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Round 6. Phillip Island – Qualifying

An early start for Qualifying for Round 6 at Phillip Island for the 944 Challenge field, as the the first class to hit the track for the morning. After some heavy overnight rain, they were also the pioneers to see how much it had dried in the following couple of hours.

Watching qualifying from the sidelines was Andrew Jackman. After an overrev during Friday practice bent some valves, a lot of assistance that evening and the following morning from a number of other teams would see the cylinder head replaced, and some other niggles sorted – although with not enough time to see the car make the 9am qualifying session.

Chris Lewis-Williams topped the time sheets initially after running a 1:51.2947 ahead of Cameron Beller with a 1:52.1639. The field were adapting to the track conditions with varying degrees of success behind them, Tony Westaway ran the third fastest time early on with a 1:54.6491, with Ken Rowland fourth on a 1:54.8813. Jim Gallagher was fifth quickest after recording a 1:55.9323, with Mark Taubitz next on a 1:56.2816.

Seventh was Keith Marriner, a 1:57.7752 his fastest time, ahead of Dick Howe’s 1:58.4734, Lyndon Watson ninth (1:58.8651) and Michael Westaway rounding out the top ten with a 1:59.5104.

Codey West was eleventh fastest (1:59.6761) and the last of those who recorded a sub 2 minute lap on their first recordedtime. Rob Holding was twelfth with a 2:03.0201, then Marius Catrina in thirteenth (2:03.8390) John Vainoras in fourteenth (2:09.4821) and Jim Mitchell fifteenth with a slow 2:25.2115.

Lewis-Williams and Beller both lowered their times next lap around, with Bellers 1:50.7160 edging him int provisional pole ahead of Lewis-Williams’ 1:50.8124. Ken Rowland moved himself up to third fastest with a 1:52.5700, while Gallagher also improved his time to 1:54.9910 to remain in fifth.

Dick Howe moved up to sixth fastest with a 1:55.2216,just ahead of Michael Westaway’s 1:55.2511. Marriner was now eighth with a 1:55.3973, ahead of Catrina up to ninth with a 1:55.8017 and Codey West now up to tenth after recording a 1:55.9055.

Taubitz and Watson both slid down the order with Holding running a 1:59.6902 in thirteenth. Mitchell moved to fourteenth with a 2:04.5489 while Vainoras improved with a 2:06.3092

The top two further improved as the track was virtually dry on the racing line, as Beller ran a 1:49.9739, just ahead of Lewis-Williams 1:50.1622. Rowland and Tony Westaway remined in third and fourth while improving their times to a 1:51.8851 and 1:51.8868 respectively. Dick Howe moved up to fifth with a 1:52.4623 ahead of Lyndon Watson up to sixth with a 1:52.8721, which would be his fastest time for the remainder of the session.

Michael Westaway was now seventh with a 1:53.0427 ahead of a close pack headed by Catrina (1:54.2032) Marriner (1:54.3628) and Gallagher in tenth (1:54.4071)

West was back to eleventh as he continued to familiarise himself with the Phillip Island layout with a 1:54.5030, while Mitchell improved significantly with a 2:00.0716, though remained fourteenth, behind Taubitz and Holding. Vainoras also found another second with a 2:05.2552.

Tony Westaway moved himself up to third on the following lap after he recorded a 1:51.4154, just ahead of Rowland’s 1:51.5173 and Michael Westaway who moved to fifth with a 1:51.5227. Taubitz moved up to seventh with a 1:52.6443, just ahead of West with a 1:52.6460 in eighth position. Catrina slipped to tenth position, despite running his fastest lap of 1:53.3750 that lap.

Gallagher improved his time of 1:53.8078 in eleventh, while Holding also improved to a 1:57.2840 in thirteenth.

The next lap Lewis-Williams pulled out a great lap to go a tiny bit quicker than Beller, and moving back into the #1 spot with a 1:49.9548. Howe meanwhile moved into the third position with a 1:51.0699, with Rowland remaining fourth with a quicker 1:51.1615, and West moving up to fifth with a 1:51.3263, dropping the Westaway brothers out of the top 5.

Gallagher moved back into the top ten when he ran a 1:53.2938, as Holding again further improved with a 1:56.8176

Tony Westaway moved back into third the next lap as he dropped into the 50’s, recording a 1:50.9477 while Taubitz improved marginally with a 1:52.6142 to remain in eighth. Gallagher also improved slightly again with a 1:53.1754 as he consolidated tenth position. Marriner made the smallest of improvements with a 1:54.3611 in twelfth position, while Mitchell recorded a 1:59.0151, and Vainoras improved with a 2:04.4284.

