May 29-30 2010
Pics courtesy SDpics.com, Neil Hammond & secphoto. Words Darren Knight
The wet stuff returned to Winton after several successive years of glorious weather. Thankfully snorkels and flippers were not required by those without a garage in the Jurassic-era paddock like they were some time ago, although gumboots would have been handy.
A wet track for practice gave way to slightly drier conditions for racing on Saturday afternoon with the threat of rain prompting some to roll the dice by gridding up with wets under the car.
Lindsay Siebler started his newly acquired ex Greg Malaure Cooper S on pole in race one and led all the way on a damp, greasy track to take a narrow win from Nick Cascone (Cortina) who pushed hard all the way. Phil Reynolds (Mini) bagged third after jumping eventual fourth place finisher Henry Draper early on with Jason Armstrong (Mini) fifth after overcoming Len Read (Mini) who was struggling with a few niggles in the #5. Ian Pringle (Mini) was almost alongside at the finish in seventh with Colin Doolan (Cortina) next then the amazing Imp of Jerry Lenstra who started back in 16th. Paul Zazryn (Mk. II Jag) rounded out the top ten.
Imp power returned for the handicap with Mick Stupka taking the win from Linda Devlin (Mini) who drove an outstanding race to take second. Helen Lindner (Mini) also drove a great race and looked set for a podium until a half spin at the esses put paid to that. Anthony Ramadge was third from fellow Mini men Pete Melick and Rob Ford.
Siebler again got the jump for the final scratch race but was soon caught and passed by a resurgent Draper who went on to add yet another Winton Historic victory to his long and distinguished record. Armstrong set fastest lap on his way to second place in front of Siebler with Cascone fourth. Zazryn was an excellent fifth after pulling off a great move by getting past Reynolds, Ramadge, Read and Pringle in one go as the four Minis argued amongst themselves exiting turn one. Pringle ended up sixth then Read, Ramadge, Reynolds and Darren Burns (Mini).
Pole man Wayne Seabrook (Porsche) hooked up nicely to leap into an early lead while the RX-2s of Jason Humble and Ben Read rocketed off the line on a very cold track under threatening skies. A clash between the Toranas of Gary Edwards and Alf Bargwanna at the sweeper put the former out whilst the latter retired after a few laps with overheating following the crash damage. Rob Burns (Charger) reeled in Humble and moved into second which is where he finished behind the winner Seabrook. Mick Donaher (Camaro) climbed to third after qualifying 11th with Humble fourth then Russell Pilven (Datsun 1600) who had to hang on hard after his wets went squishy after the predicted rain failed to materialise. Read was next then Tony Hubbard (Camaro), Rod Hotchkin (Falcon), Michael Hibbert (Charger) and John Bourke (Torana).
The handicap got off to an unfortunate start and just got worse. The first start was waved off after the Brendan Hare Capri overheated and stalled, a fate that also befell Hubbard after the field formed up again, following the event’s first red flag after the Camaro of Michael Donaher went off at Turn 1. After the lengthy delays a decision was made to start the race in one group instead of at the handicap intervals which would have pushed the whole event even further behind. On the first flying lap following the restart the Chris Ralph BMW was thrown into a series of violent rolls midway through the sweeper, scattering the field and bringing the red flags out again. Humble and several other drivers immediately pulled over and rushed to check on Chris who was shaken but thankfully unharmed save for a suspected cracked rib. The Bimmer was totally destroyed.
A reduced final scratch race saw Burns take a close win over Seabrook with the Charger looking very neat and tidy around the tight confines of the short circuit. Donaher was third in front of Hubbard who pushed extremely hard, setting the fastest lap in his pursuit of his fellow Chev pilot but lost ground after several lurid slides exiting the esses. Hibbert was fifth then the incredible Datto of Pilven followed by Fraser Ross in the ex Drew Marget `68 Mustang in his first visit to Winton in the former Biante Series race winner. Ross started 14th and will be one to watch. Bourke was eighth then Hotchkin and Peter Burchell (Mustang) who just held out Leo Tobin (Mustang) at the finish.