Oosthuizen Motorsport victorious on opening day of school for 2017.
Report by Zak Caban | Photos from Riccardo Benvenuti.
With the event being held just two weeks out from the Hi-Tec Oils 6 Hour at Mount Panorama, series organisers were incredibly pleased with a 34-car grid for the three-race program.
Unusually, there were no Class C or Class S competitors at this round of the series. James Herrington’s saloon car was missing from the grid, while his mate Jonathan Fishburn has moved into a Class B2 Holden VT Commodore, that he debuted at the last round of the 2016 season at Winton.
Meanwhile, the main protagonists from Class C, the Aubin Brothers Racing team of Blake and Kyle Aubin were notable absentees from Round 1 – they’re continuing their preparation for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, and will return to the Shockwave Signs Production Touring Car Championship grid for the MoComm Cup portion of the season, which will commence at Lakeside on the opening weekend of June.
Clay Skinner was a late withdrawal following mechanical dramas on Friday. He was due to compete in an A1 class Mitsubishi Evo that he acquired during the off-season, but ongoing dramas delay his debut in the outright class.
In response to the huge numbers entered for the weekend, Officials made the decision to separate the field into two groups for Saturday Qualifying – Class A1 and A2 would take part in the first session, with Classes B1, B2, D and E taking to the circuit in session 2.
The split had little to no impact on the layout of the grid for race 1.
There were two surprises in the opening qualifying session of the year, as Barry Graham got the better of Jacques Oosthuizen in the battle for Class A1 and outright pole. Graham clocked a 1:05.9861, and was 2-tenths clear of Oosthuizen and the rest of the pack.
Class A2 went in favour of Rodney Thorpe, ahead of the 2016 champion, Matthew Holt and Mark Caine in the new Showtell Racing Clubsport.
The bigger surprise came in Class D, where Jimmy Vernon was outdone by series newcomer Dan Smith. Smith took the class honours in his Honda Integra, by 8-tenths of a second. It wasn’t just a surprising result, but a comfortable one as well.
Kurt Metcalf was the best of Class E with 25th outright.
Race 1 would be contested over 15 laps, and Jacques Oosthuizen got the better of Barry Graham right from the start, with a terrific launch off the line, and once they got to turn 2, Jacques was off, and never challenged on his way to his first victory at Wakefield Park, and an emphatic one at that.
Eight seconds was the margin from first to second, as Oosthuizen cruised to victory lane, from Graham and Rodney Thorpe, who claimed Class A2 honours in the process. Matthew Holt had to settle for fourth, while Tom Muller rounded out the top five.
Tom Muller won Class B1, while Adam Gosling started his season with a victory in Class B2, ahead of Geoff Kite and Paul Pearson.
Dan Smith’s qualifying efforts in Class D were no fluke, because he easily won Class D in Race 1 as well. Jimmy Vernon was forced to settle for second – the position he relegated Chris Reeves to for much of 2016.
In Class E, Kurt Metcalf continued his run of form – winning from Finley Hills, James Goldsbrough and Nick Hough.
The day belonged to CXC Global Oosthuizen Motorsport and Jacques Oosthuizen – continuing CXC’s love affair with the Goulburn venue in the absence of Dylan Thomas and Daniel Oosthuizen, and he’ll be look to continue this success in Races 2 and 3.
Begg Makes History at Lakeside.
Report by Zak Caban | Photos from Matthew Paul and Randolph White.
With Cyclone Debbie leaving its mark on the South-East corner of Queensland, and Northern NSW, two drivers, including NSW series regular Greg Symes, were late scratching’s from the event.
Symes was due to field the only Mitsubishi in the field, but instead was left moving property and Buses, from within his own business, to higher ground.
BMW were tipped to dominate proceedings, with no less than six entries in the eight-car field.
Two of the BMW’s would be fielded by Brian Anderson and Gerry Murphy, providing the new series with a touch of familiarity, given their regular presence on the NSW grid over the years.
Qualifying A was topped by Karl Begg, while Qualifying B was topped by Brian Anderson.
A new era of Queensland Motorsport commenced when the lights turned to green for the start of the first Qualifying session, and it was rather appropriate that the man who played such an integral role in getting the series launched in the Sunshine State, Gerry Murphy, was the first man to take to the circuit, and record a qualifying time.
There was some confusion over how the grid for each of the afternoon sprint races would be determined, which is why we didn’t see a full blown effort from Begg in the second session.
There was a general belief that his Driver A Qualifying time would carry over, but that wasn’t the case. He ended up recording the fourth fastest time, behind Anderson, Murphy and Bruce McKenzie, co-driving with Justin Anthony in the BMW 130i.
Beric Lynton did not record a time, which left him starting at the rear of the grid.
Earlier, in Driver A qualifying, Begg clocked a 59.1812, and was the only driver to record a lap under the magic minute. Brian Anderson, Gerry Murphy and Justin Anthony were the next three. Beric Lynton was 6th, which surprised a few, but it was still expected that he would fight Karl Begg for victory on Sunday.
Two sprint races over eight laps would decide the first championship points for the season, and it was Karl Begg who claimed the win in both, as he tabled his championship credentials with two stunning drives to victory in his BMW E92 M3.
Whatever problems Beric Lynton had in Qualifying were sorted very quickly, as he finished directly behind Begg in both outings.
In terms of class honours, Begg claimed A2 in both races. Lynton did the same in A1. Brian Anderson took line honours in Class B2. Class C went to Justin Anthony (Driver A) and Bruce McKenzie (Driver B). Class D went to the Toyota 86 of Michael James in Driver A, and the BMW of Bruce Forsyth in Driver B, while Tony Bonanno was first across the line in Class E on both occasions.
With that, Qualifying day was over, and the attention and focus was firmly on Sunday’s one-hour enduro.
Karl Begg goes in as race favourite, ahead of Beric Lynton, but anything can happen over the course of a one-hour race, but on the opening day, it was BMW and Karl Begg who dominated, sending the message that BMW would be hard to stop in the inaugural Bilstein Suspension Production Touring Car Championship throughout 2017.