Hidden Valley will go down in history as being the toughest round to get to so far! As I mentioned in my previous new letter I live in Tassie and this has never presented a problem until this round. My plan was that I would fly to Darwin on the Monday before the round to conduct much needed pre race preparation. This is where the dreaded Chilean Ash Cloud interfered! Long story short, I travelled in true John Candy & Steve Martin style ‘Trains Plains & Automobiles’, plus throw in a boat for good measure. I therefore arrived in Darwin only hours before the 1st practice. Therefore our preparation plans were shot. That being said, a mammoth thanks to Rod Dawson’s Truckline Racing Team, these guys stepped in and got Charlie’s Ute ready. As they have 2 V8 Ute’s of their own (Ryan Hansford’s XR8 Falcon & Brendan Cooks’ SS Commodore) this is an especially generous gesture, Thanks Rod, Glenn and especially Kev Culley for your after hours help.
Practice & Qualifying
These two sessions went without a hitch, but the only problem was that we had a notable lack of pace? This was to plague us for the entire weekend; fortunately Ryan Hansford flew the flag and finished equal second for the weekend.
1 8 Aust. Industrial Supplies David Sieders (NSW) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 4 3 1:21.1958*
2 42 Ice Break Racing Chris Pither (NZ) Holden SS VE 6000 5 4 1:21.3216 0:00.1258
3 1 Holiday Inn/Core Staff Grant Johnson (WA) Holden SS VE 6000 8 5 1:21.4959 0:00.3001
4 61 Bundaberg Racing Cameron McConville (VIC) Holden SS VE 6000 7 4 1:21.5469 0:00.3511
5 27 Bob Jane T-Marts Kim Jane (VIC) Holden SS VE 6000 8 2 1:21.5932 0:00.3974
6 6 Truckline Racing Ryan Hansford (QLD) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 6 4 1:21.6285 0:00.4327
11 15 Rentco Charlie O'Brien (NZ) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 7 3 1:22.4686 0:01.2728
Race 1 Saturday
Starting from 11th position Charlie got frustrated with the traffic and ended up coming into turn 1 a bit hot and found he had been left hung out and ended up spearing off the track (rather that locking the tyres or having heavy contact with any other Ute’s. By the time Charlie re-entered the track he was dead last so 23rd was a worthy recovery.
Race 2 Saturday afternoon
Hooray at last a reverse grid draw worked in our favour as the top 24 cars were reversed, therefore we were in P2 for race 2. Charlie took the lead by turn one and our race was reasonably uneventful until the second last corner of the last lap. A closing Jack Elsegood pulled off an overtaking manoeuvre that to date would be considered quite legal, but Andrew Jones (Driving Standards Advisor) deemed the pass on Charlie to be not within the rules and deducted 1 position from Jack, giving Charlie the race win.
1 15 Rentco Charlie O'Brien (NZ) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 14 22:18.7952 7 1:24.1737
2 11 Coopers Clear Racing Jack Elsegood (NSW) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 14 22:18.4901 7 1:23.8208*
3 27 Bob Jane T-Marts Kim Jane (VIC) Holden SS VE 6000 14 22:19.2894 12 1:24.0840
4 6 Truckline Racing Ryan Hansford (QLD) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 14 22:29.1076 9 1:24.7171
Race 3 Sunday
Race 3 was not to be so good for Charlie, but Ryan stole the Limelight! Cleaning up and recording the second fastest lap. A mature drive holding off last years rookie Dave Sieders ‘and that’s not easy’ well done Rhino.
1 6 Truckline Racing Ryan Hansford (QLD) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 16:56.0289 4 1:23.4924
2 8 Aust. Industrial Supplies David Sieders (NSW) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 16:56.8125 2 1:23.4285*
3 27 Bob Jane T-Marts Kim Jane (VIC) Holden SS VE 6000 12 17:00.4218 4 1:24.0483
15 15 Rentco Charlie O'Brien (NZ) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 17:29.6622 2 1:25.8826
Race 4 Sunday afternoon
With only 3 rounds under his belt Ryan Hansford is doing his family name proud by proving that his late father the great Greg Hansford has passed on the racing gene, Starting in Grid position # 1. that being said the start wasn’t to be a great one for Ryan and he was out gunned by turn one by the very fast Ryal Harris and Dave Sieders. Ryan did a top job on tyres that were well and truly shot. I must say that I wish we had Ryan’s shot tyres as on warm-up lap Charlie mentioned he had a bad vibration and as the race went on he decided to the run car around as fast as possible without binning the car, by ¾ race distance tyre had completely delaminated therefore I would say that was one scary cockpit and commend the old racer for holding out full race distance.
1 58 VIP Petfoods Ryal Harris (QLD) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 16:55.4343 2 1:22.8592*
2 8 Aust. Industrial Supplies David Sieders (NSW) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 16:57.4825 2 1:23.0859
3 27 Bob Jane T-Marts Kim Jane (VIC) Holden SS VE 6000 12 17:03.5598 2 1:23.7480
4 6 Truckline Racing Ryan Hansford (QLD) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 17:04.7466 2 1:23.9735
18 15 Rentco Charlie O'Brien (NZ) Ford Falcon XR8 BF 5400 12 17:34.4795 3 1:25.6025
A great result for Ryan finishing the round equal 2nd with Dave Sieders and Kim Jane taking out the round win.
We weren’t as fortunate finishing a disappointing 13th, from the moment we hit the track we struggled for speed, we will go away and evaluate data and hopefully take the car home for a much needed service as the road trip to Adelaide / Perth / Darwin, I believe has taken its toll.
Final special thanks to Hobart’s ‘Performance Engine Guru’ Andrew Kuc for allowing me to interrupt his holiday, It would have been a real struggle this weekend without Andrew’s helping out with Charlie’s car’ Thank you Linda also for letting me rip Andrew away for 3 days.
Next round Townsville.
Cheers - Clifton Campbell