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Abelnica takes the mountain victory in an epic seven laps
Old 6 Oct 2012 21:00
Category: Historic Racing
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In what could only be described as an epic seven laps of reverse top ten racing as the muscle cars dominated the mountain terrain, Eddie Ablenica has come home with the win, his well-deserved first in the series, with a freight train of muscle cars hot on his bumper as the side by side action continued race long. There was the mix of heartbreak, heart racing moments and almost heroes, with not a moment to look away as the Touring Car Masters completed race two of round seven.

For the second time in the series’ reverse grid setups, Crick would go from the front row in his Mopar Chrysler, with King’s strong Camaro to his side, Cameron Tilley was back and looking very commanding in his BOSS Mustang, with relative series newcomer, Bressington also from the top six as the power of Bowe, Richards, Miedecke and Brad Tilley went from mid pack.

Off the line, Crick bogged down in smoke, while Abelnica took a flyer to the outside to take the lead out of the opening turn. Bowe, Bullas and the Tilley brothers all had good launches, setting each up to push on in the hunt for positions, Bullas determined to recover from the rear of grid and back into the top ten by race end. It was King and Crick, Abelnica and the Tilley Falcon side by side on the first run to climb the mountain, the slippery surface seeing a wheel wide dry line developing. Bowe made the move to edge ahead of Richards, the full field in high pressure mode as they thundered across Skyline, all looking for the line on the entry ahead, while Crick moved to the inside of the Abelnica XB and it was side by side again through the chase.

As Kassulke took to the inside of Bressington’s Bandit, Miedecke found the room to put on the move, with the Tilley brothers in full battle mode, Brad’s Falcon taking position from Cameron’s Mustang to claim third. Bowe was on a charge down Conrod, firing under Bressington as Edwards continued his recovery to slip into 11th. Bullas was determined to come through the field, into 12th and edging closer to the top ten, with Mason, Youlden and the O’Brien HQ armed with its new power plant all following closely.

Abelnica took to the inside at turn two, Miedecke on the hunt and into fifth, with Pye, his third diff for the weekend and Freestone on the run up the Mountain Straight, but soon Freestone’s challenge would come to a close as he dropped through the field, possibly still suffering from oil pressure concerns that have plagued the Camaro’s weekend. As Stillwell’s Mustang continued to run like clockwork, it would be a tougher fight this time out sitting 20th, while Class B title contender Benson had recovered from a misfire from Race 1 to move into 16th.

Brad Tilley always promises action and was sideways venturing down towards Conrod, going side by side with the Crick Chrysler as they pushed for second, not losing sight of Abelnica still leading the way. Bowe put the moves on Kassulke through the chase, Miedecke went to the outside along the straight for a look, but Cameron Tilley held strong, keeping the BOSS on line as they came along the main straight and out of turn one.

As the field barrelled on, Bullas was all over Bressington, the Bandit Camaro spinning as the #16 pushed hard to make up lost ground, Bullas just clipping the rear of the #7 on the run out of the first turn, the field finding their way through cleanly. Edwards had the HDT-backed Torana up into ninth, Kassulke looked to the inside, but the Torana would hold on. As the tough challenge got tougher, it was now Miedecke on a flyer with the fastest lap, while Brad Tilley was again sideways, stepping out the rear of the big Falcon through Forrest Elbow, Crick right on his tail.

Richards was now looking to move towards the helm, putting in some outstanding sector times to make up ground, while O’Brien was continuing his charge forward and was into 14th. Miedecke’s pace made the move on Crick for third, as Richards took over the fastest lap, leading reigning champion, Bowe who was in for the fight of his life to make ground in this reverse grid battle.

Abelnica still held the race lead, but the Tilley Racing Falcon was all there, another side by side run around the mountain, a wild run for the strong field as Almond was fighting through the field with incredible pace for the Porsche, during his first run in the wet in his 1973 911 RS. It was a seven car fight in the tight lead pack, more smoke from the #48 XB showing the pressure was on,but for Wilson it would be an end in pit lane with three laps to go.

Bresington was back in the pack, Karanfilovski putting the pressure on as he looked to overcome clutch concerns after a push start to make the grid. Bowe now had the fastest sector times falling, Crick was all over the #60 BOSS Mustang, seeing Cameron drop wheels on the grass allowing Crick to take a look, but the Tilley entry held on to fourth. Richards and Bowe were now side by side and right on the Tilley and Crick fight, Bowe putting in the fastest lap with a 2:23.7190, as Almond’s Porsche was lapping only five seconds off the pace of the mighty #18 Mustang.

The O’Brien HQ found the wall with a heavy hit at Forrest Elbow, pushing hard and limping home with damaged steering, the diff moving, but you can be assured this won’t be the last of the #8. Richards looked under Crick, Bowe moving into the fight alongside and going under the Mopar entry to claim fourth, while Bullas was into the top ten as hoped and Edwards had certainly impressed, now into eighth.

Two Aussie muscle cars had control, with the pack not backing off as the race laps fell away. Bowe was now pulling away from Crick’s Charger, the #75 Mopar entry closing the door on Bathurst legend Richards, determined to keep at the fore. Miedecke and Tilley were back at it, door to door racing on the run into Murrays Corner, Miedecke moving into second as they started the final lap blast.

Richards was through for another place, Bowe moved into fourth ahead of Cameron Tilley with Miedecke on the limit to catch Abelnica and try for the win, a big look through the dipper, but Abelnica had the run onto Conrod, just holding out the #95 Camaro to take his second win with the Masters, one to remember at the mountain as he explained,

“It’s great to get one under our belt - we were under pressure all the way there. The car’s still not running exactly right, so that makes it even more of an achievement to have held off all the challenges, and especially to do it here at the mountain on the anniversary weekend, it’s something I’ll always remember.

“We had no chance to let up at all, it was on the limit the whole time, and I’m really happy for the team because Marty (Brant) and the boys put a lot of time and effort in. We’ve been there sometimes and not others, and to have this as a time that we’re up there is just great.”

The field fired had continued to fire to the line, the action not letting up as Brad Tilley pushed the racing room with Miedecke, the Camaro wide onto the straight, Tilley taking second, Miedecke home in third, but for the other Tilley, it would all end in heartache as the brakes failed into the final corner, a big hit into the rear of the Richards Javelin, dropping the #60 from a top five result to a DNF. The top ten would round out with Bowe in fourth, Crick, Edwards, Bullas, Kassulke, Youlden and King to close one of the best races the series has seen.
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