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Hottest ever classic

Phillip Island Classic 7-10 March 2024

Over 2 Litre

Report by Darren Knight. Pics by Daysy Motorpix, Chris Carter &  Phil Wisewould  

Hot fields and hotter weather ensured the 2024 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport, the biggest historic race meeting in the southern hemisphere, would be one to remember. While the recent resurfacing promised a potential fall in lap records the brutal (and very rare) hot northerly wind would have something to say about that. The JUST CARS racers would also be having rolling starts for the first time…

Race 1, Friday afternoon, 4 laps

WA’s Paul Stubber (Camaro) blasted away from pole in the opening race with similarly mounted fellow Sandgroper Aldo De Paoli stuck to his tail. Ian Mewett (Mustang) was right with them until the gearbox cried enough on the second lap. Teammate and 2023 Island Magic winner Craig Allan (Mustang) was charging up the order, having started from the back penalty due to a flag infringement in qualifying.

The Safety Car appeared after the Torana of Reece Moyle spun and stalled, while dad Adrian Moyle (Camaro) came under attack after the race restarted with only one lap to go, from the Toranas of Andrew Williams and Daniel Van Stokrom. Stubber just held out De Paoli and NSW’s son-and-father Jamie Tilley (Mustang) for the win, with Brad Tilley (Mustang) and Moyle next.

Race 2, Saturday morning, 5 laps

There was drama at the start with Ray Hepburn’s Mustang fracturing a brake line heading into T1 and spearing across the track and kissing the Armco side-on, with following cars lucky not to collect the big fastback as it limped back to the pits. Meanwhile Jason Humble (Mazda) harassed the daylights out of Williams in a great battle for sixth as Allan dropped places with clutch issues. =

Graeme Woolhouse led the Nb brigade in his Mustang as the similar machines of Peter Meuleman and Michael Rose ran in close company. On the last tour of the five lapper De Paoli and Jamie Tilley pounced at Southern Loop after Stubber seemed to ease off the gas momentarily and the first three finished in that order. Further back Rob Burns in his still-for-sale Charger just beat home HTCAV Pres Ben Dahlstrom in his Charger.

Race 3, Saturday afternoon, 6 laps

A determined De Paoli wrested the lead from Stubber, who grabbed the hole shot as Adrian Moyle nipped under Mewett, but then retired shortly after with a fuel pump problem. Humble slid the Mazda into the top ten after getting through on Andrew Beard (Camaro) during an entertaining dice, as rear of grid starters Dom Leo (Camaro) and Rob van Stokrom (Mustang) carved their way up to 12th and 15th respectively.

Meuleman spun at the bottom of MG but re-joined as Stubber did everything to find a way past De Paoli in a fantastic battle at the front. De Paoli held on to win with Jamie Tilley, Allan and Brad Tilley next.

Race 4, Sunday afternoon, 10 laps

Tanks were brimmed in preparation for the longest race of all categories for the weekend – the 10-lap final – but it meant nothing for De Paoli after his Camaro suffered a radiator leak on the dummy grid.

Stubber put the hammer down to build a small buffer over Jamie Tilley (dad Brad would sit this one out) as the incredibly rapid Alex Bland knocked on the door of the Top 10 in dad Quentin’s Capri. Moyle retired after the Camaro got too hot as did Doug Westwood, his recently acquired Falcon Sprint still needing sorting after spending several years in storage.

Newcomer Scott Pierce (Mustang) had Rob van Stokrom right on his tail while Humble and Williams traded places regularly again. Stubber built an unassailable lead and went on to take out the Norm Beechey Trophy. Runner-up Tilley never stopped trying, just four seconds adrift at the flag with Allan third after a rather torrid meeting for the Queenslander and Williams’ brave Torana fourth in front of Mewett.

Craig Allan’s fightback from two back row starts to claim two podium places earned him the Makulu Vehicle Services Award Driver of the Meeting.