2014 State Series Round 2

Sandown Raceway

May 17 & 18, 2014

Report by Chris Ralph. Pics courtesy Phil Wisewould (All photos @ www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com)

Basking in the balm of an unseasonable and record-breaking spell of 20+ degrees, unlike the April Island opener, nobody packed any tyres for wet weather. With Winton just the following weekend only Nathan Gordon in the Torana and the crazed editor were keen enough to do the double – the field was very much big car territory. The Brown Datsun, my and Rob van Stokrom’s BMs and the lone Nb entrant of Mike Bugelly’s Alfa (only ever there for the Saturday) being the only cars under two litres, the average lap time over the 14 entrants was high.

Qualifying, Saturday morning.

Darryl Hansen’s Mustang poled comfortable with a 1.22.8, almost a second ahead of Rod Hotchkin’s HO, with a fast Craig Miles in the Charger holding out Angelo Taranto’s Torana, with Karl Wittick’s Falcon and Stephen Pillekers Torana a couple of seconds back. Ian Cromarty’s Falcon and Chris Stern’s Mustang were next just ahead of Daniel van Stokrom’s Torana in his very first race meeting – his 1.27.8 was fantastic result and bodes well for things to come. David Brown’s Datsun split the Daniel’s and Nathan Gordon’s Toranas, with Nathan Gordon, with the editor, Rob van Stokrom and Mike Bugelly rounding out the field.

Race One, Saturday afternoon.

As expected, Hansen bolted away, with the next finishers each four-to-six seconds apart behind him: Rod Hotchkin, Craig Miles, Karl Wittick, then Stephen Pillekers and Chris Stern. Just a second in arrears, Daniel van Stokrom in his first race beat Ian Cromarty by three tenths, with David Brown hot on their heels. The editorial BM was next ahead of Paul Dobson who had started from the rear of the grid but was suffering brake problems, Michael Bugelly and Nathan Gordon who had suffered an off. Angelo Taranto spun a bearing and fixed his weekend; Rob van Stokrom’s brand new engine broke a cam after rockers broke (know the feeling) and caused a Safety Car.

Race Two, Sunday morning.

Just 12 cars faced the starter and predictably, Darryl Hansen took the eight lap race, finishing eight seconds of Rod Hotchkin, with Chris Stern getting his first podium, a further ten seconds back. Karl Wittick and Craig Miles were just half a second apart, the 351 having enough oats to hold out the wailing Charger. Ten seconds back and also a half second apart were Ian Cromarty and Stephen Pillekers, with Paul Dobson and David Brown similarly close. Fourteen seconds back Nathan Gordon and your editor were .3 of a second apart and rounding out the field. While the BM came last, a lap time of 1.31.3 was pointing in the right direction and enough compensation. Daniel van Stokrom had miscalculated his fuel and was a DNF.

Race Three, Sunday afternoon.

Just 12 cars set off at the lights, only eight finished the lonely 10-lapper. The first lap saw leader Darryl Hansen and Paul Dobson head for the pits, lap four and the now better-handling editorial BM pulled off after the accelerator pedal went floppy, and something unknown happened to the van Stokrom Torana on lap seven. Rod Hotchkin inherited a well-deserved win, repeating his Phillip Island feature race victory –