Photo Credit: Darryl Fernance
In an emotional week for the Holden brand, Terry Denovan has achieved a fairy-tale victory for the Red Lion in the iconic Wakefield 300 endurance race with a mixture of consistency and smart strategy.
Denovan, who was competing in Division B, ran solidly inside the top five in the opening stages of the race, but the decisive moment came when he pitted under Safety Car conditions on lap 40. Despite the strategy requiring Denovan to complete a mammoth 97-lap run to the finish, VH Commodore had just enough fuel to make it to the chequered flag and he scored a commanding 56 second victory over the Todd Herring/Andy Harris Mazda MX5.
Herring and Harris led the race for many laps, but were forced to take their final pit stop under green flag conditions. They still finished second outright and first in Division A.
Lloyd Godfrey and Josh Buchan completed the outright podium in their Honda Integra, despite a penalty for spilling fuel in pit lane, while the Jimmy Tran/Drew Hall Honda Civic recovered well for fourth place outright, after losing time early in the race due to a tangle with a backmarker.
The Trackschool Honda Integra of Charlie Viola and Ben Hanrahan won Division C with a stunning fifth outright, while the Division D win went to the Peugeot 206 GTI of Angus Lithgow and Parry Anastakis in seventh place overall, Anastakis recording his 12thWakefield 300 finish from 13 starts.
Brayden and Rod Everitt won Division E in their BMW E36, finishing 13thoutright after a close battle with fellow E36 runners David Bailey/Matt Thewlis.
The weekend also marked the 55thanniversary of Formula Vee racing, and a huge field of Formula Vees flocked to the circuit across 1600cc, 1200cc and regularity classes.
Daniel Reynolds took out the first 1600 race, but a mechanical problem for Reynolds in Race 2 enabled Michael Kinsella to win Races 2 and 3, resisting stiff opposition from a freight-train of cars that included Craig Sparke, Darren Williams and Aaron Pace.
The 1200 battle was equally captivating; Stephen Butcher won Race 1, but fell back through the field with a mechanical drama in Race 2, which allowed Tim Brook to take victory ahead of Nigel Jones and Matt Pearce. Brook also won Race 3, which finished under Safety Car conditions due to a crash for Greg Johnston.
Lachlan Ward won all five Legend Car races, but had to work for his victories with a couple of races featuring a reverse-grid format.
In Saturday’s Legend Car round, it was Kyle Angel who finished second overall ahead of Shane Tate, while Brendon Hourigan took the runner-up spot on Sunday ahead of Angel.
Stephen Chilby won all four Stock Car races; reigning champion Brett Mitchell was second in the first three races, but James Burge overhauled him in Race 4.
Wakefield 300 statistics
Pole position: Todd Herring, Mazda MX5
Pole time: 1:03.2161
Fastest lap: Benny Tran, Honda Integra – 1:03.7165
Number of Safety Cars: 1 (6 laps)
Leaders/laps: Lap 1-39 Todd Herring/Andy Harris, Lap 40-68 Matthew Johnson/Terry Johnson, Lap 69-109 Todd Herring/Andy Harris, Lap 110-137 Terry Denovan
Number of laps led: Herring/Harris 80, Johnson/Johnson 29, Denovan 28.
Number of lead changes: 3
Race winners: Terry Denovan, Holden VH Commodore
Race time: 2:43:48.4035
Winning margin: 56.3063 sec
Cars on lead lap at finish: 2
Grid position of winner: 4th
Race result for polesitter: 2nd
Division A – Todd Herring/Andy Harris
Division B – Terry Denovan
Division C – Charlie Viola/Ben Hanrahan
Division D – Angus Lithgow/Parry Anastakis
Division E – Brayden Everitt/Rod Everitt
Finishers/starters: 19/29 (65.5%)