Two one-make series, one new, one old, spearheaded the opening round of the Motorsport Australia NSW Motor Racing Championships at Wakefield Park on February 29 and March 1.
It was the first round of the NSW Mazda RX8 Championship and also round one of the RX8 Cup. Similarly numbers were up for the venerable HQ Holdens and the racing in both was solid.
Also top notch were Improved Production Under 2-Litre and Sports Sedans while IP Over 2-Litre was a canter for one driver. Historic Touring Cars were disappointedly down on numbers and the Superkarts raced Sunday only.
Speedway driver Ryan Gorton is a likely star in the making following his circuit racing debut. He qualified fastest, won three of the four races and placed third in the other after a poor lift-off dropped him to fourth initially.
Two seconds and two thirds earned Matt Butters second overall while Justin Barnes was close to a top three in two of his three fourths. Together with a fifth in the last, he was third overall.
Lachlan O’Hara was second after the start of race one but contact from Jake Lougher caused him to spin after turn four. O’Hara rebounded to win race two but failed to finish the third after a couple of off-road excursions.
Longher’s Mazda shutdown in race one, shortly after the incident. In race two he came through to seventh, improved to second in the next and finished the round with another runner-up placing.
Race three saw a third of the field fail to go the distance with the most dramatic incident in involving Ben Silvestro and Jackson Noakes at turn eight which caused both to expired and deposit copious amounts of oil on the track.
With two the three races taken out by Brett Osborne, the reigning category champion kicked off the season with a round win. Yet Chris Molle led the most number of laps and won the last race to stake a claim for a change of title holder this year.
Osborne will only contest the rounds that don’t conflict with his involvement in Aussie Racing Cars, and led the first race throughout. Molle challenged all the way, and then produced a better start in race two to have the lead for seventy percent of the way before Osborne’s persistence paid off.
In race three, Molle again was away better, and this time struck out to a near three second lead which he held to the end. Third went to Jason Molle with a pair of thirds and a fourth. He was close to the leaders in race one, but a couple of slip-ups from a clutch problem took away any chance of challenging to the leading pair in the others.
The battle to determine fourth in race won went to David Proglio over John Baxter, Luke Harrison, Layton Crambrook and Matt Barker. Jason Molle was in the midst of them in race two where Baxter was third ahead of him, Proglio, Harrison and Barker. Baxter held off Proglio and Harrison for fourth in the last.
There were three different winners in the Under 2-Litre ranks where Ryan Jagger won two and Kurt Macready and Justin McClintock scored one victory each.
Macready (Nissan Silvia) was the quickest man in qualifying but had a string of bad starts. In the first he temporarily dropped to fourth while Jagger (Holden Barina) led. A miscue by the latter allowed Macready to take the win while McClintock (Honda Civic) was a close third just in front of Graham Bohm (Civic).
Jagger didn’t err in race two as he won ahead of Macready and McClintock. Bohm was again fourth, close behind and a five-second penalty post-race penalty didn’t cost him a place. The four raced together through race three with Jagger winning ahead of McClintock, Macready and Bohm.
In the last Jagger was also a poor starter and McClintock was able to hold off Macready for the duration. Jagger was some way back in third and well ahead of Bohm.
Scott Tutton and his Mitsubishi EVO 3 were in a class of their own, taking out the four Over 2-Litre races. He beat fellow EVO racers Steven Engel and Darren Herbert in race one.
In the next outing Engel retired with an oil pressure dilemma. Peter Hennessy (BMW E36 M3-R) finished second, astutely avoiding a melee at turn two were David Worrell spun his Holden Commodore just after he moved to second place.
Right behind Herbert and Andrew McMaster came together with the latter’s BMW E30 almost rolling when it rode up the side of the Herbert EVO. Hennessy and Herbert filled the minors in both Sunday races.
Three race wins were the perfect start for Grant Doulman to kick of the state championship quest in his Chev-powered Ford Falcon EL ahead of the Chev Camaros piloted by Steven Lacey and Birol Cetin.
Doulman was the pole man but lost out to Lacey in the first race drag off the line. Lacey led for three laps before Doulman passed him at turn two. Cetin held third throughout while Brad Shiels (rotary turbo powered Fiat 124) was fourth ahead of Warren Millett (Holden Commodore).
Cetin spun at turn two on the opening lap of the next race where Doulman led all the way ahead of Lacey. Cetin was able to work his way back to third, helped when there was safety car to retrieve the broken down Mazda/Nissan Turbo of Nick Smith, ignition voltage issues for Shiels and a spin by Millett at turn eight on the final lap.
In the last Doulman was again an all-the-way leader. Lacey had second but was ultimately relegated to third by Cetin and finished ahead of Shiels, Mick Bullis (Chev Corvette) and Millett.
HISTORIC TOURING CARS
Group Nc Ford Mustang drivers were first across the line on each occasion. David Stone headed Ben Wilkinson home in race one with Tony Land (Ford Capri) third well ahead of David Gray (Mini Cooper S). Jamie Tilley failed to finish in his Group Nb Mustang, suffering brake issues that plagued him over the weekend.
Stone had a poor start to race two and ultimately finished second to Wilkinson with Land third in front of Jason Foley (Ford Falcon XY) and Gray. Wilkinson failed to finish race three which went to Stone over Land, Tilley and Gray. Just three cars started the last where Land notched a win after Stone was hit with five-second penalty. Gray was third.
The contest was between the 125cc class karts where race one went to Mark Robin (Avoig Elise) over Aaron Cooper in a similar kart, with Adam Stewart (Anderson Mirage) a close third. Tony Moit in the only 250cc machine was a first lap casualty when the carby fell off.
Lee Vella (Avoig Elise) spun out at turn eight on lap four and was out, but he came back to win the next three races, beating Robin in the next before third placed Cogger scored a pair of seconds. Moit finished third in race three but DNF’d the fourth and left Robert Trimmer (Stockman) third in that one.