Words Aimee Armstrong
Images Domenic Ciccio
I remember waking up to distant sounds of my dad in the garage. I’d jump out of bed and race outside to see what he was working on. Growing up in the 80’s in Australia it should be no surprise that most of the time it was his XY Falcon. An icon of Australian Muscle and, for me, a car that invokes images of Street Machine Magazine, 70’s muscle and my childhood. It marked the beginning of my education in what we now call the classics. The electric blue paintwork and ground shaking rumble of the engine was more than enough to get me hooked.
Fast Forward 20 years later and the sound of an engine bursting to life still makes my heart skip a beat, and this experience is no exception. I’m at The Tasman Trophy at Sydney Motorsport Park, an event held by The Historic Sports & Racing Car Association (HSRCA) of NSW.
The Tasman Trophy is a revival of the Tasman Series event that ran between 1964 & 1975 that not only attracted the top European single seater drivers but also encouraged major race car manufacturers to prepare cars specifically for the series. The Tasman Trophy has been running since 2006 and now has a range of categories that include Formula Junior, Sports Racing, and Production Sports cars.
Historic Racing is one of Motorsports best kept secrets. If you’re lucky enough to see a HSRCA event you’ll see why. It’s not just about the cars, it’s the people behind them. Everyone has a great story to tell. From the guy who blew a gasket the week before and worked tirelessly to get his car race ready to the family that travelled from far and wide just to make the meeting. There is an energy here that connects everyone, a shared passion for the classics.
The event is big, the pit garages are double parked plus a decent number of temporary garages set up behind pit lane just to fit everyone in.
I’m overwhelmed by how welcoming the historic racing community is. The accessibility here is unreal, anyone can get up close and see what’s going on in the garages. The owners / drivers want you to have a good look at their pride and joy, and they aren’t afraid to talk to you about what sets it apart from the rest (even if you don’t know exactly what they are on about).
I managed to catch up with long time HSRCA member, Daniel Bando, a man whose passion is glaringly obvious. Not only is he a HSRCA committee member but he also spent the weekend catching up with as many members and competitors as possible, giving his family and friends a full tour of the pits and the cars in it. Not to mention racing a Type 51 Lotus with his dad John! For him “what sets the Tasman Trophy event apart from other HSRCA meetings is that people make a big effort to attend / compete. So you get to see cars and owners that may not always participate”.
Cars were classed into 16 different groups but it was Group N that attracted me to the event and included the cars that I’m most familiar with. The track was packed with a variety of cars from the 60’s and 70’s sporting their vibrant colour schemes and singing their tunes. I was like a kid in a toy shop.
The racing was good old fashion fun. There was a solid battle at the rear of the pack between the little guys, two minis, a capri and an escort. It was exhilaration watching the Mk1 Escort rocket out of the corners, it’s front wheel lifting as the driver stomped on the accelerator. At times it even caught up with the big v8s playing a bit of cat and mouse. Spotting a classic out on the street is always a treat but seeing some vintage metal tearing up the track is next level stuff.
As I walked through pitlane I saw a large transporter with ‘Macri Family Racing’ along the side. Parked out the front was a Chevrolet Camaro waiting to be driven by Martin Macri and an EH Holden ready to be piloted by his nephew, Adrian Macri. I was struck by how awesome it would be to race with your family. I started thinking about my dad and his skills in the trade. Most of his long terms friends, including my uncle, share the automotive passion and have skills in in several corners of the industry. Get these guys in one garage and you have the perfect pit crew.
I left the event full of excitement and with only one question on my mind, I wonder if dad wants to get the Falcon out?