Tony Westaway recorded his fastest lap for the session the following lap with a 1:50.7887 as Michael Westaway moved up into fourth position with a 1:51.0559. Holding continued to improve as he ran a 1:56.5326, as Vainoras ran his fastest lap of 2:03.2913 in his last lap of the session.

As the session drew to a close, it was Chris Lewis-Williams who held onto the top spot – just – from Cameron Beller and Westaway – though it was Michael who leapfrogged Tony on his last lap with a very impressive 1:50.5705 on his final lap, relegating Tony to fourth position.

Howe was next, with Rowland, West, Taubitz, Watson and Gallagher rounding out the top ten positions.

Catrina would lie up eleventh, with Marriner next to him. Thirteenth was Holding, who again improved on his final lap to record a 1:55.6505, ahead of Mitchell and Vainoras, who would line up alongside Jackman for Race 1 which was scheduled for 12:45pm.

2017 Round 6 Preview – Phillip Island GP Circuit

The sixth and penultimate round of the 2017 944 Challenge is looming, and 16 drivers are getting prepared for a big weekend of action at Phillip Island as this round coincides with the final round of the 2017 Vic State Race Series.

Here is a quick preview of who will be out on track this weekend:

#1 Cameron Beller – Cam Beller leads the pointscore as the series heads back to Phillip Island, aided by his round wins in the first three rounds of the series. Only a disaster can prevent Beller from securing the State Series title, but the battle for the 944 Challenge Title is still wide open…

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris has clawed his way back into contention for the 944 series, helped largely by his round wins at the last two rounds of the series at Sandown and Mallala. He doesn’t have the same luxury of being able to have a bad round that can count as his worst round, as Beller does – so he needs to make every race count!

#50 Tony Westaway – Yet another great weekend for Tony with another hat trick of podiums leaves him poised to secure third outright for both pointscores… is second outright a possibility? Time will tell…

#45 Michael Westaway – Michael produced another strong showing at Mallala and will hope to get one over on Tony this weekend at PI – though he will be unlikely to move anywhere in the points as he has a gap to his pursuers, as well as those ahead.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Another up and down weekend for Taubitz at Mallala sees him back a bit further than he would like in the points – a good round is what he needs to put the last two rounds back in his mind and to start preparing for 2018..

#32 John Vainoras – John’s consistent run not only sees him improving his speed with his best performance to date at Mallala, but also has him rewarded with 7th in the outright points – proving that reliability pays off as he continues his run of finishing every race he has started thus far.

#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon returns to the site of his debut with the 944 Challenge, and is set for an even better showing as he has made gains in the pace on board his 944. A dark horse for this results up at the pointy end this round..

#8 Dick Howe – The fast flowing Philip Island Circuit suits the series veteran and his 944, and he will be looking for some top 5 results during the course of the race weekend to show for it.

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith was another who showed good pace last time out at Mallala, and he will be looking to also be mixing it up as he looks to shave some time off his personal bests and start mixing with the cars in front on a regular basis.

#4 Ken Rowland – Ken had another strong showing at Mallala, and returns to the scene of his crash at Round 2 – hopefully with the demons from that Lukey heights mishap well and truly exorcised!

#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim missed out on the Mallala event, and will look for a strong weekend at Philip Island to make amends and move up in the pointscore after a very solid round at the seaside circuit earlier in the year.

#97 Rob Holding – Rob is another who returns after a round away, on the heels of his fantastic fifth place finish last time on track at Sandown. If he can replicate that performance this weekend at Philip Island, I’m sure that his smile will be visible from the mainland!

#77 Codey West – Codey makes his debut at Philip Island after two very strong showings in his first two rounds at Winton and Sandown. Plenty of speed on board car #77, and plenty of speed from Codey – could be some surprises if he is quick to unlock the secret to going fast at PI.

#12 Marius Catrina – Marius had a good showing at Mallala after missing a couple of rounds, and will be back on track with his sights set on a top 10 result from the PI race weekend.

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim was a late entry as he worked on fixing the issues that cut his Mallala weekend short, but is back on track and overdue for some good fortune. Hopefully a good weekend ahead for the striking #46 car.

#20 Andrew Jackman – Andrew has the most recent race experience at the Island after he was racing around in an Excel while the 944’s were in the next state – he will be looking to put that fresh experience to good effect as he looks to improve on his best result achieved at his last time in his 944 at Sandown when he finished 7th in the final race.

A few regulars will be absent this round, but we expect to see a good turnout for the final round of 2017 when we return to Philip Island for the prestigious Island Magic Event late in November!

#15 Vince Misuraca – Vince will be absent from this round and unable to fight to retain his State Series Title reign, but will return for the Island Magic round in November.

