Sandown whips the weather man
July 18-19 2009
All pics courtesy David Apostol. Words Graham Slater.
With the rain predicted for the weekend by all the weather experts in the know, the threat of yet another wet race meeting was very much on the cards.
As luck would have it the wind blew and the skies were crisp and clear. Add in a hot mix of quality entries across and once again Historic Touring Cars would give the promoters and spectators alike plenty to smile about.
Practice and Qualifying
Tony Hubbard’s 68 Camaro was on a roll and took the first practice session from Darren Collins 69 model with a 1.22.6. Scott Slater and Gary Edwards led the XU1 quartet with Scott in third position on grid, Andy Clempson was first Mustang next behind Gary Edwards then came Anthony Read’s RX2, Mike Hibbert (Charger), Karl Wittick (Falcon XYGT) with David Moran’s Mustang and Brad Westaway’s Charger rounding out the top ten.
There were some minor changes after the second qualifier but Hubbard and Collins still had the front row. Edwards had dropped a spot to fifth behind Bill Trengrove’s Mustang, Hibbert had elevated to sixth, while Taranto had similarly jumped Clempson and Read for seventh fastest. The sleeper in both sessions was the Mike Miceli XWGT. Sorting carburetor mixtures in both qualifiers, the big red Ford would be the dark horse.
Hubbard laid down the rubber leading narrowly of the line from Slater, Collins and Edwards. Trengrove was first Mustang solid in fifth, followed by Read, Miceli, Hibbert, Taranto, Wittick and Moran. Len Read had made a welcome return in the Cooper S and initially led the four cylinder class from John Smallman’s Escort RS1600 and Chris Ralph’s BMW 2002. As predicted, Miceli was working through the field and was soon into fifth place bearing down on the great battle between the XUIs of Slater and Edwards.
Time ran out however with Hubbard running out a clear winner by eight seconds from Darren Collins with Scotty Slater three seconds adrift in third then a similar gap to Gary Edwards, Mike Miceli and Bill Trengrove. Angelo Taranto recovered to take seventh ahead of Mike Hibbert, with Anthony Read and Karl Wittick rounding out the top ten.
Results: 1st. Tony Hubbard. (Chev Camaro). 8.28.04. (1.22.54), 2nd. Darren Collins. (Chev Camaro). 8.36.01. (1.22.47*), 3rd. Scott Slater. (Torana XU1), 8.39.58. (1.24.78).
* Fastest Lap
Sunday dawned with clear skies and lots of anticipation. Miceli was now on row three for the start, Edwards was next to Slater and Hubbard was aiming for a new track record. Dean Bryant’s team meanwhile had spent an all-night session with race engineer Peter Backhouse rebuilding the Escort’s engine after dropping a valve in Saturday’s event.
Once again, Tony Hubbard’s Camaro just got away first while Scott Slater and Gary Edwards both made great starts. Slater slipped inside of the Collins Camaro at turn one for second closely followed by Edwards, Miceli, Taranto and Trengrove’s rapidly advancing Nb Mustang.
Collins had to use all the Camaro’s grunt to power past Slater on lap two leaving the Torana under intense pressure from a hard charging Miceli in the XWGT.
Andy Clempson was the second placed Nb Mustang but was getting plenty of stick from Hibbert’s magnificent Magenta E49, Anthony Read’s RX2 and Karl Wittick’s now Gold Track Differential equipped GT Falcon.
Miceli slipped by Slater’s XU1 on Sandown’s power hungry back straight, starting what was a great David and Goliath battle ‘til the end of the race. Edwards closed right up in the last two laps just failing in a big passing move on the final lap over the top on the way down to Dandenong Rd corner.
Tony Hubbard took his second well paced win with a fastest lap of 1.21.13. Darren Collins was again second just over three seconds clear of Mike Miceli, very closely followed by the battling XU1 duo of Scott Slater and Gary Edwards.
The Nb Mustangs of Bill Trengrove and Andy Clempson were next followed by Michael Hibbert, Anthony Read, Karl Wittick, David Moran and Jon Pillekers. John Smallman headed the four cylinder class from Chris Ralph, Len Read and Mark Barbour who spent the weekend coming to grips with the new RX2 rotary coupe.
Results: 1st Tony Hubbard. (Chev Camaro), 8.29.24. (1.22.13*), 2nd Darren Collins. (Chev Camaro), 8.37.87. (1.23.41), 3rd Michael Miceli. (Ford XW GTHO), 8.41.04. (1.23.71). * Fastest Lap
Looking at the grid sheet the final was set to be an eight lap screamer and our boys made it happen. Tony Hubbard just got the jump but this time both Mike Miceli and Scott Slater made their great starts stick and slotted into second and third respectively. Bill Trengrove also started well and jumped ahead of both Darren Collins and Gary Edwards.
For nearly three laps the sight of a couple of six cylinder Toranas challenging the mighty V8s was a sight to behold and certainly got the attention of the enthusiastic spectators.
Collins soon took over then began to close on Miceli who was struggling to keep a hold on the powerful Falcon on some of Sandown’s demanding corners.
Collins caught Miceli at turn 4 edging away from the Ford driver up the long back straight. A gearshift miscue at Dandenong Rd on the same lap opened up a successful passing opportunity for Slater to regain third place giving Miceli the task of over hauling the Torana driver yet again.
Trengrove in fifth place was just managing to keep the Mustang ahead of Edwards’ XU1 and Clempson. Anthony Read was continuing to impress, the RX2 punter managing to keep a cool head staying in front of Mike Hibbert, Angelo Taranto, David Moran and the remaining XU1 of Jon Pillekers.
Tony Hubbard took out a well-earned but again none-too-stressed win this time by ten seconds from Darren Collins with Mike Miceli two seconds back in third a little over half a second back to Scotty Slater in the first of the Toranas, then came Gary Edwards, Bill Trengrove, Andy Clempson, Anthony Read, Mike Hibbert and Angelo Taranto in the top ten.
Results: 1st Tony Hubbard. (Chev Camaro). 1.22.54. (1.23.30*), 2nd Darren Collins (Chev Camaro). 11.32.78. (1.23.78), 3rd Michael Miceli. (Falcon XW GTHO). 11.35.93. (1.24.78). *Fastest Lap.
Always a good meeting to compete in, the Australian Sports Sedan Association has done it again. Good mix of categories, throw some car club displays into the mix, races that are just about the right length and we’ll all want to come back next year. Provided we don’t get accidently forgotten of course! Roll on Winton…