Good weather, good turnout and plenty of tight racing at the top.
Report by Darren Knight. Pics by Phil Wisewould
Twenty cars (11 V8s, four sixes, five fours) took to qualifying on Saturday May 4 and it was on from there. The opening race gave a good indication of how evenly matched the pointy end of the grid was, promising good racing even without the monstrous entry of March’s Historic meeting. Pole winner Darren Collins (Camaro) led early but was kept honest by a fleet of Mustangs led by Darryl Hansen (’68) and Michael Miceli (’69 Boss).
Brent Trengrove (Camaro), third in qualy, didn’t start after suffering an oil leak on the warm up lap whilst Dad Bill fared even worse, with strange steering issues in the famous ex-Bill Meeke Falcon Sprint. The problem would dog the team and eventually rule the Ford out for the duration. Bill threatened to fill it up with Avgas – although it wouldn’t be going in the tank…
Collins took a narrow win over Hansen with Miceli right behind, the top three separated by less than half a second after eight laps. Dom Leo rounded out the top ten at the wheel of his Dad Tino’s HQ Monaro, his first race back at the Island for almost 16 years.
Drama erupted soon after the start in race two when the stunning all black ’69 Mustang of Andrew Lane was tagged behind the rear wheel by the ’68 Mustang of Neil Crowe. Lane speared off into the infield and eventually re-joined well down the order. Hansen meanwhile had made a great start to lead Collins with Miceli right in the mix, the top three climbing all over each other.
Another fantastic battle broke out between the BMW 2002s of Robert van Stokrom and Andrew Brown, the two almost glued together as were the Toranas of Nathan Gordon and Mark Brewster. Earlier, Rod Evans retired his recently acquired Cortina with a broken axle, joining Dom Leo who came in on the warm up lap with a gearbox leak. Colin Larsen parked his thundering XY Falcon with a front end issue as the dice at the front heated up.
Watched on by some tubby locals (Cape Barren geese) Miceli snatched the lead at the hairpin and went on to win from Collins and Hansen, again the leading trio covered by the proverbial blanket. Brent Trengrove had a solid drive into fourth from the back of the grid in front of best presented winner Joe Calleja (Mustang) and Danny Myers (Kingswood). Further back Don Knight (Cortina) beat home Michael Holloway after trailing the mud flapped equipped Mini in race one.
Evans would grid up for the final after borrowing an axle from Knight, who along with son Leigh installed said axle, another example of the camaraderie the category is famous for. This time Miceli grabbed an early lead while Hansen made a neat move around the outside of Collins in the run to the hairpin to move into second. Trengrove was right with Collins who looked to be struggling with rear grip out of the slow corners as Brown and van Stokrom again put on a stunning display of extremely close but fair racing. Myers retired with a split oil cooler, Brewster also retiring as did Gordon with a puncture.
Trengrove backed off his pace with the Camaro running on seven cylinders but still clear of the fifth placed Calleja. Hansen pressured Miceli at every opportunity but just fell short at the end, the Boss 302 Fastback handling superbly and hooking up nicely out of the corners, Collins watching on ruefully from third place. On a weekend when the Mustang Supercar triumphed in Perth despite recent parity adjustments, the original Pony cars also proved too strong in the end at the Island.