Good battles right through the field in all three races
Report by Chris Ralph. Pics courtesy Phil Wisewould and Becky Thompson.
(More pics available from www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com & www.photographybyrebeccathompson.com)
Sandown 17 July.
Darren ‘Spud’ Smith was the big point score hauler from this meeting as he hurled the big Falcon around the track reliably over three races. Darren Collins’ Camaro was the polesitter and a narrow Race 1 winner but a broken ball joint gave him a nasty trouser moment at Turn 1 in R2; after being fixed the car still didn’t feel quite right and was subsequently retired in R3. His position as chief Spud challenger then fell to Les Walmsley in the Charger whose attacking manouvres had the crowd on their toes and Spud’s face glowing red with exertion. It was one of those weekends when the big battles were right at the pointy end.
Seventeen cars rolled out in a greasy qualy, the Collins Camaro at 1.32.32 grabbing pole by less than a thousandth of a second from the Smith Falcon; a mere second back Daniel van Stockrom, now firmly established as a Torana flyer, edged out Bill Trengrove’s Mustang by a second who in turn held a second over Stephen Pillekers and Les Walmsley in the 1.35s. Two seconds back Rob van Stokrom’s BMW was quicker than John Eeles’ Mini and your humble Editor whose 8 thou brake rotor run out meant lock ups in the wet. Tony Gilfuis’ Capri was next ahead of Rod Barrett’s oh-so-neat Lotus Cortina, Len Read’s Mini, Perry Spiridis’ seriously-no-traction Mustang, Eddie Dobb’s FE Holden and Mick Stupka’s seriously-major-understeer Citroen 11D.
Luckily, R1 was dry and eight laps after the lights went out Darren Collins came home five seconds ahead of Darren Smith, with Les Walmsley a second away in third. Twenty seconds later Daniel van Stokrom crossed the line ahead of Stephen Pillekers who was hoping his old engine wouldn’t pop before the upcoming rebuild. The Gilfuis Capri was next, your editor and Rob van Stokrom; only a second behind Rob was a mighty battle: the Read Mini prevailing over the Barrett Lotus by two tenths of a second with the other half of the Mini sandwich, John Eeles less than a second in arrears. John Luxmoore’s Cortina, Eddie Dobbs’ FE and the Stupka Citroen completed the field after Perry Spiridis’ Mustang threw its belts off in Lap 1, a problem that would bedevil it all weekend.
Next morning the same 17 again started an eight-lap tour, lap two saw the Camaro set fastest lap then come off under very heavy braking into Turn 1 (see opening para), the next lap the Spiridis Mustang again spat its belts, and the battle raged between Spud Smith and Les Walmsley to the very end with the Falcon prevailing by two-tenths and the Charger recording a lap time five hundredths faster… Ten seconds back was another tight one between the Trengrove Mustang and van Stokrom Torana with the latter prevailing by two seconds, just three seconds in arrears Nathan Gordon’s Torana edged the Pillekers car by half a second… good racing indeed. The Editor held his usual lonely race to come in 20 seconds later, 20 seconds further back another little scrap ensued between Rob van Stokrom, John Eeles, Len Read and Rob Barrett – only 1.5 second covered this four at the flag.
The final 9-lapper saw a similar result with Spud Smith edging out a five second gap by the flag over Les Walmsley – but it was only eight seconds back to the flying Daniel van Stokrom in third for a proud podium. Steve Pillekers slid home a couple of seconds ahead of Nathan Gordon, 14 seconds ahead of the Editor, the last car on the lead lap. Rob van Stokrom again saw off the challenge from John Eeles by a second with a further six seconds back to Rod Barrett and Len Read, with Fast Johnny just another five seconds adrift and maintaining a three second gap over the Dobbs FE. Mick Stupka rounded off the field in 13th – Spiridis, Gilfuis, Trengrove and Collins were the retirements.
It was a very agreeable race meeting all in all, a respectable field and some good racing. This meeting is usually quite well patronized and has earnt its retention in next year’s simplified calendar.