A small field but close racing
Report by Chris Ralp. Pics courtesy Phil Wisewould. (more pics available from www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com)
Fourteen cars trotted out for qualifying, ranging from the 5.8 litres of Darren Collins’ Camaro, Darren Smith’s XY GT and Ray Hepburn’s Mustang to the 1.3 litres of Adrian Read’s and Ian Wilks’ Minis. The matching black NSW Mazda twins of Alan Mayne and Wayne Rogerson chose this meeting over Historic Sandown as they objected to the category split and they were joined by SA father and son Geoffrey and Kirk Davis in matching blue Mazdas.
Darren Collins grabbed pole with a 1.49.97 and ahead of John Harrison and Harry Bargwanna with 1.50.8 and 1.51.2 respectively. Fourth was the increasingly rapid Torana of Daniel van Stokrom, ahead of Rogerson, Smith, Mayne, Kirk Davis, Stephen Pillekers’ Torana, WA’s Tony Gilfuis in the Capri, Hepburn, Adrian Read and Wilks. Twenty seconds separated first to last on the grid.
Race 1 was a very tight finish. Although an expected win for Collins, he was only a tenth ahead of Bargwanna at the flag, who in turn was a mere .35 sec ahead of Darren Smith, with van Stokrom hot on his heels just .3 sec in arrears. A two second gap saw Rogerson 12 seconds ahead of Mayne, with Kirk Davis 14 seconds behind that. Gilfuis, Pillekers, Hepburn, Geoffrey Davis, Read and Wilks followed them home, while John Harrison was a first lap retirement and he would take no further part in the meeting.
Race 2 on Sunday morning and the order of the first three was the same, but this time Collins stretched the gap over Bargwanna to eight seconds with a further three seconds back to Smith, with van Stokrom hanging on to his coat tails seven tenths behind. Kirk Davis turned the tables on Wayne Rogerson, leading him home by a mere tenth in a tight group that also included Gilfuis, Hepburn and Pillekers. Geoff Davis comfortably accounted for the Minis, while Mayne was retirement.
Race 3 over 9 laps saw the closest finish of the weekend. It was a win for Harry Bargwanna as the Camaro was a nonstarter due to an oil pressure worry, but it wasn’t easy as Darren ‘Spud’ Smith was right on his hammer – crossing the line side-by-side with only 12,000th of a second deficit on the clock! Further back van Stokrom led home Rogerson and Kirk Davis who had to fend off Gilfuis in another tight one, with only .5 sec to spare. Hepburn had a lonely cruise ahead of Geoff Davis, Read and Wilks with Mayne retiring on the first lap.