Muscles, Cars and Masters
Big Sydney tin-top meet delivers
Report by Darren Knight. Pics courtesy Phil Wisewould. (more pics available from www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com)
Race 1. With a return to the traditional Gardner Circuit for all races Scott Fleming (Lotus Cortina) started from pole but soon found himself under attack from the Mustangs of Brent Trengrove and Greg Toepfer. Andrew Bergan retired his Mini on the second lap after contact with another car around the back of the circuit, the result of some fierce dicing within the top five. David Roberts also parked his Mini shortly after as Alan Boughen (Mercury Comet) made light work of starting down the back, having missed qualifying with rear end issues. The Queenslander didn’t take long to get inside the top ten. At the finish there wasn’t much between the top three with Toepfer taking a narrow win over Trengrove and Fleming with the very neat Falcon Sprint of Martin White fourth in front of Boughen and Bob Munday (Mustang). Justin Elvin was the first Mini home in seventh followed by Matt Windsor (Lotus Cortina), Ben Tebbutt (Mini) who copped a five second penalty post-race and Chris Collett (Mini) rounding out the top ten.
Race 2. Trengrove made a better start to get the jump on Toepfer but it was short-lived as Boughen overhauled both ’Stangs to take the lead. Meanwhile White and Fleming put on a great all-Ford stoush as a fired-up Bergan sliced through the field, having started 31st. Boughen took the win from Trengrove with Toepfer third at the flag, but later demoted to fifth after a five second penalty, possibly a harsh call after Trengrove had made the better start anyway. White’s fourth place became third with Fleming next and Windsor sixth then Tebbutt, Munday, Elvin and Troy Williams (Mustang) in tenth, not far in front of Bergan in 11th.
In Race 3 Boughen led early as Fleming had a real go on the opening lap, pushing the little Lotus up to second at one stage. White then moved into second with the Sprint going like a train until a massive spin exiting turn one dropped him down the order. Amazingly the car did not fire off onto the grass but rotated almost within its own axis and stayed on the black stuff, with everyone avoiding the looping Ford. Bergan and Windsor clashed with the latter retiring shortly after and Bergan losing a few spots in the aftermath. Elvin had a big battle with Collett as Boughen chalked up another win from Fleming who again wrung the neck of the Lotus. Toepfer just took third over Trengrove after a huge race long battle while Munday was fifth in front of Collett followed by the Minis of Bergan, Darren Burnes and Daniel Berry.
Race 4. The final race started in incredible fashion as Toepfer rocketed off the second row and tried to sneak up the inside of race leader Boughen as these two vastly experienced campaigners plunged into turn one for the first time. The two cars banged square-on side by side with Boughen squeezing through to maintain the lead and Toepfer dropping back a few spots. Bergan grabbed the opportunity and eventually moved up into third until a terrible accident involving the ex-Skinny Manton machine brought the Safety Car out. Bergan spun around the back of the circuit only for White to arrive at full noise to see the Mini across the track. The Falcon hit the Mini with huge force right in the middle of the passenger door, with the Sprint’s fibreglass front guard disintegrating on impact. White jumped out seemingly with no injuries but Bergan was trapped inside. Rescue crews sliced off the Minis roof, roll hoop and all, and delicately moved Bergan onto a stretcher to be taken to Hospital. The race finished under the Safety Car with Boughen awarded the win from Fleming and Toepfer.
Three genuine heavy hitting race cars of the Improved Touring era qualified at the head of the field led by Volvo Supercar pilot and MCM regular David Wall (ex-Geohegan Mustang) on pole. However in Race 1 it was John Bowe in the ex Jane HQ Monaro who grabbed an early lead until Wall powered past in the three-time ATCC winner. Bowe then became immersed in a big battle with Brad Tilley (ex-Bob Cox Mustang) and Glenn Seton in the ex-Bryan Thompson ’68 Camaro. Seton pushed the immaculate 427 powered beastie up to second on the last lap as another ex-Supercar driver in Steven Johnson sliced his way up to 10th from the back of the grid. “Junior” had stepped into the XY Falcon after car owner Michael Cannon fell ill and Johnson’s planned TCM appearance had come to a halt on Friday with engine problems. Wall won from Seton and Tilley with Bowe fourth in front of the Falcons of Michael Anderson and Brett Hobson, then John Wright (Torana), Jason Foley (Falcon), Andrew Whiteside (Mustang) and Johnson just bagging tenth over Wayne Rogerson in his rapid RX-3.
Race 2 saw Tilley make a shocker of a start with plumes of tyre smoke erupting around the Mustang’s back wheels as the field engulfed him. Wall settled into the lead as further back Foley and Johnson engaged in a great dice as did the Mazda of Bill Attard and the Mustangs of Whiteside and Leo Tobin. Wall was untroubled for another victory from Seton and Bowe with Tilley recovering from his slow start to grab fourth followed by the ‘big Henrys’ of Anderson, Johnson and Foley. Whiteside was next then Tobin and Attard. In Wall’s hands Big Pete’s former steed was untouchable again in Race 3 while Tilley had a fantastic battle with Bowe. Attard lost ground after running wide at the hairpin as Johnson and Foley again mixed it up, with Anderson also sucked into the fray, the three Falcons looking spectacular as they raced hard in close company. Wall collected another easy win from Seton with Bowe winning the battle for third over a gallant Tilley who squeezed every inch of performance from the little 289 under the Mustang’s bonnet. Anderson beat home Foley for fifth with Whiteside seventh in front of Tobin, Wright, Attard and Johnson.
Race 4. Seton harked back to the Camaro’s drag racing days by spinning the bags to start the final race, allowing Wall to shoot off into the distance unopposed, the Monaro of Bowe a non-starter. Tilley climbed all over Seton until the Safety Car intervened due to Paul Tierney (Torana), and soon after Foley, coming to a stop not far off the racing line. The expired cars were recovered just in time for a one-lap dash to the chequered flag with Wall making it a clean sweep in front of Seton and Tilley followed by Anderson, Whiteside, Wright, Attard, Alan Mayne (Mazda) and the two Chargers of John Burke and Michael Hibbert.