2023Competition ReportsNews

Sunshine Statie

Report by Chris Ralph. Pics by Phil Wisewould, Ron Hossack & Daysy Motorpix

Victoria’s sunny spring smiled on the Island all weekend, to make the Just Cars historic touring car big banger battles all the more enjoyable. New race formats based on elapsed time rather than laps were in place at this Round 5 of the Victorian State Series, this time run by the Victorian Mini Club.

Qualifying – Saturday morning

Big bangers were the majority of the 14 cars qualifiers. While Bill Trengrove had retired the 64 Mustang on Friday, son Brent Trengrove put his Camaro on pole with a 1.49.6, two tenths ahead of Darren Collins’ Trans Am and a tenth in front of Trevor Talbot’s Camaro. Glenn Miles’ Charger lined up fourth with defending Champ Pete Meuleman’s pre-65 Mustang, Adrian Moyle’s Camaro, Club President Ben Dahlstrom’s Charger, Geoff Munday’s Camaro, filling the top ten from former champs Jervis Ward in the Falcon Sprint and Stephen Pillekers in the trusty Torana. Down the back, Mini brothers Richard and Graeme Hill had newcomer Reece Moyle’s Mazda RX-2 for company.

Race One – Saturday afternoon

Geoff Munday’s Camaro sat in a cloud of blue smoke as Jervis Ward’s new starting technique split the pack through the vacant allotment left by the non-appearing Adrian Moyle, to get right on to the tail of Group Nb archrival, Pete Meuleman.

At the front, Collins in the ‘Warhorse’ TransAm also made great start and fended off Brent Trengrove for the first lap, who in turn had Trevor Talbot in his mirrors. Talbot took Trengrove at Siberia and set off after Collins with the skinny tyred Sprint of Ward chasing Meuleman (variously called Mooman, Moolyman and Mooloolooman by the commentators).

Dahlstrom in the Charger was hanging on to Ward while hanging on against an attack of gastro. Holding off his own runs he made one under Ward at Turn 4 but the plastic fantastic had its nose back in front out of Siberia. As the Meuleman/Ward battle raged on, Trevor Talbot raged against his failing fuel pump as he pulled off at T4.

With Talbot out of the picture, Collins took the flag ahead of Trengrove at the end of the allotted 20 minutes, setting fastest lap at 1.48.8. Glenn Miles took third in the Charger ahead of the two Nb combatants and a very seedy Club President who had to helped from the car. He returned the next day well, but this time it was the car, complaining of a blown head gasket.

But Stephen Pillekers who retired with gearbox linkages would be back with a vengeance….

Race Two – early Sunday morning

With the main ‘enduro’ in the middle of the day, this short sharp 5-lapper just after 9 am blew cobwebs out of cars and drivers event on a cold track.Collins’ next good start headed Trengrove and Miles and Ward, whose own rocket start put him ahead of Meuleman, while not unexpectedly Talbot had charged from the back row to be fifth by T4. By the end of the first tour he’d grabbed third, his race face on.

Geoff Munday joined the Meuleman/Ward punchup, putting Camaro power between the two Nb cars and despite a massive lockup into MG taking Ward, who then locked onto his bumper down the straight with Meuleman in his mirrors.

Avoiding a very early braking Munday he had his own lock up, with nowhere to go except into T1 in a cloud of smoke ahead of Meuleman.

Munday took back the advantage down the straight with Ward hanging on ahead of Meuleman. As this group battled, Stephen Pillekers had the Torana in top form with the flying Mini of Richard Hill not far behind.

In a masterful outside line overtake exiting MG, Pillekers grabbed Meuleman and set off after Ward who then picked off Munday after the Camaro locked up at T2, allowing Meuleman to retake Pillekers and that’s the way they would finish.

Up front, Collins held sway, but distributor issues caused Trengrove to DNF, handing second to Talbot and further back, Miles.

Entertainingly, Richard Hill’s Mini did the classic blowfly, all over Munday’s Camaro in the corners, and finishing less than a second in arears, lowering his PB by a second to 1.57.1. 

Race 3, Sunday afternoon

Again, Collins led with Talbot hot on his tail. Reece Moyle made a cracker start from the back row, the Ward/Mueleman stoush was back on in earnest, but this time Pillekers bought in from the start.

On to the straight for the first time and Chevy muscle won out but Collins challenged into T4 and stayed there, with Miles not far behind.

Munday had come into the mid pack and stuffed it right under Pillekers into MG corner, but the Torana driver glued himself to the back of Mueleman and pulled clear. But chasing Ward on the next lap the order was Munday, Meuleman and Pillekers down the main drag.

The battle at the front was full on, with Collins consistently attacking Talbot under brakes; with time running out Talbot locked up into MG and Collins was on his case. With both cars tyre weary, Mustang oversteer trounced Camaro understeer and Collins won through, with Miles again in third.

In the four-way fight Munday led but Ward retook it under brakes in T4, then Meuleman’s slight off in Siberia saw Pillekers move up on the heels of Munday, whom he soon vanquished. Next was Ward, who with a slight misfire was taken by the Torana at MG.

But it was the triple for Darren Collins in a weekend that showed that smaller fields can still serve up big excitement.

Next up for the Just Cars racers: two big fields at Historic Sandown, November 10-12, a few days after the Melbourne Cup – and you can read all about it in the next issue.