Round Two: MANFEILD 3rd Manfeild International
Max Stewart proved master of the wet conditions which prevailed during the second round of the Peter Stuyvesant Series, held for the first time on the Manfeild circuit at Fielding. This was the first time in many years that Levin did not host a round in the International Series. An incredible 10,000 spectators braved the shocking conditions, but they didn't mind, as this circuit was better from a spectator point of view, because you could virtually see most of the circuit from the stands. The entry list was almost the same as the week before, except McCormack had returned to Australia and Peter Hughes didn't come. Their places were filled by Graham Baker and Gary Love in their Beggs and Frank Radisich in his rotary powered March.
Brian Redman, puzzled with the Chevron's mediocre braking performance, phoned England and learned that the problem was the American Goodyears tyres he was using in New Zealand. The car was set up in the UK on English Goodyears. Kevin Bartlett had a new single plane crank Chev engine fitted to his Lola T400. During the first practice session, Graeme Lawrence had a head gasket blow, which he replaced before session two, while Paul Bernasconi's Chev engine cracked both its cylinder heads. Ken Smith was fastest in the first session with a time of 62.5 seconds, only 0.1 sec quicker than Lawrence, before his Lola was sidelined. Also under 63 seconds was Max Stewart on 62.8. Fourth fastest in this session was Bruce Allison, who did a 63.9 before his brand new Chev engine broke a con-rod. His crew took the Lola away to build one good engine from the one in the car and last week's GP engine. Radisich also blew his clutch during the practice.
In the second practice, Lawrence grabbed pole with a 61.4 sec lap and alongside him was Smith on 61.6. Max Stewart also improved on his first session time to clock 61.7 sec, still third fastest. Driving his Begg 018, Jim Murdoch reeled off a 63.2 sec to place fourth on the grid, then rammed an earth bank when a half shaft universal broke. The car was badly damaged and would not start in the race. Love's practice time of 77.6 secs was deemed not quick enough for him to be allowed to start.
Race day was extremely wet and Redman was happy as he knew the Chevron would do well in the conditions, compared to the big V8's. Both Lawrence and Smith made good starts from their front row grid positions, with Lawrence emerging in the lead out of the first turn, with Stewart elbowing into second place and the incredible Redman looking for a way around him. Brian looked set to get past at the next corner but the two cars touched and the Chevron went spinning off onto the grass. But the English driver was quickly back on the track again, down to sixth place.
By the second lap the order was Lawrence, Stewart, Bartlett, Allison, Smith, Redman and Bernasconi. Kevin Bartlett was pulling away from the cars behind him. Redman took the two-litre car past Smith's Lola around Dunlop on lap two and then took Allison's car a lap later to move up to fourth place. The wet conditions were definitely suiting the Chevron.
On lap 7, Bartlett's good run started to turn sour when his new engine, which had been playing up, caused him to spin at Firestone. The Sydney driver headed for the pits for a new nose cone, losing about a lap. By about one-third distance, Lawrence's lead over Stewart had stretched to twelve seconds but at the end of the next lap the luckless New Zealand driver slowed and pitted with a broken rocker. He was in the pits for about five laps while it was replaced.
Stewart was now in the lead, 18 seconds clear of Redman and another nine seconds to Smith, who was closing on the less powerful Chevron. While busy watching Ken's Lola in his mirrors, Brian spun, letting the NZGP winner into second place. But a faulty front tyre had become worse and Smith was forced to slow, allowing Redman through to second again.
The track was drying and Smith's bad tyre finally threw its tread, leading to a spin. He pitted for a tyre but his crew only had slicks to fit to the car. The smooth tyres did not work well on the cold damp surface, however. Having built a 40 second lead with five laps to go, Stewart was able to slow to keep control of his Lola, which had an almost-flat left rear tyre.
Redman was now safe in second now that Smith wasn't a threat and Allison, after a steady drive, had secured third spot to give him a total of 10 points for the two rounds, to lead the Series from Stewart, Redman and Smith, all with nine points each.
3rd Manfeild International
Date: 11th January 1976
50 laps of 3.025kms (151.27kms)
|1||Max Stewart||Aust||Lola T400 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||50||1hr 0m 26.4s|
|2||Brian Redman||UK||Chevron B29 / BMW 2000cc 4cyl||50||1hr 0m 38.2s|
|3||Bruce Allison||Aust||Lola T332 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||50||1hr 1m 31.6s|
|4||Paul Bernasconi||Aust||Lola T400 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||49|
|5||Graham Baker||NZ||Begg FM5 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||48|
|6||Kevin Bartlett||Aust||Lola T400 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||47|
|7||Baron Robertson||NZ||Elfin MR5 / Repco 4994cc V8||47|
|8||Graeme Lawrence||NZ||Lola T332 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||46|
|9||Ken Smith||NZ||Lola T332 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||45|
|10||Robbie Booth||NZ||Katipo M70 / Ford 4940cc V8||42|
|11||Ross Calgher||NZ||McLaren M4A / Cosworth 1840cc 4cyl||38|
|Ret||John Edmonds||Aust||Elfin MR5 / Repco 4994cc V8||21||Puncture|
|DNS||Frank Radisich||NZ||March 722 / Mazda 13B 2700cc Rotary||0||Engine|
|DNS||Jim Murdoch||NZ||Begg 018 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8||Accident|
|DNQ||Gary Love||NZ||Begg FM4 / Chevrolet 4995cc V8|
Fastest lap: Graeme Lawrence, 69.3 sec.
Back to 1976 Series Round 3 Wigram