5-6 December 2009
Round 2 promised to be one of the highlights of the season with the Northern Muscle Cars teaming up with their southern friends to compete at the Metalman Thunder in the Park December meeting. After torrential rain on Friday the day dawned beautifully clear and would stay that way for the duration of the event.
A full field of 31 cars appeared for qualifying and gave us an early indication as to who the front runners would be. Paul Sinclair showed the way with a time of 1:02.9 with the Australian visitor Paul Stubber in the Camaro 0.2 secs behind. Shane Wigston was next, followed by Colin Meadows in the Chevy Corvette.
The drivers commented on a small river making life difficult on the apex of Ford mountain leading into the main straight. In addition, a few competitors found out the hard way that exceeding the 40kph pit lane speed limit has consequences and were forced to the rear of field for race 1.
Mike Ellis had driveshaft problems and Andrew Turner blew an engine. Both would return for Sunday’s racing. Hamish Andrews had body work issues and Mandy Sinclair had engine problems with her repaired Commodore after Eastern Creek’s dilemmas.
Race 1 - The day continued to be fine and the last race of the day was the first race for the Muscle cars. Tim La Trobe in the black Mercedes had some pre race issues and missed the start, having to commence from pit lane. Paul Stubber led the field away with Paul Sinclair in the Commodore chasing hard. Shane Wigston and Colin Meadows kept the pressure on as well for the leaders. The Aussie kept all contenders at bay for the full 8 laps.
The battle was for the minor placings with Colin showing new-found speed in the Corvette passing Shane and Paul several times down the back straight but unable to make the pass stick reaching the hairpin. He eventually was able to succeed and very nearly took the win as Paul Stubber had slowed while negotiating lapped traffic on the last portion of the last lap. I guess a win by 0.1 seconds is all it takes! Paul also took fastest time of the day with a solid 1:02.4. Meadows took an exciting second with Paul Sinclair third.
The three unlucky DNFs were Ross Golding who had fuel problems, Johnny Blewett with electric issues and Mandy Sinclair who had ongoing engine dramas.
Race 2 was the traditional reverse grid delayed start and was contested by 28 cars. The first row saw Dr John Elliot in the Torana XU-1 starting alongside Cam Neil in the 39 Chevy. By lap 3 Ross Francis in the Falcon GT took the lead but not for long as Mike Ellis stormed through in another Falcon GT.
John Colebourne in the Holden Torana SS looked in contention until a broken rocker called his race on lap 6. This left Mike on his own until a safety car period closed up the field for a late dash for the line. This certainly ensured a grandstand finish as he was getting swamped as the line approached. Billy Dunn in the Camaro was close but not quite close enough and the winning margin was just 0.2 sec. Colin Meadows had another strong showing for third and Vern Muller kept the Generals honest with fourth.
Several cars failed to finish with Bruce Dehl showing some scars after a racing incident with Steve Malam and Shane Wigston, although Shane did battle on for 5th position. Paul Sinclair had a fuel pump issue and Mandy unfortunately retired with more engine issues. Newcomer Steve Swann lasted until the last lap and suffered gearbox failure. Paul Stubber was again fastest car with a 1:03.1 on lap 2.
Race 3 was the final race of this great meeting and is always an exciting prospect as the handicapping is usually accurate here. The last car would start a huge 1min 24 behind the lead car of John Elliot. Ross Francis would take over the lead on lap 5.
A special mention goes to Andrew Turner who fronted up with his spare car to contest the Sunday races after engine dramas on Saturday. He featured early in the race. Tony Van Tiel passed Ross only to be caught by Bruce Deihl in the attractive Torana Coupe on lap 7. Ross Golding in the Commodore came into contention but the laps had run out and he had to settle for second position. Murray Brown showed good speed in this race to take third in his Camaro and Colin Meadows topped the time charts for fourth with fastest time of the weekend with a 1:02.05.
Overall the meeting was a huge success with respectable racing right through the field and an organising club who ran to schedule and without drama.