#22 Brad Winter – Brads car is nearing completion from its repairs, but not finished in time for this round, Brad will also return for Island Magic before preparing for the 2018 season.

#98 Pedr James – Pedr encountered engine dramas at Mallala, and will be absent without having been able to complete repairs in time for this round – but will also no doubt be back for Island Magic.

#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul was also unlucky to have some engine woes at Mallala, and also ran short on time to effect repairs. Paul will also be back for Island Magic to round out the year however.

Other notable drivers who will be missing this round, but we hope to see in November include #29 Ben Raphael, #6 Robert Lange,  #53 Peter Doherty, #18 Ross Millar, Ryan Woods in #17, and Toni Andreevski in car #27!

But first – we have an exciting weekend to be had to close out the Vic State Race Series for 2017!

Qualifying commences bright and early at 9:05am on Saturday with Race 1 at 12:45pm.
Sunday will again see an early start with race 2 held at 9:05, before the final feature race at 12:25pm.

Come on down!

By |September 26th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

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By |September 11th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Round 5. Mallala – Race 4

Race 4 was the final race for the weekend, and 11 cars fronted for the race start with Marius Catrina packing up early unable to make the last race.

The two key protagonists for the round in Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams were even off the start as they went side-by-side through turn 1, with Beller edging ahead through turn 2. Lewis-Williams was able to get a good exit though and put himself in a good position on the run to turn 3, as the two cars were neck and neck all the way down the back sweeper on the way to the hairpin.

Lewis-Williams prevailed with the inside line through the hairpin to emerge in the lead, with Beller slotting into second position. Tony Westaway was third, from Ken Rowland and Michael Westaway in fourth and fifth positions. The top two ran neck and neck down the back straight, but Lewis-Williams cleared Beller with the inside run to the hairpin corner.

Ryan Woods and Dick Howe resumed their race 3 battle, with Howe initially moving to sixth as the pair were again side by side for sixth position.  Toni Andreevski was up to eighth position, after rounding up Mark Taubitz who initially jumped well, but the car jumped out of gear, and he dropped back to ninth from his sixth position on the grid. In behind Taubitz was John Vainoras, moving ahead of Keith Marriner who was baulked by Taubitz on the run to turn one.

As the field rounded turn three, Rowland had a slide on cold tyres which allowed Michael Westaway through to fourth position, while Howe also got a run on him and nosed ahead down the back straight. Being on the outside of the track however, he wasn’t able to hold the position, and his compromised exit from the hairpin allowed Woods to range alongside and pull off the pass for sixth under brakes for turn seven.

Behind them, Marriner made a move on Vainoras for tenth position under brakes for the hairpin, while Taubitz passed Andreevski for eighth spot under brakes for the turn seven hairpin, puling the move off through the final two corners.

Beller was determined to make up for his race 2 and 3 issues and was looking for a way past Lewis-Williams, the pair not separated by more than a few tenths of a second the entire race as they pulled out a comfortable lead on the Westaways, with Tony forced to defend his third position quite against Michael right behind him in fourth. Rowland was being kept company by Ryan Woods in the early running having to keep the #17 at bay.

Marriner moved up to ninth position on lap two as he repeated his pass from the previous lap, this time on Toni Andreevski, while Dick Howe was struggling with some gear issues, as Taubitz moved around him as they crossed the line to complete the second lap.

Taubitz was closing on the battle in front of him between Rowland and Woods, and ranged onto the back of Woods, looking for a way past before encountering issues as the duo exited the hairpin on lap 7, with the #74 car coming to a halt on the infield where he would spectate the second half of the race.

Lewis-Williams was able to resist the relentless pressure from Beller to hold on and take the victory at the end of the 12 laps – which,  while tying with Beller for points, would award him the round victory by virtue of his win in the final feature race for the round.

Beller couldn’t find a way through to snatch victory, and had to settle for second position, though retained his points lead exiting the round with two rounds remaining for the 2017 season.

Monopolising the third position placings for the entire weekend was Tony Westaway, although he found himself facing the biggest challenge for the position that he had for the entire weekend in the closing stages of this race, from his brother Michael Westaway, Tony was able to hold on for the spot.

Michael Westaway had great pace in this final race and closed right onto Tony in the latter stages of the race, but didn’t find away to get himself onto the podium and settled for fourth position.

Fifth position for both the race, and the weekend was Ken Rowland.  Ken wasn’t quite able to keep pace with the Westaways in front, and once he was able to move away from the early challenge from behind courtesy of Ryan Woods he consolidated for the fifth spot, with Ryan securing sixth position for both the race, and also for the weekend with a solid performance in his first weekend back in the 944 Challenge.

