Gardiner/Wolfe take their second Masters Pre-66 Touring Car victory of the season at Most
Mike Gardiner and Andy Wolfe doubled up on their Imola victory in April by racing their Ford Falcon Sprint to their second Masters Pre-66 Touring Car win of the season at Most. Even though Wolfe edged away from his rivals in the second part of the race, it was a hard-fought win, Gardiner fending off Canadian Peter Klutt’s Ford Mustang throughout his entire stint, with Steve Soper in Mark Martin’s Lotus Cortina hot on their heels.
A lap before the pit window opened, Klutt and Gardiner made contact, spinning it around and into Soper’s path. All three lead cars lost time in the process but managed to survive. Klutt went on to finish second on the road but was later handed a time penalty for a pitstop infringement, pushing him down to fourth overall in the final results.
It was very close”, said Gardiner while shaking hands with Klutt. “There was contact, but it’s just that there were three cars in a small amount of space that usually fits just one car. I got spun around, and then Steve hit me, through no fault of his own.
“We just got a little together”, said Klutt. “We went into the chicane side-by-side and then coming out of it he came over and we touched. It was just a racing incident.”
When the yellow Mustang and Falcon came together there was nowhere I could go”, said Soper
Having taken over from Gardiner, Wolfe soon cleared the Klutt’s Mustang, opening up a gap of some 20 seconds at the finish. Nicholas Ruddell, meanwhile, had a relatively lonely race to be third of the V8-powered cars, finishing sixth overall.
Soper’s delay handed Martin Strommen the lead in the Cortina class – and with the Norwegian having been handed a 5-second time penalty for crossing the white line on pit lane exit, tension rose as Mark Martin attempted to reel in Strommen, hoping to profit from his rival’s penalty. He came up just one second short…
“Yes, the first time!” said a jubilant Strommen about his debut win in the category, even if it was by the tiniest of margins. “That close? Oh, that’s OK, who cares!
“I got blocked on the last lap”, said Martin, “and that cost me three seconds. I didn’t even know he was given a time penalty but we just raced to the end. And then it turns out we missed out by one second…”
In the Mini class, Ron Maydon prevailed after the Ian Curley/Bill Sollis car was given a drive through penalty for a jump start while the Liam Sullivan/Jonathan Lewis car retired on lap 22 with a broken engine. Maydon had been fighting Lewis for the class lead when the latter’s Mini began to develop its engine problems.
“Oh, I already got him beat!” said a feisty Maydon, “but I’m not sure he’ll agree with that!”
Curley and Sollis still claimed second in class, with Raymond Low in third.