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2018 Season – Round 1 Preview!

Only 1 more sleep until the 944 Challenge hit the track for the first time in 2018 in practice for the first round of the 2018 Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships!

Here is the Preview for the first round of the series for 2018. A smaller than usual field for this round, though we should see an increase in numbers with some new and returning cars due to enter for Round 2!

#1 Cameron Beller – Cameron is returning in an attempt to secure a third consecutive championship in 2018. With Cameron being the only race winner from 2017 to line up for the first round, he will be entering as odds on favourite to set the pace.

#28 Jamie Westaway – Jamie again has commandeered the keys to Tony’s 944 after his successful outing at the non points Historic round in November – and he will be hoping to challenge Beller again as he returns to the Melbourne venue in his first 944 Challenge Race weekend.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Mark had a 2017 season which left him feeling unsatisfied with some up and down results through the year, and he will be looking for a strong weekend to get his 2018 season off on the right foot.

#8 Dick Howe – Dick showed some good speed during 2017 season, especially at Phillip Island where he earnt a third place finish in October. He will also look to get a strong start in 2018 at Sandown.

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith had a good 2017 season as he completed his first full year in the 944 Challenge, and with a number of upgrades in the off season for car #64, he will look to move further up the order at the start of his 2018 season.

 #32 John Vainoras – John also had his first full season in 2017 and showed good reliability and scored consistent points as he made progress with his times throughout the course of the year. He will look to improve further in 2018.

#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim missed a couple of rounds in 2017, but he will hopefully be at all rounds in 2018 as he looks to find the podium during the season with a number of strong performances to build on to help propel him further up the order!

#5 Lyndon Watson – Lyndon joined the series in 2017 and was quickly on the pace, and found himself on the edge of a podium result – something he will hope to earn early on in the 2018 season as he continues to further improve as he grows more familiar with the car.

#97 Rob Holding – Rob was another new driver for 2017 season who also showed good signs of improvement as he also strived to find the keys to speed in his 944. A season best finish of 5th at Sandown will be the benchmark Rob will look to improve on during his 2018 campaign.

#12 Marius Catrina – Marius also missed a couple of events during the year but the series veteran will be back for a full campaign for 2018. Some refinement in the off season will hopefully help Marius unlock some more lap speed on board car #12 at Sandown this weekend.

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim enjoyed his first season, though he suffered from some reliability issues throughout the year, he put in some strong runs throughout the year. With some experience through the year, he will be buoyed by a strong performance last time at Sandown for the Historic non points round as he looks for a good start to 2018.

#98 Pedr James – Pedr also missed a few rounds, and suffered from some unreliability – but the PKJ Fencing car will be back, and having received a birthday, look for Pedr to have some extra pep as he hits the track for the first round, and will clearly have a result well into the top ten as his aim for the weekend.

#20 Andrew Jackman – Andrew also missed a couple of rounds in 2017, and also had some unfortunate luck with tested him during the season. He will look to have exorcised his reliability demons when the cars hit the track this weekend as he will also look to convert the encouraging speed into race results during the first round.


By |March 1st, 2018|Categories: News|0 Comments

2017 Season Review

The 2017 944 Challenge season was largely dominated by two drivers – with Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams sharing 21 wins of the 22 races held through the 2017 season between them.  

1st position for 2017 ultimately went the way of Cameron Beller with 452 points – although it was ultimately by a scant 2 points over Lewis-Williams after all drivers dropped the points for their ‘worst round’, the title was decided in Beller’s favour after in a consistent season meant he was unable to be caught in the points going into the final round. Ironically, this was his worst round of the season, and the only time he went winless during the weekend for the year. 11 wins, 7 second places, 2 third places and 2 fourth places, finishing every one of the 22 races (one of only two drivers to record this statistic) are testament to his second 944 Challenge Championship.  

2nd for 2017 was Chris Lewis-Williams, the only person who could go toe-to-toe with Beller for the entire season, finishing with 450 points. Chris’ season was ultimately unfortunately dealt a critical blow with an engine failure on the opening lap of the first race at the third round at Winton automatically becoming his worst round and unable to miss a beat for the rest of the year.  

Lewis-Williams did his best to overcome the gap, and actually won the next four rounds outright, taking nine further race wins to go along with his race win in Race 3 of Round 2 at Phillip Island, but was unable to overcome the losses incurred earlier in the year, finishing the year with 10 race wins, 7 second places and 2 third places – placing on the podium in every race that he greeted the chequered flag – an impressive statistic! 

