The biggest Historic Sandown boasting more than 360 competition cars was recently held in front of a huge crowd. The organisers – VHRR and MG Car Club paid tribute on Sunday 11 November with a truly inspiring Remembrance Day service, with our most decorated returned soldier Squadron Leader Tony Gaze DFC OAM reading the tribute.
This year marked a tribute to the Mighty Mustang. There were over 40 Mustang’s that competed throughout the weekend, spread across Group N, Group A and regularity classes. Not to mention a fine display of pristine vehicles from the Mustang Owners Club of Victoria.
First Green race meeting
Earlier this year committeeman Nev Butler had some spare time, found his green thumb, did some calculations and presented a case to one of the committee meetings. The calculations were based on the burning rate of fuel during the race meeting as an average over all entrants. The committee made a decision to donate a portion of all entries to Greenfleet who then essentially plant a certain number of trees to compensate for the emissions resulting from the weekend.
At this year’s event almost the entire race committee and even some of the commentators took their cars to the tarmac. Mike Devine raced his superb Lotus Super 7, Eddie Dobbs and Bill Cutler competed in Group N in FE Holden and BMW 2002 respectively, Ian McLennan and VHRR President Ian Tate shared the Bocar in both regularity and race and Nev Butler took his Ford Falcon to the track in Group C.
Ron Simmonds got back into the swing of driving a car at speed competing in the regularity in his Mini Cooper, whilst fellow commentator Charles Rogers circulated in his MGB GT. The meetings Clerk of Course, David Vernall let son Paul keep the family name on the track in their MGB, and Chairman Noel Robson handed the steering wheel of the Lola T332 F5000 to son Andrew.
Since the introduction of the Sc class a few years back we have seen a number of later model vehicles take to the track. During this time one person has experimented with a De Tomaso Pantera, Ross Jackson. Now, this car is very well set up and has won the VHRR club championship. At Sandown we witnessed four of these mighty powerful cars – the word has got out, there is a Porsche beater!
Perry Spiridis (former Porsche state sports car driver) dominated the weekend in his GTS De Tomaso. In the second race Perry streaked the field, the battle for the minor placing fought between Ross Jackson, Stan Adler (Porsche), Michael Bryne (Lotus Super 7 S4) and Phil Verwoert (RS Carrera), all acknowledged the chequered flag within a second of each other.
Group J, K & L
Don Thallon chose to bring the Lister Jaguar from his Queensland collection as it favours the fast Sandown track. Little did he know that Ian Tate is now becoming quite accustomed to Dean Butler’s Bocar, and they fought out a feature race battle Sunday afternoon. Samantha Dymond impressed in the Lola Mk1, and maybe next year will make this a three car battle at the front
Reynard was the chassis to have this weekend with Jonathon Miles and Nick Lubransky holding off tough competition from Andrew McInnes and his Lola T644. The Formula Ford’s provided some of the most exhilarating races of the weekend with numerous battles throughout the 25 strong field.
VACC F5000 + sports & racing cars
The weekend got off to a bang in this group with a major start line incident between Rusty French and Andrew Robson. Rusty got an absolute blinder of a start in his 800 horsepower Porsche 935 sports car, went for a gap between the Veskanda of John Briggs and the Lola of Andrew Robson’s mis-calculating and ripped a wheel off the Lola.
The race was re-started, and with it started the domination of the Veskanda sports car. Darcy Russell finished the weekend in his Lola T330 with a very strong second place in what is the cars second only race meeting in the past 10 years. Aaron Lewis contributed strongly to the 5000 numbers with both the Matich A50 and Chevron B34, but one minor over-sight can cost a race. This happened in the final race when a rear wheel dis-lodged on pit straight – the cause, no holding pin on the wheel hub.
Group M & O Sports & Racing
A great combination in this category saw Richard Carter and Laurie Bennetts (both in Elfin 600’s) going wheel-to-wheel with the door handles of Max Warwick’s McLaren M1A across the weekend until a mechanical problem finished Laurie’s weekend before race 3.
The next combination was between Max Brunninghausen (Chevron B8) and Bob Cracknell – Elfin 600B who swapped minor places in each event. Notable mention must be made to the appearance of the Dizane families Alexis Mk6, which was successfully driven by Michael Russo.
The VHRR race committee invited two categories to the meeting, MG’s and Sports Sedans. The Sports Sedans showed with a number of the national cars, which circulate Sandown faster and more spectacular than a V8 Supercar. The MG category provided its usual mix between the highly modifies “open class” cars with a large confinement holding historic log books. Of note was NSW entrant Geoff Pike who drove his 4 cylinder MGB like no tomorrow keeping up with the more powerful MGB GT V8 of Rosemary Trevethan, and some 8 seconds in front of the next historic log booked car.
The meeting was held under spectacular sunshine with a strong crowd making the journey, particularly on Sunday when one could’ve heard a pin drop during the Remembrance Day service.
Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia