2013 State Race Series Round 3. Sandown

The Old Bill belts ’em: trouser check/AOD-9604 tests asked for

July  20-21, 2013

Report by Chris Ralph. Pics courtesy Phil Wisewould.

In a two day race meeting that went from cold, miserable and wet to cold, windy and half sunny, there were some great moments and stand-out performances. Chief among these was “The Old Bill”, Bill Trengrove’s mighty win in the 289 Mustang over the thundering HOs of Rod Hotchkin, Darren Smith and Robert Marshall, during which he broke Jervis Ward’s Nb record by 0.07 secs…

The Sports Sedan Association had also offered Group S a berth but with too few entrants to form a grid three Porsches and two Corvettes were absorbed into our number.


It was queasy-greasy and not-so-easy, as expected in the conditions the Porsches romped away for the first three spots; top HTC qualifiers were Rod ‘Hot Chicken’ Hotchkin, and Robert Marshall in HOs, followed by Perry Spiridis in the 351 Fastback Mustang, the Old Bill, Karl Wittick in his XY Falcon and Paul Dobson making a welcome return in the beautiful sounding 302 Falcon. Stephen Pillekers in the modestly powered but good handling XU1 was next, followed by Leo Tobin with gearbox woes (finished for the weekend) and a slithering “Spud” Smith in the white HO.
Two Minis, Len Read and John Eeles, headed welcome newcomer CAMS’ Cameron Sabine in the ex-Simon Kane BMW 2002, squeaking in ahead of John Smallman in the BDA. Ted Brewster in the Mini was next, Tony Gilfuis from WA in the Capri, Tony Pejkovic’s EH Holden, another newcomer in Robert van Stokrom in my old silver BM and Mick Stupka in the Citroen. Brent Trengrove had a jammed gear selector and didn’t make it out, while Andrew Girvan had a fuel leak up the carbie end and thought discretion was the better part of valour.

Race 1:

Having a grandson’s second birthday to attend I wasn’t able to stay; by all accounts that was a good thing. Len Read said that he couldn’t feel his fingers while he was driving and long afterwards, everybody said what a miserable cold, wet experience it was.

Yet Perry Spiridis was able to split the Porsches to come home second, while fifth on the road was the next HTC car, the well-driven Pillekers XU1 who had surprised the Hot Chicken by taking him on the outside over the hill – the power of good handling! The Chicken finished 2 secs in arrears, ahead of Bill Trengrove and Robert Marshall, with a gap to a lonely John Smallman, then an equally lonely Andrew Girvan from the back of the grid.

A group of cars followed headed by Paul Dobson and… Ted Brewster! The wily 78-year old had gone where others feared to tread (“I couldn’t see, how could Ted?”) to head Len Read, Cameron Sabine, Spud Smith, Tony Gilfuis, Robert (“Wow I actually passed some cars!”) van Stokrom, John Eeles in the Mini, Tony Pejkovic and gearshift wiggling Brent Trengrove and Mick in the Citroen.

Race 2:

Next day, the wetness had gone, replaced by an icy wind. With the race kicking off at 10.14 in the morning there dampness lurked, as expected the Burchartz Carrera Porsche reveled in the conditions from flag to flag.

Behind though, in the real race, it was a fascinating sight as five Ford V8s zoomed around in a flying wedge, less than a second separating them at the checker!  The reason for this was the lead car of Perry Spiridis, with no power steering and a massive bump steer vibration under brakes making it hard to change down, holding them up in the corners as the 1.27sec lap times indicated. Perry realized this and trailered the car right after the race. It was OK in the wet but too hard work in the dry!

Clambering all over Perry were Rod Hotchkin, Spud Smith who was much happier in the dry and the Barwon Timber duo of father and son Bill and Brent Trengrove, the latter from the back of the grid. Another good effort from the back was Andrew Girvan’s whose big horsepower XU1 overtook his nemesis Stephen Pillekers to lob in behind Karl Wittick, further back came John Smallman, Gilfuis, Dobson, Cameron Sabine and Tony Pejkovic. The Mini trio of Read, Brewster and Eeles came next, ahead of Mick Stupka. Van Stokrom (plug lead off) and Marshall did not finish.

Race 3:

This 8-lapper was a top event marked by the heroic win of Bill Trengrove with his fresh Frank Lowndes motor (and all the illegal sports drugs he bought as a job lot from the Essendon Football Club). We always thought it was a bad hip that made him walk that way, perhaps it was the only way to accommodate the giant goolies banging around in his boxers…

In this race the upstart Porsches got their just desserts; it was a delighted Darren “Spud” Smith in the big white Falcon leading the Burchartz Porsche, Hot Chicken and the two Trengroves at the end of Lap One. By the next tour Hot Chicken and Bill Trengrove had passed the Porsche, by Lap 4 Bill was in second and on the 5th with a great exit out of Turn 4 he passed Darren Smith up the back straight to take a lead that would grow to four seconds by the flag. Behind him the Chicken had found a way past Spud in a mighty battle that saw almost identical lap times and only 0.7 seconds separating them at the end.

A bewildered Burchartz followed thereafter, just ahead of Robert Marshall who had crept up the field to catch Brent Trengrove. Andrew Girvan was the next car home ahead of Stephen Pillekers and John Smallman, Gilfuis and Cameron Sabine. Then came the Mini trio of Read, Brewster and Eeles, van Stokrom in the BM and Mick in the Citroen. Pejkovic, Wittick and Dobson retired, the last because of an exploding thermo fan that holed his brand new radiator – very unfortunate.

It was a great way to end an overall good meeting, a field of 21 cars that would have been 22 if Ted Perkins had not run a bearing on the Friday. Roll on the fourth and last meeting in this excellent State Series, at Phillip Island on October 26/27th.