Miedecke takes out the clash of the classics at Hidden Valley
The final day at Hidden Valley Raceway in the Northern Territory proved to be a clash of the classics, and highlighted the excitement of the Touring Car Masters.
The pack stormed off the start line in this morning’s race two, seeing Richards spearhead the first corner attack, Bowe going wide for a look but oversteer dropped the Mustang into second, with a freight train of muscle thundering in behind. Miedecke bogged down on the green, falling into the clutches of the Tilley GTHO and Edwards’ Torana,
The flying Porsche of Lawlor had been more than holding its own all weekend but took a big hit as he braked to avoid Woodbury, taking a rear shunt from the Mason Camaro and heading for pit lane. Abelnica was charging the XB through the field, but new face Woodbury was holding his own as the XB returned to the pits.
Miedecke wanted that lead and pushed up the inside of Edwards into turn one on their third pass, on the hunt for Tilley, then finding the line under the GTHO across the top of the circuit. The Keene Porsche was charging forward, joining the top ten with Mason hot on his heels, and wife Sparks right there too. Ahead, Bowe made the move under brakes on Richards, while Mason regained a top ten place from Keene as they closed lap four.
Edwards and Tilley were still battling on, side by side through the corners with Edwards finding the line through Murphy’s Leap to take the spot. Whiteside was pushing the Mustang and pushed too hard coming into the final turn, going sideways before a lockup sent him in a spin and into the wall, as Westwood parked his GTHO after the engine let go while hunting the Monaro ahead.
Sparks was keen to take position from her man Keene, the Porsches almost side by side along the front straight, Sparks all crossed up coming into turn one later under brakes with a squeeze from Keene as Mason took on the 911 duo. Abelnica had secured seventh from series debutant Woodbury while a five car dice raged on between Waddington, McAlister, Talbot, King and O’Brien for 15th. Mason was again in for a challenge, side by side with Woodbury across Murphy’s Rise, holding his line to secure position eight.
The Nittis GTHO was smoking in 12th, Kassulke in a nose to tail battle with the orange monster, trying but spinning out of the stoush at the hairpin, leaving a grass fire in his wake. Miedecke was hot, gaining on the Richards’ Sprint and posting a new lap record of 1:16.8815 on lap seven of the 12 lap race. Mason was off into the infield, making it back on track as Lawlor barrelled past, Mason sideways and making contact with the Porsche, leaving yet more damage on the rear of the silver bullet, venturing off the tarmac again and into the valley at turn five, deploying the safety car.
Abelnica had been back on the circuit, but soon retired to the lane and from the weekend as the sump and engine dramas continued, but the depleted classic field continued behind the safety car with Bowe at the helm, race one winner Miedecke in second, with Richards, Edwards, Brad Tilley, Pye, Woodbury, Keene, Sparks and Mason rounding out the top ten.
Restart one and the action continued with cars all over the track, Edwards side by side with Richards as they crossed the control line to go green once again. Coming into turn one it was a big moment for Woodbury as the Monaro slid around the slippery corner, and it was Richards and Edwards side by side, Richards taking the position through Murphy’s Leap and Mason was holding between the Class A challenge of Keene and Sparks.
With just four to go, the grid depleted further as McAlister broke a timing belt and parked the Camaro, while Nittis’ dramas finally bit, the GTHO parking off the circuit to sit out the day’s first race as Bowe held on to greet yet another chequered flag and extend his championship lead. Miedecke would add second to his race win so far, Edwards posted a personal best at the circuit to edge out Richards for third.
With the top 12 reversed for the final race of the weekend, it was the husband and wife Porsche duo on the front row with a long line of heavy muscle machines ready to pounce from behind them. Sparks let go too early, rolling from pole before the lights went out and the field fired on past, husband Keene launching from the outside to take the lead to the first corner as Mason took a look to the inside. Tilley used the muscle power of the GTHO to charge on, but it was Pye and Woodbury, then Miedecke joined the exchanging of paint through the first corner, sending Pye around as Mason took the lead ahead.
Tilley put the power down on the straight, while Bowe and Miedecke shot up the inside of Keene top forge ahead, with Edwards and Woodbury not far behind, Edwards pushing and too hot into the hairpin, spearing into the dirt. The lead remained with Mason as Tilley stormed the GTHO towards every gap, knowing Bowe and Miedecke were right on them.
Sparks headed into the lane to serve the jumped start drive through as the fight on track raged on, Miedecke to the inside of Bowe, Tilley under Mason for the lead, with Richards looming. As the pristine muscle machines fought on, Bowe and Mason were side by side, and this time there would be no clean move as the Camaro speared into the side of the Mustang, Bowe launching the rear wheels before getting back on the gas and forcing his way back to second.
After a top ten result early in the weekend, Westwood returned to pit lane for a second DNF as Talbot and Nelson were at it for 11th, and Kassulke and King were impressing in the top ten, even with King’s suspected fractured finger from incidents in the day’s first race. Richards was looking to the outside and for the switchback through one and two as the half way point of the race passed.
Challenges were ripe across the field, from Tilley, Bowe and Miedecke at the front, Richards and Mason right behind, and Lawlor, Talbot and Keene on the verge of the top ten. It was more side by side action for the lead with just three to go, the mighty GTHO muscle seeing Tilley pull away down the straight and securing the lead under brakes, with Richards making the move on Mason making it a four way dice for the lead.
As Whiteside retired to pit lane, Bowe was squeezed to the inside, sliding as Miedecke went under for second into turn three, following up with a move on Tilley to take the race lead. It was time for Tilley to take on Bowe as the field behind settled into position with Lawlor taking 11th from Talbot and back on the edge of another top ten result. Mason headed for the pits giving up fifth and again the paint exchanges were on with Tilley and Bowe rubbing panels as they diced for second. The field stormed on looking ahead to the lead where Miedecke was driving away on the road to win number two this weekend.
What a weekend of action that started and ended with happiness and heartbreaks across the showcase of classics. Two wins and a record for Miedecke lessened the blow to the team after co-pilot Stack was out early with technical dramas yet to be investigated. Bowe has held on to the championship lead and as the series heads into the long winter break, there’s time for fixes, assessments, development and the completion of news cars including the Seton XB, Richards Javelin and the Tilley Mustang to make their garage a three Ford assault at round four, Muscle Car Masters, Eastern Creek, 3-4 September.
Skycity Triple Crown round points
Championship points post Round 3