Like the last year, the spectacular motor-sporting event, Adelaide Motorsport Festival has taken place in the beautiful city of Adelaide this year as well where more than 30,000 people from Adelaide, the rest of Australia and even all across the globe came to attend it. Competitors from interstate as well as overseas joined the festival this year and tackled both the Victoria Park Sprint and the Shannons Adelaide Rally across the four days of the festival starting from December 7 to December 10.
Event Director Tim Possingham exclaimed that those four days of the festival have been great and it can be comprehended that the event is going from strength to strength. The report also revealed that the festival has gone into overdrive since the organizing team had shifted up last year. It certainly indicates the bright future for this ecstatic event and the team headed by Possingham is working on the betterment of the entire event from now on.
The aim is to make each of the segments of the Motorsport festival, including Adelaide Rally, Victoria Park Sprint and the community based free events bigger and better from the next year. According to Possingham, the event has got the momentum now which is a positive sign as the participation has grown by a significant amount from the last year.
The highlight of 2017 Adelaide Motorsport Festival was once again the gathering of the classic Formula 1 (F1) Machinery which returned to the circuit for two further sessions on the last day (Dec 10 ‘17) of the festival. Tim Slade, who has set the new Sprint circuit lap record of 43.03s on the 3rd day of the festival this year, had to miss the last day’s run due to some other commitments which gave his rivals the opportunity to challenge the record made by Slade.
Cameron Waters, Tim Slade’s Supercars competitor, came the closest to Slade’s record by setting a 43.96 best which was quite commendable. Waters drove the same Footwork Arrows FA15 as Tim Slade, but Slade still holds the Sprint circuit lap record (Slade beat the 2016 record of 43.28s).
The banner year for Todd Hazelwood continued as he was given the opportunity to ride the Benneton B168 for the morning session on the last day of the festival. He was later seen driving the new Super5000 prototype as the event came towards its end.
South African racer Andre Bezeidenhout shipped over his car for the weekend to participate in the category of F1 cars. His car BMS Scuderia Dallara F189 was one of the nine formula 1 cars that participated in the event. He finished the race as the 5th fastest of the Formula 1 group with a best lap of 45.96s at the festival.
Bezeindenhout later mentioned that the whole experience has been amazing. He believes that it was a great opportunity to come over and drive the car at the location. He also added that he has been at a number of such events around the world and this event was truly world class.
Apart from the overseas participants, the Adelaide base driver Brenton Griguol had his first run on the streets of Adelaide with his car Lola Larrousse (Formula 1) from the 1988 season, much like the Dallara which took part in the Australian Grand Prix. He exclaimed that it was a dream come true to bring back the car to the circuit. Interestingly, Griguol lives five minutes from the iconic Victoria Park circuit, Adelaide.
Griguol also mentioned in his statement that the last time the car raced, it was here in 1989. Apart from a single lap at Mallala, this was the first time he had driven the car, and it delivered a faultless performance. He also added that the popularity of the car is so immense that people came up to him with merchandise from an era that cannot be easily found on the internet.
John Bowe, a legendary Australian driver, joined the festival on the last day to drive a couple of classic cars. He got to drive his old companion Dick Johnson Racing Shell Sierra, which he raced with back in the late 1980s, along with the 1974 March Formula 1 Car.
The program of the last day at the festival was quite amazing. The Rally Legends demonstration, with a vast array of iconic rally machinery taking to the sprint circuits, was one of the highlighting elements of the day. Many of them came to the circuit after completing the Shannons Adelaide Rally on the previous evening.
Most of the cars, including some of the feared Group B monsters from the 1980s, at the event, were appreciated by the fans, but it was Irishman Frank Kelly who got the loudest cheer as he slid through the circuit in his Mk 2 Ford Escort. Besides the Adelaide Rally, the contest at the Victoria Park Sprint category was also quite competitive. The Time Attack category was topped by Matt Longhurst with the 45.78s lap.
Longhurst, who drove Nissan GTR, was placed among the top Formula 1 cars on combined times at the end of the event. Trent Shirvington raced even faster than that in his Formula 3 Mygale, gaining the top spot in the Formula Libre class with an astonishing 45.02s lap. The Sports Car class was topped by the AC Cobra driver Lyndon Punshon, where his fellow Adelaidian Chris Smerdon makes the fastest finish in the 5-litre Heritage Touring Cars class in his AU Ford Falcon.
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