The Holiday Inn in Parramatta was the venue, as the drivers swapped racing suits for tuxedos, and the WAGs dressed to impress, for the final outing of the 2015 season – the New South Wales Production Touring Car Championship presentation dinner.
It was a cool and wet Saturday evening in western Sydney, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance.
It was a sell-out. Every seat in the Anderson Ballroom was filled, as the drivers and their families reflected and recognised the season that was, before letting their hair down to celebrate it, and the champions of 2015 into the early hours of Sunday morning.
In his delivery, Murphy again highlighted the continual, and consistent growth of this series, which again showcases why it is the best amateur Motor Racing series in not only the state, but also the country.
The good news for fans of the series, is that organisers are constantly looking at ways of improving the category, to maintain that reputation, and it’s that hard work that already has people from outside the state, talking to the committee about this series going forward.
Already, the series has confirmed an interstate event on its 2016 calendar, with the final event of the season to be held at Winton Motor Raceway in Victoria, but it was also revealed that other Victorian circuits, as well as the John Tetley owned Queensland venues have expressed interest in hosting rounds of the series, and that falls on the back of a recent application for affiliation in Queensland and Victoria.
If successful, the series will be able to join the State Championships in those two states, which in turn, will pave the way for the competitors to race on the best tracks across the eastern seaboard – like Phillip Island, Lakeside, Queensland Raceway, as well as Sandown.
The format for the Winton Double Crown was also confirmed, with two qualifying sessions, two top-ten shootouts and two one-hour races to be held on the across the December 3-4 weekend in 2016.
Murphy highlighted the participation, professionalism and enthusiasm of the competitors as one of the factors in next Easter’s Bathurst 6 Hour coming to fruition. That event has been built on the back of the success of this series, which has been a fixture at the Bathurst Motor Festival for several years, with fields consistently growing in that time.
The event will see the return of a dedicated endurance race for production cars only at Mount Panorama, for the first time since 2010, with the GT cars having headlined the Bathurst 12 Hour since 2011.
In attendance at the function were David and Michele Kidd, who will each play an integral role at the 6 Hour next March.
David is the secretary of the event, while Michele is the administrator. Both are very excited about, not only the event, but the interest that it has generated.
David spoke to the room during the presentation ceremony, and was very encouraging in his message to competitors about getting their entry in. There may be 55 cars already entered, but in news that might have come as a surprise to some in the room, up to as many as 72 cars will be able to race in the Easter Sunday event.
Michele meanwhile, is the person to get in touch with IF you’re interested in officiating at the event. She spoke very enthusiastically about not only the event, but the fact that so many officials have already expressed interest. That said, given the nature of the venue, there’s always room for more.
The saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”
If you’re interested in being part of the officiating team over Easter, please contact Michele. Her e-mail address can be found at the bottom of the article.
Coming back to Gerry Murphy’s speech, the president also made note of the unbelievable support from the series sponsors, which has enabled series organisers to put over $28,500 back into the sport, and back into the pockets of its competitors.
Murphy also acknowledged the work done by Production Touring TV.
In 2015, the series took control of it’s round-by-round coverage, with Cary Morsink’s More Driven organisation now in control of the category’s YouTube coverage, and talks are already underway on how to develop and expand the coverage in coming years.
For the occasion, the team at Prod Touring TV put together a special highlights for the season that was, and you can view that at the bottom of this article.
Murphy then went onto thank the enormous team that help put the show together, including Katey Ison and Shelly Ives, who put on a get together morning tea at every event, Carolyn Peterson who organises the trophies, the tech team, and the series’ Driving Standards Observer, Russell Norden, who Murphy said has had a very positive effect on the series in this role, for both old hands, and new drivers alike.
Murphy then went on to extend sincere thanks to all the series sponsors, who continue to support the series, and he stressed that the series simply wouldn’t be able to do what it does, without their continued willing, committed and enthusiastic support, and also encouraged competitors to support the people that support them.
Finally, the president reinforced the strategy of the club – to provide value for money, by giving drivers similar benefits to what you’d expect from a national level competition, but without the cost, as well as the main principal of sport, fun. Murphy said “As I look around the pits, I see happy competitors, sponsors and families, and to me, that’s what it’s all about.
The series also provides great opportunities for driver and car development, and will continue to do so in 2016.
From Gerry Murphy, the evening moved into the presentation of trophies for Round 6, before the winners of the MoComm Cup, the overall Club Championship, and the Class Winners were recognised (see below).
Following on from the trophy presentation, a few special awards were presented.
Much to his surprise, Matthew Holt received the TruBlu Beverages Best Presented Car award for season 2015. Paul Wilbow did the honours of presenting the shield, but not before informing the room that he bought the trophy to present just so he gets to hold it, as he’s of the belief that his car will never be good enough to win it.
The next award was presented by Lyn Heeley, and what a moment it was for her, as it was her son Brett who received the Presidents Award for 2015.
Lyn’s face was priceless, as she realised who had won the award – her son, Brett Heeley, and it was a lovely family moment, as she got to share that news with the room, and then be the first to congratulate her son on winning that valued trophy.
Gerry Murphy returned to the platform to present the annual recipient of a Club Life Membership, and this year’s recipient was Steve Hodges – a driver who received marvellous accolades from the DSO, Russell Norden earlier in the evening, as a driver who more often than not, puts the needs of his fellow competitors ahead of himself.