Seventh for the race, and again – for the weekend, was Dick Howe. Dick moved back up to seventh and managed to sort his vehicle issues following Taubitz’ retirement, but he was unable to close the gap to Woods in front.

Finishing in eighth position (again, for the weekend also) was Keith Marriner. Marriner also benefitted from Taubitz’ retirement to move into eighth position, and then was able to focus on keeping Toni Andreevski behind him to the end of the race.

Toni Andreevski ran a strong race and finished off his first race weekend commendably – and managed to improve his best laptime for the weekend by a full second in the final race. He was impressive with his improvement in pace over the four races – with more clearly to be unlocked in the races ahead.

John Vainoras was tenth and the final finisher for the race as he maintained his 100% finishing record. Proving how important consistancy and finishing races is in the points tally, John finds himself sitting in seventh position in the 944 Points at present after 5 rounds – a fantastic achievement.

The only DNF in the the final race was Mark Taubitz, in what has been a forgettable few rounds for him. Initial reports was that something letting go in the driveline of the car causing a huge racket and vibration which left him unable to continue.

So two rounds remain for 2017, and we head to Phillip Island at the end of September for Round 6, which is also the final round of the Vic State Series. Cameron Beller is the favourite to secure the Vic State Series Title for 2017 as he enters with a 35 point advantage.

The battle is wide open in the 944 Series Title with the top 5 drivers in with a chance at securing the title if things fall their way. Strange things have happened in the final rounds in previous years! Head down to Phillip Island on Grand Final weekend!


Round 5. Mallala – Race 3

Race 3 of the Mallala race weekend was a 10 lap event held at 10:30 on the Sunday morning, with Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams on a win apiece after the two Saturdays races.

Sadly there would be only 12 cars taking the start, as Paul Crocitti encountered engine issues during his morning warm up, which would prevent his from taking the start from his well earnt fourth starting spot – a cruel blow.

Cameron Beller yet again led into the first corner with Chris Lewis-Williams behind, ahead of Tony Westaway, with Ken Rowland jumping up to fourth position, aided by the empty grid slot in front of him thanks to Crocitti. Ryan Woods was next through ahead of Dick Howe, Michael Westaway, Mark Taubitz who slipped back after missing the start, Marius Catrina, Keith Marriner, Toni Andreevski and John Vainoras.

Howe moved up to fifth position with a pass on Woods down the back straight, Woods clearly suffering from a shortage of horsepower onboard car #17.

The top two yet again pulled a gap on the third place Tony Westaway who himself pulled a small gap of Rowland in fourth, who also found himself comfortable ahead of fifth placed Howe.

The battle for fifth is where all the excitement was, as Woods was trying every trick in the book to move back ahead of Howe, while Taubitz managed to take the seventh position from Michael Westaway under brakes for the final hairpin on lap 3, and set about after Howe and Woods.

Woods made a move on the inside of Howe at turn three on lap 4, but Howe was able to power past down the back straight to hold the position. The following lap Howe suffered the same fate though this time went off at the exit of the corner, allowing Woods, Taubitz and Westaway to all pass. Westaway was looking for a way through to move past either Woods or Taubitz as the pair battled, which left him compromised against Howe who made a pass back for position into the final hairpin corner to close lap five.

Taubitz had his sights set on Woods, and got a great run onto the back straight and pulled alongside under brakes on the outside of the corner. He was able to hold position with Woods and completed the pass as the pair ran side-by-side through the fast left hand sweeper. A small mistake in turn two on lap seven allowed Woods to nose ahead on the run to turn three. The two cars ran side by side through turn three before Taubitz was able to pull ahead down the straight, while behind them, Westaway made the pass back against Howe into turn three to take back seventh position.

As the pack came to cross the line for the seventh time, Woods had a moment and drifted into the Mallala dust, regaining control but the loss of momentum costing him two positions as Westaway and Howe both moved through for sixth and seventh respectively. The battle with Woods and Howe continued on in earnest, as Howe would exploit the speed advantage and move clear, only for Woods to close up under brakes, as the pair diced for the entire lap before Woods got ahead at the final hairpin to end lap 7.

Lap 9 saw dramas for Beller as he again experienced brake dramas at the turn 5 hairpin, going off and allowing Chris Lewis-Williams through for the lead of the race, with Beller again resuming in front of Westaway, while Howe turned the tables on Woods yet again, and was back through for seventh position.

Lewis-Williams was able to cross the line first at the end of the ten laps, though the celebration was short lived however, as he was deemed to have crept on the grid before the start of the race, and was handed a 5 second post race penalty – giving the win to Beller, and relegating Lewis-Williams to second place points for the race.

