2010 State Series Round 1.

Phillip Island in April is always a dicey proposition.

April 17-18

Pics courtesy Pic David Apostol., SDpics.com and Grease Monkey‚Ä®. Words Mat Jager

But Ted Brewster wasn’t running, so the weekend was bathed in glorious sunshine from one end to the other. All but an embittered few (Cortina drivers, for the most part) professed to be quite pleased with this, as outcomes go.‚Ä®‚Ä®


By the sort of unspoken agreement that has enabled enormous herds of Wildebeest to migrate across the veldt for centuries, all drivers exited the pits and drove around in a ruddy great left-hand circle.

Gary Edwards obviously described the smallest of these circles, as he managed to snare P1 in the blistering time of one minute fifty-something. Slightly less blistery yet still quite seared was Andrew Tickner in his tidy HQ Mon-Airo (Maaaate), ensuring a front row of Orrstrayan cars. Ray Challis was next in the no-longer-dunny-coloured Torana, followed by Leaping Leo Tobin in the ex-Pearce Mussie, with which he was steadily coming to terms. Unable to come to terms with it, however, were one or two marshal types who felt that the ‘68’s propensity to wink under brakes constituted an unwelcome advance. The lamp would need to be fixed, or the car sent to counselling. The once more shiny Geoff Taylor ’65 Stang was hot on his heels, and was in turn barely faster than Fraser Ross in the ex-Drew Marget Mustang. The car is turned out as beautifully as ever, but somehow the hair’s just not the same. ‚Ä®‚Ä®

Steve Coad was having a run in a very nicely turned out if disturbingly pink Torana (‘cos we need more of them, eh?) and plonked it in P7, just in front of Steve Pillekers and Mark Brewster, also in bloody Toranas, notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat. Some of my best friends drive Toranas. Also note that the rain god thing obviously skips the odd generation (a bit like Teen Wolf), so Jeebus help us if Mark’s young bloke ever has a steer.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Rounding out the top ten was Bradley Westaway (in his Charger), of whom this reporter has never quite had the courage to ask whether he actually is related to that bloke that used to be in Phoenix.

The Cortina clan were having a tough time of it – Brian’s blue item was a scene of Devo-station, as he had been continually losing pushrods. The plan to leave them in the sump for safe keeping had backfired spectacularly. Quick Nick Cascone was nursing a kidney infection that seemed to have no real cause; the eerily lifelike doll and gross of pins found in Bill Trengrove’s kit recently not believed to be connected. Nick had also not been able to get the damage inflicted to the Corty at the Historic meeting fixed, yet happily had managed to track down some fluffy dice for the transporter’s mirror. So, that was nice. He was also knocking on the door of even two-minute laps, despite lairy mug oversteer which he claimed was entirely accidental.‚Ä®‚Ä®

F.J. Luxmoore had withdrawn altogether due to a recently acquired back injury. According to reports, having gone to the trouble of smuggling the monkey into his hotel room he felt the need to ‘get his money’s worth’ from the subsequent injection…‚Ä®‚Ä®

Also suffering disappointment was birthday boy Mike Miceli. His recently tweaked Falcon was reported to be ‘flying’ – helpful trait in a bird – and he had held real hopes of getting pole. Unfortunately the car suffered terminal double overhead grease nipple failure, so he packed up and went home where he felt his chances would be much better.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Others having a run were Rod Hotchkin and David Moran, mounted Falconally and Mustangish respectively, and Louise Simmonds in (a very trusting partner) Peter Owen’s Esky. No cause for concern, of course – no reverse parking on the race track…‚Ä®‚Ä®‚Ä®Of special note was Graham Slater having his first run in the family XU1 for 15 months (and hopefully the first of many John Farnham-like farewell tours). Proving not only that a racer is a racer but that it rubs off on those around, Graham was having a red hot go; but Carol was reported to be looking for a larger egg-timer to keep track of his laps.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Coxy’s van failed to record a time, and would not be fronting the starter.‚Ä®‚Ä®Pole: Gary Edwards,


Race One‚Ä®

One of the features of a Safeway car park early on a Saturday afternoon, is the display put on by the (low) precision Holden driver’s team, with nineteen aiming for the one spot.‚Ä®‚Ä®

And with so many of them present here, so it was with the start of the first race Рmost everyone took off at about the same time, and the field was eleventy-four wide going into turn one.

As the crowd reappeared like sheepish adolescents out of Southern Loop and heading into Honda for the first time, Challis was leading Tobin and Edwards a merry dance (merriment inferred if not implied), while Tickers in the Mon-Airo (Maaaate) had disappeared from the lead pack and was squiring the Escort at the rear of the field.

Mark Brewster clearly regretted missing out on the last Deni Ute Muster, so took some time out to do a bit of circle work between Honda and Siberia.

Meanwhile Tobin (Mustang) was proving to be stiff opposition Рoh come on, I have to Рfor Edwards (#$%! Torana), while Tickner set about working his way back through the field in the Mon-Airo (Maaaate).

Westaway was busy juggling the Hot Chicken, and was probably wishing he’d grabbed a basket on the way in. ‚Ä®‚Ä®On lap three Edwards took the lead, never to be headed, while Ross worked his way through to third. This was to be short lived however, as Fraser had a really bad hair day; a jammed throttle sent him off at Honda at a brisk rate. Luckily all of the ploughing performed by Mark Brewster pulled him up nicely.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Steve Coad seemed to be having fun, getting tangled up between Geoff Taylor and Leaping Leo Tobin like a hungry moggy. Taylor, not waiting to be asked twice, slid through to third at four.

