Cootha Classic 2015

News

WORDS & PHOTOS BEN DILLON

The rebooted Cootha Classic hillclimb returned for 2015 to Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane after a five-year hiatus with a new look and more than 90 drivers keen to shoot up the sweeping roads to the summit in the shadow of the Brisbane CBD skyline.

In the modified class Michael McMillan topped the order with a 46.32 sec. run in his Mitsubishi Evo IX with fast, consistent, seemingly unspectacular runs putting him nearly two seconds clear of Piers Harrex’s shouty E30 BMW in second (48.21sec.), with Paul Tredenick third in his Lotus Seven replica PRB (48.77sec.) in a very competitive class that included a Porsche 911, Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R and Lamborghini Gallardo.

Dean Tighe, son of

camshaft guru, the late Ivan Tighe, claimed victory in the open-wheeler class with a 42.11sec. run in his Dallara Judd, pipping Warwick Hutchinson’s Van Dieman RF92 by slightly more than one-tenth (42.23sec.) with Vikki Paxton in her Dallara F3 claiming third with a 48.47sec. run.

The street class was hotly contested with most of the top ten posting times in the 50-52sec. range all day, but Paul Buccini grabbed the win during the top five shoot out with a 49.65sec. lap with Nev Scott (50.09sec.) in a Subaru WRX STI and Jason Keen WRX STI and Jason Keen in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI(50.28) both nipping at Buccini’s heels.

Just to prove there is more than a little punch left in ‘old cars’, the historic class saw Roy Davis’ angry-sounding Triumph GT6 take the honours with a modernfrightening time of 49.98sec. with Jim Hodgson’s Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 posting a 53.56sec. lap and David Lawrence’s MGB Roadster in third with a 53.98sec. run in a class with a fantastic array of cars from James Driscoll’s D-type Jag, Ian Bone’s Torana A9X Brocky replica and the amazing pair of BMW E9 3.0 coupes of Scott Robinson and Robert Battle in Alexander Calder ‘art car’ and Giantes liveries respectively.

The unlimited class was dominated on and off the track by Stewart Reid’s Audi Quattro S1, the former Group B rally car posting fastest class time in only the second heat and generating as many slack-jaw moments blasting up the hill, anti-lag cracking, as it did sitting silently in the pits after each storming run. Reid’s best of 46.17sec. was challenged by Stephen Faulks’ Subaru pes b t WRX STI who clocked a 46.48sec. run and Robert Gooley in a Mitsubishi Evo VI with a 46.99, with Faulks and Gooley also posting their podium-snatching times on their second run.

With the event capped off to the strains of Ash Grunwald live on stage, event organiser James Payne said he hoped that the event would return next year and sees it as a kind of Australian Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“Other classics are nothing like what we’re doing – we’re bringing a sense of refinement and old world charm to the sport of motor racing,” James said.

Let’s hope it’s not another five- year wait to see a Group B Audi Quattro roar up Mt Coot-tha again.