Ryan and the team did a fabulous job to finish round 1 in 2nd position last weekend at Symmons Plains.
Team owner Rod Dawson drove straight through from Brisbane to Geelong, with the Multispares Torana on a trailer, to catch the last ship on Thursday evening to make practice 1 on Friday morning. When the new JE pistons did not arrive from the US to rebuild the team’s engine, they were very fortunate to be able to lease the engine out of their first Torana, now owned by Allan Hughes.
That engine however required a rebuild so it was a race against the clock to have the engine rebuilt by Craig Hasted. Then it had to be dyno’d, tuned, and the setup on the Torana completed once the engine was installed.
In the past few years the engines at the front of the field have certainly made more power and torque, so with the Hughes engine being an older build, even freshened up, the goal for the team was to finish in the top 5 for the weekend.
Practice got underway on Friday morning and it wasn’t long before Ryan was back in the pits. On lap seven the 9” inch diff had exploded. Being the team’s third visit to the Symmons Plains layout, this was another blow as Ryan had just reported on the radio that the ratio was perfect. The team always carry a spare but it was a slightly taller ratio. Ryan was 6th fastest by the end of P1, and team had to change the diff quickly in time for qualifying.
Qualifying certainly showed the challenge Ryan had for the weekend, pushing hard for the whole session, but finishing 6th and 1.5 seconds off pole sitter Steve Johnson.
The reverse grid race was first up on Saturday, and with the Torana lacking “straight line handling”, the team wanted to try and improve the corner speed and power down off the corner so made a couple of changes to the chassis. Ryan got a terrific start and it wasn’t long until he got to the front. The test now was, could he hold off the challenge of the faster cars using his superior traction off the corner and then protecting the inside under brakes.
Ryan held on for the win, his first Trophy Race win in TCM. A great drive.
“I really have to thank the team and of course Allan Hughes for lending us his engine.” Ryan said. “Whilst we are down on power, the car is handling better than ever. I am flat through the sweeper at the end of the back straight, and I can get on the power really early out of the corners” Ryan added.
“It just means if I can stay up the front, anyone trying to pass me has to go the long way, around the outside” he added.
But as is always the case, in Race 1 the field goes back to qualifying order, so Ryan would be starting 6th.
In Race 1, Ryan once again got a great start and had a terrific first lap, moving up to 3rd place. Like in the trophy race Ryan was able to hold off a couple of the faster cars by getting out the corner well then protecting the inside. All learnt from watching his ol mate John Bowe!
In race 2, Ryan went one better, finishing 2nd, thanks to a problem with Andrew Fishers Torana who had been in second right on the tail of Steve Johnson. Another great result, and a good points haul for the team.
Starting 2nd in race 3, Ryan initially held onto Steve Johnson but it wasn’t long until John Bowe and Andrew Fisher were right on his rear bumper. Coming into turn 6, just as he turned in, the back stepped out and the Multispares Torana ran wide, and both JB and Fish slipped through.
“I’d been having a minor issue with the brakes all weekend and managing it, but I got into turn 6 maybe a couple of metres deeper, and just hadn’t slowed the car up enough, and that is all it took to have a small slide, which I caught, but that in turn made me run wide” Ryan said after the race
“Like the engine parts our shipment of new rotors for the season are running late so we were forced to use the rotors we used at the end of last season. It just means I am missing that last bit of braking, and of course I was pushing hard to try and stay in 2nd” Ryan added.
4th place in Race 3 was enough to seal 2nd for the round, so the team packed up very happy with that result and headed back to Qld to prep the Torana (including brand new brake rotors which have now turned up) in time to head to Newcastle for round 2, on March 10-12.
Catch all the action this weekend from Newcastle on Foxsports and Kayo.
And don’t forget to see all the updates on the Multispares Racing Facebook page.