Damp conditions didn’t dampen spirits for the dirty dozen or so.
Report by Chris Ralph. Pics by Phil Wisewould www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com
Although it was one of two State Race Series rounds listed on our championship, a mere 15 historic touring cars (plus an invited car, Phil Buggee’s Fiat 131) rolled out to qualifying at Sandown on Saturday 23 August.
Keven Stoopman had the meeting by the short and curlies, bowling around as he wished to take pole and three wins. His red Monaro was matched in colour and model by John Alessi’s similar car, which also started from the front row in R1 on a reasonably dry track, but looked very hard to handle in the wet. It was a satisfying meeting for David Landry, whose good-handling white Torana ran sweetly all weekend and shared row two with Tony Gilfuis’ Capri. On four was the duo of David Brown’s Datsun and Stephen Pillekers’ Torana, on five Lawrie Nelson’s Capri and Barry Lyons’ Ford XY GT HO, the latter constantly improving by the best known and approved method – seat time.
Daniel Myers made a welcome return in the silver Datsun1600, formerly Russell Pilven’s first race car. Adrian Read in the Mini was alongside him with his Dad Len barely half a second behind – these two were to put on the closest racing of the weekend.
The humble editorial BMW would have sat next to Len had it not broken a rocker in qualy (for the 2.5 people vaguely interested: all pulled down, not a mark on the engine, refreshed and back together again, thanks for asking); Buggee’s Fiat and Simon Browning’s Cortina were next.
On the back row Ian Wilks’ Mini, all the way from WA, joined Mick Stupka’s new toy, the ex-Opoczynski Volvo 122, now immaculate in Old English White and very much undergoing a test and tune weekend.
You can see from the pics just how wet it was. Keven Stoopman amused himself coming on to the front straight in a number of bizarre angles and won by 17 seconds from rainmaster David Brown’s Datsun, with David Landry’s Torana in third.
Then to roars of approval from the small and sodden crowd, Len Read’s Mini and Barry Lyons’ XY played the old big car-little car game with Len finishing just two second ahead. Set up for rallying, the Buggee Fiat came home next, ahead of Tony Gilfuis, John Alessi, Adrian Read, Michael Stupka and Simon Browning. Lawrie Nelson and Danny Myers did not finish.
Early next morning, Stoopman mulched the field again on a drier track but this time it was the Landry Torana in second, ten seconds clear of Tony Gilfuis, who had a ripper battle with the Brown Datsun, finishing less than a second ahead to claim third.
Further back, Stephen Pillekers, John Alessi and Barry Lyons had fairly lonely outings while just a little in arrears Adrian Read won the family Mini battle by around ten seconds, ahead of Simon Browning and Mick Stupka. Gilfuis, Myers, Wilks and Buggee retired.
The interest here lay in who would cross the line after Keven Stoopman: David Landry finished less then two seconds ahead of Stephen Pillekers who was only two hundredths ahead of David Brown. Ten seconds back came Tony Gilfuis, a further 17 ahead of John Alessi.
The leader had lapped the rest over 10 tours, but that didn’t stop the mighty Mini battle – Adrian doing Dad by just under .3 sec. Danny Myers was only three seconds in arrears, holding off Barry Lyons another three seconds back, Simon Browning, Ian Wilks and Mick Stupka closed off the racing, while Lawrie Nelson retired.
The big Winton Festival of Speed event was only a fortnight away, which may have accounted for the less than bountiful entry. All entrants enjoyed themselves however, but it does seem that while concentrating on the historic meetings gets us record entries, it impacts on the smaller meetings.