Brothers to honour their uncle at speedfest

Brothers to honour their uncle at speedfest

Lining up on the Teretonga Park grid for the George Begg Classic Speedfest next weekend will be a poignant moment for Invercargill siblings Bradley and Jeremy Dawson.

They will share driving duties of their late uncle Colin Dawson’s 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, and plan to honour his memory by racing in the Historic Muscle Car category.

‘‘That was the class that Colin had the car in for the last meeting he raced in,’’ Bradley said.

His uncle competed in the Teretonga event five days before he died from a sudden heart attack, three years ago.

‘‘There will be a bit of nostalgia out there. It’s nice to carry on the car for him,’’ he added.

While Bradley would battle it out with a field including Ford Mustangs, a Holden Monaro and a Ford Falcon XY GTHO in the Historic Muscle Car races, Jeremy had entered the 6 litre, Chev-engined Camaro in the Classic Saloons class.

The brothers, who had more than 35 years combined racing experience, had often competed against each other but shared a vision for how the Camaro should run.
‘‘It’s pretty much still exactly the way [Colin] had it,’’ Bradley said.

The Dawsons would be part of a largely classic race car-packed programme put together by Invercargill’s Transport World and the Southland Sports Car Club.

The inaugural event will pay tribute to famed Southland engineer George Begg and a golden age in Kiwi motorsport history.

Club race committee chairman Bevan Gerrard said the event would include the long-awaited return of a full field of Formula 5000 cars, which had an obvious crowd appeal.

‘‘They’re big, noisy and fast. Their ground-shaking, five-litre stock block engines, and wings and slicks, make for a wonderful spectacle and we’re incredibly excited that the George Begg Classic Speedfest will deliver this for our guests in 2020,’’ he said.

The raw race cars, which had their New Zealand racing heyday in the early 1970s, would feature several Lolas, while three McRae GM1s, a Leda LT27, two Talons, two McLarens and fittingly the [George] Begg FM4, owned by Feilding driver Tim Rush, would complete the grid.

‘‘Michael Collins, of Prebbleton, and Steve Ross, of Dunedin, in their McRaes, Queenstown-based LeRoy Stevenson in a Leda, and Talon drivers Grant Martin and David Banks will be among the frontrunners on the track,’’ Mr Gerrard said.

There would be eight classes roaring around the country’s southernmost track, which equated to between 120 to 140 drivers competing.

‘‘The entry list we have received in the lead-up to the George Begg Classic Speedfest is, without a doubt, one of the best fields we have been able to attract in a number of years,’’ Mr Gerrard said.

The Historic Touring Cars class had drawn entries from a variety of BMW machinery, a Volvo S40 Super Tourer and a Ford Sierra Cosworth, plus two-time New Zealand V8s Class 2 champion Liam MacDonald, of Invercargill, who would line up in a former Team Kiwi Nissan Primera.

Double World Touring Car Champion Paul Radisch would also make an appearance, driving the World Touring Car Cup-winning 1994 Mondeo.

Other classes on the programme include Classic Saloons, Sports and GT cars, Formula Libre, Vintage Racing Cars and the Club Saloons.

- Catherine Pattison

Photo: Supplied