By Darren Knight. Pics James Smith
Mark Johnson (Porsche) dominated Under 3L with a clean sweep of all three races despite missing qualifying. Darren Collins (Camaro) struggled with a few braking issues and qualified down the back in Over 3L but recovered to take two strong wins on Sunday.
Paul Cruse (Twin Cam Escort) couldn’t quite capitalise on pole position in race one and was jumped by Brendon Hare (Capri) and Bill Cutler (BMW) off the line. Stuart Barnes (Cortina) retired with a suspension issue with the Safety Car despatched as a result. Racing resumed with Helen Lindner spinning her Cooper S thanks to off-centre steering caused by a qualifying incident. Chris Ralph (BMW) was vaulting up the order after qualifying a lowly 15th thanks to only having one third throttle. Cutler and Hare raced side by side entering turn nine before the front straight until Cutler found himself with nowhere to go except the grass, running wide and dropping a couple of places. Ralph relieved Brent Trengrove (EH) of sixth place (around the outside if you don’t mind umpire) on the last lap as Johnson sliced through from the rear of the grid in six laps to win from Hare and Cruse with Cutler recovering to fourth.
Cutler made a great start in race two but Johnson was soon out in front and never headed. Jerry Lenstra parked the Imp with shifter problems while Ian Pringle (Cooper S) retired with gearbox woes. The Corties of Barnes and Doolan had an entertaining duel while George Opocynski (Volvo) broke a rocker. Cruse tagged the fence within sight of a podium on the last lap and Hare came to a halt leaking oil on the final tour also. Cutler took second in front of John Smallman (BDA Escort), Ralph and Russell Pilven (Datsun 1600) in fifth.
Hare did not reappear for the final with Johnson again hitting the toe out in front. Anthony Ramage (Cooper S), Nick Cascone (Cortina) and Trengrove had a great battle for sixth until the latter dropped out with a clutch drama. Cutler bagged another second with Pilven third after a big dice with Ralph in fourth followed by Cruse.
Pole winner Darryl Hansen (Mustang) retired half way round on the opening lap with an oil pick up problem. Andrew Cannon (Mustang) had rocketed off the line to move into third until the Pony Car stuck in second gear. Fellow ‘Stang pilot Andy Clempson also suffered a drive line issue while the brand new Camaro of Daryl Duff came in with a loose bonnet. Jervis Ward (Mustang) took the win not far in front of Brian Potts (Monaro) with Ray Challis (Torana) third. Collins climbed up to fourth by races end.
The Safety Car came out early in race two with Duff stranded out on the circuit. Collins eventually utilised the Chev’s bigger capacity to blow past Ward up the back straight and went on to take his maiden win. Ward was a close second with Potts and Bill Trengrove (Mustang) next in front of newly crowned State Champ Gary Edwards (Torana) who held out the big HQ Monaro of Gary Jackson. Challis faded mid race after the Torana started getting too hot and Hansen had clawed back up to seventh when the 351 Windsor suddenly threw a rod just as Hansen took the chequered flag.
In the final Trengrove and Edwards really went at it hammer and tong while Carol Jackson (Torana) was finally having a good run and found herself immersed in a spirited battle with WA’s Stuart Young in the ex Ian Jones Torana. Paul Dobson (XT GT) somehow managed to keep the marauding Toranas of Challis and Kevin Heffernan behind him as Collins took a comfortable win from Potts and Ward with Trengrove winning the battle for fourth.