Third position yet again went the way of Tony Westaway, who was a lot closer to the front pair this morning crossing the line 4 seconds behind Beller, but not close enough to capitalise and be elevated to second position with Chris’ penalty.

Fourth position went the way of Ken Rowland with a great result although a fairly lonely race ahead of the dicing group behind him.

Making the pass for fifth position was Michael Westaway, who didn’t relent on the pressure and passed Taubitz under brakes for the hairpin on the final lap, dropping Taubitz back to sixth position.

Dick Howe was able to hold on to finish in seventh position, with Ryan Woods right behind him in eighth after some great racing between the four drivers for positions 5 through to 8, with no panel rubbing at all – great to see!

Ninth position went to Marius Catrina, which he held from start to finish of the ten laps. He was kept on his toes for the duration of the race by Keith Marriner who was behind him from the start of the race all the way through to turn 7 on the final lap, where Marriner slipped wide and allowed the following Toni Andreevski through to steal the tenth position, with Marriner recovering to cross the line just behind Toni in eleventh position.

The final finisher was John Vainoras as he was enjoying his most competitive weekend to date on his way to twelfth position, with the lap speed gap to the rest of the field having decreased significantly.

3 down, 1 to go! A final 12 lap race to close out a fun weekend, would it be Beller or Lewis-Williams in the final race?


Round 5. Mallala – Race 2

Late on Saturday afternoon, the field rolled out for Race 2 of Round 5 of the 2017 season at Mallala raceway less than two hours after the end of Race 1.

Two cars who did not make it for the start, and were out for the weekend were Pedr James – his engine dramas unfortunately more terminal than what was hoped, and Jim Mitchell – whose clutch dramas put him out for the rest of the weekend also.

Cameron Beller got the jump off the line again to lead into the first few corners, with the next few drivers remaining in grid formation behind him, with Chris Lewis-Williams in second, from Tony Westaway, Paul Crocitti and Michael Westaway in fifth. Ryan Woods jumped up to sixth ahead of Ken Rowland and Dick Howe, followed by Keith Marriner, Toni Andreevski, Marius Catrina, Mark Taubitz and John Vainoras.

How made his way past Rowland under brakes for the hairpin for the first time, while Catrina and Taubitz both pulled the same move on Andreevski, dropping him back to twelfth position, and then thirteenth when Vainoras also passed him for twelfth.

At the close of lap 2 Michael Westaway moved up to fourth position briefly, before some contact between he and Paul Crocitti saw Westaway come off second best and he dropped back to eleventh position behind Taubitz. Behind him, Andreevski made a pass back on Vainoras again to move back to twelfth spot while Howe made his way past Woods for the fifth position on the following lap.

On lap 4, and drama for Beller as the car didn’t pull up as he braked for the hairpin corner, allowing Lewis-Williams through to the lead of the race while Beller recovered to second position. A few seconds later there was deja vu as Dick Howe suffered the same fate, spearing off at the hairpin though he resumed in seventh position, though now found himself with Marriner, Catrina, Taubitz and Michael Westaway surrounding him.

Marriner tried the outside line in the last hairpin which didn’t pay off, while Catrina did the same while Taubitz took the inside line, which gave him the position through the final corner, with Westaway following him past into tenth position.

Howe continued to struggle as he ran wide exiting turn two, with Taubitz attempting a move to pass Marriner as he reacted to Howe rejoining the circuit, but ended up being wrong footed and lost ninth position to Michael Westaway on entry to turn three. Dramas again for Westaway though as he slowed suddenly around the left hand sweeper the following lap, allowing Taubitz and Catrina back through as he found himself in eleventh position again as he returned to pace.

Taubitz now resumed hostilities with Marriner, who had a huge tank slapper exiting turn 1 which he somehow regained control of, thought left him vulnerable and was passed by Taubitz for position under brakes for turn 3. Marriner was struggling with the handling as he then understeered of the track exiting the last corner later in the lap, making slight contact with the outside wall and dropping to twelfth position behind Andreevski, though he was able to continue on.

Beller was able to make some small gains on Lewis-Williams at the front, though it was a comfortable 3.5 second victory at the end, with Tony Westaway a small amount further behind in another third position. Paul Crocitti was again fourth, just over a second behind Westaway, with Woods crossing the line in fifth a few seconds further adrift.

Rowland was sixth not far behind Woods, with a gap back to Howe, who was able to keep Taubitz at bay across the final lap, with Michael Westaway not far behind the duo in ninth position, with Catrina rounding out the top ten.

Toni Andreevski crossed the line in eleventh position, with Marriner surviving to finish twelfth, ahead of Vainoras in thirteenth position.

