Falcon hardtop to return to TCM at Sandown
KEITH KASSULKE and his famous Ford Falcon XB GT Hardtop will return to the Gulf Western Oil Touring Cars Masters at Sandown next week.
One of the series’ most popular cars, the stunning Silver Falcon has not raced since July 2015 however will join an expanding TCM grid when the series returns to the iconic Victorian venue next week.
Built by SpeedFX racing owner, the late Jim Morton, in 2011 the iconic Falcon was first raced by Glenn Seton at Sydney Motorsport Park on the Fathers Day weekend that year.
In Seton’s hands and sporting #30, the car won the Bathurst round in 2011 – famously delivering Seton an October Sunday victory at Mount Panorama – and qualified on pole at the street event at Sydney Olympic Park later that year.
The car was purchased by Kassulke, who had earlier made his TCM debut driving a HQ Monaro GTS, in time for the 2012 season and in his capable hands finished on the podium twice that season – finishing third at Queensland Raceway and Bathurst.
Kassulke then scored pole position and finished second at Queensland Raceway in 2013, scored pole position again at Sandown before winning that year’s season finale’ at Phillip Island, his first win in the category.
He scored two race victories at the high-speed Victorian circuit that weekend, claiming the overall round win ahead of Eddie Abelnica’s similar Coupe and Tony Edwards, driving the Monaro.
The result helped Kassulke finish fourth outright in the championship – behind Jim Richards, John Bowe and Andrew Miedecke – and the top Pro-Am driver.
Elevated to the Pro class in 2014, Kassulke finished third in the championship trailing only Bowe and Miedecke.
He notched up three further podiums across the 2014 and early 2015 seasons before an accident at Queensland Raceway badly damaged the car, forcing it to be parked up while being repaired.
Some seven years later the car will make its racing return at Sandown – while Kassulke will make his first TCM starts since the 2017 season, where he raced his HQ Monaro GTS 350 in selected rounds.
The car has been prepared by Bendigo Retro Muscle Cars, the same outfit who look after John Bowe’s Holden Torana.
Papua New Guinea-based Kassulke has continued to build on his wealth of racing experience since his last start in the category, including two class wins at the Bathurst 12 Hour driving a MARC 11 Mustang.
He also raced his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro at The Bend recently in the Historic NC class, finishing third and second in the first two races before a differential failure in race 3 finished the weekend.
All four Gulf Western Oil TCM races will be broadcast live and ad-break free next weekend on Stan Sports, as part of their massive coverage of the SpeedSeries / Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships event at Sandown.
Saturday afternoon’s first championship race will also be shown live on free-to-air TV on the Nine Network.
Tickets remain on sale for the event and can be purchased from motorsportickets.com.au
“Its going to be great! I’m looking forward to being at Sandown again and am aware that it may well be the last time I get to race there – but I hope not,” Kassulke said.
“It’s a fantastic circuit and I’m sure the XB will be a popular addition to the category given they have been absent from the grid for some years. It was always fast at Sandown so we will see how it goes against the newly built TCM cars.”