Round Three, Phillip Island
11 – 12 June 2005
Words Graham Slater. Pics courtesy James Smith Photography
The large crowd of spectators were treated to what ended up being a classic return to the memorable giant killing days of the seventies when the V8 might of Ford was challenged by the cheeky 6 cylinder Torana XU1’s of General Motors.
Practice was tight and intense as the potential front running Fords V8’s of Wayne Purdon (Falcon XY GT), the Mustangs of Darren Hill and The 308 Kingswood of Phil Dunkin battled for supremacy. The stress soon showed as Purdon’s GT sheared a pinion shaft, Hill’s Mustang broke a throttle linkage and Trengrove’s similar car retired with a mystery vibration in the front suspension.
This left the green GTR-XU1 Torana of Scott Slater and the rapid twin cam Escort GT1600 of former Formula Ford ace Glenn Hastings to do battle for pole, the Torana driver finally winning the see-saw battle with a 1.55.3 to Hastings 1.55.4.
The strain on the Escort proved it’s downfall as a broken deferential left the Hastings team with a couple of hours solid work rebuilding the differential before running Race 1 on Saturday afternoon.
Blasting of the start from pole Scott Slater quickly set about dictating the pace of the race, leading from the front with a solid 1.53.5 lap on the second pass leaving the hastily repaired Escort of Glenn Hastings, the 5 litre V8 Kingswood of Dunkin (1.57.6), Daniel Myers (2.00.2) in the Datsun 1600, John Bendall’s Lotus Cortina and the ex Miceli championship winning Ford Mustang of Darren Hill (1.56.6) with the task of rising to the challenge if they wanted to wrest the lead from the flying Torana.
With Trengrove in the pits after only one lap and Purdon’s GT still having a new differential fitted the blue oval challenge was clearly left to Hastings the Escort driver endeavouring to extract every last tenth from the little Ford.
The 3.8 litre Jaguar of Gary Burton, Simon Browning’s ex Chris Stillwell Cortina GT, Dean Bryant (Escort GT1300) and Mat Jager (BMW 2002), were locked in their own mid field battle the class once again providing entertainment all the way down the line.
With the Hastings Escort retiring on the second last lap the last blue oval chance went up in smoke. Slater continued to keep the pace up finally putting the Torana over the line some 23 seconds ahead of Dunkin’s V8 Kingswood, Myer’s Datsun 1600 in a solid third, then John Bendall’s Lotus and the luckless Mustang of Darren Hill who had recovered from spectacular spins at Honda then MG corners leaving the immaculate blue Stang way back in fifth spot.
1. Scott. Slater. (Torana GTR-XU1). 7.43.4. (1.53.5*).
2. Phil Dunkin.(Kingswood 308). 8.06.4. (1.57.6).
3. Daniel Myers (Datsun 1600). 8.33.8. (2.00.2)
A solid workout over night on the broken differential saw Wayne Purdon’s immaculate purple 351 GT back in action albeit at the back of the grid due to a non start in the Saturday event. None expected the 580 HP Falcon to remain in that position for long as all the V8 Fords were back in action for the first event Sunday morning the pole sitting Holdens would have to watch their mirrors right from the start.
Both Phil Dunkin and Scott Slater “smoked” off the front line in an endeavour to establish an early break from the expected Ford attack. Dunkin lead by a body length in to Honda corner but a slick inside braking manoeuvre saw Slater dive the Torana inside the Kingwood and begin to build a gap which none of the approaching Fords could seem to match at the time.
Daniel Myers was on the limit keeping the Datsun ahead of Burton’s Jaguar, Bryant’s very rapid Escort GT , then Jager in the BMW and Simon Browning in the Cortina. With Bendall’s Lotus out of the equation early the mid field battles looked wide open.
In spite of some very quick laps from both Purdon’s Falcon GT (1.53.8) and Trengrove’s Mustang (1.54.8), Slater had a little over 5 seconds lead from the pack when as luck would have it on the last lap on the last sweeper onto the main straight and what looked a sure first place the left rear axle sheared off leaving the stricken XU1Torana three wheeling along the grass verge finally grinding to a halt leaving a frustrated driver only to watch as the Purdon Falcon flashed past for a strong win from Trengoves Mustang some 5 seconds in arrears in second place with an elated Phil Dunkin close behind in third.
1. Wayne Purdon. (Falcon XYGT). 11.41.4. (1.53.8)
2. Bill Trengrove. (Mustang) 11.46.04 (1.54.8.)
3. Phil Dunkin. (Kingswood V8) 11.48.18.(1.54.8)
* Fastest Lap. Scott. Slater. 1.53.6
The championship 10 lap event saw a complete turn around to the previous race. This time it was Scott Slater, XU1 and Darren Hill’s Mustang off the rear of the grid and the warp speed XYGT OF Wayne Purdon alongside Trengrove’s red 64 Mustang on the front row. While Myers, Bendall and Bryant looked the top contenders for 4 cylinder honours.
Purdon was away quickly as was Trengrove and Dunkin’s Kingswood but by turn 1 Slater was all over the back of the four door V8 and slipped under at Honda to challenging Trengrove for second place. Second time into Honda and the Torana driver slipped under the second placed Ford and set about attempting to haul in the fired up Falcon. Gary Burton was looking comfortable in 6th place when on the 4th lap an untidy exit to Siberia corner had the red Jaguar off the bitumen and into the embankment causing a great amount of frontal damage to the English classic, but fortunately non to the Gary.
The two lead cars started to haul in the tail end cars as Slater continually drew up to the big Ford in the corners only to see the 351 Cleveland pull away on the long Phillip Island straights. One last attempt first at Honda then Siberia had the green Torana alongside the Falcon but all to no avail as Wayne Purdon gunned the Ford over the finish line for victory number two 1.5 seconds ahead of Scott Slater in second then came Bill Trengrove in third followed by Darren Hill who had at last managed to clear some of the Mustangs nagging weekend faults, Daniel Myers gain in a strong finish to take the 4 cylinder class from John Bendall, Dean Bryant and Simon Browning’s Cortina.
1. Wayne Purdon ( Falcon XYGT). 19.11.42. (1.53.7*).
2. Scott. Slater (Torana GTR-XU1) 19.12.92. (1.53.9)
3. Bill Trengrove (Mustang). 19.45.51. (1.55.1.