margin over the warring Cortina duo of Michael George (Lotus) and Don Knight (GT).

The immaculate Torana of Evan Gobell suffered gearbox dramas, forcing the Gawler native to circulate in third gear as Smith pressured Collins for third place toward race end. Williams took the win and secured his fourth S.A. Historic Touring Car Cup from four attempts with McNiven a strong second in front of Collins.
It was a sensational weekend’s motorsport, made even better by the traditional hospitality from the hosts who can expect even more JUST CARS racers next year. Relatively few issues for the Cortina punters meant they were free to enter Historic Winton where a first-time all-Cortina race has now been fought out on the tight and twisty Northern Victorian circuit. And you can read about that elsewhere in this issue!