Round Two, Sandown
16 – 17 April
Words Darren Knight. Pics courtesy BonnyArt www.racephotos.com.au
Magic sunny conditions prevailed over a weekend that saw Ford power dominate all three races. The newly re-liveried XY GTHO of Wayne Purdon beat Darren Hill (`64 Nc Mustang) by the barest of margins to win the opening ten lapper after pole man Michael Bugelly retired with gearbox linkage problems. Hill went on to win the remaining races but not before some great dicing right through the twenty car field entertained the spectators.
Buges grabbed his first ever pole with a 1:25.3900, Purdon next then Tino Leo making a much- welcomed return in his `64 Nb Mustang. The similar machine of Bill Trengrove was next, then Mark Barbour (Torana), Phil Dunkin (Kingswood), Doug Growcott (Torana), Glen Hastings (BDA Escort), James Frolley (Mustang) and Mark Brewster (Torana).
Race One (ten laps)
Hill would start from the rear after missing qualifying while Dunkin would not line up after a last minute gearbox issue in the pits. Purdon led from Bugelly early as Leo ran in third pursued by Trengrove, the Nb Mustang battle only going to get better with Club Champ Jervis Ward still to return after an off season engine rebuild. Bugelly retired from second with aforementioned `box dramas and then Leo soon after with engine problems in the brand new/"old" Mustang (if that makes any sense). Meanwhile a huge battle was raging for fourth between the Toranas of Barbour, Growcott and Brewster, the trio swapping places almost every lap as Hill menaced Purdon within sight of the flag.
At the finish Purdon just held on to win by less than half a second, Hill second in his first race since the Sandown 500 meeting in 2003. Growcott won the Torana battle from Barbour and Brewster, the latter two very close with Hastings, Paul Dobson (XT GT), Frolley and Daniel Myers (Datsun 1600) rounding out the top ten.
Race Two (six laps)
The BA Falcon Phantom Purple coloured XY of Purdon hooked up nicely to lead Hill as Trengrove was sluggish off the line, recovering to slot into third while Brewsters race ended in the sand at turn one after an accelerator clip broke. Bugelly and Dunkin began climbing through the order after starting from the rear although Dunkins charge ended with another gearbox failure on lap three. Robert Hares V6 Capri had its mirrors full of Myers Datto as Hill pressured Purdon, eventually moving into the lead as Johnny Luxmoore (Cortina) found a way past Dean Bryants Escort after an entertaining battle.
Hastings showed impressive speed, again leading Paul Dobson who was plagued with brake issues as Hill took the win from Purdon, Trengrove third in front of a fast closing Bugelly. Growcott was next, then Barbour, Hastings, Dobson, Hare and Myers. Fastest lap: Hill 1:25. 2741.
Race Three (13 laps)
Hill bogged right down, losing several spots and allowing Purdon to lead the field away, Trengrove next then Barbour who had rocketed off the line to lead Growcott. John Bendall (Lotus Cortina) began regaining lost ground after initially chasing the pushrod Corty of Rod Evans on the opening lap. Hill was soon up into third as Bugelly began to apply huge pressure to Purdon at the front, challenging on the back straight at least twice in a great contest. Mick Stupka (Imp) again had the Cooper S of Rohan Stone right on his engine cover, the Brick eventually getting past as Hill now came into the equation, getting through on Bugelly cresting the rise on the back straight then rushing up the inside of Purdon into Dandenong Road to move into the lead.
Purdon trimmed the grass entering the main straight with Bugelly now applying the blow torch. Suddenly the two Fords went missing, a touch at turn two sending Purdon around and out of the race while Bugelly lost several places before rejoining. The Safety Car came out as the XY was retrieved, Simon Browning looping the Cortina under yellow flags whilst entering the main straight (ala Todd Kelly at the AGP), in doing so also ensuring plenty of stirring to come his way at the next Club Meeting!
Hill blasted away at the restart as Trengrove and Barbour found themselves mixed up with some lapped traffic. Dobson had meanwhile retired as Bryant went through on Luxmoore and Browning chased the lone BMW of Mark Schatz, who along with fellow relative newcomer Myers again impressed with another drama – free performance. The battle for third really intensified on the last lap. Barbour holding out Growcott who himself was being attacked by Brewster. Hill bagged the win from Trengrove and Barbour, Growcott running wide on the last lap and just beating home Brewster with Bugelly sixth. Hastings, Myers, Hare and Bendell completed the top ten. Fastest lap: Hill (1:25.2438).