Demolition Derby – Taking a look at the Winton TCM Crash

Back in May at the Winton SuperSprint, motorsport fans witnessed one of the bigger crashes in the history of the Touring Car Masters series. At Rare Spares, we love watching our favourite cars of yesteryear wind back the clock and hit the track in earnest. However, we can’t help but cringe a little when we see these beauties on the back of a truck being towed back to the pits in a crumpled mess! But, it is motorsport and we all know the risks when hitting the track, so in this article we’ll take a quick look at the incident, who was involved and what has gone into getting these masterpieces back on the track.

Qualifying at Winton couldn’t have gone much better for Jason Gomersall who was able to place his Big Mate A9X Torana on pole for race 2, declaring it his greatest achievement in motorsport. The team was understandably stoked with the achievement, beating out racing legend John Bowe by mere two-one hundredths of a second. Unfortunately for Gomersall, the weekend became unforgettable for all the wrong reasons less than 24 hours later. Gomersall was off to a cracking start to the race, clearing his competition and heading into turn 2 with the track to himself. From here it all went pear shaped though, losing the rear end of the beautiful Torana he span in front of the oncoming field. What came next can be best described as complete and utter chaos.

Gomersall span into the path of Eddie Abelnica and his XB Falcon before being collected by Mark King’s Camaro leaving both cars with very heavy front end damage. The ensuing pack had nowhere to go, with a number of cars finding each other or the surrounding walls. John Bowe was also caught up in the incident, resulting in a few broken ribs and a short stint in hospital. When all was said and done, seven cars were involved in the incident and the race was suspended.

With a short turnaround to the Darwin round, many teams faced an uphill battle to get their cars back in racing condition. Gomersall’s Torana sustained extensive damage to the front cross member, steering rack and radiator, however the engine was largely undamaged and the rest of the car from the firewall back was almost unscathed. Incredibly the A9X was back racing in Darwin finishing in P4 for the weekend. Mark King’s Camaro wasn’t quite as lucky, however it’s well on its way to hitting the track again. In the meantime King has been behind the wheel of an incredible looking 1972 GTS Monaro.

The TCM series continues in 2017 with rounds remaining at the marquee Supercar events held at Sandown, Bathurst and Newcastle, make sure you don’t miss any of the action! Do you own a TCM worthy classic car? Head over to the Rare Spares Facebook page and let us know in the comments section below.

2016 Motorsport Season Wrap Up

When it comes to the automotive world, it definitely goes without saying that we at Rare Spares are suckers for Motorsport. Whether it be the iconic Supercars (formally V8 Supercars) or the Touring Car Masters, we can’t get enough of fast and furious four wheeled action. Here we will take a look back at some of the series my exciting moments and how they finished up.

Last year the Supercar series went through, some big changes, one of which was dropping the V8 name from the series to make way for turbo charged vehicles. However, the year was not without incident. Who could forgot the Red Bull poster boys Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen fighting at the front throughout the season, until the second last round in New Zealand where one punted the other, sending Van Gisbergen sliding off the road. This Supercars season also saw the first full-time female racer in decades enter the series. Simona De Silvestro was a former Indy Car racer and with her impressive wild card entry in the 2015 Bathurst, she was locked into a three year deal in the Australian category.

Some other big moments saw HRT move to Triple Eight with Holden choosing the team over Walkinshaw Racing, ahead of the development of their new 2nd generation Supercar. The biggest story would have to go to the events that took place at the Bathurst 1000. Will Davison and Jonathon Webb were named the Bathurst champions after a dramatic end to the race in October. Whincup was stripped of his first place result due to a 15 second time penalty that was applied post-race. The series ended up being taken out by Van Gisbergen after an extraordinary display of skill and ability throughout the year.

The Touring Car Masters also provided nothing short of a thrilling series once again, with high horse power and classic metal never failing to impress. One of the most memorable moments would go to the man Glenn Seton taking out the title for the first Trans-Tasman challenge. The Touring Car Masters and Central Muscle Cars went head to head at Mount Panorama for an incredibly exciting race which saw the Thunder Road Racing Team Australia driver claim his third TCM race win at Bathurst and fourth of the season.

The series also provided some valiant efforts with Eddie Abelnica ending a 64 race streak without a Touring Car Masters race victory, thanks to a brilliant performance at the stunning Phillip Island GP Circuit. Abelnica powered his Melbourne’s Cheapest Cars XB Falcon hardtop to the win from fourth on the grid, passing Glenn Seton, Jason Gomersall and John Bowe in an outstanding display of steering. The Touring Car Master season title went to none other than Rare Spares ambassador, John Bowe, after he recorded his eighth race win of the year with an 80 point lead ahead of second place winner, Eddie Abelnica.

With such an exciting season of Motorsport behind us, we are lucky to have such a vibrant and passionate automotive scene and with 2017 in full swing, we cannot wait to see what this year will bring!

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.