WA’s Darryl Hansen takes HTCAV Champs!

History made in 2018 Historic Touring Car Championships

Report by Chris Ralph. Pics by Phil Wisewould

With 24 super-keen interstate competitors it was only a matter of time before the HTCAV’s Championship Cup left the state. WA’s Darryl Hansen in his ’68 Mustang carried it off after a stellar year.

’Twas a truly interstate affair. A man who lives in WA, keeps his car in Wagga, NSW and drove every event in Victoria, has edged out last year’s winner to become Club Champion.

It’s a measure of Darryl Hansen’s enthusiasm that he entered eight meetings to score a record total points haul and win the President’s Cup. But as the Championship is decided on a competitor’s best five results, three of those meetings were for nothing.

Luckily, there were enough left over to stay just eight points ahead of the silver winning machine, defending champ President Les Walmsley in the Charger. Third place on the Club podium went to Michael Miceli in the immaculate blue ’69 Mustang Fastback.

Big cars are booming

In another first, the top three point scorers all came from the same class: 3501-5100cc, populated by 289 and 302 Mustangs, 308 Holden HQs and of course, Valiant Chargers. The big car classes have certainly blossomed, which helps – the more cars in a class the more points are there to be gained.

This and the bigger over 5100cc class (351 Mustangs and Falcons from Ford, 350 Camaros and Monaros from GM) each now have 14 competitors apiece – together they comprise almost 30% of racing stock in the Club.

But little cars can win

The HTCAV Championship is classed based, so often it’s a small car that takes the Cup. Last year a Mini driver was pipped at the post, Under 2-Litre cars (two Datsuns and an Escort) have been frequent winners while late in 2018 it looked as though one of the oldest drivers in the club, “Fast Johnny” Luxmoore in his Cortina GT was in the box seat.

Which is why it’s no surprise to find Fast Johnny in fourth spot this year ahead of Daniel van Stokrom in the Torana and Johnny’s battle partner Simon Browning in another Cortina in sixth.

There’s a certain value in having more than one race car – Bill Trengrove collected enough points from his Group Nb Mustang, Falcon Sprint and EH Holden outings to take 7th, just one point ahead of his fierce rival Andrew Cannon’s ’64 Mustang. And to further demonstrate diversity, 9th went to newcomer Joe Calleja’s Mustang and 10th to Richard Hill’s Mini…

The new Club Champ just loves racing

Darryl Hansen’s dark steel grey Mustang Coupe is looked after by ex-Supercar engine builder and racecar preparer, Craig Smith of Vintage Racing Services in Wagga, in the NSW Riverina. It’s fair to say that there’s no strain on the budget: the car is beautifully presented and meticulous preparation has brought it to the point where mechanical failures are almost unknown.

Which is just the way it should be. If you fly across the continent to the heart of historic touring car racing, why fly back again empty-handed? Darryl has taken home outright wins, fastest laps, class wins and most importantly – the joy of taking part in pitched battles, often sideways in his classic tyre-smoking V8.

And at the end of the day, the special camaraderie that only comes in a club where your fiercest rivals clink stubbies, and tell tall tales about what happened on track.

Champs right through the classes

The grins are just as broad for class winners in the older, slower cars, such as pre-58 Group Na (Gordon Cox, Austin A90 Westminster), the Mini and Cortina crew, Eddie Dobbs in the perennial Holden FE, David Forbes in the XK Falcon or Brock Green in his Dad’s 3.8 Jaguar celebrating a class win after outright victory in Division 2 at Historic Sandown.

Special awards, special stories

And then there are the special awards like Rookie of the Year, awarded to a historic rally guy, Andy White, who’d never raced before but in his Volvo 122S took the fight to established racers in faster cars. Or Danny Myers, a guy with a young family who has to ration racing his 308 Holden HQ, but gets the Encouragement Award after a great drive at Sandown that didn’t quite pay off.

They waited 20 years to get serious

The stories continue through the Historic Touring Car fraternity. Gold sponsor, Melbourne’s Andrew Cannon has raced his 1964 Mustang for 20 years, all the while prepared by the same man – Johnny Walker from Northern Tasmania. This year, after two decades, they turned up the wick, winning the class and the Teams Award, adding to the Best Presented award at Winton and Driver of the Meeting award at Historic Sandown.

In 2019, the victories of 2018 will be forgotten. But the rivalries will remain, sharpened over the off-season with renewed determination…

Make sure you see the JUST CARS Historic Touring Cars return to battle at the most important historic meeting of the year – the Phillip Island Classic, 8- 10th March!