29-31 July 2022
Report by Darren Knight. Pics by John Lemm
Ten JUST CARS HTCAV competitors made the journey across to Tailem Bend to join racers from four other States to support the 2022 OTR SuperSprint, demonstrating the driver appeal of the fast and challenging South Aussie circuit. Five Queenslanders, four West Aussies and NSWelshmen also came to battle the seven home staters. The races were all morning affairs in very crisp weather…
In Friday’s Qualifying the big field spread from the big V8s down through the rotaries and straight sixes to a mix of cammy and pushrod fours. WA’s Aldo DePaoli (Camaro) snagged pole with Queenslanders Craig Allan (Mustang) second fastest in front of Keith Kassulke (Camaro) and NSW’s rotary fan favourite Jason Humble (RX-2). Charger pilot Ben Dahlstrom awoke on race day with a local version of Bali Belly and would not grid up at the rather early race start time of 7:35am.
Race One, 7.30 Saturday morning!
DePaoli edged in front of Allan when the lights went out as Kassulke bogged down badly and lost several positions. In complete contrast was Spencer Rice (Alfa) who rocketed off the line and set about rectifying his comparatively lowly grid spot. Local Josh Axford (BDA Escort) soon found himself engaged in a titanic battle with Rice as the two four cylinder machines traded places multiple times. W.A. based racer Tony Gilfuis endured a howler of a meeting with his Capri lasting one solitary lap having already swapped engines before making the journey across the Nullabour. The Hard Luck Award duly went his way.
The SA Torana pair of Rob Smith and Evan Gobell ran in close company in the early going as Humble fought off the recovering Kassulke. Andrew Williams was making a very welcome return after a two year rebuild to his familiar blue Torana which was heavily damaged against the Phillip Island pit wall back in 2020. Fellow Victorians Nathan Gordon (Monaro) and Chris Stern (Mustang) joined Williams in a very spirited three way stoush until newly-elected HTCAV President Stern fell off and rotated on the now impressively grassy infield, much to his combatants’ mirth no doubt.
The XK Falcon of David Forbes slowed and then became stranded on the outside curb coming onto the front straight, bringing out the safety car with a couple of laps to run as Humble began trailing smoke before retiring. The yellows stayed out as the chequered flag fell with DePaoli claiming the win from Allan and Kassulke followed by Adam Walton (Mustang), Williams, Gordon and Rice.
Race Two, 11.00 Saturday morning
Gobell would not line up after the Torrie ripped off a rear trailing arm in the opening race -but in happier news Dahlstrom would be starting from the back although still plainly under the weather. Humble would join him at the rear with only minutes to spare after a gearbox change. Don Knight (Cortina) did not leave the dummy grid after the Pommy Ford refused to fire after leading home the two other Cortys of Simon Browning and Bend rookie David Schofield in Race One.
At the get-go Walton made a great start to slot into second behind DePaoli before Allan squeezed past. Kassulke then got past the 289-powered ‘Stang of Walton and set about harassing Allan mercilessly, the two pony cars swapping positions all over the circuit in a fantastic display of hard but fair racing.
Local Brett Munns ran well early until his Torana again started misbehaving, a recent switch from SU to Weber carburation needing more sorting. Graeme Woolhouse (Mustang) nipped under Gordon at turn one as Stern had another (smaller) excursion onto the grass before re- joining whilst making mental notes of the handling improvements required for his bucking bronco (er, Mustang). The Mini of Justin Elvin clashed with the Mustang of reigning Club Champ Pete Meuleman though both continued as Dahlstrom mixed it up with NSW’s Michael Rose (Mustang).
Within sight of the flag DePaoli slowed dramatically and waved his pursuers through with Allan just holding out Kassulke to take the win after a monumental dice. Walton was third in front of rear of grid starter Humble with DePaoli creeping across the line in fifth after suffering a fuelling issue.
Race Three, 9 am Sunday
Kassulke’s race ended very quickly after the Camaro’s gearbox gave up, leaving Allan to take the fight to DePaoli, the Mustang leading the opening lap until the W.A. based Chev blasted past. Ian Mewett was finally getting some laps in at the wheel of the ex-Mike Rowe Falcon Sprint, the car still needing sorting after being raced very sparingly over a long period of time.
Best Presented Car winner Darryl Hansen (Mustang) showed much improved speed as he held out Williams inside the top ten. Richard Harris held sway over Rob Ford in a battle of locally based Minis as Axford broke clear of Rice on the edge of the top ten. Nearing race end Humble began harassing Walton especially in the twisty stuff around the back of the sprawling 18 corner layout and finally snuck onto the podium on the last lap as DePaoli took an untroubled win from Allen followed by Humble (who also garnered Driver of the Meeting) then Walton, Gordon and Queenslander Graeme Wakefield (Mustang).
It was yet another sensational adventure for the JUST CARS drivers across the border at The Bend which continued to strengthen the growing bonds between the HTCAV and the Historic Touring Car Association of South Australia who were superb hosts all weekend. As HTCAV President Chris Stern posted, “we were treated like kings!”.