A New Champion Crowned

Photos by Darryl Fernance

A NEW Super Truck Racing Champion was crowned at Wakefield Park last weekend. Shannon Smith took the title at the Kennards Hird fourth round ahead of Robbie Fern and Barry Butwell.

Besides the big rigs, Pulsars and Excels featured twice in separate 60-minute races with compulsory pitstops thrown in the mix. The Legends had NSW, National and Australian titles on the line, and Production Touring Cars were also featured.

The event reputedly drew the biggest spectator crowd ever to a truck racing event at the rural NSW circuit near Goulburn where Steve Zammit was the weekend victor ahead of Butwell and Fern.

Smith had a serious transmission drama in qualifying where he only had fifth gear. He soldiered through race one, finishing fifth before missing the team’s events while a replacement gearbox was sourced for the Kenworth T900 out of Sunshine in Victoria. After fourth in race two, he only needed to finish the final two races to secure the title.

Zammit (Kenworth T401) won the opening two races, just ahead Barry Butwell (Mack Superliner) with Fern third in race one before Fern edged out Butwell in the second. With starting positions reversed for the final two outings, it was Frank Amoroso (Kenworth W900) who was a tearaway winner and finished the round fourth.

Zammit charged through to second in race three as Smith held off Butwell, before limping to the line in the last in sixth after a lower track arm bolt broke at the diff. Fern crossed the line second with Butwell, Smith and Mark Schutz (Isuzu SBR).

In the team’s events, Brett Dalglish (in Zammit’s truck) was a two-race winner over Zammit who was at the helm of Butwell’s Mack. Third place went to Lachlan Fern in his dad’s Volvo White, in both outings ahead of Robert O’Connor, driving Amoroso’s truck.

PULSARS

BOTH THE hour races at the sixth and final round were comprehensively won by Josh Craig, winning ahead of Michael Osmond and 40 entries. Matt Leenman was third ahead of Tim Colombrita, Ben Sheedy and Chris Manning. Steven Cameron and Chris Peterson shared their drive to seventh in front of Ian Ashcroft and Charlie Viola.

Matt Boylan crossed the line second but received a five-lap penalty for having more than one person performing a wheel change. Originally place fifth Dimitri Agathos was also penalised five laps, like several others who were pinged for infringements in the pits stops, mainly for the car controller touching the vehicle.

The race was called early when sixth placed Harry Inwood pulled off between turns two and three with a blown engine on lap 37. There was a grass fire due to the dry conditions and that meant an extended safety car period where the race finished.

The safety car was summoned at the end of the opening lap of race two after Josh Love and Damon Schofield clashed at turn eight. After that there was a great stoush between Craig, Boylan, Osmond, Colombrita, Luke Eberhart and Agathos.

Boylan and Agathos had off track excursions before the CPS window opened, after which Craig asserted his superiority and won ahead of Osmond again. Third went to Inwood who took over the Colombrita Pulsar after the stop, Boylan, and Shane Fowler and Phil Alexander who were sharing.

This race fell eight minutes short of its scheduled hour went the Peter Paterson Pulsar had its engine let go and left an oil slick the length of pit straight.

EXCELS

PRESTON BRUEST took out both Series X3 one-hour events for Hyundai Excels. He won the first by 16.1 seconds over Jackson Noakes while Paul Quinn and circuit manager Dean Chapman combined to take third spot ahead of Tom Dalziel and Jessica Martin, sharing with Matt Stockwell.

The key to the first up victory was the decision to pit immediately the pit window opened. A safety car was on track at the time, while the damaged Tamara Wheeler/James Burge was salvaged after it bounced off the pit wall after turn 10.

The front runners like Will Longmore/Cody Burcher lost out when they undertook their pitstop later, the duo finishing eighth behind Matt Woodward and Andrew Gould.

Bruest won race two when he was able to relegate the Martin/Stockwell entry from the lead with just two laps remaining. There was similar dice occurring for third where Chapman and Noakes swapped a couple of times before the latter drew clear.

Longmore and Burcher finished fifth ahead of Woodward, Jeremy and Gary Hodges, Tom MacLeod/Bailey Sweeney, Crossland and Shannon Williams/Troy Terry.

LEGENDS

WINS IN races one and two ensured Lachlan Ward of the NSW title. He won the first ahead of Reagan Angel, Braydon Willmington and the founder of Legends Cars Japan, Jun Tashiro. Ward also fought off the challengers to take out race two, holding off Willmington, Tashiro and Josh Hourigan.

Angel had a misfire and was edged out on the line by Brendon Hourigan but still managed to take the National title. More strife came in qualifying for the Australian title on Sunday with a blown engine.

He missed the first lead-up race which was won Ward, narrowly over Tashiro and Brendan Hourigan. Willmington was in the mix for the lead until he also had the engine let go. Ward came through to take the reverse second race ahead of Rick Christy and Josh Hourigan. Tashiro incurred a drive-through penalty for contact with Hourigan on the first lap.

The Australian title race was never in doubt for Ward who led all the way and won by almost ten seconds. A DNF from the previous race, Angel charged through to vie for second but ultimately finished third behind Brendan Hourigan and just in front of Tashiro.

PRODUCTION TOURING CARS

AFTER WINS in the first two races, Anthony Soole (BMW M4) looked to be on for a clean sweep as he led the last from the outset. But he was let down with a mechanical issue that forced him to pit.

Matt Holt picked up the win, and coupled with his two seconds early, won the Kennards Hire Production Car Sprint overall. Dieter Holzl (BMW 1M) diced with Holt in the first two races, and then Paul Loiacono (Mitsubishi EVO X) in the last, to finish second overall.

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