Gibson Motorsport stars at 2015 Historic Sandown
pics by James Smith
From Bluebird to GT-R, 2015 Historic Sandown saw Gibson Motorsport’s full Nissan arsenal return to racing life.
The 24th running of the classic event encouraged over 400 historic racing entries spread thickly across classes ranging from MGs to Formula 5000s, but it was the Historic Group A and C tin-tops that garnered much of the attention.
Gibson Motorsport put on an impressive display as ever, Adam Workman’s Group C Nissan Bluebird on display to promote GMS’s upcoming ‘Dream Ride’, where 40 people have the opportunity to ride alongside a Bluebird-mounted George Fury as he hot-laps Sandown in February, 2016.
Out on the famous circuit, Carey McMahon took his incredible GMS Nissan Skyline GT-R to pole position with a time of 1:17.1 on the Saturday morning. This machine, the 1991 Bathurst winner, no less, was recently restored by Gibson Motorsport.
Tony Alford started his GIO-liveried Skyline GT-R in sixth position, one spot behind McMahon’s GMS HR31 GTS, driven by his friend Lyndon Arnel.
Mark Eddy’s similar HR31 was ninth on the grid, while two DR30s – the Netcomm machine of Graeme Taylor and the GMS car of Carolyn Kruger – sat in 15th and 17th positions respectively.
McMahon won the first six-lap race outright by just over two seconds from the Commodore of Allisey, though his fastest lap of 1:17.5 showed the GT-R’s potential, being over two seconds ahead of the second-fastest time.
Alford finished third in his Skyline GT-R, while Arnel was first of the older-generation Skylines home in fifth outright.
Eddy finished a creditable tenth outright (and sixth in class) in the other HR31, while the DR30 battle was resolved in Taylor’s favour, crossing the line 13th outright with Kruger in 15th position overall.
The Sunday offered another six lap event, before the big 10 lap afternoon finale.
McMahon was able to lead every lap once more in the second race, this time with Alford following him home for a GT-R one-two. Arnel improved to an impressive fourth outright, beating the fancied Terry Lawlor’s Sierra RS 500 to the finish.
Sadly, Mark Eddy’s HR31 suffered some body damage as a result of a Group C-class Torana crashing in front of him, before veering back onto the track. It resulted in a DNF for Eddy, though the GMS crew was able to repair the vehicle to start in the afternoon.
Once more both DR30s finished the race, Taylor ahead of Kruger as they crossed in 11th and 13th outright (sixth and seventh in class).
The 1991 Bathurst winner was on form throughout, and McMahon was able to again lead every lap of the main event on Sunday afternoon and using the latest Yokohama slick tyres to full advantage, just as the team did back in 1991.
This time, there was no sparing the incomparable machine’s power, and McMahon took a convincing victory while simultaneously smashing Lawlor’s 2014 GIO GT-R-mounted 1:15.9 lap record with a rousing 1:15.7, an average speed of over 147km/h in the GMS GT-R.
For reference, Jim Richards took pole in the 1991 Sandown ATCC round in 1:13.9 in his Gibson Motorsport GT-R.
Alford was initially second but came in after six of the 10 laps as a mis-fire developed. The crew elected to bring the GIO GT-R in rather than risk further damage.
Lawlor finished second, but Arnel continued to improve by taking the final step of the race three podium in the HR31.
Eddy’s HR31 finished sixth overall and fourth in class, with Taylor and Kruger finishing fifth and sixth in class and 11th and 12th outright in the most challenging test of the weekend.
“Historic Sandown was another successful weekend for us,” said GMS Team Manager Alan Heaphy. “Carey was very impressive, leading every lap and taking the [Historic Group A] lap record.”
“The other Gibson Nissans had largely trouble-free events, though sadly Mark Eddy’s car was involved in an incident not of his doing. It broke a suspension arm and did some body damage, but the boys were able to get him back on the grid for the third race.
“I also thought Lyndon did a top job in the older HR31,” he concluded.
Gibson Motorsport now turns its attention to the 2016 historic motorsport season. Check the site regularly for updates on the team’s movements and for other special projects.
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