Biante Historic Touring Car Series 2006
Round 6 – Bathurst
September 5-7 2006
Words – Darren Knight. Pictures – Marshall Cass
43 cars entered this full points round, all teams keen to be a part of history as this would be the first Bathurst without the presence of the man who made the place his own, Peter Brock.
Making his return to the Mount after missing last years event, Paul Stubber (`69 Camaro) clocked a 2:30.6663 in the first qualifying session, going under the absent Brad Tilleys 2005 pole time of 2:30.8675. He required only three laps in the second session to post a 2:28.2464. Work commitments saw Eddie Albenica ask Kim Jane to steer his Boss Mustang, Jane an impressive second fastest with a 2:32.3819.Jack Elsegood (XY Falcon) was next with a 2:33.2784 in his first outing in the car since last years Bathurst. Steve Travica (Boss Mustang) was sixth fastest in the first session until suffering a problem with a head on the 302 in the second session, ruling him out for the weekend.
Race One (seven laps)
Russell Wright (XY Falcon) pitted after the warm up lap, a faulty coil not allowing the Ford to rev over 5000.A frantic coil swap saw the Queenslander start from pit lane. Jane bogged down off the line as Stubber went into the lead, Elsegood and Gavin Bullas (Boss Mustang) next until Steve Mason (`69 Camaro) rounded both up on the first lap to move into second.
Tony Hubbard (`67 Camaro) had made a great start to be sixth after qualifying tenth while Jane fought back, going around the outside of Elsegood at Murrays to grab third entering the front straight. Stubber initially broke Tilleys 2005 lap record of 2:29.2716 with a 2:29.2029 on the first (standing!) lap. Jane suddenly slowed across the top with a suspected dropped valve, putting the former Thunderdome ace and current V8 ute racer out for the meeting. One of seven West Australians competing, Ron Moller (Torana) blew a head gasket and retired, as did Garry Kirwan (Torana) with a destroyed distributor on the exit of Hell corner, which brought out the Safety Car.
Tony Hunter (`69 Camaro) retired soon after with dizzy trouble also and David Patterson (Torana) holed a block after the green flags came out. Stubber quickly rebuilt his lead as Elsegood and Bullas had a great dice for third, both locking brakes at the Chase with Bullas taking to the grass momentarily to avoid the big Falcon.
Hubbard, Garry Rogers (HQ Monaro) and Alastair MacLean (`68 Camaro) also had a fierce battle over fifth as Matt O`Brien (HQ Monaro) fired up the crowd with some awesome drifts across the top. Joe McGiness (XW Falcon) spun at Forest Elbow, falling from 11th almost to the tail. Michael Terry (Torana) spun and stalled at the end of Conrod Straight, a seized oil pump the cause.
With this the red flag came out after only five full laps, Stubber winning comfortably from Mason and Elsegood, Bullas next then Hubbard, Rogers, MacLean, Les Walmsley (Steve Makarios ownded XY Falcon) and Garry Treloar (`68 Camaro), who had struggled with steering issues. Bathurst rookie Robert Braune (Charger) rounded out the top ten. Fastest lap: Stubber 2:28.1630 (lap five).
Lance Stannard (Mini) suffered a crank seal failure on his spare engine, having already had the engine out after losing gears during qualifying. Will Colton (Mk II Cortina Lotus) and Moller also set about changing engines before race two.
Due to the big Fujitsu Supercars crash on Friday, Saturdays revised programme saw race two moved back (the postponed first Carrera Cup race taking the slot) and race three cancelled altogether.
Race Two (seven laps)
Stannard made the start (as did Colton and Moller) after having the engine out again. Stubber was swamped off the line after momentarily stalling the Camaro. Mason led Elsegood and Bullas before the Boss Mustang went through into second at Griffins. Just behind them Hubbard spun after a clash with Rogers, smoke billowing from the Camaros rear tyres as a frustrated Hubbard rejoined right at the tail of the field. MacLean and Walmsley had rubbed panels up Mountain Straight as Mark Brewster (Torana) slowed with shifter dramas. Wright and Jeremy Mantello (HG Monaro) ran in close company down the front straight as a big battle raged between David Wheatley (Mini), Stuart Barnes (Cortina), Garry Edwards (BMW 2002) and Stannard.
Leading the foursome, Wheatley plunged down into Murrays on lap two, picking up the inside curb and suddenly finding the car flying into an irrevocable position. The Mini rolled over at full speed and crunched into the tyre barrier on the exit of the corner, the drivers side door flying open at one stage as the dust settled and Wheatley found himself upside down but otherwise unharmed.
The red flags immediately came out, word coming through the race would not be restarted and as insufficient laps had been covered, a "no-race" was declared after Mason had been leading Bullas and the recovering Stubber when the red flag came out. Series points would only be taken from the results of race one, leaving Stubber the round winner from Mason and Elsegood.
Next round: Symmons Plains, Tasmania – November 10-12.