So at the end of the first days racing, it was 1 win each to Beller & Lewis-Williams – who would take the weekend spoils after two more races on Sunday?


Round 5. Mallala – Race 1

Race 1 of the 4 races that made up Round 5 of the 944 Challenge was a quick 6 lap screamer held mid Saturday afternoon at Mallala Motorsport Park, the first race in 6 and a half years for the 944’s in South Australia. Unable to effect repairs in time for the race start was Pedr James, but the team hoped to line up for Race 2.

Cameron Beller led away from pole position to jump into the lead ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams, with Tony Westaway next from Michael Westaway and Paul Crocitti in fifth. Slow to get away from fifth on the grid was Mark Taubitz, moving away slowly and rolling straight into pit entry instead of taking the first corner to retire after he began experiencing a misfire on the warmup lap.

This moved Ken Rowland and Dick Howe up to sixth and seventh positions, ahead of Keith Marriner, and Ryan Woods who burst through from his start at the rear of the field. John Vainoras was next through in tenth position, ahead of Jim Mitchell and Toni Andreevski, while resuming at the back after stalling off the grid was Marius Catrina.

Crocitti moved up to fourth position with a pass on Michael Westaway when the latter missed a gear, while Howe moved his way past Rowland and up to sixth position, and Mitchell moved past Vainoras for tenth spot.

Up front Beller and Lewis-Williams started building a gap, while Tony Westaway focussed on keeping Crocitti behind him, while Michael Westaway was trying to find a way back past for fourth position. Jim Mitchell meanwhile experienced some clutch issues and dropped to the back of the pack, before pulling off to retire on lap 3.

Woods worked his way past Marriner on lap 3 and moved up to the eighth position and chased after the battle for sixth position between Howe and Rowland, while Andreevski passed Vainoras on lap 4 to move himself into the top 10.

Up front Chris Lewis-Williams set the races fastest lap, and a new lap record on lap 5 as he tried to pass Beller, but had to settle for second as Beller took the victory with Tony Westaway in third, still with Paul Crocitti in a Westaway sandwich in fourth position, with Michael Westaway in fifth.

Dick Howe was able to hold on for sixth position, with Ken Roland and Ryan Woods right behind, with Keith Marriner less than two seconds behind in ninth position.

Toni Andreevski held on to secure a top ten in his first race start, ahead of John Vainoras and Marius Catrina rounding out the finishers in twelfth.

Two DNF’s in this race with Mitchell retiring on lap 3, with Taubitz not making it past the first corner, hopefully both would return for Race 2 along with Pedr James.

A quick turn around before Race 2 which was only a couple hours later!


Round 5. Mallala – Qualifying

Qualifying for Round 5 of the 2017 944 Challenge held at Mallala Raceway was going to be an unknown quantity with no recent form to go by at the Mallala circuit.

It was Chris Lewis-Williams jumped to the top of the time sheets early on with a 1:20.7648, just edging out Cameron Beller with a 1:20.8520. Tony Westaway moved into third quickest with a 1:21.3722 ahead of Paul Crocitti with a 1:22.0231. Michael Westaway was fifth fastest with a 1:22.5203, with Mark Taubitz sixth on a 1:22.6499. Ken Rowland was seventh (1:23.5848) just ahead of Keith Marriner (1:23.5964)

Marius Catrina was next with a 1:23.8525 ahead of Dick Howe with a 1:24.2414. Jim Mitchell was next (1:26.8225) followed by John Vainoras (1:26.8375) with Pedr James next with a 1:27.2440.

Beller jumped to the top of the time sheets as he dipped into the 19’s with a 1:19.9278, as Crocitti improved with a 1:21.6777, which he would not beat for the remainder of the session. Ken Rowland jumped up to fifth with a 1:21.8418, ahead of Taubitz who improved with a 1:21.9136 but remained sixth, ahead of Michael Westaway who slipped to seventh despite improving with a 1:21.9620.

Marius Catrina moved up to eighth with a 1:22.7783, with James up to tenth with a 1:23.7488, just ahead of Howe who set a 1:23.7740. Mitchell also improved in twelfth with a 1:25.9727.

Beller improved marginally with a 1:19.9004, as did Lewis-Williams with a 1:20.5021, with Tony Westaway setting a fantastic 1:20.5432 for his fastest time for the session to be just behind Lewis-Williams. Howe improved to ninth with a 1:23.5349, just ahead of James who improved with a 1:23.5595.

Lewis-Williams lowered the gap to Beller as he set a 1:20.2902, but he was unable to improve on that and would settle for second on the grid behind Beller. Rowland improved further with a 121.7839, a time he was unable to improve on also. Howe lowered his time by half a second as he ran a 1:22.9285 though would remain ninth, while Vainoras improved with a 1:26.4561.

