Report by Chris Ralph.
The JUST CARS Historic Touring Cars 2022 HTCAV Club Championships have been run and done, with some surprise results in the Top 10. Just like a modern race enduro, the Championships are notoriously difficult to win and often come down to the wire. But before we unpack the year’s topline results, what’s HTCAV Club Championship all about?
First of all, it’s class-based
If it wasn’t, no small car would ever get a look-in. Diversity of size, shape and sound is what makes this immensely popular category so absorbing.
As far from a one-make group as you could get, watching rotaries and small fours towelling up some of the big sixes and V8s guarantees the whole competition a David v Goliath fascination.
Minis monstering Mustangs, for example, has been a popular ‘sport within a sport’ for almost 40 years of historic touring cars. And as the results show, whether you run and earlier pre-65 Nb or later pre-73 Nc car your chances are just as good.
More cars in your class = more points
Zooming around all year by yourself in a rare car can yield some great on-track battles and a good number of points.
But when your class is full of fellow Mustangs, Minis, Toranas or Cortinas that’s when they can really mount up. Add fastest lap for the weekend and don’t break down and you’re looking good.
Speaking of breakdowns, only your best five meetings count. These are 50–60-year-old warriors we’re racing here, got to cut them some slack! This can also mean that a competitor with the most points might lose out against a better five-round score.
So which class has the most cars?
Listed competitors total 111. Almost half come from the biggest capacity classes, with 50 cars. Twenty-two are from Group NcA Over 5100 cc (Camaros and 351 Mustangs), 16 from Group NcB 3501- 5100cc (302, 289 Mustangs and Chargers) and 12 from Group NcC 3001-3500cc (Toranas).
Also with 12 cars was Group NbE (Cortinas) but the plucky little Dagenham Dashers provided four of the Top 10 championship results – a 40% haul.
‘Black Pete’ backs up last year’s win
After last year’s win ‘Black Pete’ Meuleman in his all-black pre-65 Mustang felt he was a lucky rookie who didn’t really deserve the win and wouldn’t wear the number 1. (When asked if it’d be on this year he just chuckled and said “Watch this space…”)
This year speed, reliability and more seat time yielded record total points over eight recorded meetings (10 in all) to win the President’s Cup while a massive ‘Best 5’ made him uncatchable in the championship chase. “Car’s run down, driver and crew worn out, heading for bankruptcy – would we do it again? In a heartbeat!” he laughs.
Standard procedure after every race – on jacks, wheels off, spanner checking, bleeding, adjusting, cleaning everything gave Pete and top crew guys Tony and Ryan a 100% reliability record. “We’re Team OCD here, mate – works for us!”
The podium dudes
On the second step, former HTCAV President and Charger charger Les Walmsley had a great year in his Cortina GT. “I’m over the moon with this little car. Not trying for outrights but just running in your class is massive fun…” But he’s not called the Silver Fox for nuthin’ – Les races the only way he knows how, hard!
Third was another black Mustang, the immaculate ’69 Fastback of Andrew Lane, who won Historic Sandown outright (“I had brakes for the first time all year!”) and scored well in four other rounds. Still humbly claiming to be a learner, Andrew gets excited “being able to race up the front with the big names, to see how they do it!”
So what’s for ’23?
Another major year’s ready to roll. First up, Round 1 of the Victorian State Race Series on Feb 18-19 followed by the biggest meeting of the year, the Phillip Island Classic on March 9-12. Huge entries are already listed for two big JUST CARS grids so don’t miss out! As a bonus, the HTCAV will be celebrating with a big awards night with trophies for all the winners here.
Here’s to another great year of historic touring car racing!
JUST CARS/HTCAV Top Ten for ’22
|Nb Ford Mustang
|Nb Ford Cortina
|Nc '69 Ford Mustang
|Rob van Stokrom
|Nc BMW 2002
|Nc Valiant Charger
|Nc Holden Monaro
|Nb Lotus Cortina
|Nb Ford Cortina
|Nc Mazda RX2
|Peter van Summeren
|Nb Lotus Cortina
Pre-73 Group Nc
Pre-65 Group Nb