The third and final race of the weekend saw a similar story at the start as the previous two races, with the BMW Super Tourer of Chris Oxley bogging down with the 944s leaping away, and Michael Holdcroft challenging. This time it was Jamie Westaway into the lead, with Holdcroft moving up to alongside around the entry to Turn 1, slotting in behind Westaway. Cameron Beller was next, with Oxley finding a wall of cars blocking in front of him once the car came up to power, and had to settle for fourth through Turn 1, with Mark Taubitz right on his bumper. Alex Jory in the E30 was able to get ahead of Pedr James for sixth position in th Turn 2/3 complex after running side-by-side through Turn 1, with Jim Mitchell into eighth, Peter Doherty in ninth and Tim Freeman into tenth. Brian Bourke, John Vainoras and Dick Howe rounded out the field, but moved past Vainoras down the back straight in Lap 1. Down the back straight for the first time and Beller made his way past Holdcroft into second position, and was then gifted the lead when Westaway went into Dandenong Road corner a little too deep under brakes, and went wide allowing Beller through. Holdcroft pulled alongside as Westaway rejoined the track but slightly compromised his run - this allowed Oxley to dart to the left and the three ran side-by-side-by-side to the final two corners, with Taubitz right behind waiting to capitalise on the battle in front. Oxley was able to round up the pair before braking for the final corner, with Holdcroft going through in third ahead of Westaway and Taubitz, the four covered by a tiny margin while Beller attempted to clear off in front. Westaway didn't want to hang around though [...]
Race 2 on Sunday morning saw Cameron Beller again get a good jump to lead away, before Chris Oxley's BMW was able to use its superior power to move past totake the lead into Turn 1 ahead of Beller. Michael Holdcroft also got a great start and charged between the second row cars of Jamie Westaway and Mark Taubitz to be third into Turn 1, with Westaway and Taubitz following. Pedr James made a strong start and pulled alongside Taubitz under brakes for Turn 1, but settled in for sixth ahead of Peter Doherty, Jim Mitchell, with Brian Bourke and Alex Jory roundingout the top ten. Dick Howe was next with Tim Freeman, Rory Plant and John Vainoras rounding out the field, though Plant would not complete the lap before retiring. Taubitz and Westaway ran side by side through Turns two and three before Taubitz prevailed in fourth position, although Westaway was able to get in the slipstream down the back straight and pulled alongside Taubitz, taking fourth position back entering the esses. Behind them, Howe made his way past the two E30's of Jory and Bourke down the back straight, before passing Mitchell for eighth position on the run out of Dandenong Road corner, with Bourke also passing Mitchell down the front straight. Howe continued to move forward as he passed Doherty down the back straight on lap two and set his sights on James in front. Further up the order, Westaway repeated his move from the previous lap on Holdcroft, moving up to third while Beller was all over Oxley trying to find an advantage on the BMW. Howe closed up to James and was on his rear bumper exiting Dandenong Road corner, before he suppenly pulled into pitlane to retire at the end of lap 3 At [...]
Race 1 for the weekend was under clear warm skies and it was Jamie Westaway who got the best start off the front row of the grid, with Michael Holdcroft also getting a great start from fourth and challenged for the lead but ultimately slotted into second through turn 1 behind Westaway. Pole sitter Chris Oxley was rounded up after a tardy start by Cameron Beller and Dick Howe, though the superior power of the ex BTCC car helped him gather speed and move back past through the middle of the two 944s and slot into third behind Holdcroft, with Beller and Howe following through. Mark Taubitz was in sixth position, with Peter Doherty into seventh after a great start. Pedr James moved inside Jim Mitchell under brakes for turn 1 to slot into eighth position with Brian Bourke rounding out the top ten behind Mitchell. Tim Freeman was next from Alex Jory, John Vainoras and Rory Plant. Taubitz moved past Howe under brakes on the inside for Turn 2, but Howe was able to power past down the back straight before the esses, while Oxley also used his superior straightline speed to round up Holdcroft to move into second. Into Turn 1 to start the second lap and Oxley again was able to utilise his power advantage to move ahead of Westaway into the lead, though the more nimble 944's and E30 were able to monster him in the corners and under brakes. Howe was agressive through turns 2 and 3 as he tried to stick right with Beller to attempt to be able to make a pass down the back straight, however the concertina effect caused by the train of cars headed by Oxley braking for Turn 4 earlier than expected caught him out. Howe stood on the [...]
