Clipsal Round-up

22. March 2016 16:02 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Rare Spares were proud to present the first Touring Car Masters round this year with the season kick off in Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 over the first weekend of March. We also were delighted to send along Mark and Jane, Rare Spares customers who visited Rare Spares at Summernats, to the event for the weekend long experience!

"Both Mark and I were thrilled to find out we had been lucky enough to win the Rare Spares Clipsal Experience. We had an amazing weekend away…  We were treated like VIPs!" said Jane.  

Our guests also got to meet Rare Spares Ambassador and motorsport legend John Bowe who had a great weekend himself, starting on the Friday with a qualifying time a full one second faster than his own record time, to put him on the front of the grid for the seventh time in a row at Clipsal. That was until the very end of the session when Glen Seton’s Ford Mustang snuck ahead by six one hundredths of a second to grab pole instead.

The first race of the season got underway in sweltering conditions later that afternoon. Starting from second on the grid, JB found himself and his Torana with an early lead but was passed by Greg Ritter in his Chevy Monza. After an appearance from the Safety Car, Bowe was unable to get back ahead of Ritter and had to settle for second place with Glen Seton in hot pursuit.

Starting once again from second on the grid for Saturday’s race, JB and Ritter were hard at it from the off, forcing Bowe to clip the tyre wall at the first turn, causing damage to his steering arm and forcing him back to fifth. With the typical courage JB has become famous for, he fought his way back to third behind race winner Greg Ritter and the Falcon XB Coupe of Eddie Abelnica.

Sunday’s race was a reverse grid format which made JB’s job a lot harder because of his outstanding qualifying effort. Adam Garwood and his Torana eventually took the win ahead of Andrew Fisher and Andrew Miedecke.

Series wise, JB sits in a fantastic second place on 158 points, just 12 points behind series leader Greg Ritter and seven points ahead of Eddie Abelnica.

The next TCM round will be the Shannons Nationals at Sandown from the 1st to the 3rd of April.

V8 Supercar star driver and Rare Spares sponsored Jason Bright’s season also got off to a sweltering start. Race One saw Jason finish in 19thposition in what could only be described as torturous conditions, with temperatures inside the car exceeding 60 °C!

Race Two saw a massive improvement as Brighty was able to bring his VF Commodore home in eighth place in the second 125 kilometre race.

For the third and final race on Sunday, the weather played havoc as everyone rushed to put wets on for the start, just as the heavens opened. With the rain beginning to ease, Jason, starting from 18th on the grid, decided to pit for slicks and fuel. This tactic payed off as he was able move up ten places to eventually finish in a well-deserved eighth place.

The V8 Supercars next event will be at the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint from the 1st to the 3rd of April.

Phillip Island Extravaganza!

It was the mid-seventies. ABBA and The Bay City Rollers were on the airwaves. Jaws and Picnic at Hanging Rock was on at the drive-in and Gough Whitlam stood on the steps of Old Parliament House to make his famous “Dismissal” speech. At the same time, a fledgling car parts company was just beginning in the residential basement of a Melbourne suburb. 40 years later, Rare Spares is still growing and we’re stronger than ever! To celebrate this momentous occasion, Rare Spares headed to Phillip Island for the final event of the Touring Car Masters. To add to the party atmosphere, Rare Spares was also celebrating our 10 year partnership with motorsport racing royalty, John Bowe.

“We’re lucky enough to be celebrating 40 years in business this week and it’s great to be down here at Phillip Island celebrating with the Touring Car Masters people,” said David Rayner, the proud General Manager of Rare Spares.

“Who would have thought Rare Spares would grow to be a multi-million dollar company when we started selling old 48 215 FJ parts. But over the years, thanks to our great staff and great customers, we’ve been able to make many, many thousands of car parts. And by doing so, we’re keeping these wonderful old classic cars on the road.

"To help us, we employed John Bowe 10 years ago as our ambassador. And since we’ve had John, our business has boomed. John has got us into motorsports and we’re putting money back into the sport. We are very lucky to have John and to be involved in several sponsorships.”

John Bowe was also on hand to talk about this proud milestone.

“This is the 40th anniversary of Rare Spares,” beamed JB.

