2004 Bathurst

Biante Model Cars Historic Touring Car Trophy

Report by Darren Knight Pic Marshall Cass

Although not part of the Series, Biante Model Cars pledged their support for this special event, a near capacity entry of 53 cars hitting the Mountain early on Thursday morning for free practice, the session being stopped not long after commencement with the Trevor Hutchins HQ Monaro stuck in gear. Only a handful of laps were completed with most drivers taking it relatively easy to re- acquaint themselves with the most famous piece of public road in the country.

Qualifying a few hours later saw times drop considerably, Paul Stubber going under his own lap record with a 2:29.6747 in the `69 Camaro. Greg Toepfer hurled the HQ Kingswood around to be next fastest (2:36.5139) then Barbagallo Biante Round winner and three time winner here last year, Steve Mason in the `68 Camaro (2:37.0840). Fellow Camaro pilot Garry Treloar ended up fourth fastest (2:37.3791) but had a moment right at the end of the session, getting a wheel up onto the ripple strip on the exit of Murrays corner (entering pit straight), spinning and hitting the wall. `64 Mustang mounted Jervis Ward (2:40.8698) was next, then the Torana of Tasmanian John Douglas (2:41.1119), Hutchins (2:41.7227), the XY GTHO of Jason Foley (2:42.6620) and the Toranas of John Harrison (2:43.0940) and Bruce Dummet (2:43.1464) completing the top ten.

The ex Tino Leo HQ Monaro of Jim Hunter struggled with distributor problems, the similar machine of Paul Axiak struck down with gearbox issues while the ACTs Chris Stewart had a lucky escape, blowing a tyre in the Kingswood and ending up in the sand at Caltex Chase.

Race One (eight laps)
Douglas would not line up after discovering a bent pushrod but aimed to grid up for race two later the next day. When the lights went out Toepfer absolutely bolted to lead into Hell Corner from Mason and Stubber. The 308 had to secede to the power of the 350 Chevs as Mason and Stubber blasted past, Toepfer settling into third in front of Hutchins and Treloar, who had made the start after some deft panel work by his crew (the NRMA boys had been busy reviving very bent Porsches), which included the use of  some chains and probably the worlds most powerful Porta Power- Garrys 7.2L F350 tow vehicle! Closing in fast was the HQ Monaro of Tony Hubbard, the big yellow coupe on the charge after starting down in 14th while further back Rod Evans tried an outside move on the FJ of  Phil Barrow, entering the Dipper too hot and taking to the grass, the Cortina clashing with the Torana of Anthony Frost, who retired soon after.

Stubber grabbed the lead as Ward recovered early lost ground, going under Dummet at Murrays to move into the top ten as Hunter retired on pit straight, an errant wire from a fuel pump switch later found to be the cause. Treloar went past Hutchins to grab fourth as the two immaculate XW GTHOs of Joe McInnes and Frazer Roberts crept up the order. Glen Featherstone (Torana) and James Frolley (`64 Mustang) diced hard, joined soon by the Torana of Scott Slater as Barrow parked the very neat FJ with rocker troubles, joining the Nc Mini of Matt McGrath that had succumbed to idler bearing failure.

Mason began to feel more comfortable, setting lap times almost five seconds quicker than his qualifying times as Stubbers ultra tall gearing also assisted Mason in keeping the pressure on, the two Camaros power sliding onto pit straight in unison as a huge battle developed for fourth between Hutchins and Hubbard, the big Munros swapping places two or three times a lap in a thrilling display as John Lustri (XY GTHO) and Chris Wilson (Torana) climbed the order after problems in qualifying. Paul Attard and Warren Bossie (Toranas) raced hard while Brad Harris retired the EH with possible bearing failure, the Justin Brown BMW suffering a similar fate. The Minis of David Wheatley and Charles Gruber engaged in a fantastic battle with the Cortina of Don Knight, each driver leading the trio at some stage as Stewart retired the HQ with no brakes, soon joined by Harrison who broke a rocker. Chasing the Torana of Queenslander David Patterson, the Alfa Giulia Super Ti of  Wes Anderson was running solidly after a difficult last couple of Biante Rounds, though a strange feeling in the front end was later discovered to be a loose brake disc.

On lap six the fierce contest for fourth ended in dramatic fashion when Hubbard tried an inside run on Hutchins entering Griffins Bend, at the top of Mountain Straight. Hubbard crossed the ripple strip and shot into the wall before landing upside down, Hutchins ending up on two wheels against the fence. The red flags came out to call the race, both drivers uninjured but serious damage to the Hubbard Holden ending the Victorians meeting. Stubber was awarded the win from Mason, with Toepfer third after a great drive. Treloar was next, then Hutchins and Hubbard (results called at the previous full lap), then Foley, Ward, McInnes and Dummet. Fastest lap: Stubber (2:32.1395 on lap three).

