2009 State Series Rd3

What a difference a long track makes

Winton Raceway

August 29-30 2009

Pics courtesy David Apostol & Chris Noyes. Words Graham Slater.

Winton Historic run on the traditional short track is a familiar venue to most of our members. The extended long track used for V8s is a whole new ballgame.

The pressure usually applied by the smaller 4-cylinder cars was expected by many to be less of an issue. Factor in that we are now getting to the pointy end of the season and the weekend would be game on from race one.

Unofficial practice on Friday was well supported by those who weren’t familiar with the track, or as in Scott Slater’s case had never seen the venue, short or long. They took full advantage of the warm dry conditions to test their individual limits, ahead of what was predicted to be a weekend of mixed conditions on Saturday.

Angelo Taranto was a major casualty with a king-size hole in the Torana’s block coupled to a cracked cylinder head, ending what was expected to be a great four way duel between the Toranas of Gary Edwards, Leo Tobin, Scott Slater & Angelo Taranto.

Practice and Qualifying
Like the racing that would follow during the weekend practice and the follow-up qualifier would be fast and competitive.

Tony Hubbard topped out the first damp session closely followed by a surprised Winton first-timer Scotty Slater. The weekend long duel between the Mustangs of Andy Clempson and David Moran was flagged when the two pony cars were split by Russell Pilven’s super-quick Datsun 1600. Andy was in third spot and David in fifth.

Chris Ralph was first in the under-2 litre class closely shadowed by John Smallman’s Escort RS1600.

With a dry track for the final qualifying session all stops were out. Mike Miceli had sorted the Falcon GT and was gunning for pole. Gary Edwards’ Torana was back on track and, like Tony Hubbard, was using all his local experience to the maximum.

When the final times were posted Hubbard’s Camaro had pole with an impressive 1:36:7,

Slater’s XU-1 was alongside the red Camaro with a 1:38:7, closely followed by Miceli, Edwards, Darren Collins (Camaro), with Russell Pilven’s Datsun in a fantastic 6th place.

Tobin, Clempson Moran and Smallman rounded out the top ten.
The GT Falcons of Rod Hotchkin and Mat Jager were locked in with Chris Ralph’s BMW and Nick Cascone’s Cortina GT just outside the main group, with Brad Westaway (Charger), Peter Owen (Escort RS1600), Ian Cromarty (Falcon GT) and fast Johnny Luxmoore (Cortina GT) rounding out the field.

Yet another great weekend of Historic Touring car racing was well and truly evident!

Race 1: Opportunity Lost
On paper a win to the fabulous Hubbard Camaro looked a natural result. Miceli and Collins appeared to be the spoilers with the Toranas of Slater, Edwards and Tobin the potential dark horses.

Start lights out and it was Scott Slater who jumped into the lead closely followed by Hubbard, Miceli, Collins and Pilven.

Slater’s lead was short-lived however as the thundering Camaro surged past as the field started down the short-track back straight, leaving Miceli on the Torana’s tail.

A frustrated Edwards sat on the side of the track; the XU-1 had broken an axle on the start line (a blown diff would follow later in the weekend doubling Gary’s misery). Thus ended what would have been a great three way 6 cylinder challenge to the thundering V8s.

Hubbard led down to the start finish line for the first time and was already beginning to pull away from the field. Slater was next then Miceli, Collins, Pilven, Tobin and Smallman. David Moran was first Nb Mustang just ahead of Clempson and Ralph’s BMW.

A misplaced wheel and the resulting costly spin ended Westaway’s chances to move the Charger through the field, while Jager, Cascone, Cromarty, Owen and Luxmoore were all having their own very entertaining battle further down the field.

With Miceli challenging, Slater missed a gearshift as the cars approached the start finish line, Miceli pounced and the Falcon driver set off after the fast-disappearing Hubbard Camaro.

With the result seemingly well in hand Hubbard made a rare mistake entering the last turn onto the main straight. A missed shift took the Camaro way off line and Miceli and Slater where through.

It was the last lap and Hubbard recovered, passed Slater and hooked onto the back of a determined Miceli. The Falcon GT driver just managed to hold on for a win by less than a car length from Hubbard, then Scott Slater a little over a second back in third, then Collins, Pilven, Tobin, Smallman, and elated David Moran in the first Nb Mustang. Andy Clempson and Rod Hotchkin in the XYGT rounded out the top ten.

Results: Race 1. 1st Michael Miceli (Falcon XWGT), 10.03.31. (1:38:35), 2nd Tony Hubbard (Chev Camaro). 10:03:50. (1:37:23*), 3rd Scott Slater (Torana GTR-XU1). 10:04:80. (1:38:93). * Fastest Lap. Tony. Hubbard. (Chev Camaro) 1.37.23

Race 2: Surprise! Surprise!!
Frustrated by a rare mistake which may have cost him a first place result Tony Hubbard was keen to make amends in Sunday’s opening 10 lap race.

