26-27 May 2012
The end of May each year in Victoria’s high country gives historic motor sport enthusiasts the opportunity to fend off the need for a motor sport fix mid year. It is done with the Austin 7 Club’s Historic Winton, Australia’s longest running historic meeting.
The event always brings out some unusual cars, and this year the off-track car park displayed a vast collection from a Prince Henry Vauxhall to an Essex 4. The Essex 4 has some personal significance as being a faithful replica of the car in which my Great-Grandfather Earle Croysdill co-drove to numerous record breaking runs in 1922-1923 with Wizard Smith. The owner of the replica, which has one of the two original Wizard Smith heads was brought across from South Australia, and I was lucky enough to get to be passenger in the Sunday parade.
To the racing though, the Mini’s dominated in the Group NB races out-pacing the Mustangs, Cortinas & EH Holdens. The first race of the weekend was run ahead of schedule, and Henry Draper was the sole victim when he failed to make it to the marshalling area in time, having to start the race from rear of field after qualifying on pole position. Jason Armstrong came from 8th on the grid to win that race ahead of Andy Bergan and Lindsay Siebler.
Peter Strauss made his presence felt after a few recent meetings in Europe in the Formula Junior, but with Jamie Larner still unwell only brought the Brabham BT31 (in Group O spec) and qualified on pole position for the first race ahead of of NSW competitors in Ed Holly (BT23C), David Kent (BT29), and Norm Falkner debuting his Elfin Mono. Falkner put in a great performance for his first outing in a much different car from his usual steer, and the car run faultlessly all weekend running mainly in the top 4 of the Group M & O field. Formula Ford were combined with this grid, but started separately 30 seconds behind. Nick Bennett (Van Dieman RF88) was the best performer in the FF field.
Peter Larner made a comeback at the meeting after 26 years away from competitive driving, displaying the P-plate on the rear of the Ralt RT4 – quite a complex piece of machinery to learn. Andrew Makin, though was the class of the field in March 73B all weekend, but Larner was the hard-charger in the final race until the exhaust pipe/muffler assembly came off Geoff Burton’s Brabham BT29, Larner destroyed the front splitter of the RT4 running over the top of the assembly as Luke Doige (Cheetah Mk9) went off track to avoid.
John Baragwanath & Paul Trevethan have recently obtained Group T log books for their respective MGBs, so entered the Group S field for the weekend with Matt Baragwanath driving the orange Trevethan car finishing in the top 3 across the weekend, although Perry Spiridis proved the dominant force in the De Tomaso Pantera GTS. Michael Byrne took home the award for best avoidance in the first race in his Lotus Super Seven S4 narrowly avoiding the marshal enclosure at the end of the esses on to the front straight.
George Hetrel chose not to qualify his Bugatti T35C due to the miserable weather conditions on Saturday morning, but managed to pick up a few places in the afternoon’s Douglas Briese Trophy race. Graeme Raper proved the dominant force in this field in the Monoskate , ahead of Jim Russell and Alistair Turnbull – somewhat of a Dodge & Ford V8 special show with John Gillett being the first of the other marques with the ex. Prince Bira MG K3.
In the Group Lb grid, Ian Tate put a cat amongst the pigeons in the soaked track conditions during qualifying taking second spot on the grid for the first race of the weekend in the Ford Prefect Special. Tate was relegated to 14th place by the end of Race 1. Mal Reid took that race in the Prad Mk3, seeming to like the dry track better.
In the regularity event one, Kent Patrick had a huge moment coming on to the straight in his Bugatti T37A – not his usual driving style. While in regularity two, Ron Townley made sure he took his regular one victory across the weekend in the Lago Talbot T26C.
Report by: Charles Rogers / Historic Racing Australia