Group N Historic Touring Cars
Words Darren Knight. Pics Courtesy Phil Wisewould
The Mustangs of pole winner Bill Trengrove and Andrew Cannon engaged in a spirited duel for the lead in the opening race. The `Stangs of Andy Clempson (bent accelerator) and Greg Toepfer (radiator hose) were early retirements as was Geoff Taylor (Mustang) with gear selector issues which also troubled Clempson after he rejoined.
Doug Juniper (EH) and Dean Bryant (ex-Chris Ralph BMW) had a great scrap as did Rob Southouse (48-215) and James Holloway (Mini). Trengrove kept Cannon at bay to take the win with Alan Shearer (Mustang) third.
Race two saw Clempson and Taylor lock horns in a fantastic dice the whole journey as Ian Pringle (Mini) and Justin Brown (BMW) also entertained. Sandown first timer Paul Truelove (Lotus) ended a disappointing weekend with shifter issues again, this time with a borrowed unit after his original shifter failed in race one.
Marty Lambert (Alfa), Mick Stupka (Citroen) and Michael Holloway (Mini annoyingly still equipped with mud flaps) had a great battle as Trengrove took a close win over Cannon who showed fine speed despite a lack of regular racing in recent times.
Shearer took third while Taylor just held out Hollywood after their epic battle for fourth. Trengrove elected to start at the back for the final after discovering a potential electrical issue just before the start but he was soon climbing up the order as Cannon led.
Clempson made the start of his life to run in second early as the Cortinas of Ted Perkins, John Luxmoore and Simon Browning put on a great re-run of those classic Corty battles of the mid `90s when up to a dozen of the Pommy Fords were running around.
Cannon took out his maiden Sandown victory after a great drive with Trengrove second and Clempson third.
Daryl Hansen (`69 Mustang) blasted away from pole with the two `68 Mustangs of Leo Tobin and Fraser Ross (running a 289 after dropping a valve in the 302 at Phillip Island) arguing over second place in the early going. Dylan Innes was stranded on the back straight with a stuck throttle in the Torana which brought out the Safety Car, chewing through a number of laps as the XU-1 was removed.
Hansen just beat Ross for the win in the mad dash to the flag after the yellows were retracted with Tobin third. John Alessi bunkered his HQ Monaro on the last lap while Les Walmsley parked the Charger with engine issues.
Anthony Read (Mazda) made his customary rocket start in race two to mix it with the V8s near the front as Harry Bargwanna (Mustang) slugged it out with Tobin. Ross tried hard but could not catch eventual winner Hansen while Bargs nabbed third. Rob Marshall fell out of the top ten on the last lap after the very neat XY retired.
Tobin made a great start in the final to grab the lead until Hansen blasted past on the back straight. Denis O`Brien retired his awesome Galaxie after showing plenty of pace in the earlier races as Andrew Williams (Torana) moved up to fourth.
The Safety Car was despatched after a big incident on the approach to Dandy Road corner. The Capri of Brendon Hare and the BDA Escorts of Peter Owen and David Noakes were involved with the latter two suffering massive damage forcing them out on the spot while Hare continued.
The clean-up resulted in a one lap sprint to the flag with Hansen making it a clean sweep from Ross. Tobin was third on the road but copped a post race penalty dropping him to fourth behind Bargs. Williams was fifth from Rod Hotchkin (XY) who snuck past Michael Hibbert (Charger) on the last lap after a huge dice.