Young gun Tom Tweedie’s Chevron B24 dominated the opening round of the 2014/15 MSC Formula 5000 Tasman Revival Series at the annual Historic Sandown meeting in Melbourne on November 8-9, 2014, qualifying quickest and winning two of the three class races.
The 26-year-old former Australian Formula 3 championship and Carrera Cup series front-runner from Sydney blitzed the 18-strong field in qualifying on Saturday morning with a 1m06.92 opening lap then strolled to a comfortable win in the eight lap race.
Clark Proctor (March 73A/1) preserved kiwi honour with the second quickest time (1m9.1733) to join Tweedie on the front row of the grid from locals Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) and Bryan Sala (Matich A50), and kiwi Steve Ross (McRae GM1) – five different makes of F5000 car in the top five spots, the later three separated by less than 300th of a second.
The field only got as far as Turn 1 in the opening race however before there was drama. In mid-field, the Matich of Monaco-based Philip Lewis contacted the Lola T332 of New Zealand’s Russell Greer, sending both off the road.
The Safety Car was required, and the race restarted at the end of the third lap.
Unfazed, Tweedie put in a brief sprint, opening up a gap on the field, before rolling it back and cruising to the line with Ross – who had restarted in seventh after putting a wheel off the road in the lap one fracas – the big mover after snatching second with just over a lap to go, ahead of Zazryn, with Proctor, who had slowed significantly on the last lap, fourth.
Fifth, meanwhile, was former MSC series champion Ian Clements (Lola T332) ahead of a superb debut performance from Melbournian Peter Brennan, in the beautifully restored ex-Lella Lombardi Lola T330.
Bryan Sala was another to fade for seventh, from Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) and David Arrowsmith (Lotus 70B), with Mike Glynn’s Elfin MR8 completing the top ten.
Sunday saw two more races, a qualifying heat in the morning and feature in the afternoon.
The feature proved another Tweedie benefit, but the morning heat eventually went to 2013 MSC series champion Steve Ross.
The Dunedin driver got the jump on Tweedie at the start with much of the rest of the race run behind the Safety Car following a spectacular opening lap crash, at the end of Sandown’s long back straight, which saw the Lola T332 of top local driver Paul Zazryn spin and hit the outside safety barriers – fortunately rear first.
While the car was heavily damaged, Zazryn was unhurt.
The heat was restarted with just two laps to go and, in a close finish, Ross was able to keep the pressing Tweedie at bay.
Fortunately the main event was virtually incident-free, with Tweedie getting the jump, racing to an early margin, and coming home some 15 seconds clear of a race-long battle for second, resolved on the last lap between kiwis Proctor and Ross in that order.
The talking point of the race, though, was the charge, from seventh on the opening lap to fourth, by former Formula 5000 great Alfredo Costanzo (McLaren M10B).
Having missed Saturday’s race after blowing an engine on Friday, the three-time former Australia Drivers’ Champion started at the back in the shortened morning heat, finished tenth, then in the main event worked his way one-by-one past the midfield cars, to finish a strong fourth.
Behind him at the finish were Dave Arrowsmith (Lotus 70B), Ian Clements (Lola T332), and Peter Brennan (Lola T330), while further back, the top ten was completed by a delayed Russell Greer (Lola T332), Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) and Philip Lewis (Matich A50).
The MSC F5000 Tasman Revival 2014 Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide.
Race 1, Saturday (8 Laps)
1. Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24) 11:41.6297
2. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 11:45.6175
3. Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) 11:47.5273
4. Clark Proctor (March 73A/1) 11:57.2615
5. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 12:00.3695
6. Peter Brennan (Lola T330) 12:04.9912
7. Bryan Sala (Matich A50/51) 12:09.7904
8. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR8) 12:17.1363
9. David Arrowsmith (Lotus 70B) 12:22.5980
10. Mike Glynn (Elfin MRB-BC) 12:34.6701
11. Jay Bondini (Lola T332)12:34.9386
12. David Banks (Talon MR1) 12:41.2410
13. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 12:53.6796
DNF. Gregory Thornton (March 75A), Geoff Munday (Elfin MR5B), Chris Hocking (Matich A53), Philip Lewis (Matich A50)
Race 2, Sunday (7 laps)
1. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 13:13.2406
2. Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24) 13:13.3695
3. Clark Proctor (March 73 A/1) 13:13.7381
4. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 13:22.2605
5. David Arrowsmith (Lotus 70B) 13:23.2597
6. Peter Brennan (Lola T330) 13:23.9508
7. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR 8) 13:25.5566
8. David Banks (Talon MR1) 13:25.9966
9. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 13:28.2046
10. Alfredo Costanzo (McLaren M10B) 13:29.6239
11. Jay Bondini (Lola T332) 13:36.6734
12. Philip Lewis (Matich A50) 13:38.7439
13. Mike Glynn (Elfin MRB-BC) 13:38.9797
14. Geoff Munday (Elfin MR5B) 13:48.3740
DNF. Chris Hocking (Matich A53), Robert Harborow (Lola T192), Paul Zazryn (Lola T332)
Race 3, Sunday (8 laps)
1. Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24) 9:10.6239
2. Clark Proctor (March 73 A/1) 9:25.2997
3. Steve Ross (McRae GM1) 9:25.6463
4. Alfredo Costanzo (McLaren M10B) 9:40.5829
5. David Arrowsmith (Lotus 70B) 9:41.3141
6. Ian Clements (Lola T332) 9:43.9469
7. Peter Brennan (Lola T330) 9:46.0630
8. Russell Greer (Lola T332) 9:53.1883
9. Bill Hemming (Elfin MR 8) 9:53.6817
10. Philip Lewis (Matich A50) 9:54.8488
11. David Banks (Talon MFR1) 10:09.9070
12. Jay Bondini (Lola T332) 10:24.5473
13. Mike Glynn (Elfin MRB-BC) 9:16.1764
14. Geoff Munday (Elfin MR5B) 9:28.5147
[Source: New Zealand Formula 5000 Association; Photos: Fast Company/Darren Symonds]
i would like to know what happened in the other open wheel races ????
Alfredo………? After all these years you still got the cajones Mate ! May you live and compete long…er ,longer !
Thanks for the memories…and reminding me of them. Best wishes Rob.
Sorry Alfie ! …..Rob Gilbert from and still Adelaide South Australia. Mallala…my second favourite track [No. 1 then] until latter day Phillip Isl…..Sensational !!!! [I remember how it was in “68.
Great to see “real ” racers keeping the faith !