Charger man Robert Braune again showed why he is probably the fastest non V8 mounted Historic Tourer racer in the country at the moment, lowering the lap record and taking both scratch race victories for the faster group, the 52 entrants having been split after qualifying. Tasmanians dominated the slower group, Warren Slater (ex Darren Pearce Cortina) and Lew Bush (RX – 2) sharing the wins as dry weather prevailed on both days.
Words Darren Knight. Pics courtesy James Smith Photography
Slow Group Race One (5 laps)
Slater started on the front row alone, Chris Ellis having retired after qualifying with a suspected broken crank in the Mini. Slater led Bush and Rod Gelston (EH) into turn one, the latter soon immersed in a huge battle with South Australian Keith Wong (Alfa GTV) Paul Trevethan (Lotus Cortina) began moving up after qualifying way down the order as Dean Bryant showed great speed in the 1300 Escort, circulating in the top ten in front of the warring Cortina duo of S.A.s Stuart Barnes and Victorian Rod Evans.
The Volvo of Vince Harmer and the Mini of Tim Bradley diced hard as first Ted Brewster (Mini) and then Trevethan went through on Gelston while the A.C.T.s David Elphick retired the ex – Wes Anderson Alfa Guilia Ti Super on the last lap. The Porsche of Rory O`Neill took to the grass but rejoined as Bush closed on Slater within sight of the flag but just failed in his bid to beat home the "Violet Crumble". Brewster brought the Cooper S home in third, Trevethan next then Gelston, Wong, Colin Doolan (Cortina), John Battersby (Mini), Bryant and Barnes.
Fast Group Race One (5 laps)
John Mann (Trans Am Mustang) led pole sitter Braune as Alastair MacLean slotted the Torana into third, Mini legend Henry Draper never far away as fellow Brickster Andrew Bergan began to claw back positions after qualifying ninth. Rob Burns (Charger) was another with work in front of him, a broken bonnet pin thwarting his qualifying effort and seeing him start the race right at the tail end of the faster group. The non – progressive grid (another Winton quirk) meant Burns would be pushing you know what all up hill all weekend.
Tino Leos comeback was hampered with unsorted handling issues in the `Nb Mustang, although the 289 did sound very sweet as Braune monstered Mann mercilessly at the front. Suddenly the `Stang slowed, MacLean also going through with a wave from Mann who was feeling off colour in the cock pit. Braune took an untroubled win from MacLean and the limping Mann, Draper just beating home Bergan then Tassies Mick Cross (Torana), Victorian James Frolley (Mustang), local Jody Mason (Charger), Burns and another Apple Islander, Anthony Frost (Torana).
Slow Group Handicap
First across the line Ian Cuss (Triumph 2000) broke his handicap (the brand new engine obviously now nice and run in!), Len Nations Mini being awarded the victory from Tim Bradley and rookie James Holloway, who was impressing all despite the fact his Cooper S sported mud flaps (boot `em James!).
Fast Group Handicap
John Bourkes immaculate EH also went a bit too fast, the win going back to second across the line John Zeigler in his brand new `67 Camaro from Tasmania. Brendon Hare (Capri) and Paul Dobson (XT GT) completed the podium. Paul Zazryns Jag, Doug Growcotts Torana and the Burns Charger came together at the Cleavage, heavy damage resulting to all cars with only the Jag able to front up for race three.
Slow Group Race Three (8 laps)
A slow start from Slater allowed Bush to head the pack, Gelston slotting into second after another blinder off the line while Battersby and Wong soon locked into a big battle for third. Trevethan retired with gearbox issues, soon joined by Evans (holed block). Barnes and Harmer both fell off at Penrite before rejoining as Slater fought back, wresting third from Wong at turn one. Wong then fell off at the end of the back straight, the Lotus of John Bendell also taking to the scenery as Bush built a solid lead.
Slater attacked Gelston and went through, Battersby losing momentum in the process and letting Brewster by. Soon after Teddy almost went over, the Brick up on two wheels in the esses then contacting Gelston on the front straight, the resulting damage to a wheel ending Brewsters race on the last lap. Bush found Slater right on his tail entering the esses for the final time but just hung on at the finish, Gelston took third (completing a Tassie 1-2-3), Battersby next then Bendell, Doolan, Wong, Bryant, Bradley and Peter Cooper (Cortina).
Fast Group Race Three (8 laps)
Mann did not return to race on Sunday, leaving Braune to blast away at the front and lower the lap record on lap two, a set of new Blue Streaks on the rear assisting nicely. MacLean ran in second as Draper and Cross disputed third in spirited fashion just in front of a fast starting Mason. Bergan began attacking the immaculate Mopar with Frolley soon joining in the fun. Cross locked a brake at turn one and lost a couple of spots. The Minis of Rodney Creed and Pete Melick diced hard while Bergan was shown the meat ball for a fuel leak. Justin Brown looked set to retire the BMW with a bad miss until it cleared itself at the last moment as Braune bagged the final race relatively easily from MacLean who had a lonely run into second. Draper took third in front of Frolley and Cross, Frost next then the Datsun 1600 of Russell Pilven (whose midnight rain dances in his jocks failed to open the heavens). The battered Jag of Zazryn was next, then Leo and Phil Reynolds (Mini).