Taubitz moved up to fourth on the next lap as he recorded a 1:21.1775, ahead of Michael Westaway who moved up to fifth with a 1:21.5144. Howe moved up to eighth with a 1:22.5526, with Marriner into tenth with a 1:23.5147, just ahead of James who set his best lap of 1:23.5349 – as he struggled with a lack of power onboard car #98.

Taubitz lowered his time slightly with a 1:21.0912 on the next lap which would stand as his fastest time, as Howe did the same and with a 1:22.1434 Keith Marriner moved up to ninth with a 1:22.6850, as Mitchell improved slightly with a 1:25.9371

Howe and Marriner both improved the next lap with a 1:21.9250 and 1:22.6460, but they would remain in eighth and ninth positions respectively, while Mitchell improved again with a 1:25.1516.

Beller wasn’t finished up front however as he found a further two tenths of a second to underline his pole position with a 1 :19.7068. Michael Westaway found some time with a 1:21.3278, as Mitchell again improved with a 1:24.5734, as did Vainoras with a 1:25.7447.

The grid seemed set until Michael Westaway improved on his very last lap to run a 1:20.6957, up onto the second row of the grid again beside Tony Westaway, pushing Taubitz back to fifth position.

Not mentioned throughout, were the cars of the returning Ryan Woods and rookie Toni Andreevski.- both cars ran well in qualifying, with Woods actually running a time that was quick enough for fifth on the grid – however both cars were found to be underweight following qualifying – and their times were disallowed, and they would be starting from the rear of the grid for race 1.

Race 1 of 4 coming up – a quick 6 lap blast scheduled for 1:50pm!


2017 Round 5 Preview – Mallala Motorsport Park

Mallala Raceway in South Australia was the venue for the fifth round of the 2017 944 Challenge, and a field of 15 drivers made the trek across the border for the first time in 6 years to roar around four races for the weekend, courtesy of Yokohama Tyres & Traction Tyres.

Here is a quick preview of who entered:

#1 Cameron Beller – Beller is leading the points race in his attempt for back-to-back 944 series titles, with 8 wins so far this year-and will be looking to add to that tally..

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris bounced back from his Winton disappointment with a round victory at Sandown including two victories despite qualifying a lowly eighth. He will need a consistant end to the year to vie for the series title after having used his mulligan..

#50 Tony Westaway – Another solid points weekend for Tony at Sandown, he will look to add to is podium tally at Mallala.

#45 Michael Westaway – Michael was on track for another good weekend of points at Sandown before spinning off on the last lap of he weekend on his way to a DNF.. He will be looking to make up for that result at Mallala.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Mark didn’t compete inany of the racing at Sandown after his qualifying mishap, but with the car repaired and looking as good as new, the team will be making the trek over to SA to put the nightmare of Sandown behind him..

#32 John Vainoras – John makes the trek to Mallala and will bebouyed by the fact that he will have the same level of track experience as most of the field at the venue – and looking for some good results!

#8 Dick Howe – Dick had a weekend at Sandown to put behind him, and a good weekend of racing at Mallala should provide him with the chance to do exactly that!

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim also had a troublesome Sandown, and is hoping a cross of the border will help him string together some solid reliabilty to match the cars speed..

#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul returned at Sandown after a couple of missed rounds and showed good car speed, but was unable to stitch together results respective of that speed – he will be looking to be well inside the top ten at Mallala..

#4 Ken Rowland – After entering for Sandown but unfortunately unable to be readied for the race weekend, Kens focus shifted to Mallala with his repaired 944 after its Phillip Island shunt. Ken will be another looking for some good top ten results at Mallala.

#98 Pedr James – Pedr’s trek around the country has timed in with meeting his fellow 944 racers at Mallala, while son Brad brings the car across from Victoria to meet him at the track – no doubting this familys commitment to their racing!!

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith missed Sandown but will be back at Mallala and look to see if he can improve on his best every results that he achieved at Winton in June!

#12 Marius Catrina – Marius returns to the track after two missed rounds at Winton and Sandown, and as one of a few drivers to compete at the circuit in 2011, will hope that expeirnce will help him get some top 10 results.

#17 Ryan Woods – Ryan returns to the 944 series for the first time in a year after taking an impressive wet race win at Phillip Island in 2016. Ryan could be thdark horse agn this weekend, especially if the heavens open…

#27 Toni Andreevski – Toni is making his debut in the familiar Red & White #27 944 Porsche and is a welcome addition to the field! Recent testing speed indicates he will be mixing it up with the regular 944 competitors from the outset!

