Story and photos by Vince Johnson
From 2014 to 2018 the sprints in the then ‘Adelaide Motorsport Festival’ had been centered on Victoria Park using part of the city’s old Formula 1 track. Government funding cut backs this year prevented its use so The Bend Motorsport Park stepped up to fill the void with a totally new event, ‘The Bend Classic’. The world’s second-longest permanent racetrack, it has a variety of circuits suited to just about every motorsport category. Three of the seven layouts were used: the West (3.4km), East (3.9km) and International (5km) tracks.
Saturday was open for private practice sessions with sprints against the clock on Sunday. Entrants were timed on each of the circuits over a 15-minute format. Categories included 1970’s- 1990’s Touring and Sports Cars, Porsche classics and moderns, GT & Sports cars, Modified Production/TimeAttack, classic open wheel & F1 race cars and others.
First out were a pair of PUMA Clubmans, followed by the Porsches and the Touring and Sports Cars, then the Modified Production/Time Attack entries. In the GT & Sports group, Paul Russo had his Ferrari 360 Challenge up to speed early in the day, but as engine bay temperatures climbed an alternator/battery charging problem led to ABS braking difficulties. Swapping batteries had him back out with the car strong enough to take the class points lead for the day.
The Brabham BT62 came out and this was what many had come to see. This car had won its first-ever race a month ago in England and Aussie Supercars driver Ash Walsh had the chance to make it two from two. Its real competition for the day’s fastest time was in the open wheel & F1 class, where Brenton Ramsay (Reynard 94D) and Paul Faulkner (ex-Alan Jones Williams FW07-04) had traded fast laps through the morning.
When all categories were done, drivers’ best times for each track were combined and the fastest two from each class faced off in a one-lap shootout on the West circuit. Walsh gave the Brabham its first win on home ground with a time of 1min 15.0214s, from Ramsay (1m 18.7s) and Faulkner (1m 19.2s). Kevin Chapley (Porsche GT3 Cup) led the others home with a best lap of 1m 22.7s.
Plans are in hand for a repeat of the Classic in 2020. The Bend Motorsport Park certainly gives drivers plenty to test themselves on, but such is the atmosphere at the city’s tighter Victoria Park, with its memories of the 80’s and 90’s F1 days, that a combination of two weekends, with the Adelaide Rally between them, would surely have pulses racing, as well as the engines.
Full results at