Brewster and Moran were also arguing over real estate; Mark eventually taking David under brakes into Honda in a slightly disappointing display of straightness.

Staying on the straight and narrow was clearly no issue for Quick Nick Cascone, as he spent the entire race auditioning for Top Gear. Disturbingly, this appeared to have little effect on speed, as he led the Moran Mustang for the first half of the race. Until, that is, he managed to generate the one bit of understeer he’d see all day, and relinquish the spot.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Coad went through on Tobin at an overworked Honda corner, though the ’68 was still good for a nod and a wink.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Stephen Pillekers was having a lonely event, his red rocket running around ten seconds adrift of the Taylor-Coad-Tobin shenanigans. There was little peace for him though, as a rapidly finishing Tickers in the Mon-Airo (Maaaate) was looming loomingly in his mirrors.

After the prescribed eight laps the table cloth was aired, Gary Edwards cruising to a comfortable win from Challis, who in turn was trailing Taylor, Coad, and Leaping Leo Tobin a.k.a. the Treadless Horseman. Pillekers ducked in ahead of Tickner, and Westaway left the Hot Chicken at the checkout after a race-long battle on the see-saws.

Ever the errant teenager, Brewster snuck in next (almost) unnoticed, followed by the still-raging Moran/Cascone battle.

Next in was a valiant Graham Slater in his Holden, who had been energetically plugging away at the rear Рwhich oddly enough is what got F.J. into trouble. The field was rounded out rather nicely by the Escort of Simmonds, who had put together a tidy effort considering it was her first race in quite some time, and first steer of the Esky at all.

While waiting for Ray ‘Schumacher’ Challis to turn up to the podium on a motorbike (podium being a Latin term meaning ‘P.A. that doesn’t work’), a quick peek revealed the Edward’s machine to be equipped with a Spinal Tap tacho – it goes up to eleven. (He’d also managed to set the race’s quickest lap in 1:52.9535.)

‚Ä®‚Ä®The afternoon was squared away nicely by a quick trip through the pits to gather excuses. Whilst viewing the application of a bolt or two of sticking plaster, Quick Nick’s ‘pit boss Rex’ tapped me on the shoulder to bring my attention to the scintillating lap time laid down by his charge. Well I say ‘tapped’, but the truth is he hit me so hard that whoever manages to extract his finger from my spine will be announced the new king of England. He was right, though – Q.N. had dipped under the magic 2:00 barrier, all done with his bum permanently out. Proving once and for all that you really do run faster when streaking.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Races Two and Three‚Ä®

Sadly, this correspondent was elsewhere on the meeting’s second day; however I luckily have what they call ‘The Sight’. Actually, it’s an internet connection and phone. Either way, the races unfolded largely thus:‚Ä®‚Ä®

Race Two began a bit late for Challis, who subsequently toured the lane for a smack, then was sent to the back to think about what he’d done.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Meanwhile Tickner and Ross wasted no time working towards the pointy end of the ship, Tickers climbing to second on the lap of the same name. Ross sought to emulate this effort, but was stymied by Coad. That’s right, ‘stymied’. It is a pink Torana after all. A stout effort and several quick laps in succession saw Ross win this battle, relegating Coad to fourth.‚Ä®‚Ä®

Tobin and Pillekers engaged in a tight struggle for the entire race, Leaping Leo holding the be-sideburned wunderkind out at the flag.

Westaway had gotten away from Hotchkin, who was at any rate otherwise engaged, battling Mark Brewster after another slight whoopsie from the Torana pilot. Once again the good guys won, with the Falcon showing the way.

Cascone and Moran reignited their race 1 stoush, and despite a brief effort early, the Sporty Corty was unable to stay in front. Challis and Slater were green Torana buddies bringing up the rear (hello, F.J.), as both Taylor and Simmonds parked their mounts.

Conditions were clearly quite good, as apart from Edwards setting a race best mark of 1:52.1447, several others set sharp, if not P.B., times. Of particular note were Hotchkin in the mid-55s and Cascone reeling off a 58.5. Where’s Twiggy…‚Ä®‚Ä®

Race three was almost a carbon copy, with Edwards again selecting Ludicrous Speed (he was buckled up, at least) and running away at the front. Coad sought to post a (-sigh-) Torana 1-2, but faded slightly and was bested by Ross. Tobin had a fair run, briefly slotting into third place before finishing the weekend in fourth.

Pillekers, next in, would have been forgiven for thinking everyone else had gone home early; he toured around alone having nobody with whom to play.

More Torries followed in the form of Mark Brewster and a sturdily finishing Graham Slater, who had pulled out all of the stops and was pounding the pedals (Brewster having whizzed through the lane, perhaps being sent to the naughty corner?) Graham did a Vanessa Williams Рhe saved the best for last Рripping out a 1:59 on his last lap to finish a sterling seventh.

Cascone was the last unlapped, followed home by Challis who had again stopped for a breather.

Not finishing were the Moran ‘Stang, Tickner in the HQ (Maaaate), Westaway’s Wog Chariot, and Rod Hot Chicken who was finally picking up some points in the Stationary 5.8 Litre Falcon Championship (currently led by yours truly). Sadly, of all of the cars that blew up, crashed, or for whatever other reason failed to finish over the weekend… not one of them was a Torana.

Driving this point home, Gary Edwards (again) set quickest lap, posting a 1:52.9932 on the way to a weekend of domination from the evil little Holdens. Notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat..

Nostril Damn-Us