3rd position went the way of Tony Westaway, after a great season in which he was the only other driver alongside Beller to finish every one of the 22 championship races held in 2017 and end the year with 392 points. Unfortunately Tony wasn’t able to best the two drivers finishing ahead of him in the championship, but 10 podium appearances (all with third place finishes) is another impressive set of results which helped him to third outright in the season for 2017. 

4th position outright was Vince Misuraca, losing the chance to challenge for the series title with Beller and Lewis-Williams after he was forced to miss the fifth and sixth rounds at Mallala and Phillip Island, he finished with 353 points for the year. Vince was the only driver to take a race victory in 2017 when he triumphed at the season opening race at Sandown, and also recorded 7 second place finishes along with 5 third places as he finished fourth outright in the season, with Vince finishing every race that he started in the top 4 positions. 

5th was 2017 was Michael Westaway with 345 points, in a season that saw some fantastic performances, but was hampered from a higher season finish with a couple of DNF’s, both times at Sandown, however in different rounds hurting his tally when dropping his worst round meant a DNF result was still in his final points total. Unfortunately Michael didn’t get onto the podium in 2017, but recorded 6 fourth place finishes during the year, including a trifecta at Winton at Round 3.  

6th position outright was Mark Taubitz on 281 points after an up and down season including a qualifying accident as Sandown put him out for the weekend, and mechanical issues while showing encouraging pace at Mallala preventing him from moving higher up the order. His best results for the year was a pair of fifth place finishes at Winton, ironically when he started at the rear of the grid on Race 2 after missing qualifying and the first race. 

7th was Dick Howe, the veteran scoring 222 points after having a season peppered with some strong results at various points of the year, including a third place finish in the final race – and for the round outright at Phillip Island in October the highlights of his 2017 season. 

8th for the year was Keith Marriner, with 215 points just securing him the position after showing signs of improvement throughout the year, with a 7th place finish in Race 2 at Winton , as well as the round outright being his highlights for the season.  

9th in 2017 was John Vainoras after a consistent season which saw John close the gap to those ahead markedly in the final few rounds of the year. 20 Race finishers saw him rack up 213 points which kept him only 2 points out of 8th position. A 9th position finish in Race 1 at Winton was his highest finish of the season. 

Rounding out the top ten for the year was Brad Winter with 210 points – Brad showed plenty of speed during the year but was only able to compete at four of the seven rounds through the year. Brad showed good results in those rounds he attended, with 3 podium finishes from 11 races he started with a 2nd place at Phillip Island in May, along with 3rd place finishes at Sandown and Phillip Island being his season highlights. 

11th with 208 points for the year was Jim Gallagher, after missing two rounds at Winton & Mallala, Gallagher’s season was highlighted with a 5th place finish in the wet second race at Phillip Island during the Island Magic event, though 3 DNF’s prevented him from finishing higher up in the points for the year. 

12th position went to Lyndon Watson with 195 points, after a great first season which saw plenty of speed onboard car #5. Lyndon’s highlight was a 4th place finish at the July Sandown round, along with a handful of sixth place finishes on record. 

13th for the year was another debutante in Codey West, Codey first joined the series at round 3 and immediately showed great speed, and scored a 5th place finish in his first race. Codey never finished a race outside of the top ten, but a DNS and DNF at Island Magic kept him with 191 points and unable to move up higher in the points. 

14th was Ken Rowland, who showed flashes of great speed on the Hire Depot car on his way to scoring 181 points for the season after the five rounds he entered – though 4 DNF’s cost him valuable series points, with a 4th place finish at Mallala being his highlight for the season. 

Paul Crocitti was 15th with 164 points after entering 4 rounds during the year, though a couple of DNF’s at Sandown and Phillip Island, along with engine issues keeping him out of Sunday’s action at Mallala hurt his final points tally. Paul had his breakout performance at Mallala with two 4th place finishes from Saturdays two races before retiring from the weekend before Race 3. 

Rob Holding was another new driver for 2017, and he finished 16th for the year with 161 points from the four rounds he attended during the year. A 5th place finish in the wet at Sandown in July was his highlight as he came to grips with the car throughout the season. 

17th in the points was Marius Catrina with 159 points, further down than previous years after missing rounds at Winton and Sandown in the middle of the year, Marius had two 9th place finishes as his best results for the season. 

