Hot August Days

2019 Just Cars Cup @ Winton Festival of Speed

Report by Darren Knight. Pics by Revved Motorsport – Thanks Deb

Cool crisp air infused with the heady aroma of hot oil, hot brakes and hot drivers…. Ancient metal steeds from around the country, polished to a mirror finish, pawing at the bitumen… The annual Winton JUST CARS 50 km Cup did not disappoint.

All Historic Touring Cars at this year’s Winton Festival of Speed bore a discreet black sticker paying respect to fellow racer Dean Neville of Ulladulla NSW, who had died while jogging just three weeks beforehand.

Dean may have been there in spirit but his fearsome black 1969 Camaro was certainly there in the hands of his best mate, former Calder Park Thunderdome star Terry Wyhoon, who put it convincingly on pole, ahead of Club Champion and Sandown JUST CARS Cup winner Darryl Hansen in his ’68 Mustang and former Winton Cup winner Peter McNiven in a newly purchased Mazda RX2, replacing the white Torana he previously drove.

Race 1, the Saturday stretch-out

Hansen took an early lead after Wyhoon went nowhere in a cloud of tyre smoke, thanks to massive wheelspin off the line. But the Safety Car appeared early in the 8-lapper after Vince Parisi shut off his unique Simca Vedette when the throttle stuck wide open on the edge of the sweeper.

When the green flags came out Wyhoon climbed all over the rear of Hansen until a touch entering the old back straight saw the Mustang spin off into the grassy infield and then fire back on.

Several cars were lucky to escape the bottleneck but West Aussie Graeme Woolhouse was not, his Mustang copping a whack in the rear quarter, which forced him out.

Reigning pre `65 Club Champ Andrew Cannon (Mustang) moved up to fourth after the second Safety Car period as Hansen began climbing back up the order after falling right to the back. Nathan Gordon retired his smoking Torana (later traced to a weeping side plate in the 202 Holden six).

Phil Barrow looped his indecently quick FJ Holden whilst avoiding Tony Gilfuis (Capri) who had a brake lock up in the esses, while inside the top ten Harry Draper in the ex-Russell Pilven Datsun 1600 continued to impress, just two weeks after his debut at Sandown.

At the front Wyhoon was well clear, taking an easy win from the rapid Mazda RX-2 of Peter McNiven. Harry Bargwanna (Mustang) greeted the chequer in third but was relegated to fifth after a five second penalty, allowing Cannon on to the podium with Hansen recovering to fourth after an impressive comeback.

Alf Bargwanna (Torana) was next, narrowly in front of the `68 Mustang of Alan McKelvie, a car previously campaigned with success by Australian GT Championship contender Fraser Ross and another bloke who could sort of steer a bit – one Jim Richards…

Race Two, Sunday morning’s 5-lap warmup

Wyhoon made a much neater getaway this time to lead into the esses as Hansen nipped into third behind McNiven. The Mazda was soon despatched as Glenn Miles (Charger) attacked Stephen Pillekers (Torana) and Gilfuis came under fire from McKelvie.

Alf Bargwanna was an early casualty with his Torana stuck in gear (brother Harry did not even get that far after his naughty Mustang refused to start) while Rob Van Stokrom (BMW) battled the Volvo of former Targa star Andy White.

At the front Hansen set fastest lap in his pursuit of leader Wyhoon and closed right up on the black and gold Chevy until he fell victim to Winton’s nasty off-camber left hander that joins the original circuit to the “new” extension. Well clear of McNiven in third Hansen re-joined without dropping a spot as Gilfuis did the same thing shortly after, letting McKelvie through into fifth.

Wyhoon grabbed the win from Hansen and McNiven with Cannon fourth in front of McKelvie, Gilfuis, Gordon, Miles and Sandgroper Stuart Young whose stunning purple Torana took out a well-deserved Repco Best Presented Car Award.

Race Three – the JUST CARS Cup

The 17-lapper was hit with an early Safety Car after Phil Barrow’s Humpy Holden broke a gearbox input shaft on the start line. At the restart five second penalties appeared for Wyhoon, Hansen and Cannon as Woolhouse attacked the latter and grabbed fourth place. A huge dice erupted between Cannon, Gordon and Miles while Woolhouse’s strong run ended with the Mustang stopping – and bringing out the Safety Car again.

Hansen led away at the restart and looked set to really challenge Wyhoon for the Cup until the `Stang suddenly kicked sideways exiting the esses, the whole field zooming past the now stationary Ford pointing the wrong way. Hansen re-joined but soon parked it with little chance of catching up to the front runners.

Nathan Gordon put in the drive of the race with his Torana showing great speed and its driver great determination as he argued with Harry Bargwanna over third place in a fantastic display of close racing, while defending mightily from Glenn Miles’ Charger. Harry won out, with Glenn just pipping Nathan for the best of the rest.

McNiven pushed hard in the rorty Rotary but could not catch Wyhoon who cruised home to take out the JUST CARS Cup. His victory and receipt of the Makulu Vehicle Storage Driver of the Meeting Award wrapped up an emotional weekend for the team who had lost their leader and best mate so very recently. It’s fair to say there were a few damp eyes at the prize giving.