As usual in the erratic series of mid-field reports, this report is the biased view of the reporter and relies pit hearsay. Both these sources of information are highly unreliable.
There were 16 vees entered and HSRCA had programmed practice / qualifying plus 4 races over the weekend, all vee only events. Don was over from SA as usual and Matt Scott and Clive Brook made the trip from Melbourne.
Most of the group were there on Friday to sort out cars and drivers. President Kevan was again plagued with a car that refused to run cleanly. After the usual change-out of high tension leads, condensers etc. without effect Pete Iredale peered into the carby to observe the absence of the air correction jet! A late in the day lap of the pits confirmed problem solved! The Victorians spent the day finding their way around the track, neither having raced it before. Nigel Hook was having a frustrating time sorting out his clutch slave cylinder geometry. Someone who will not be identified had problems with an errant engine cover that couldn’t make it around turn 2 without detaching itself. Fortunately it was only bruised, not broken.
In the evening the group re-assembled at the Astor for a few quiet drinks, pleasant conversation and dinner.
It was an early start on Saturday morning with drivers’ briefing and then first practice session at 9 am. Unknown to the group was the quota of two spins during qualifying and quite a few unknowingly used their quota. Ian B exceeded the quota with three spins and was yellow carded by the clerk of course. The CoC accepted his excuse that it was the fault of the car and the track and nothing to do with the driver and it wouldn’t happen again. (Remember this as you read below).
As usual with Tony was fastest with the Nigels following. Ian B surprised himself with fourth fastest proving the old adage that you don’t know how fast you can go until you spin. David Clark in his first drive of the ex-Peters Avanti and without the benefit of Friday practice set a very respectable time to be in the mid group.
Race 1 before lunch saw Tony with a clear win followed by Nigel J and Pete Iredale in third. The next group of Kevan, Don and David Clark crossed the line together with Chris Raper a little way behind battling clutch issues. Ian B was monstered out of his 4th place start to lose touch with this group and eventually obliged your reporter by spinning and letting him past. The Ian’s finished side by side with Ian C a nose in front.
Race 2 on Saturday afternoon started (?) in confusion with over-excitement causing our president to gun it when the red light came on, the pole sitter acting on the orange light by reversing back up the grid and those further down the grid facing a wall of stationery or reversing cars. Both Ian’s admitted to demon starts that went nowhere. Another warm up and reformation saw the race under way. Chris Raper was slow away still having clutch problems and in the course of coming back through the field touched another car and lost the bodywork. Those suitcase latches have their limitations! The established order at the front was disestablished when Tony had a little excursion at the fish hook letting Pete and Nigel through. The next group of Nigel H, Don, David, Kevan and your reporter finished in a tight group after a race-long tussle. Pete took the win with Tony recovering to pip Nigel J on the line by 3/100th of a second. A great first historic win for Pete! (I’m told others have convinced him to stop fiddling with the car and just drive it).
Sunday morning brought showers with it and wet track to start the day. Our 3rd race was the fourth one of the morning and the track still looked a bit damp when we went out. Ian B stayed on form with a spin on the warm up lap – just testing the adhesion! The result sheet shows Tony just in front of Nigel at the finish after a trip up the hill on the grass. Don just pipped Pete by 4/100th for third. Nigel H was next clear of Kevan. Your reporter was a little too cautious on the opening lap to lose touch with Kevan but was soon joined by David and Nigel H. The three way dice apparently kept the spectators with their hearts in their mouths watching some desperate lunges under brakes at the end of the straight followed by two abreast runs up the hill and position changes a couple of times a lap. Nigel spun coming off the top of the hill on the last lap and Ian’s avoidance caused him to also spin letting Matt through and Ian B closed enough for another side by side finish in Ian C’s favour.
Our last race was just after lunch on Sunday. Despite threatening, the rain held off. Due to the spin on the last lap of race 3 your reporter was a little further back on the grid then he would have liked. And one day he’ll learn to start racing on the first lap, not the second when everyone else has disappeared into the distance. Like bike racing, if you drop off the group it’s virtually impossible to regain it.
Again the result sheet shows a comfortable win to Tony with Nigel in second and Pete close behind in third. Somehow a formula ford showed up in the race and is recorded as fifth after Don. That remains unexplained, but fordies, we don’t want your discards if that is the plan! Must admit it was a bit of a surprise to have a ford roar past on the straight! The Ians again had fun together with Ian C just getting to the line first one more time. Matt was close behind as he’d been all weekend.
Looking at the result sheets there was great racing all weekend close behind with Chris Reeks, Peter Mohasci, Clive Brook, Phil Parkinson and Alex Kelty. Your reporter tends to look forward, not back, during the race so can’t offer any info on these tussles.
Feats of note include rare offs by Tony enlivening the race up front, a maiden win for Pete (careful how you read that), very quick lap times from Ian B which unfortunately didn’t translate into race positions, Kevan had a problem free weekend after a frustrating Friday and an impressive performance from David Clark on his debut. The Victorians got better all weekend as they learned the track.
Also gratifying was the pit support. Among others were a couple of Batty’s, James and Karen (why weren’t you competing?), a highly experienced pit crew for Phil and about 25 of Pete’s family. As usual Tash was supporting Ian B and Denise was it doing for the president. And the evenings are just as important as the racing when everyone gets together for a drink, dinner and solve all the day’s problems. And create tomorrow’s problems?
The HSRCA provided a great meeting, the weather was great on Friday and Saturday and the rain concentrated on the group N races on Sunday, adding immensely to the entertainment. As far as I know there were no vehicle recoveries all weekend although I wasn’t watching all the time. That is amazing.
See you at Winton!