“They started with a couple of guys in a little garage and now they make the most amazing variety of over 50,000 parts for Aussie cars. The fact that they’ve been in business for forty years means most of the classic cars in Australia that are still on the road, owe something to Rare Spars.

"It’s also my 10th anniversary as a Rare Spares ambassador. They’re great people, they make great parts. Happy Birthday guys and girls and keep up the good work!” he added.

With two TCM races on Saturday and one on Sunday, John couldn’t sit around eating the seven kilo 40th birthday cake we had specially made. He had work to do!

Race one saw drama at the first turn on the first lap when a competitor’s gearbox blew up, spilling oil on the track. With everyone circulating behind the safety car while the clean-up got underway, by the time they’d finished, the race was almost over, leaving only one lap of real “pedal to the metal” racing. The victory finally went to JB, with everyone only getting half points due to spending most of the race behind the safety car.

Race two also went to John, which put him in the enviable position of really just having to turn up to clinch the TCM ProMaster title.

Sunday’s race and the final one for 2015 saw an awesome battle between JB and Steve Johnson, with Johnson eventually taking the victory and John not far behind. More importantly however was that JB was able to secure the 2015 title, his fourth one since joining the series! Congratulations John!

On the Thursday afternoon before the race weekend began and as part of their commitment to men’s health, Rare Spares and Men’s Shed hosted an event at the local Philip Island RSL. Two TCM cars: Andrew Fischer’s 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO and Cameron Tilley’s 1969 Valliant Pacer turned up. Men’s Shed put on a beaut BBQ, some of the guys came down from their local “Sheds “and even John Bowe was there for a personal one on one chat about what he’s doing and his racing.

An action packed and fun filled weekend for all involved, “extravaganza” might be an understatement! 

Safety In TCM

30. October 2015 09:04 by Rare Spares in Rare Spares  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

The Touring Car Masters in recent years has become one of motorsports most loved categories. The series transports fans back to the heady days where names like Beechey, Moffat, Brock and Johnson were the gods of the racetracks.

As much as the drivers were considered gods, the cars were almost on the same level. Moffat’s ‘Coke’ Mustang and Brock’s SLR 5000 Torana are now considered motorsport royalty and hold a very special place in the pantheon of great racing machines.

But are today’s TCM cars just like the cars of the old days? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Really, the answer is “kind of”. Yes they look exactly the same, tough and brutish, with an engine note that makes motorsport fans run to the fence to see what’s making such a beautiful sound. However, one big difference between the old and new is the safety aspects of the cars... and thank goodness!

Back in the heyday of the 60’s and 70’s, racing drivers took their lives into their hands every time they strapped themselves into their machines. While today’s racing is still dangerous, drivers stand a much better chance of emerging from an incident relatively unscathed.

Some of the cars in TCM generate well over 600 horsepower and can easily get up to speeds in excess of 250kph, so although we might like these cars to be exactly as they were back in the day and stay true to history, keeping the driver safe is a priority.

Today’s TCM cars feature cutting edge safety systems such as full roll cages as opposed to 4 point cages or indeed nothing at all and full side intrusion beams to keep the driver safe instead of just a door skin that came from the factory. Carbon fibre race seats are now used instead of the unsupported seat that came with the car from the showroom and of course 6 point race harnesses instead of a lap sash belt... and that’s just the cars!

Drivers are now better protected by their racing attire too. Three layer flame resistant NOMEX race suits with fire proof gloves, boots, socks and underwear, carbon fibre helmets attached to head and neck restraint systems (HANS Device), are all a far cry from cotton race suits, no gloves, loafers and open face helmets which were the only available options at the time.

So next time you’re at the track, make sure you go by the TCM pits and take a closer look at the cars of yesteryear with the technology of today and tip your hat to those brave souls of the past because back in its heyday, racing really was DANGEROUS!

Vale Bill Pye

On the 29th of July, the Australian Motorsport community lost one of its own when Bill Pye was tragically killed in a light plane crash near one of his properties just north of Deniliquin in New South Wales.

Bill, 54, a competitor and race winner in the Touring Car Masters series since 2010, first drove the Chevrolet Camaro previously driven by John Bowe. He then went on to drive a Porsche 911 before returning to another Camaro. TCM paid tribute to Bill on the day of the accident.

