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Get your calendar at the ready — we’ve got the dates for the 2015–’16 Historic Muscle Car series

15 July, 2015

The calendar for the 2015–’16 Historic Muscle Car (HMC) series has been unveiled, and while it may look geared towards those around Auckland, there are talks of extending the love to muscle and classic fans down south.

The season will start on September 12–13 at Hampton Downs Raceway, before heading to Pukekohe Park Raceway on October 3. To kick off 2016, the series will return to Hampton Downs Raceway for the dual-weekend New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing (NZFMR) meeting, being held on January 15–17 and January 22–24, before finally ending on April 2–3 at the Hampton Downs Raceway Legends event, held in conjunction with the Historic Racing Club. Organizers have assured us that this final event will not clash with the 2016 Whangamata Beach Hop event.

The series has made attempts to include Manfeild in this calendar, but this is unlikely to come to fruition until the 2016–’17 season comes around. Expansion to the South Island is also a talking point for the Historic Muscle Cars, but this is only in its early phase of discussion.

The 2015 NZFMR event held in January saw the Historic Muscle Car series produce some exciting racing, with a group of entries from the Australian Trans-Am series travelling from across the ditch to be part of the fun. Aussie Ian Woodward in his signature white Pontiac Firebird proved the man to beat on both weekends, while Kiwis Kevin Gimblett and Roger Williams both appeared strong in their Chev Camaros. The Australians ultimately ended up on top, winning five races to the Kiwi’s three. Check out all the action in the event coverage below:

Several New Zealand entries flew to Australia to compete in some of the Australian Trans-Am events, with Gimblett, Glenn Allingham, Murray Brown and Dale Mathers all producing strong performances. While these four entries will unfortunately have to skip round one in September due to time constraints, they will return for round two and beyond.

Of course, the series isn’t all about the Mustangs and the Camaros. The Historic Saloon Car sub-series will also make a comeback, with the plethora of giant-killing Ford Escorts, Anglias, and Japanese classics sure to spring an occasional surprise on their high-powered V8 brethren. We’re hoping to see Mike Coory’s stunning Datsun 240K GTR replica among those back on track.

For more action, check out our HMC gallery below.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.