The 944 Challenge was fortunate to be invited to attend the Historic Sandown Round in November, in a combined race with the competitors of the BMW E30 series and Super Tourer fields. Unfortunately there was only one Super Touring car competing, but it happened to be the 1992 BTCC winning BMW raced that year by Tim Harvey and Steve Soper, this weekend being driven by Chris Oxley. Qualifying was held under sunny Melbourne skies, and as the combined field completed their first flying laps it was Cameron Beller who was quickest straight up with a 1:28.1664. Mark Taubitz was second quickest with a 1:29.7957, followed by Chris Oxley's Super Tourer with a 1:29.8189. Jamie Westaway was fourth in his father Tony's 944 with a 1:30.9023 with Pedr James fifth quickest on 1:31.3814. Michael Holdcroft was the first of theE30 BMW's in sixth with a 1:33.6091, ahead of Dick Howe's 1:33.6108. Peter Doherty was eighth with a 1:34.0356 with Tim Freeman next in the second E30 with a 1:35.0391. Jim Mitchell rounded out the top 10 with a 1:35.2717, ahead of Brian Bourke's E30 with a 1:35.5921 and John Vainoras twelfth with a 1:35.9296. Thirteenth quickest, but only managing an out lap was Rory Plant in an E30, recording a 1:50.8375 he would finish the session in thirteenth, with Alex Jory in his E30 not eventuring out for qualifying. Beller recorded a 1:27.6135 on his second lap, while Taubitz closed the gap with a 1:28.3539 on his lap to remain second quickest. Westaway moved into third with a 1:28.9084, with Michael Holdcroft up to fourth with a 1:29.2658. James inproved with a 1:30.6921 but slipped down to sixth spot, with Howe up to seventh with a 1:31.4939. Beller went faster again the next lap with a 1:27.0065, a time he wouldn't [...]
A fantastic event coming up at Sandown, with 8 944s, squaring up against 8 BMWs in an invitational event as part of the Victorian Historic Racing Series - the quest for who can be top of the German cars for the weekend should be an entertaining one! Representing 944's will be #1 Cameron Beller, #8 Dick Howe, #74 Mark Taubitz, #98 Pedr James, #53 Peter Doherty, #46 Jim Mitchell, #32 John Vainoras and making his 944 racing debut, stealing Dads keys for the weekend, #50 Jamie Westaway. In the BMW camp, there will be #7 Rory Plant, #19 Michael Holdcroft, #22 Alex Jory, #24 Geoffrey Bowles, #27 Brian Bourke, #78 Timothy Freeman, and #95 Andrew Larkin all in E30's. The favourite will be #4, Chris Oxley in the ex -Steve Soper E36 BTCC Winning Super Touring car.. but the 944's will be doing their best to do Stuttgart proud!
The final race of the weekend, and the final race of the 2017 Vic State Series saw 14 cars line up on the grid, after the demise of John Vainoras with overheating issues, and Jim Mitchell after suffering damage in his incident at Honda in Race 2 being too great to repair before the last race. With Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams tied for points with a win and second place each, the round win would go to the higher placed finisher, and it was Chris Lewis-Williams who got the jump off the line ahead of Beller to lead through into turn 1 with Beller on his tail. Howe moved into the third position ahead of Tony Westaway, wih Michael Westaway next, followed by Codey West. Jumping up into seventh into Turn 1 was Mark Taubitz after another good start to move ahead of Andrew Jackman and Ken Rowland who followed him through with Gallagher holding onto tenth position. Rob Holding was next through with Keith Marriner, Lyndon Watson and Marius Catrina all in tow. Rowland moved alongside Jackman on the exit of Southern Loop to gain the spot on the run to Stoner corner while Catrina made a move past Watson under brakes for Honda corner to slot in behind Marriner. Gallagher made his way past Jackman as the pair ran down the front straight to commence Lap 2, while Rowland passed Taubitz under brakes for MG corner and Marriner was overtaken by both Catrina, and Watson during the second lap. Taubitz attempted an over and under passon Rowland buy backed out of it, allowing Gallagher to move past into Turn 1 due to the slight loss of momentum onto the main straight. Up front Lewis-Williams and Beller again manage to pull a gap on the 4 car battle behind them, with Howe heading [...]
Race 2 of the Phillip Island weekend Round 6 was first up again on Sunday morning on a dry track, but under threatening skies.. Cameron Beller got the best jump as the lights went out to lead going into Turn 1, with Chris Lewis-Williams slotting in behind him in second position. Tony Westaway was behind them in third, with Dick Howe squeezing behind the Westaway brothers to move up to fourth, with Lyndon Watson following him through, relegating Michael Westaway back to sixth going into Turn 1. Mark Taubitz leapt forward with a good start to move up to seventh, ahead of Codey West who followed him into Turn 1 with Andrew Jackman in tow in ninth spot. Jim Gallagher got a terrible start and dropped back as far as thirteenth on the run down the front straight, but a brave late braking move into Turn 1 moved him back into tenth after moving past Holding on the inside of 1, and scything between Keith Marriner and Marius Catrina. Catrina followed Holding through, with Marriner and another fast starter in Jim Mitchell being baulked behind Catrina, which allowed Ken Rowland up to thirteenth after rounding the pair up on the outside after their entry was compromised. Getting the best view of all the action was John Vainoras who was following the jostling pack through the corner. Gallagher set himself up to move inside Jackman for Southern Loop corner and moved back into ninth position, while Catrina and Mitchell found plenty of grip on the outside line, Catrina passing Holding to move up to eleventh, while Mitchell drove around Rowland, and then pulled alongside Holding on the run to Stoner corner. Mutchell backed out throught the fast left hander thought while Rowland took the highline and out braked Mitchell and Holding [...]
2017 944 Series
*Pointscore calculated with worst dropped round removed from total.
2017 Vic State Championship