Mike Miceli took the start from pole, while Hubbard laid just a little too much rubber down and Scott Slater fired the XU-1 through into second with the Camaros of Hubbard and Collins in close company. Leo Tobin had slipped past Russ Pilven’s Datsun for fifth place, Andy Clempson was close by in sixth spot just clear of David Moran, John Smallman and Rod Hotchkin’s XYGT, Chris Ralph in the BMW 2002 and Mat Jager’s XWGT.

Hubbard was determined to make amends and moved past Slater on the drag up to the second last turn and immediately latched onto the back of a Miceli’s Falcon, but the determined Ford driver wasn’t going to make Hubbard’s charge easy.

Slater was still well clear of Collins, the Camaro driver in turn had nearly three seconds gap back to Tobin, Clempson who had moved past Pilven for fifth, then came Moran, Smallman, Hotchkin and Ralph. Hubbard soon used the Camaro’s handling and power edge to advantage, moving past Miceli just before the end of lap two and began to slowly create a small gap.

Taking full advantage of the battle up front Slater gradually moved up on Miceli and a classic Falcon GT, Torana XU-1 battle was on. The crowd loved it and when the clutch expired in Hubbard’s Camaro on lap six the whole front straight erupted (well got a little noisy anyway!).

With Clempson now out of the picture with a blown radiator hose Pilven was back in the picture giving Tobin in the yellow XU-1 plenty to think about. Moran had moved into a solid sixth place just ahead of the Smallman RS1600, while Hotchkin, Ralph, Cascone Jager and Cromarty were just too far back to catch the leading group.

On lap seven Tobin finally cried enough giving up fourth place to Pilven’s Datsun. Out front the pressure was really on – Slater just kept ranging up on the big Ford while the power of the 351 Cleveland was just holding out. Again a great crowd-pleasing dice.

With two laps to go Scott had a big look up the side of the Falcon at the entry to the sweeper, Michael just held on but the gauntlet had been thrown down.

Getting a good exit onto the front straight on the last lap Slater surprised the Falcon driver drawing alongside the GT as Miceli understeered just enough entering the sweeper, allowing the Torana driver to execute a classic inside pass and driving away to hold on for a great win. A fitting end to what was a good old-style David and Goliath showdown.

Results: 1st. Scott Slater (Torana GTR-XU-1), 16.50.20. (1.38.46), 2nd. Michael Miceli (Falcon XWGTHO), 16.51.06. (1.39.14), 3rd Darren Collins (Chev Camaro), 17.11.91. (1.39.14). * Fastest Lap. Tony Hubbard (Chev Camaro). 1.37.75

Race 3: Chick Chick Boom!!
Tony Hubbard would be a non starter for the six lap final, but Gary Edwards was back in the red XU-1, anxious to make amends. The start for Scott Slater would be critical for although the Torana driver had pole the torque of the Miceli XWGTHO would give the Ford driver a distinct opportunity to grab an early advantage.

The red lights extinguished and the Historic Touring Cars final was on! Miceli just got the jump but it was Slater first into turn one, leading the field up the front straight and into the sweeper for the first time. Collins, Tobin, Moran and Pilven were in close company behind Miceli, but by the time they reached start of the short track back straight Slater had already opened up a two second gap.

Edwards was flying through the field and by lap three had displaced Clempson, then Smallman, Hotchkin and Pilven moving up to sixth place in the process. Chris Ralph was getting plenty of heat from Nick Cascone’s Cortina and Mat Jager’s XWGT, while Westaway, Owen and Cromarty were having fun locked in their own battle further back in the field.

With Miceli under constant pressure from the Collins Camaro, at the head of the field Scott Slater just kept raising the bar and on lap four set the fastest lap of the race, pulling away from the field by more than a second a lap. Pilven regained a spot, knocking Moran back to seventh. Gary Edwards was still on a charge and moved past Leo Tobin on the fifth lap, slotting into fourth place but still too far back to challenge Collins for a podium.

Scott Slater went on to a clear win by a little over ten seconds from the very close dicing duo of Mike Miceli and Darren Collins. Gary Edwards finished a fighting fourth place from Leo Tobin, Russell Pilven, David Moran, and Andy Clempson. John Smallman was the first of the four cylinder cars and a fast-improving Mat Jager.

Overall points score results for the meeting saw Scott Slater take out the first place trophy, Michael Miceli was second overall with a Darren Collins in third place.

Results: 1st Scott Slater (Torana GTR-XU1), 9.58.12. (1.38.46*), 2nd Michael Miceli (Falcon XWGTHO), 10.08.52. (1.39.82), 3rd Darren Collins (Chev Camaro), 10.09.31. (1.39.63). *Fastest Lap: Scott Slater (Torana GTR-XU1) 1.38.46.

First time on the long track for many of our members and all agreed it was lots of fun. Winton staff and officials were helpful and the program flowed well, keeping the small but enthusiastic crowd well entertained. Next Winton Event is the Classic Historic Meeting in October. Could be a good one, to warm up for November Sandown Historic. Next Round Phillip Island September 26 – 27