2016Competition Reports


Best race at Winton Festival of Speed.

Report by Chris Ralph with Darren Knight. Pics by Phil Wisewould www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com

Lunchtime spectators stood three deep to watch the Winton Festival of Speed’s newly introduced 50km Classic – The JUST CARS Cup – in early August as 38 historic touring cars rumbled round on their warm-up lap.

Winner of Saturday’s 8-lap and the morning’s 5-lap sprint, Les Walmsley in his Charger had hard-driving WA’s Darryl Hansen’s Mustang for company on the front row. Behind these two silver grey cars sat the bright yellow Camaro of Angelo Taranto with NSW’s Dean Neville black Camaro alongside. Row three saw the yellow early model Mustang of NSW’s John Harrison next to the white Falcon XYGT of Darren Smith.

Historic touring cars of all shapes, sizes and capacities stretched down the grid, slower Group Na and Nb early cars including Gavin Sheahan’s Volkswagen, the Holden FJ of Eric Spokes, the battling Cortina twins of Simon Browning and Johnny Luxmoore and local Wayne Walters in his Studebaker Lark. Wherever you were, battle was to be done!
The Charger bogged down slightly off the line allowing Hansen to snatch an early lead but once again Walmsley was soon climbing all over the rear of the `68 Ford. Taranto’s great getaway beat Smith into Turn 1 but he then came under attack from the brutish black Camaro of Neville. For the first laps Walmsley pushed the leader hard, after falling second Hansen ran on to soggy infield at the treacherous off-camber Turn 10. By the time he finally got going the Safety Car had been deployed.

At the resumption of hostilities, second-placed Angelo Taranto’s Camaro was pushed by Neville who muscled through and was right on the tail of leader Walmsley with just three laps to go. But following the blow-up of John Clarke’s Mustang, Best-Presented Car winner Tony Pejkovic spun at Turn 1, just as he was being lapped by leader Walmsley. Hot on his heels Neville was forced to avoid, lost precious pace and now had Taranto back on his tail. After Neville’s unforced spin on the last corner, Taranto nabbed second to the flag. Spinning at Turn 1 just after Pejkovic, John Harrison lost fourth to veteran Harry Bargwanna in a similar early Mustang, ahead of Smith’s Falcon.

It was half an hour of red-hot motor racing entertainment, the Winton layout allowing 85% vision of the whole track. Behind the big cars Daniel van Stokrom was the first Torana home, just ahead of WA’s Tony Gilfuis in the Capri V6, the Under 3 Litre Nc Cup winner after Rob Burns’ Alfa and David Brown’s Datsun retired. Nick Cascone’s ultra-rapid Ford Cortina GT took the Under 3 Litre Nb Cup, while the perennial Luxmoore/Browning Cortina twins battle went to ‘Fast Johnny’ by just two seconds.

Les Walmsley’s win made it clean sweep for the new HTCAV Club President. In the Saturday 8-lap afternoon race he’d been pushed to the line by Taranto’s Camaro and Hansen’s Mustang, while in the morning’s 5-lap warm-up he’d screamed home just half a second clear of Hansen, Smith’s Falcon and Taranto’s Camaro.

With all cars now proudly displaying JUST CARS windscreen signage, historic touring fields have been packed for the first three historic race meetings this year. Almost 70 entries have been already received for the grand finale at the 25th Anniversary Sandown Historic on November 4th& 5th – make sure you’re there!