Hodges is often a driver who can be found working on up to five cars on any given weekend – sometimes cutting it fine in being on the grid, ready to race. Russell Norden said he spotted Steve under a car at a recent round, only minutes prior to pit exit opening.
Hodges received life membership for that selflessness, service and sportsmanship, which are three traits that this club prides itself on.
The final special award for the evening was the big one – the Tony Murphy Memorial Trophy, and that went to our series Champion, Chris Reeves. It was the icing on the 2015 cake for Reeves, and you can read more on that award HERE.
As a very overwhelmed Chris Reeves sat down, Gerry had one more announcement to make. Saturday night saw the closing of one chapter, and the beginning of a new one. After several years with the sport, our friends at Shaw Vineyards unfortunately won’t be continuing as sponsors of the series in 2016.
We thank Shaw Vineyards for their great support of this series, but where there’s a negative, a positive is never too far away, and it was with great pleasure that Gerry Murphy welcomed V8 Super Laps aboard as the Windscreen sponsor for season 2016.
As a opening gesture, they gave away TWO free drive day experiences at the Marulan Driver Training Centre south of Sydney.
The winners were drawn at random, with Joe Sinatori winning one, and the writer of this article claiming the other.
Both Sinatori and I will be treated to 3 hotlaps in the passenger’s seat, before jumping behind the wheel of the V8 Super Laps Supercars for 7 laps of the Marulan circut.
V8 Super Laps is a new venture for Ian Heeley and his team, and they will utilise the facilities at Marulan to run their business, and we wish them well.
One final presentation for the evening, saw Gerry Murphy sponsor a two-night (weekend) stay for one lucky winner and their family at Boomerang Beach, and that was awarded to Dean Potts.
Matthew Holt and his team then returned to the stage, to make some special presentations to some of our very loyal, committed and passionate series sponsors, and he did so under very trying circumstances too, with the members of his team doing everything in their power to make his job of presenting as difficult as possible, carrying on with some of the antics often reserved for their garage on race weekends.
The audience had a chuckle at Matthew’s expense, but it was all in the name of fun.
Sponsors presented included Mark and Michael Caine from Massel, Dylan Thomas from CXC Racing, Steve Hodges at Race Bred Engineering and Matthew Norrie from Bilstein Suspension.
One thing that stayed true right throughout the evening, was the amount of love for the series. Not one speaker failed to say how special this series is, how much they enjoy being a part of it, and how much they love the people associated with it. Didn’t matter if it was a driver, a member of the committee, or a member of the media, they all had one thing in common – they love being part of the NSW Production Touring Car Championship community, and it’s a very tight knit bunch of people.
Following the completion of the formal proceedings, Dylan Thomas was very quick to depart, as he had racing commitments to attend to at Sydney Motorsport Park the next day, but everyone else stayed behind, to enjoy the tunes provided by the DJ who, let’s face it, aside from Chris Reeves, was probably the Man of the Match on the night. He looked like he had more fun than just about anyone that got up to bust a move on the dance floor during the evening.
Not too long after, midnight was upon us, and therefore, the evening was over. The majority of people headed off for some sleep in one of the great rooms at the Holiday Inn, but some keen youngsters made their was across the road, where an Irish Pub awaited, to allow those who wished to continue celebrating do so until the very small hours of Sunday morning.
The first event of the new season is arguably the biggest of the championship, the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, from the legendary Mount Panorama Circuit, but for now, that’s a wrap on season 2015, and as the curtain closes, the New South Wales Production Touring Car Championship community go into the off-season with a reminder of how special their series is, and the knowledge that it’s constantly growing and building for the years ahead… This is a series to watch, and 2016 and beyond has a lot of exciting things in store for, not just the competitors, but also Motorsport fans at large.
On behalf of the entire team at the New South Wales Production Touring Car Championship, we wish a safe a Merry Christmas, an enjoyable off-season, and Happy New Year. We look forward to your company trackside in 2016. Bye for now.
|2015 MoComm Cup | Trophies Presented by Jim Pollicina|
|1st||Dylan Thomas (Class A1)||302|
|2nd||Chris Reeves (Class D)||279|
|3rd||Brett Heeley (Class A2)||255|
|2015 Class Club Champions|
|Class A1||Dean and Sherrie Potts||Dylan Thomas|
|Class A2||Russell Norden||Matthew Holt|
|Class B2||Martin Miller||Geoff Kite|
|Class C||David and Michele Kidd||James O’Donnell|
|Class D||Tracey Reeves||Chris Reeves|
|2015 Club Championship | Trophies presented by Shelly Ives and Katey Ison|
|1st||Chris Reeves (Class D)||549|
|2nd||Dylan Thomas (Class A1)||541|
|3rd||Matthew Holt (Class A2)||436|
|2015 CAMS State Championship|
|1st||Chris Reeves (Class D)||433|
|2nd||Dylan Thomas (Class A1)||413|
|3rd||Steve Hodges (Class A2)||344|
2015 Season Highlights
State Championship Points
Club Championship Points
MoComm Cup Points
2016 Provisional Calendar
2015 NSWPTC Annual General Meeting
Bathurst 6 Hour Officials Expression of Interest – contact Michele Kidd: email@example.com