Great weather, great racing!
33rd Historic Winton
May 30-31 2009
Pics David Apostol & sdpics.com. Words Darren Knight
The days of working on cars knee deep in water at Historic Winton seemed like eons ago as sunny skies prevailed once again over the weekend. Tony Hubbard (Camaro) and Jervis Ward (Mustang) took out the spoils in the two scratch races for Nc and Nb respectively but were pushed all the way by Anthony Read (RX-2) and Henry Draper (Mini). Some drivers do not list the tight original circuit amongst their favourites but it remains one of the few places a quick small car can have a genuine chance against the V8s. From a spectator view the rural track provides fantastic action every year.
Qualifying demonstrated how close the racing would be with Draper, Ward and Len Read (Mini) all posting 1:10s although Read would be a non starter. Draper led early in race one while John Luxmoore (Cortina) succumbed to axle bearing dramas. Team Trengrove (Bill and Brent) were also both out early as Nick Cascone dropped a couple of spots after making a fantastic start.
Anthony Ramadge (Mini) relieved David Moran (Mustang) of fifth place after a great dice while Ward grabbed the lead and went on to take a narrow win from Draper and the battling Mini duo of Lindsay Seibler and Ian Pringle. Ramadge, Moran and Andy Clempson (Mustang) were next, with Paul Zazryn (Jag Mk.II) almost alongside then Tasmanian James Willson (Mini) and Paul Trevethan (Lotus Cortina) completing the top ten.
Luxmoore had a great run in the handicap to win comfortably from Robert Ford (Mini) and Clempson. The almost complete lack of panel damage unfortunately ended in the final scratch race when Colin Doolan (Cortina) found himself turned around in the esses leaving Tony Pekovic (EH) nowhere to go except solidly into the front quarter panel of the stranded small Ford.
After the safety car period Ward seemed to be fired up with the `Stangs tyres nicely warmed, aggressively grabbing the lead despite a fantastic display from Draper who entered the esses at warp factor nine lap after lap. Brakes – who needs `em? Clempson also was in the groove and having to work hard to keep out the stunning Jag of Zazryn.
Ward won in the rapidly encroaching darkness by less than half a second from Draper then Seibler who again just beat Pringle. Clempson was next then Zazryn, Ramadge, Moran, Pete Melick (Mini) and Cascone.
The Charger attack was blunted somewhat when Gary O`Brien (in Rob Burns machine) suffered an engine bay fire during qualifying. With peeling paint on the bonnet and a deathly black looking Hemi still functioning underneath the Burns team (Burns Unit?) would nevertheless grid up for race one. Pole man Hubbard beat fellow front rower Michael Hibbert (Charger) off the line. Read swooped on the Mopars slow start to nip up into second and began to harass Hubbard.
Brendan Hare (Capri) came under attack from Spencer Rice (Alfa) and James Frolley (Mustang) while the XR Falcon of Ian Cromarty was running nicely and giving its pilot something to smile about. Ian lost his Kinglake home on Black Saturday but miraculously the big white Henry survived the inferno.
Hubbard won the opener from Read and Hibbert with Rice next then Russell Pilven (Datsun 1600), Frolley, Hare, Chris Ralph (BMW 2002), O`Brien and Brett Smith (Torana).
The Nc handicap was held Sunday morning before the Nb boys turn and although a warm up lap was thankfully allowed for the first time the starting procedure may have confused some drivers.
As usual a marshal started each group with the wave of a flag at ground level but this year did not walk up to each group before dropping the flag. John Smallman (Escort) and Brett Smith set off at the flag drop meant for the group ahead of them and were excluded from the results post race. Leo Tobin (Torana) was awarded the win after catching Michael Holloway (Mini) on the last lap with Anthony Read third after having the Mazda almost at right angles through the corners.
Read grabbed the lead in the final scratch race until Hubbard blasted past on the back straight. Hibbert began to apply some pressure in third as Smallman and Cromarty became embroiled in a great dice. Hare came under a sustained attack from Ralph whose BMWs boot lid popped up mid race (the 2002 pretending to be a CSL “Batmobile” perhaps?).
Ralph went through after Hare fell off exiting turn two and dropped way down the order. Rice snaffled places and looked strong before going off at Penrite and retiring shortly after. Hubbard took the win from Read and Hibbert with Frolley next then Pilven, O`Brien, Ralph, Tobin, Smith and Ian Watt (Triumph).