A number of regulars will unfortunately be missing this round for various reasons:

#15 Vince Misuraca is unable to make the journey across to SA and will use this as his ‘dropped round’ in the points which will keep him in the running for the 2017 series title.

#22 Brad Winter – Brad was unable to attend the Mallala event despite his Sandown accidend – and will hopefully be back at Phillip Island at the end of September.

#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon has come off some fantastic results at Winton and Sandown, but will miss the SA round, returning at Phillip Island.

#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim is also unable to attend at Mallala but will return for the next round of the series at Phillip Island.

#97 Rob Holding – Rob is also up at the other end of the country and will miss the Mallala round but another that will return for the Island.

#77 Codey West – Codey was also unable to make the interstate journey across to SA, but also should be back on track at Phillip Island

#20 Andrew Jackman -Andrew was unfortunately booked in to race at Phillip Island at the Mallala race weekend, so the #20 Porsche is resting inthe garage at home, and will be wheeled out for PI in September!

Qualifying commences at 10:35am on Saturday (SA time) with Race 1 at 1:50pm and Race 2 at 4:00.
Sunday will see the 10 lap Race 3 held at 10:30 with a 12 lap final at 2:00pm!

By |August 15th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Round 4. Sandown – Race 3

Race 3 of the 944 Challenge was an 9 lap affair held late on Sunday afternoon, and the heavens had opened at Sandown Raceway, as the 14 car field headed out onto the track – with Brad Winter joining Mark Taubitz on the sidelines.

Wipers were ablaze as the lights went out and the field tippy-toed away from the startline, with Cameron Beller getting the initial jump before Lewis-Williams gained traction as they ran down to the first corner, as Lewis-Williams took the lead with Beller in behind him, from Vince Misuraca in third.

Lyndon Watson was fourth ahead of Paul Crocitti who got a fantastic start to leap up to fifth position. Rob Holding was next ahead of Codey West, and the Westaway brothers, Andrew Jackaman, Dick Howe, Jim Gallagher Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras.

Michael Westaway moved himself up to sixth position by the completion of the lap as the drivers danced and slid in the wet conditions, with Tony Westaway in tow to seventh position, Jackman was up to eighth with Holding and Mitchell into tenth. West was eleventh, with Vainoras next from Gallagher and Howe having a spin and dropping to the back of the field.

Lap 2 and dramas for Watson as he gyrated out of fourth position and back to second last, while the Westaway brothers moved up to fourth and fifth, dropping Crocitti back to sixth spot, with Jackman now seventh from Holding, West up to ninth and Howe moving himself up into the top ten. Mitchell was now eleventh from Gallagher with Vainoras in fourteenth.

Lewis-Williams was easing away up front, while Beller had a spin but recovered immediately, although he dropped the spot to Misuraca. Jackman was making great progress and moved up to sixth position ahead of Crocitti who was experiencing issues, while Gallagher moved his way past Mitchell after his moment on the first lap.

A quick spin on lap 4 saw Jackman drop two spots to Holding and West, while mechanical dramas affected both Dick Howe and Paul Crocitti who slowed from the seventh position and was limping back to pit lane, while Dick Howe also pulled in the pits to retire. The marshals were waving the white flag for Paul’s slow car, and upon seeing the two cars in front entering the pits, Gallagher also followed, as did Lyndon Watson and Jim Mitchell behind them, thinking there was a some sort of stoppage with the race as the cars in front pitted!

This elevated John Vainoras up to ninth position while Gallagher, Watson & Mitchell exited the pits and continued on with the race! Gallagher and Watson both made their way past Vainoras on the following lap, with Mitchell passing on lap 6 with the field now quite spread out as a result of the confusion.

That was with the exception of Misuraca and Beller though, as Beller was fighting to make the spot back, although he was ultimately unsuccessful as he crossed the line in third, behind Chris Lewis-Williams who took a commanding 13 second victory from Misuraca in second position.

Fourth across the line was Tony Westaway, who moved up a position on the final lap when Michael slid off the track on the final lap over the top of the esses at the end of the back straight. Fortunately, Michael was able to avoid incurring too much damage, though he was unable to finish the race.

This moved Rob Holding up to a best result so far of fifth position, a great result ahead of Codey West in sixth, and Andrew Jackman in seventh – the last car on the lead lap.

Jim Gallagher was eighth, one lap down, ahead of Lyndon Watson, Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras rounding out the finishers.

So Chris Lewis-Williams took the round win in a strong bounce-back after the disappointment he faced at Winton. Only four weeks until the field would make the trek across the border to Mallala in South Australia for Round 5!