Sandown Wet ‘n Dry
July 24-25 2010
Pics courtesy James Smith‚Ä®Words Darren Knight
With the season now about half way through and a whole bunch of points still up for grabs the prediction of some close racing amongst all the classes was spot on the mark. Throw in a typical Winter Sandown wet-and-dry weather mix into the equation and the recipe for some “hot racing”, is on the boil!
Damp and Dangerous.‚Ä®With the Andrew Williams Torana looking very second-hand after a nasty off track excursion during Friday’s free practice day, for those who had the choice of tyres for the final damp qualifying session would be critical.
Bill Trengrove’s Nb Ford Mustang, Michael Hibbert (Charger E49), Fraser Ross in the ex Drew Marget Mustang and Les Walmsley in the rapid ex- Rob Braune E49 would just manage enough traction to occupy the first two rows of the grid from Club champ Nick Cascone (Cortina) and Chris Ralph who had brought the road rally/race BMW 2002 to fill the void left by the race car he had unfortunately written off at Winton Historic (not a bad effort)!
Leo Tobin in the now absolutely immaculate re-paneled & repainted ex-Darren Pearce Mustang, Rod Hotchkin’s XYGT Falcon, Andrew Williams’ XU1 and Brian Deveson’s Cortina GT closed out the top ten.
Williams Water Jet‚Ä®As the weather looked uglier by the minute those who didn’t have the Dunlop D84 road tyre option were wearing the longest faces on the grid. Bill Trengrove nearly missed the start and pole when a casual trip to the rest room caught Bill out. A hurried jump into the driving suit and the red Mustang and an even redder faced driver only just made the cut. ‚Ä®Mike Hibbert made a brilliant start on the wet surface, as did Andrew Williams who slotted into second from row five. Trengrove was hanging on in third spot. Rod Hotchkin had also started well to hold fourth place from Les Walmsley, who was struggling for grip in fifth place, from Nick Cascone (Cortina), and a revitalized Chris Ralph in seventh. The Mustangs of Leo Tobin, Fraser Ross were close in eighth and ninth respectively. After a disastrous qualifier Gary Edwards (Torana), had blasted through from last place on the grid to take tenth place by the end of lap one. Geoff Taylor (Mustang) Mike Bugelly (Mustang) and Brad Westaway (Charger) led the next group from Brian Deveson (Cortina), Glenn Miles (Charger), “Fast” Johnny Luxmoore, Mike Stupka (Imp) and a very lucky Paul Dobson (XTGT Falcon), who with traction at a premium, had rotated onto the main straight barely missing the Armco giving Mick Stupka an anally tricky moment he was lucky toescape!!
Hibbert was struggling to keep Williams at bay, the bruised but still very fast XU1 pressing home the tenuous but superior grip of the Torana and moving into the lead by mid race.
Les Walmsley had dropped back to seventh place, the silver Charger still bereft of traction, eventually succumbing first to Cascone then Edwards who pushed the red Torana past the Cortina driver to hold fourth place until the finish. An elated Rod Hotchkin took third and his well earned first podium, behind Mike Hibbert in second place. The hard, well-deserved (in the prevailing conditions) win going to Andrew Williams.
Rumor had it there would be several people going home that night to bring back their wets for the following day’s races.
Results: 1st. Andrew Williams. (Torana GTR-XU1), 12.47.12. (1.33.38), 2nd. Michael Hibbert. (Charger E49), 12.50.65. (1.33.69), 3rd. Rodney Hotchkin. (Ford XY GTHO), 13.09.64. (1.34.21). Fastest Lap: Gary Edwards. (Torana GTR-XU1). (1.32.21).
Hey Charger‚Ä®With all the anticipated stress of another wet race day, Sunday dawned dull, cool, but above all, dry.‚Ä®Gary Edwards made a brilliant start in the XU-1, as did Michael Hibbert in the Charger. Andy Williams just held second place and now was facing a full-on challenge from both Edwards and the Charger of Les Walmsley, the ex-Braune Mopar not restricted by the limited grip it suffered during the previous day’s wet race.‚Ä®Rod Hotchkin’s XYGT led the next fiery battle group consisting of the Mustangs of Geoff Taylor, Mike Bugelly and Leo Tobin and Fraser Ross.
Glenn Miles was just outside the top ten followed by Nick Cascone, Paul Dobson’s XTGT Falcon, Steve Pillekers who had raced home on Saturday and with the help of father Jon had rebuilt the Torana’s clutch operating assembly, Brad Westaway (Charger), then came Chris Ralph, the GT Cortinas of Brian Deveson and John Luxmoore with Bill Trengrove and Mick Stupka rounding out the field at the end of the first lap dash.
