Yes another great meeting and weekend, unless your name was Steve. The weather was terrific and the HSRCA as usual provided everyone with a chance to have fun with old cars.
13 Vees were entered with nearly all there on Friday to sort cars and drivers. Steve Batty almost qualifies as a newcomer having been involuntarily absent for some time with medical / licence problems. Unfortunately he only made the first private practice session before a main bearing let go in his brand new engine. Buggar! Matt Scott made the trip from Melbourne to keep the NSWelsh honest.
He wasn’t the only one with an uncooperative car over the weekend. Steve Normoyle’s car lost oil pressure on Friday so he flag marshalled on Saturday before returning home early. Alex battled a battery flattening problem all weekend until resolving it on Sunday. Phil Parky had a series of issues including collapsing wheel bearings and brake shoe retaining pins disappearing. Still, it kept him and Norm occupied between sessions. Notable was the dummy grid steering box adjustment. It’s a worry when pit crew are wandering around the dummy grid carrying spanner and screw driver. Tony pulled in early from Sunday morning’s race due to a broken top rear shock mount. And your reporter battled a spluttering engine that cleared after about 2 laps until the attempted fixes caused it to run on three cylinders. The remedy was worse than the problem! Nigel took a while to sort brake bias, that’s a problem when you degrease the rear brake linings. And I’m sure there are others I’ve forgotten or don’t know. Kevan was trouble free after lots of work to repair body damage after Eastern Creek!
As normal the group retired to the Astor on Friday evening for refreshments and food to analyse the day’s performances. Saturday qualifying saw Tony on pole by a significant margin (what a surprise), then Pete, Nigel and Kevan. The Ians followed, Ian B in front, then Matt, Alex, Peter Mohacsi, Chris Reeks, Phil Parkinson and David Harley who joined the group for his first ever run in a vee.
On Saturday afternoon I had my best race of the weekend. After starting no. 6 on the grid a misfire for the first 2 laps got me into the company of Chris and Alex. What a race! I understand it was the dice of the race with us all passing, being re-passed and then repeating the exercise. On the last lap Alex dived down the inside at the fish hook to pass both the others but then ran wide out of the second last turn letting Chris and I past. I managed to sneak past Chris into the last turn and hope he
wouldn’t out-drag me to the line. He didn’t by 4/100th of a second! The lap chart shows out of the three of us Alex lead for 4 laps, Chris 3 and I managed 2. Alex slipped in front of Ian B for a short time until Ian B came back past.
Up front Tony finished first followed at a distance by Pete with a further gap to Kevan with Nigel close behind. Ian B was next with Matt half a second behind him then Ian C, Chris and Alex, Peter Mohasci and Phil. David Harley didn’t finish due to leaking axle boots and consequent oil burn on the exhaust.
The table booked on Saturday for 20 at the Astor was full and Pete set up an overflow table as well. As usual the group included our supporters and pit crew. James was around all weekend without his car, Norm was kept busy solving Phil’s car’s on-going minor issues, Ian Bailey helped me not solve my issues while enjoying watching the success of his recently sold FJ Lynx. Richard Batty couldn’t help his dad but I understand was responsible for some unnecessary scotch night capping back at the motel.
Fortunately it didn’t seem to harm Kevan’s driving the next day. And there were all the others who help out and keep us entertained.
On Sunday morning my fluffy engine took only half a lap to clear and I again managed to get on to Chris’ tail until an overtaking attempt coming down the hill went wrong and I went gardening. After recovery I caught the group of Phil, Peter and Kevan who’d lost time trying the grassy line coming on to the straight. My attempt to out-fox Phil into the last turn was highly unsuccessful and in his words I went roaring past him on the inside with all four wheels locked and had another trip onto the grass.
Once back on the track I was now behind Tony a lap down and losing interest in the race to extent that I followed Tony into the pits when he pulled off on the second last lap. I thought I must have missed the chequered flag. That was a race to forget!
And apparently I wasn’t he only one to fall for Tony’s subterfuge. Nigel and Pete slowed and started waving to the flaggies after observing Tony and I pulling into the pits. Same problem, they thought they’d missed the chequered flag!
The result sheet shows a win for Pete then Nigel, Ian B, Matt, Peter, Chris, Kevan, Alex, Phil then David setting some respectable times for a first timer. My attempts to get the car running were becoming more desperate. The Saturday afternoon carby
change only proved that wasn’t the problem. A new set of plugs donated by Phil didn’t solve anything. We decided on suspicion to fit a new set of spark plug leads which resulted in no go at all until the coil lead was found to have no terminal at one end.
After refitting the old one it ran on three cylinders so I headed for the dummy grid hoping for it to clear. Having time to reflect while sitting on the grid I decided it would better heading back to the pits to try and get the car running properly for the last race. So I was a spectator for race 3. The main interest was watching Tony go from the back of the grid after his previous race DNF to the lead. At the end of the first lap he was 5th, second lap 3rd, third lap 2nd and by the fourth lap was in the lead. How are we going to handicap this man? Behind Tony was Pete then Nigel all fairly close, then Kevan, Matt, Chris and Ian B in a group. Both Chris and Ian were having a great weekend. Alex, Peter Phil and David followed, David getting quicker as he learnt the car and circuit.
My attempts to get the car running were unsuccessful. In the peace and quiet back at home it only took a few minutes to find that one spark plug was gapless and the brand-new Mexican plug leads were useless with a lack of terminals on some. Re-gapping the plug and re-fitting all the old leads has it running on four cylinders again. Fluffy problem yet to be resolved!
So I was spectator again for the last race. Not the only one, Chris who’d had a great weekend despite starter problems found the cause as he was going out for the final race. Getting into the car he had warm feeling between his legs which turned out to be a hot and bloated battery. It was rapidly removed before it exploded.
The interest of this race was whether Nigel could get past Kevan for third place. The two were nose to tail the whole race with Nigel trying everything he knew to get past and Kevan having none of it. Nigel slipped past on the second lap only to be immediately retaken but managed to do it again on the second last lap and hold on to the finish by less than a second – a tight margin after 8 laps. Matt and Ian B put on a similar display with Ian pushing Matt all the way until he got past down the
straight on the second last lap. However, going into turn 2 on the last lap it appeared that they both wanted the same bit of road and Ian found himself on the grass on the inside of the turn. Alex was close enough behind to capitalise on Ian’s misfortune and beat him to the flag behind Matt. No doubt there are two versions of what happened; I was too far away to venture a third opinion. While this excitement was happening Tony was driving away into the distance from Pete a similar distance in front of Kevan/Nigel. Peter, Phil and David finished behind Ian.
The next meeting is Morgan Park with a few of us heading north – eight vees entered at the time of this report. Come and join us and do it all again.