19 entries and our own races – all good! 11 Victorians were joined by one SAussie and 7 NSWelsh. The NSW group was down at least a couple of regulars with Kevan overseas and Steve still engine building.
The garage started to fill on Thursday afternoon ready for practice on Friday. The weather forecast suggested an early start before the rain arrived in the afternoon. And it was right! Quite a few of us went out early grouped with JKL. I suffered a blow to the rear wheel on the second lap of the first session from an over-enthusiastic very large red thing which I later found bent the rim. He was cautioned and apparently much more circumspect thereafter.
Those of us silly enough to go out for the third session after the rain started discovered that wheel spin in top gear in a straight line a vee is possible. And for those called Ian it results in a spin! Mine ended frighteningly close to the concrete wall!
Heading for the pub seemed a much better option than paddling around for the last session and risking car damage.
We were promised a dry day on Saturday. This turned out to be a politician grade promise. The practice session started on a track with wet bits and dry bits. A lot us were suffering from misting visors couldn’t tell the difference. Then it went all wet bits as light rain fell. Times were a bit of a lottery with those who went hard early benefitting. Conor Ryan blitzed the field with a time 5 seconds faster than anyone else. Those silly on Friday were at least tuned into a wet track and your reporter was happy with 8th on the grid.
An unfortunate non-starter was Nigel whose gearbox locked up on the way to the ‘pre-grid’ on Saturday morning. It’s a long way to travel to confirm in practice your new motor is good but spend the weekend spectating.
The qualifying order up front behind Conor was Bill Roberts, Matt , Don, Grant and Dean. Phil Parky had a great practice to be 7th.
The weather came good(ish) by the afternoon race, dry and cold. I managed to get a demon start and after a couple of laps break free of Damian and chase Matt for most of the race. In a repeat of a past Eastern Creek episode Matt obligingly slowed on the last lap to let me catch up and we crossed the line side by side with Matt 1/100th of a second in front.
So the finishing order was Conor by a large margin from Don, Grant close together, Bill, then Matt and I crossing the line side by side, Andrew and the Deans finished next within a second of each other followed by rest of the field having their own battles. Damian, Alex and Parky were DNF’s, Parky with a broken gear shift rod. All were fixed overnight.
The Glenrowan group retired to the pub again and were joined for dinner by Matt’s FF acquaintances to make a group of 8. I hope everyone else had as much fun as us.
We had a late start on Sunday so had a chance to spectate in the now sunny and cool weather. Given my good result from Saturday I was now on the third row of the grid with Matt and in sight of
the fast guys. For the first couple of laps Matt and I swapped places while maintaining station with the fast group.
I’ve heard people talk about ‘brake testing’ and I’m now suspecting I’ve been a victim of it. Going into the first corner of the ‘cleavage’ Bill hit the brakes far earlier than I expected or would normally brake. The resultant avoidance and spin left me way behind for a 9th place finish. I wasn’t helped my brakes wanting to lock the right front and when I unloaded at home an oily patch in the trailer shows a rear axle seal has failed again and lubricated the rear brakes.
Up front it was again the treacherous and experienced old guys versus the smart young guys. Conor wasn’t allowed to escape this time and was followed closely home by Bill, Don and Grant in a tight bunch. Matt was 5th and admitted that he couldn’t keep up with the lead group. After Matt the rest of us found our own little groups to have a race within a race to the enjoyment of all.
Sunday afternoon saw all lined up to do it again. Satisfyingly, 18 cars faced the starter and all made it to the finish line. Up front it the pattern repeated with Conor comfortably ahead of the tight group of Bill, Grant and Don. Matt and Damian had a bit of a lonely time to come in ahead of the next bunch of me, Dean McLaughlan and Andrew Grevis-James who had been swapping places throughout the race. According to Natsoft Dean’s slipstream attempt to beat me to the line failed by 1/100th of a second. Another almost dead heat! Ian B who was down on power with a tired engine shadowed us to finish one second behind with Dean Briggs in his new car a further second behind.
Thus ended a great race weekend. I’ve relied on Natsoft for this report and added a few midfield observations from the driver’s seat. I’ve listed the early finishers however the racing extends right through the field and everyone is having a ball. Who cares about the finishing order, we’re here to enjoy ourselves!
And we did!
Special thanks to Ross McLaughlan and family who generously invited everyone to share their brunch on Saturday. It was a great initiative to give all the competitors a chance to mingle. The historic vee community is growing with most of the growth now in Victoria. Victoria are also providing the young guns that are giving the champs of the past a challenge. The chance to get to know each other off the track is appreciated particularly as Winton, together with Wakefield Park, is the track most accessible to both NSW and Victoria.