“The Touring Car Masters family is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our friend, fellow competitor and great racer, Bill Pye,” read the tribute.

“Bill was a committed and competitive racer and was a fantastic part of the TCM paddock at every round. He was a fighter on the track, a great part of our paddock off it and he will be missed."

“The Touring Car Masters management team, on behalf of the broader TCM family, offers their support and thoughts to the Pye family and their friends at this time.”

As a successful sheep and wool producer, Bill was able to indulge in his passion for motorsport. He also competed in the Heritage Touring Cars series in an ex-Dick Johnson Ford Mustang, a car which he loved. He’d recently added an ex-Peter Jackson Glenn Seton two-litre turbo Sierra RS500 to his collection, which he had hoped to run at HTC’s Muscle Car Masters round in September.

Bill also competed in the Targa Tasmania nine times between 1999 -2010 with his navigator and mechanic, Grant Geelan. The pair successfully placed many times in their Porsche 911 Carrera, highlighted by two second place finishes in the Classic Outright, and a win in 2007 in the Classic Handicap.

Rare Spares would like pass on our sincere condolences to Bill’s family and friends.

A Winner of a Month!

May has been a massive month here at Rare Spares. Another super popular VIP Night was held at Bayswater in Melbourne’s east. This was followed by Round 3 of the Touring Car Masters at Winton. As a major sponsor of the TCM series, Rare Spares is always heavily involved, however the Winton round was extra special as star driver and Rare Spares Ambassador, John Bowe was in top form all weekend. And to top off the month, Rare Spares is helping to give away an Australian automotive legend to one lucky person. To find out how you could be that winner, read on.

Even Melbourne’s notorious weather couldn’t keep the crowds away from the Rare Spares Bayswater VIP and Club Night, held at the store recently on the 13th of May. Over 50 guests attended the evening, including members from The EH Holden Car Club of Victoria, Yarra Valley Chrome Bumpers, The HD and HR Club of Victoria and The East Side Cruisers.

Manager Dylan Boyes has been at the Rare Spares Bayswater store for the past fourteen months and even though this was his sixth VIP night, he said it was the best one so far.

“These nights are very beneficial for building customer relationships and for us to be able to put names to faces,” said Dylan. “I only heard good feedback from club members last night, and our people all agree it was definitely as successful as we could have hoped. And it’s always great to hear about the projects club members have been working on,” he added.

Some awesome prizes were up for grabs as well. A Winton Hot Lap, Winton Double Passes and a $100 Rare Spares Voucher went to the lucky winners. If you missed out this time, you’ll have another chance to win some more fabulous prizes at the next Rare Spares Bayswater VIP Night on the 19th of August.

The following weekend, the fun and action continued just a couple of hours north of Melbourne. Rare Spares Ambassador and driving legend John Bowe swapped his Ford Mustang for a Holden Torana SLR 5000 recently at Round 3 of the Touring Car Masters at Winton. And not only did he blitz the field in practice and qualifying to grab pole position, he went on to win both races!

“It’s been a great day and a great little car,” Bowe said.

“I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be this good, though if there was going to be a track that suits the car, it’s here. We’ve made a few changes but nothing that has required us to think outside the usual parameters – the car is great.”

“I’m most pleased for Gary O’Brien and his team. It’s been a two and a half year process to build the car and a real labour of love, it’s great to be able to reward that.”

Gary O’Brien played a major role in the third big event for Rare Spares. It’s not every day you get the chance to win a car. And not just any car, but a true Australian icon. This legendary Holden HQ GTS Monaro can be all yours and all you have to do is fill in the entry form inside Street Machine magazine, subscribe or enter via the Street Machine website.

Born in 1972, it started out as a 253 V8 four-speed HQ SS and ended up as a Group Nc race car. In 2003, Bendigo racer Gary O’Brien bought a share in it and upgraded it to run in the Touring Car Masters series.

It retired from racing and became the new Street Machine Unique Cars project car, getting a full rebuild courtesy of Gary’s business, Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars and his project partner, Rare Spares. After hundreds of hours of blood, sweat and tears, not to mention countless new top quality parts from companies such as Rare Spares, this reborn Aussie icon is back to being “significantly better than new.”

If your own project is in need of some top quality parts, then look no further than Rare Spares. Head to www.rarespares.net.au