2015 Phillip Island Classic

Ten Terrific Races

Under 3 Litre

After a delayed start a problem with the start lights saw mass confusion in the opening race. Some competitors rocketed away while others remained completely stationary. Ted Perkins (Lotus Cortina) and Steve Shepard (RX2) received damage after several cars bounced off each other mid grid. After a clean up the race was re-started but more drama followed as pole man Kirk Davis (RX2) and fellow front rower Quentin Bland (Capri) both fell victim to the damp racing surface, looping at Doohan Corner.

Both re-joined way down the order as a fierce battle developed at the front between Graham Russell (Mini), Wayne Rogerson (RX2) and Rob Burns (Alfa). The standout performances came from the RX2s of Anthony Read and Phil Woodbury, who qualified 24th and 29th respectively after issues in the tight 13 minute qualifying session. Woodbury ran down Rogerson to take a narrow win with Burns third and Read fourth after setting the fastest lap on the final circuit. The Minis of Russell and David Wheatley were next in front of the Capri of Tony Gilfuis. Kirk Davis recovered to be 13th at the finish while Bland was a cautious 20th.

Woodbury bolted away in Race Two as Read moved into second after a big dice with Rogerson. Justin Elvin (Mini) and Russell had a great stoush to be the leading Mini as Lawrie Nelson had more trouble in his Capri. Ian Pringle (Mini) had a great run into the top 20 off the back of the grid after missing race one thanks to a qualifying bingle. Mini guru Len Read led a team of fellow Brick Heads and got the number 23 machine back out on Saturday. Read pushed hard but could not catch Woodbury with Rogerson third in front of Burns, Davis and Bland.
In Race Three Woodbury led early in the third race until the Mazda suddenly slowed at the start of lap two, a gearbox problem forcing him out. Russell also retired with an engine sounding less than happy. The fastest Mazdas again had a great scrap at the front but now had to contend with the Ford of Bland who eventually proved too strong and took a narrow win. Read was second from Rogerson and Davis with Alan Mayne (RX2) next.

Race Four saw Burns not make it to the grid with fuelling issues and Chris Ralph was also out early with gearbox issues in his BMW. Woodbury was coming through from the back after borrowing a gearbox from Read who was locked in a big struggle with Bland at the front. Queenslanders Errol and Wayne Stratford and Harvey Black put on a big all-BDA Escort battle inside the top ten with local Peter van Summeren (Twin Cam Escort) right in the mix as well. The race lead swapped several times on the final lap but Bland just got home in front of Read with Rogerson almost alongside in third. A post-race five second penalty dropped Read to third behind Rogerson with Woodbury fourth in front of Mayne and Davis.

The final race saw Woodbury streak away at the front while Davis was knocked out of proceedings by a spinning Rogerson at Doohan Corner. Woodbury took the win from Read and Bland, with Mayne fourth and Gilfuis fifth.

Over 3 Litre

Victorian Darren Smith (Falcon) was determined to upset the Mustang/Camaro status quo and converted his pole position into a race win in the opening event. The Mustangs of Daryl Hansen and Darren Davies (who qualified 12th) were next with the brand new ‘68 Camaro of former Torana racer Angelo Taranto an impressive fourth straight out of the box. Greg Freeman (Camaro) was next then Stuart Barnes (Boss Mustang) with Denis O’Brien seventh in Hansen’s second Mustang, a ‘68 in only its second meeting. O’Brien had to fend off Bill Trengrove (Nb Mustang) and Michael Cannon (Falcon) after a fearsome battle.

Hansen made a good start in Race Two to grab the lead as Smith dropped a couple of places. Andy Clempson’s weekend was over early after an input shaft failed on his Fastback Mustang while O’Brien made some huge dives under brakes at MG, at one stage going under both Smith and Davies in one move. Stuart Young brought out the Safety Car after spinning his Torana into the sand trap at turn 12 but was able to join the re-start after being extracted. O’Brien had a tank slapper and gave second back to Davies as Hansen took the win with Smith fourth in front of Taranto and Freeman. Carrera Cup racer Fraser Ross finished tenth after missing all of Fridays action with finishing touches still being made to father Ian’s recently rebuilt ’68 Mustang that had come a cropper at Sandown back in 2013.

Davies made a great start in Race Three to lead the opening lap until Hansen blasted past on the front straight. Smith, Barnes and Taranto had a terrific battle as O’Brien slipped under Davies to grab second place. Barnes and Taranto tangled at Honda with the latter spinning and then retiring. Hansen took a comfortable win over team mate O’Brien, with Davies third then Smith
and Ross.

Race Four saw drama at the start when Freeman took to the grass off the line and tangled with Ross whilst re-joining, the Mustang then collecting the XY of Cannon and forcing Ross into retirement. Hansen meanwhile had shot off into the lead while the Toranas of Daniel van Stokrom and Stephen Pillekers harassed Trengrove. Suddenly a plume of smoke erupted under the third placed Freeman Camaro, the immaculate Chev pulling straight off with a hole in the side of the block.
Hansen looked set to bag another win until the big ‘Stang fell off at the bottom of the hill at MG on the final lap. Davies, Smith and Taranto all snuck through and finished in that order with Hansen recovering to be fourth at the flag in front of O’Brien and Andrew Whiteside (Mustang) who finally had a strong run after enduring a litany of annoying small issues previously.

Post-race it was discovered the Hansen Fastback had broken a diff centre, forcing him into the ‘68 machine (and the back of the grid) for the final, Race Five. Davies and Taranto headed the field into turn one until the 350 cubes of the Camaro proved too strong for the 289 Windsor powered machine of Davies. Whiteside ran hard in third until Hansen and then Ross squeezed past in their similar ‘68 Fords. Van Stokrom battled shifter issues while Smith and Barnes were both out early.

Davies ran wide after pressure from Hansen but regained second place behind eventual race winner Taranto, a great result for his team in the cars debut race meeting. Ross was third from Whiteside and Hansen.

Darren Knight