Walmsley began to assert the E49’s power edge over the Toranas of first, Gary Edwards, then by mid race the Williams XU-1 also succumbed to the silver E49. Les then set about wearing down Michael Hibbert’s immaculate Magenta Charger and with two laps to go Les took a narrow lead.
Both Williams and Edwards hadn’t given up, both dropping into the mid 1.24s on the second last lap. Gary Edwards achieved a personal best with a 1.24.44. Les Walmsley went on to win from Michael Hibbert with Andrew Williams in third just ahead of a fast finishing Gary Edwards.
The mighty Mustang battle was initially resolved with Geoff Taylor getting the edge, over Leo Tobin, Fraser Ross and Mike Bugelly. A last lap surge saw Fraser Ross win the drag to the line, from Taylor, Tobin and Bugelly with Bill Trengrove’s Group Nb Mustang finally getting up to round out one of the best dices in the race.
Rod Hotchkin wasn’t able to repeat his great performance from the previous day but clearly led home the Charger of Glenn Miles, further back was Paul Dobson then came Stephen Pillekers and Brad Westaway. Nick Cascone was the first of the under 2 litre cars from Chris Ralph, John Luxmoore Brain Deveson and Mick Stupka’s ever reliable Hillman Imp.‚Ä®With the first four place getters all within a few tenths on lap times an action packed final was guaranteed.
Results: 1st. Les Walmsley. (Valiant Charger), 8.36.40. (1:23.54*), 2nd. Michael. Hibbert. (Valiant R/T Charger), 8:37.37, 3rd. Andrew Williams. (Torana GTR-XU1), 8:38.72. (1:24.55). * Fastest Lap. Les Walmsley. (Valiant Charger), 1:23.54.
Walmsley Wins a Thriller ‚Ä®With weather conditions now not an issue it was back to the old Sandown formula of cubes versus handling.‚Ä®Leo Tobin had discovered a crack in the sump of the rapid ex-Pearce Mustang. Some very careful welding was the order of the day, in an attempt to ensure Leo could at least make the grid for what was going to be a “cracking” point score ten lapper.
Gary Edwards and Leo Tobin both made a brilliant starts, jumping in behind the Walmsley Charger, with Andrew Williams, Fraser Ross and Michael Hibbert. Bill Trengrove’s Nb Mustang just had the edge over the Mustangs of Geoff Taylor and Mike Bugelly, the entertaining on-going pony car battles a welcome carry-over from the previous race.
Glenn Miles’ Charger had moved in to the top ten, followed by Rod Hotchkin, Steven Pillekers’ XU-1, Brad Westaway and John Alesi’s HQ GTS350 Monaro. Nick Cascone’s Cortina was again first of the four cylinder cars leading the Cortina GTs of Deveson and Luxmoore.
By mid race it was clear that the combination of experience and a strong engine would be hard to upstage, as Les Walmsley resisted all comers. The temporary repair on Tobin’s sump finally called it quits and with three laps to go a reluctant Leo pulled the Mustang into the pits before it deposited a sump load of oil onto the track.
Fraser Ross now had a clear second place, while Andrew Williams had moved ahead of Gary Edwards to take over third spot.
The Wangaratta-based Torana driver hadn’t given up however and produced a creditable personal best lap of 1:24.16. Williams wasn’t about to surrender his third place, and as the race drew to an exciting nose-to-tail finish it was Les Walmsley in his second win for the day, by a little over a tenth of a second from Fraser Ross, with Andrew Williams five seconds back in third, less than a second clear of Gary Edwards.
Michael Hibbert was next followed by Bill Trengrove, Mike Bugelly and Geoff Taylor. Rod Hotchkin and Glenn Miles closed out the top ten, followed by Nick Cascone, Brian Deveson, John Luxmoore, and Mick Stupka.
Results: 1st. Les Walmsley. (Valiant Charger), 14:14.04. (1:23.04*), 2nd. Fraser Ross. (Ford Mustang), 14:20.17. (1:23.59), 3rd. Andrew Williams. (Torana LJXU-1), 14:20.09. (1.23.89). * Fastest Lap. Les Walmsley. (Valiant Charger), 1.23.04.‚Ä®Summary: What! What! What!
What a great race meeting. What about the great dices. What about the energy and excitement our category generated to entertain the spectators.
Sure we were a little down on numbers, twenty entries and around eighteen starters per event but the absolute closeness with clean tight competition proved we can do it without the crash and bang unfortunately present in a couple of other categories.
The Toranas pressing the torque of the Chargers and the classic battle of the Mustangs and GT Falcons for a moment I thought I had slipped through a time warp and was back in the early seventies – Great Stuff!‚Ä®The conduct of the meeting was once a gain a credit to Colin and Gale Smith and the Australian Sports Sedan Association members who helped the meeting to run so well.
The next meeting is of course at Winton (August 28-29) under the stewardship of the AASA and if it’s as good as last year we’re in for another spectacular event.