Shockwave Signs Motorsport miss out on Class D victory by only six seconds in the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.
After dominating Class D right throughout Practice and Qualifying, the Shockwave Signs Motorsport team of Jimmy Vernon and Mark Caine fell so agonisingly short of the perfect weekend – losing out to Triple Zero Racing’s Chris Reeves and Chris Sutton, to take second position and 19th outright in the 2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.
Unfortunately for Caine and Vernon, they were forced to make a compulsory pit-stop during a green flag period of the race, as Vernon was close to reaching his maximum allowed driving time.
A safety car soon after that pit-stop, allowed Chris Reeves to pit under yellow, and snatch the class lead from Caine. Caine was still on the same lap as Reeves, but more than 90 seconds behind him inside the final hour.
Caine pushed as hard as he could – even punching out his, and the car’s fastest lap of the day in the process, but was unable to reach Sutton, as they missed out on class victory by 5.9 seconds.
Earlier in the day, the race started beautifully for the pair, with everything going to plan. Vernon started the car, and found himself behind Chris Reeves early on, but a gutsy move down the inside at the chase saw him return to the lead in Class D.
Vernon and Caine would stay there for much of the day, as the Safety Car played an integral role in the contest. The old saying “Safety Cars breed Safety Cars’ certainly rang true on Easter Sunday, with the Safety Car making no less than 11 appearances, doing a total of 33 laps, no less than 2 hours and 47 minutes of the race at the front of the field.
Because of the frequency of safety car appearances, more than 20 cars were on the lead lap for much of the afternoon. As we entered the fifth hour, both Vernon and Reeves were on the same lap as the outright leaders, but a long green flag run not only saw them fall off the lead lap, but that vital moment also had a profound impact on the Class D result, as we detailed above.
Vernon’s scheduled pit-stop was unfortunate timing for the Shockwave Signs Motorsport team, and a blessing for their main rivals at Triple Zero Racing. A safety car soon after Caine rejoined the race cost him the lead in Class D, as Reeves and Sutton were granted a ‘free pass’, with the luxury of pitting during the Safety Car period.
Upon the resumption, Caine was close to the front of the pack, while Reeves was at the back of the pack, but a lap further ahead in the motor race, and that put Caine very much on the back foot, but he hadn’t given up hope.
While victory seemed as though it was a long shot, Caine wasn’t going to die wondering, and set about attacking the last hour of the six as though it was a qualifying run.
Lap after lap, Caine punched out the fastest laps of the remaining Class D cars, and towards the end, would set the fastest lap for the #37 of the entire weekend, but in the end, as detailed above, they were forced to settle for second position in class, and 19th outright.
For Vernon, next stop is Phillip Island for the opening round of the Toyota 86 Racing Series, before he and Caine return to the NSWPTC grid on the Brabham Circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park at the end of the month.
2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour – Class D Results
|17th||1st||3||Chris Reeves/Chris Sutton||Toyota 86 GTS||111 Laps|
|19th||2nd||37||Jimmy Vernon/Mark Caine||Toyota 86 GTS||+5.857|
|29th||3rd||39||David Bailey/Matt Thewlis||Toyota 86 GTS||+3 Laps|
|30th||4th||49||Trent Grubel/David Crowe||Toyota 86 GTS||+3 Laps|
|36th||5th||98||Daniel Williams/Kurt Metcalf/Daniel Sugden||Toyota Camry||+5 Laps|
|39th||6th||50||Trevor Keene/James Keene/Dominic Martens||Mini Cooper||+7 Laps|
|40th||7th||47||David Baker/Matthew Windsor||Honda Integra||+7 Laps|
|49th||8th||86||Grant Phillips/Michele Abbate||Toyota 86 GTS||+25 Laps|
|50th||9th||33||Peter Foote/Will Cauchi||Nissan Pulsar||+59 Laps|
|DNF||DNF||52||Graeme Heath/Joshua Heath||Toyota 86 GTS||80 Laps|
|DNF||DNF||85||Declan Kirkham/Philip Kirkham/Aaron Cameron||Mazda MX6||56 Laps|
|DNF||DNF||55||Michael Hopp/Peter Sortwell/Steven Pittman||Eunos 30X||53 Laps|