Muscle Car Masters 2012

Sydney Motorsport Park

September 1 & 2

Pics courtesy James Smith. Words Darren Knight

This year’s event at the recently renamed Sydney Motorsport Park would utilise the full 4.5km extended layout. With the great man in attendance, the ARDC took the opportunity to christen it the Brabham Circuit in a move heartily endorsed by one and all.

With the extremely tight nature of the new infield extension, one V8 driver suggested yellow flags be flown at certain corners to help avoid the ridiculous carnage witnessed last year. A small car punter then countered with the mirthful suggestion to fly yellows on the front straight! (obviously to prevent the “small fry” getting blown away by the V8s). Funnily enough the powers that be elected not to take up either suggestion. 

Group Nb

Two of the expected front runners were eliminated in practice when Scott Fleming (Lotus Cortina) had an engine issue and V8 Touring Car fast man Matt Hansen (Mustang) slammed side on into a fence after a caliper seal popped out. Hansen was sore but unscathed while the ex-Andy Clempson Ford will need some serious attention with the complete driver’s side demolished.

Pole man Bill Trengrove (Mustang) soon found Andrew Bergan (Mini) proved to be a more than able replacement for Fleming in flying the small car flag. A huge dice for the lead played out between the pair in Race One while the Mustangs of David Moran and Brent Trengrove had a great battle with the Minis of Darren Burnes and Ben Tebbutt.

Max Ulrich retired his Mustang, as did Tebbutt shortly after, with Bill Trengrove taking the win from Bergan and Greg Toepfer (Mustang).

Race Two saw the same result for the podium with Bergan having no defence to the V8’s speed on the front straight after repeatedly getting in front through the tight infield. A little further back the Minis of Burnes and Chris Collett battled the Mustang of Troy Williams. Driver of the race had to be Ben Wilkinson (EH) who finished ninth from rear of grid. Disc brakes? Nah, don’t need ’em – they only slow you down…

Toepfer retired on the warm up lap in Race Three with Brent Trengrove arguing with David Moran (Mustang) over third place until the latter retired with gear selector issues. Al Boughen (Customline) had a close dice with Lucky Phil Taylor (EH) as Brent’s Dad Bill took another win from Bergan, with Trengrove Junior third after a big tussle with Burnes.

The final saw Wilkinson up into an impressive fifth before retiring as the Minis of David Wheatley and Mal Rutschack nipped at each other all race. Bill T had to work harder for this final win with Bergan again hot on his heels all race and Max Ulrich close behind in third.

Group Nc

The Hansen family fared little better in Nc with Daryl also out early after the rapid ’69 Mustang suffered an engine malady in practice. Fraser Ross (Mustang) secured pole but then did not make it out on time for the start and had to claw his way back up the order after starting right at the tail.

Meanwhile Keven Stoopman (HQ) had absolutely nailed the start and almost shaved the inside wall on the way to passing at least four cars off the line. Tony Hubbard was out early with gear selection issues in the normally ultra reliable Camaro.

Andrew Williams (Torana) and Harry Bargwanna (Mustang) had a big battle as Jason Humble (Mazda) built a handy lead. Stoopman had a great dice with fellow Kingswood steerer Toepfer and the Charger of Michael Hibbert until the former suffered yet another frustrating engine drama.

Michael Anderson relinquished third place after spinning his Falcon on a dead Torana’s oil, Ross also falling out of the top ten after hitting the same slick. Humble won from Bargwanna and Williams.

Victorian Williams won the next two races with Bargwanna and Humble each bagging a second and a third. Marc Ducquet (Galaxie) was back on his usual rubber (and still spectacularly sideways) after trying out the prospective control Dunlop during free practice. A proper back-to-back test is planned in the coming months.

Ducquet had a great stoush with Rod Hotchkin (Falcon) in Race Three until the big XY looped at the final corner. After climbing up the order all weekend Ross finally hit the front in race four before Williams moved back in front with the Mustang retiring trailing smoke.

Humble, Daniel Kennedy (Falcon) and Hibbert had a massive battle behind eventual winner Williams with the Charger bagging second from Kennedy who just edged out Humble for third right on the line.

With all the hand wringing over last years panel damage it was an incredibly improved performance from all involved and should be a permanent return to a driving standard more in line with the ethos of the category – to have fun and a bloody laugh. There ain’t no sheep stations involved here folks!

Darren Knight