16-17 January 2010 The third round saw the cars back at Hampton Downs as part of the Tasman Revival series for classic cars. The two day meeting was well supported with over two hundred cars competing in nine classes.
The weather was clear, windless and very hot for Saturday’s qualifying. The Corvette of Colin Meadows showed the way with a blistering pole position time of 1:11.8. Dave O’Leary in the Torana SLR 5000 followed 0.8secs back and Billy Dunn in the Camaro third , a further 1 sec back. Paul Burnet in his potent pink Torana XU1 headed the under 4500cc division with a time of 1:17.6.
Race 1 - Pole position for the scratch race was left vacant as the Corvette was unable to make the grid with diff problems and was out for the weekend. From position two Dave O’Leary was a little slow away and gave Billy Dunn a chance. They battled for the racing line through the next set of corners with Justin Butcher and Tim La Trobe pushing the leaders hard.
In all of the excitement Tim La Trobe in the black Mercedes ended up in the gravel trap causing a full course red flag. There was then confusion as some cars appeared to not heed race official instructions and ended up in the stewards’ room post event for a discussion on race regulations.
The restart saw Dave O’Leary unchallenged to take the win from Billy Dunn and Justin Butcher. Andrew Turner in the Commodore and Tim La Trobe had the best battle of the race right throughout the eight laps. Paul Burnet showed the way for the 4500 cc class. Graham Cargill retired with gearbox problems and Tony Van Tiel kept us entertained with a spin on the infield corner.
Race 2 - Sunday saw a continuation of the warm weather but a hint of cloud to keep things more comfortable. The second event was the reverse grid delayed start style race and the red flag managed to stay in until well into the second lap this time.
Hamish Andrews in the Commodore led the field away with Graham Cargill in the Valiant Charger alongside. As the field compresses the chance for incidences increases. The exciting turn one saw Andrew Turner in the Commodore have a coming together with Cameron Crawford in the Falcon Coupe and resulted in retirements for both cars. This resulted in a red flag which compressed the field. Graham Cargill was seen doing a splash and dash in the pits and rejoined without losing any positions. Roy Bingley led the field briefly on lap three and kept the crowd entertained with some drifting Muscle car style in the tight corners. Paul Burnet grabbed the lead on lap four only to have the back markers push through for the last part of the race.
Justin Butcher and Billy Dunn battled for the lead right through to the chequered flag. Billy’s passing maneuver on the hill ensured a well fought victory but also meant big commitment for turn one which happens to have a braking point before the start/finish line. Unfortunately he ran out of tarmac and tested the safety barrier on the outside of the turn. The red flag reappeared and the result was more panel work required for the recently rebuilt Camaro.
Justin Butcher placed second with Bruce McRae a great drive for third. Some consolation for Billy was fastest time of the weekend and a new lap record for the new Hampton Downs track of 1:12.4!
Race 3 - The third and final race for the weekend changed from the traditional handicap to a scratch race to allow the field to settle. This race was actually one of the best of the year with some great match ups throughout the field. Pole sitter Dave O’Leary got away cleanly and looked comfortable early on. Justin Butcher hadn’t given up and seemed to be catching Dave mid race. Tony Gordon in the high speed Corvette was having his best race for the weekend and was also in the hunt. Further back, Bruce McRae was having a great tussle with the smart looking Marlbora Commodore of Tony Golding.
Again at the front of the field, Justin had sneaked past Dave only to see his lead last just two laps and looked to be suffering from lack of brakes. Dave was able to capitalise on this to take his second win for the meeting. Justin took second, with Tony third. The Toranas of Stephen Swann and Colin Meadows were entertaining the crowd with tandem slides out of turn four. Paul Burnet showed the way in the under 4500cc class and kept a few V8’s honest with a sixth place overall.
This was the first time we had seen the NMC in action on a dry track and most were very impressed with the track layout and number of passing opportunities the course provides. This class is providing entertaining and close racing, some drama on and off track, and the speed and sounds that other types of racing can’t compete with. The points table has changed substantially and the latest scores can be checked under the results page on this website. Next race is Sun Feb 28th, back at Hampton Downs.