6-8 August 2022
Report by Darren Knight. Pics by Phil Wisewould
After spending two years in Covid pit lane the VHRR’s long track Winton Festival of Speed meeting was back at full strength with 300 entries and headlining the now traditional 50km JUST CARS Cup for Historic Touring Cars. The traditional enduro did not disappoint, with just .5 sec between first and second after 17 torrid laps.
Qualifying – Saturday morning
Twenty-six cars would slip and slide for four laps in the damp and greasy conditions. A welcome sight for Mopar fans saw three Chargers line up for the first time in a while, to mix it with eight Mustangs and single Monaro and Camaro entries at the ‘big cube’ end of the field.
Regular long-track visitor Jason Humble led a five-strong Mazda charge and duly stuck his rapid RX-2 on pole in damp and greasy conditions, ahead of the similar car of former Supercar steerer and Sports Sedan Champion Darren Hossack, Jamie Tilley’s Mustang and Glenn Miles’ Charger. Les Walmsley impressed in the lone Cortina slotting into fifth, while further back the amazing Phil Barrow also put the family FJ Holden midfield ahead of more fancied machinery.
Race One – Saturday afternoon
Under drier conditions Hossack jumped Humble off the line and led into turn one while James McNiven fell off through the esses and rotated his Mazda on the very wet grass before re-joining. A gearbox input shaft breakage for Phil Barrow’s FJ brought out the Safety Car with Humble snatching the lead after the resumption of racing.
McNiven again took to the grass beyond the esses as son Peter McNiven found his own RX-2 stranded on the edge of the sweeper with an issue, necessitating another Safety Car. Winton first timer Jamie Tilley (Mustang) took little time finding his groove and moved into third where he remained at the flag as Humble took the win in front of Hossack. Veteran Tony Hubbard (Camaro) was fourth while Glenn Miles (Charger) just held out Ben Wilkinson (Mustang) for fifth.
Race Two – The JUST CARS Cup early Sunday afternoon
This was the big one. As has become tradition at this meeting the Historic Touring Cars would contest a comparative marathon as spectators flocked to the fences – 17 laps and 50 kms around a tough track to take home the JUST CARS Cup and class trophies.
Humble jumped away well to lead Tilley into the esses as Hossack lost a few spots off the line with too much wheel spin. The Mustangs of Dom Leo and Andrew Lane swapped places as Hossack nipped under Wilkinson to climb back up to fourth. Rob Burns (Charger) rounded up the similar machine of Miles before later retiring the famous number 70 Hemi Orange machine.
Hubbard had his hands full keeping the nimble Mazda of Hossack at bay with a great battle for third lasting several laps until Hubbard waved Hossack through. The Mazda pilot had posted fastest lap in his pursuit of Hubbard but it all came to naught with the car stuck in gear not long after moving into third.
The Rob Burns-owned Alfa of Adriano Di Mauro sliced its way from the back up the order to 11th with molto brio to earn him the Makulu Driver of the Meeting before overheating problems slowed him. But fellow rear-of-grid starter Peter McNiven’s similar great drive encountered no such problems and would eventually bear fruit. Meanwhile Ben Dahlstrom (Charger) battled Leo and Lane began to put serious pressure on Hubbard for third place.
At the front, Humble had his eyes glued to the mirror as Tilley harassed the Mazda all around the 3.0km layout. The Mustang launched over the curbs as Jamie tried to find a way past, finally sneaking through under brakes at the esses but then running a little wide on exit to allow Humble to close back up again.
Suddenly the two front runners found the limping Di Mauro in their path mid battle, Humble seizing on the opportunity to snatch back the lead with two laps to go. Despite a valiant fight back within sight of the flag Tilley would have to settle for second behind Humble with Hubbard just holding onto third in front of a fast finishing Lane.
Peter McNiven was an excellent fifth followed by the `69 fastback Mustang of Queenslander Ian Mewett. Ben Wilkinson’s Mustang followed with the two Chargers of Ben Dahlstrom and Glenn Miles in hot pursuit, with Dom Leo rounding out the top ten.
Jason Humble had come so close in previous years and in this year’s determined attempt he finally got his hands on the trophy. Jamie Tilley won first pre-65 car home, with Rob van Stokrom winning the Under 2 Litre category. Glenn Miles’ Charger scored Best Presented.
Fair to say that driving home in the pouring rain all would agree that it was a fabulous weekend of motor sport, with the annual enduro again one of the highlights of the racing year. Next up for the JUST CARS racers is Historic Sandown in early November. Bring it on!