Race Two (eight laps)
Hutchins returned, having sustained minimal damage whilst McGrath and Brown had installed spare engines, the second time the BMW crew had removed the donk with the pressure plate having required replacement after practice. All the hard work unfortunately came to nothing when the Bimmer slowed on the out lap, a dislodged plug lead later deemed the cause. Mason led Stubber and Toepfer early as Treloar rounded up Hutchins and then Toepfer to make it a Camaro train at the front. Ron Shepherd diced with Dummet as Evans went through on the street driven (just like the old days) Alfa of Greg Lamond. Stubber and Mason traded the lead, again enthralling the crowd with smoke pouring off the rear tyres at full noise through the Chase as Chris Stewart pushed the HQ up into 18th from the rear of the grid.

The Barrow FJ was having a great battle with the Mini of McGrath and the Torana of Queenslander Teresa Campbell, the Humpy getting down to a 3:03.2988 (!) at one stage. Frolley retired as Treloar challenged Mason for second and Roberts pitted after a black flag for a dragging exhaust. Mason suddenly exited after running wide at Murrays, going through the small sand trap and hitting the tyres, the Chevs nose bent out of shape. The ex Heath/ Parkinson Falcon Rallye Sprint of South Aussie Roger Oliver engaged in a close tussle with the Toranas of Michael Terry and Johnny Gorman, as did the Mustang of David Frost and the brand new Torana of Queenslander Gary Michael.

Wheatley broke a lower ball joint and lost a wheel while Toepfer disappeared from fourth place after suffering clutch woes. Hunters dizzy dramas continued, joining the Torana of Robert Rampton on the sidelines while Paul Truelove (Lotus Cortina) holed a block and Rod Brincat (pushrod Cortina) holed an extractor. Lustri pushed the XY into eighth from 17th before not one but two plug leads jumped ship. Knight and Evans again battled hard while the Toranas of Featherstone retired with low oil pressure, Attard with a damaged radiator and Ian Stewart with an oil leak.

Ward began to close on fifth placed Foley, the `Stang closing up across the top and into the corners while the Falcon pulled away on the straights, the two Fords putting on a great duel as Hutchins held down third a little further up the road. Bye had a moment in the XY GTHO at Skyline but survived as fellow Taswegian Douglas went through on the `69 Camaro of Gold Coaster Grant Wilson at Murrays, to move into 12th from the rear of the field. Almost immediately the Torana slowed with no drive, Wilson doing a good job to avoid the stricken XU-1 as it came to a halt on pit straight. Harrison got up to 13th also from the rear of grid as Doug Growcott retired with a shattered flywheel and bell housing in the Torana.

The BMW of Bill Cutler went through on Bossie on the last lap after a close battle as Stubber took the win a little over five seconds in front of Treloar with Hutchins third. Foley just beat home Ward after an exciting run to the flag while Dummet bagged sixth after McInnes ran wide at the Chase on the last lap. Closing in fast on the XW at the end was Slater in eighth, having started 15th   with Shepherd and Luca beating home Chris Stewart who started off the back after race ones DNF. Fastest lap: Stubber (2:29.5846 set on lap two- new lap record).

Race Three (eight laps)
Mason would not grid up, questions over potential damage to the front end ruling him out, as did Hunters frustrating distributor problems. Stubber made a very slow start, Treloar and Hutchins swamping him to lead up Mountain Straight. Harrison received a tap up at McPhillamy and rotated in the middle of the track, keeping the anchors locked on and not hitting the wall, the field amazingly also not making contact as the following drivers did an excellent job of avoiding the stationary XU-1. Dummet and Chris Stewart went side by side through the Chase as Stubber went under Foley at Murrays to move into third at the end of lap one. Barrow retired as Douglas once again fought his way from the rear of the grid while Stubber became locked into a great battle with Treloar having displaced Hutchins for second. Awesome power slides again became the order of the day as McInnes came under pressure from the warring pair of Stewart and Dummet until the latter retired on pit straight with a rod out the side of the block.

Foley and Ward again became locked into an engrossing battle while further back Evans had made a good start to get clear of the Harris, Campbell and Knight battle that would rage for most of the race. Slater and Luca again mixed it up as did Oliver, Lustri and Douglas. Shepherd fell from ninth with a blown clutch and Frolley broke an alternator, throwing the fan belt and getting the 289 too hot. Terry and Axiak retired, as did Brown with the BMW running hot and Gorman a blown clutch – thankfully not the gearbox which had been sportingly loaned by fellow Torana steerer Bossie the day before. Lustri grazed the wall across the top, the guard rubbing eventually deflating a rear tyre and forcing his retirement.

Roberts went through on Ian Stewart to move the big XW into 13th after being 30th on lap one while Ians son Chris retired with a fuel issue in the HQ. Attard found a way past Paul Zazryns MII Jag on the last lap whilst Treloar valiantly harassed Stubber at the front, the `69 still having the legs down Conrod and again proving unbeatable as the West Australian took the final win and a clean sweep for the meeting. Hutchins again took an impressive third, well clear of Foley who was pushed hard all the way by Ward in fifth. McInnes was next, then Slater, Luca, Harrison and Douglas. Fastest lap: Stubber (2:32.9755 on lap two).

Trophies for Nb went to (1st) Jervis Ward, (2nd) Roger Oliver, (3rd) Paul Zazryn .

Nc (1st) Paul Stubber, (2nd) Garry Treloar, (3rd) Trevor Hutchins.