Another top Historic Winton
Barring first corner silliness in R1, we provided the best racing of the meeting, it’s said.
Report by Darren Knight. Pics by Phil Wisewould www.philwisewould.zenfolio.com
The 40th Historic Winton drew a full grid of JUST CARS Historic Tourers to the freshly re-surfaced venue just outside Benalla in north-east Victoria. The traditional short circuit suits the diminutive Mini Cooper S down to the ground – they always come out of the woodwork for Historic Winton – no fewer than 13 examples of the front wheel drive wonder would greet the starter.
Nowhere else in the country do smaller capacity cars have an outright chance against the usual V8 or six cylinder-powered machines at the head of the pack – Justin Elvin’s Mini took second on the grid in qualifying behind the polesitter, West Australian Mustang punter Daryl Hansen.
Hansen made the most of his pole position to take an early lead in Race One on Saturday evening, as just behind him Elvin fell back after a clash with the Camaro of Tony Hubbard, who had made a big move down the inside at turn one after a rocket start.
Lady racer Linda Devlin hails from a famous Mini racing dynasty and was knocking on the door of the top ten until a puncture ended her race. After a successful meeting in his home state as part of the V8 Supercar support programme Hansen took another win from Hubbard with Les Walmsley (Charger) third by the smallest of margins over Perry Spiridis (Mustang) after a fantastic battle that had the crowd on their feet. The Minis of Jason Armstrong, Henry Draper and Elvin were next. Spiridis was so focussed he actually continued racing after the fall of the chequered flag until the penny eventually dropped. Post-race ribbing commenced shortly thereafter…
Hansen again grabbed an early lead in Race Two next morning but this time a determined Walmsley stuck to his tail like glue and eventually found a way through as the big Ford slithered around on tyres past their best. Mid-pack the Minis of Syd Jenkins, Len Read and veteran Ted Brewster (who sported the same race livery back in the day) climbed all over each other with several disparate racing lines on display, another great example of the Minis innate “chuckability”. Spiridis fell off at the end of the back straight after a late race challenge for third on Armstrong with Walmsley taking the win and fastest lap, in front of Hansen and Armstrong, with Elvin and Hubbard next.
The final race saw Walmsley fluff the start slightly to allow Hansen and a fast-starting Hubbard to ambush the 265 Hemi powered machine off the line. In the bright, but rapidly fading sunlight the smooth steering Walmsley kept the Charger tidy at every corner and picked off Hansen and then Hubbard with the trio finishing in that order.
The real star though was Peter Van Summeren in his rapid Escort. After collecting an eighth and a sixth the Victorian stormed home to finish fourth as well as posting some incredible lap times on the way to a stunning result.
The JUST CARS Historic Touring Cars return to Winton on August 6/7 for the annual Winton Festival of Speed to be held on the long circuit.