By BLENDLINE MEDIA TEAM
With thanks to My105 Blend Line brings you news and reports from the Australian Grass Roots motor racing season.
At Wakefield Park on the weekend of January 30-31, the New South Wales motorsport season kicked off with the Motor Racing Australia Series opening round.
It featured the MRF Tyres Pulsar Series in the main events and had the new Prod Cars Series, MX5 Cup, Superkarts, Super TT, BMW E36s and Clubmans as support categories.
A huge 45 car APRA entry hit the track for the split qualifying session where Tim Colombrita was the fastest. He put in an unbeaten performance through the build-up races and won the all-in finale.
In the latter Colombrita was a narrow winner over Will Foot. Throughout the race, third was a tussle between Chris Manning and Daniel Smith where Manning held on by two tenths of a second. Adrift of the pair, the next places were not resolved until they crossed the line with Share Tate fifth from Harri Inwood, Gavan Reynolds and Ben Sheedy.
Prior to the last race, the field competed in two groups with five promoted and relegated after the first two races. The Group B opened with rookie Karl Raper the winner ahead of Matt Early, Damon Schofield, Corey Fraser, Jamie Canellis and Adam Cvetanovski.
Colombrita first win – in Group A – was ahead of Josh Haynes, Foot and Reynolds while fifth went Inwood over Manning and Tate.
In the second outings, Tom Petrovich was a resounding winner of Group B, 12.4s ahead of Cvetanovski as Dimitri Agathos rebounded from a fuel issue to come through to third from the rear of the grid. He finished ahead of Canellis and Alderton.
Colombrita again triumphed in Group A, this time ahead of Foot, Reynolds, Manning, Smith, and Sheedy. Haynes was second until an electrics-related shutdown left him stranded by the wayside.
PRODUCTION CAR SERIES: The new Hankook-shod Prod Car Series first race went to polesitter Leigh Burges (Mitsubishi EVO 9) ahead of Jimmy Vernon in his EVO X. Rookie Dean Campbell was on the front row in the ex-Michael King EVO X but clutch failure soon put him out.
Vernon went on to score victory in the following races, ahead of Burges while Alex Holzl was third in all three in his BMW 1M. Chris Sutton chased the three for fourth in race one in his Subaru Impreza WRX before Jonathan Fishburn and his Holden Commodore in the next two. Matt Shylan (Honda Integra) was sixth in two races and Corrine Virag (Commodore) took sixth in the last.
Mazda RX7 drivers dominated Super TT despite Greg Boyle’s win in the opening race. The Subaru Impreza WRX led all the way but became a casualty of race two when his Subaru Impreza WRX’s engine went onto three cylinders. Aaron Gabriel (RX7) and Matt Johnson (Mazda MX5) were second and third in the initial outing. Ben Mannix (RX7) was with them early before a spin and a recovery to fourth.
After a great start Gabriel led throughout race two but a five second penalty relegated him to second by the closely pursuing Mannix. Ford Falcon driver Mark Granger was third ahead of Kurt Macready in his IP Nissan Silvia and Todd Herring (MX5). Mannix won the last ahead of Gabriel, Macready, Herring and Granger.
BMW E36 SERIES:
Rob Boaden just beat Jeff Barnes in the first two races which ran with the Production Cars. Paul Stanbrook was third in both while Brayden Everitt and David Bailey scored fourths by narrow margins. In the last standalone event Barnes led early before Boaden was able to get by and win easily. Everitt was third in front of Stanbrook who passed Bailey towards the end.
CLUBMANS: In the longer feature race for Clubmans, there were several lead changes. Josh Versluis edged out fellow PRB steerer Ivan Srejber who won the two earlier encounters. Stuart Shirvington, also driving a PRB, was part of the scrap for much of the race. He fell away in second half and still finished third clear of Ron Hammond in a Debron RH75 and Bill McBride at the wheel of his BBB.
MX5 CUP: After qualifying fastest, Tim Herring was the first race victor. Second went Verne Johnson who then led the last two races throughout. Their teammates did not figure as well. Richard Herring did not get to race due to a blown gearbox and Todd Herring retired early with oil pressure issues.
David Lawler finished race one third in front of Terry Johnson and David Johnson. Lawler was fourth behind Rob Hay after a race-long squabble in race two with the Johnsons next. In the last Hay was again third, this time clear of Lawler and David Johnson.
NSW SUPERKARTS: It was a clean sweep of Superkarts for Lucus Vitale in his Anders Maverick. Also in the 250cc class and with a similar kart, Tony Moit posted a third initially and finished the day with two seconds. The first three races had safety cars with race one finishing under the caution where Paul Campbell in his Avoig Elise, split the 250s. Fourth went to 125cc class rival Aaron Cogger (Avoig), Adam Stewart (Anderson Mirage) and Laurie Fooks (Raider).
Cogger held off Campbell, Steward and Fooks in the second outing before a pair of thirds to cap off the day. Shane Varley (Anderson) was second when Stewart was penalised 30s in race three before the latter took fourth in the last.
The next round of the MRA – Motor Racing Australia season heads to Sydney Motorsport Park on April 24th with APRA, Super TT, Series X3 Excels, Superkarts, Veloce Alfa and MX5 Cup all set to compete.
For more information head to: https://motorrace.com.au/