28th May 2001 Race 10 - Transcontinental Challenge for pre-'65 GP2 Saloon Cars 45 minutes + 1 lap Another America versus Europe race and on this occasion it was an American 1-2-3 as Britain's Nick Whale brought his car home well ahead of ...
28th May 2001
Race 10 - Transcontinental Challenge for pre-'65 GP2 Saloon Cars
45 minutes + 1 lap
Another America versus Europe race and on this occasion it was an American 1-2-3 as Britain's Nick Whale brought his car home well ahead of Pete Hallford's in second and third placed Jim Utting and Andy Gill, with all drivers competing in Ford Mustangs.
Nick Whale, driving a solo race, led from the start after using the pure grunt of his 4.7 litre Ford engine to move ahead at the first turn. There was a melee for third place at the left turn onto the infield circuit and out of the clouds of dust came the Jaguar MKII of Graeme Dodd. Whale's Mustang started to pull away from second place Andy Shepherd's Ford Falcon. Dodd came under some intense pressure from fourth placed Miles Townshend. At the hairpin the Jag and Mustang almost rubbed door handles as these two drivers fought wheel to wheel. Dodd held the position until the run across the start/finish line when Townshend dived to the inside and squeezed into fourth place at the first corner. However, Townshend's race came to an end at the end of the lap when he brought the Mustang into the pits with an overheating problem.
Further back there was a fantastic battle between three Jaguars for 8th place. As they entered the first corner they were three abreast with Roger Cope gaining the advantage over his rivals. Alan Shepherd became another casualty of the race as a wheel parted company with his Falcon at the slow hairpin and he drifted to a halt at the side of the circuit. Graeme Dodd moved into second place thanks to Shepherd's demise and set about catching Nick Whale. The Jaguar MKII started to smoke from the rear end as a qualifying problem with a leaking wheel bearing reared its head again. Dodd continued, able to keep pace with Whale but when he came into the pits to change drivers the scrutineers stopped the Jaguar rejoining the race.
Pete Hallford, who had been driving a solid race, inherited second place with Shelby Mustang 350 GT of Barry Wood up into 3rd place. After the scheduled pit stops Nick Whale was 16.5 seconds ahead of Pete Hallford and 35 seconds in front of Nicky Torregiani's Mustang. Torregiani's race came to an end when he missed the left turn onto the infield section, allowing Barry Lee in the Dodge Dart to take the last podium position. Torregiani brought his car back to the pits into retirement due to a broken exhaust. Barry Lee looked comfortable in 3rd when on the very last lap the car coasted to a halt as he rejoined the banking at turn 4.
Nick Whale took the chequered flag 23 seconds ahead of Pete Hallford and 69 seconds in front of Andy Gill. Tony Dron was the first driver of a European car home in 4th in the MK2 Jaguar. "It was a very hot and a very hard race but what a fantastic circuit. The car ran well and the Mustang really sets the scene on this wonderful banked track."