18th was Jim Mitchell, who despite entering every round had a number of mechanical dramas which kept his race finishes down to only 12, leaving him with 138 points. 2 10th place finishes at Winton and Sandown were his best two results for the season. 

Pedr James was another who ran a shortened season missing the mid season Sandown and Philiip Island events while engine woes put him out at Mallala during qualifying – leaving him in 19th for the year with 122 points. Pedr ended his year strongly however with a 6th place finish in the wet at Phillip Island while running as high as 4th a couple laps from the end. 

20th for the season was Robert Lange with 115 points – despite only entering the first two rounds, Lange put his car on Pole Position before a spin in Race 1 dropped him back in the field, though he managed a 4th place finish in the final race. Some engine woes after the second round kept him away from the track for the remainder of the year however. 

Andrew Jackman was 21st after only competing in two rounds during the year, damage during practice for Round 1 kept the Poolmaster away before returning for Round 4 at Sandown where he scored his best result of 7th in the final race, while he finished 8th in the second race at the other event he competed in at Phillip Island later in the season, finishing with 94 points. 

22nd in points for the year was Peter Doherty, also finishing with 94 points after entering three events, however a couple of DNF’s prevented him from entering the top 20 in points. Peter’s best result was 10th in the wet second race at Island Magic at the end of the season. 

Toni Andreevski was another new driver who joined the series in the second half of the season with Mallala his first race event, and also entered the Island Magic event at the end of the year. Toni’s best event was 9th in the final race of the Mallala event on his way to 23rd with 76 points. 

Ben Raphael finished the season in 24th position after only competing in the first two rounds of the year before venturing on holiday, and incurring an injury which kept him out of the seat for the rest of the year. Ben’s 62 points was by virtue of a best race position of 11th in the final race at Round 2 at Phillip Island. 

Ryan Woods was scored as the best of the drivers who only competed in a single round, when Ryan ventured across to Mallala to join in the fun around the tight South Australian venue. Ryan was involved in some great racing on his way to a 5th, 6th and 8th place finishes for the weekend to finish with 59 points for the weekend in 25th outright. 

Sam Rofe also only competed in the single event in 2017, making the trip to Winton for Round 3 of the series in June. A best finish during the event of 7th earnt Sam 52 points for the event as he finished the season 26th in points for the year. 

Ross Millar entered the first round of the season at Sandown, and a best finish of 11th in the third race with an entry field of 23 for the weekend was a good showing, and earnt Ross 39 points for the weekend in what was unfortunately his only outing for the year, leaving him 27th in points. 

Two further drivers entered a round during the 2017 season, though unfortunately neither scored any points. Paul Greer entered the first round and while he again showed plenty of speed and flair, he wasn’t able to sort his engine cut-off issues which hampered him in each race, causing him DNF’s – while Ken Knight entered the final round at Island Magic, but terminal engine issues in the first race ended his weekend early. 

Congratulations to every driver and team who entered throughout the year, hopefully we will see some big fields entered for the 2018 season!

Round 1 preview to follow shortly! 


Round 7. Phillip Island – Race 3

The storm clouds refused to leave for the final race for the 2017 season, as another increase in the severity of the rain while the field waited in pre-grid ensured it would be another slippery affair for the scheduled 10 laps.

Vince Misuraca got the better start off the soaking start line to lead into the first corner from Chris Lewis-Williams and Tony Westaway.  Dropping right back at the start was Cameron Beller, who didn’t move off the line as he stalled and bogged down on the grid, allowing most of the field passed while he restarted and got moving. Codey West capitalised moving into fourth, ahead of Brad Winter and Paul Crocitti, who went either side of Jim Gallagher who was also slow to get away and slipped back to seventh position. Peter Doherty got a great start and was up to eighth through the first corner, ahead of Pedr James, Michael Westaway and an extra conservative Mark Taubitz.

Marius Catrina was next in twelfth position, ahead of Ken Rowland, the recovering Beller, Keith Marriner, John Vainoras Dick Howe and Toni Andreevski. Not moving off the start line at all was Jim Mitchell,  pulling his car off onto the grass and retiring without crossing the start line.

The field tippy-toed through turns one and two, with Peter Doherty spinning out of eighth position at Southern Loop, into the outside grass where he got bogged, with Marius Catrina also spinning on the inside on the exit of the corner, dropping him back down the order but was able to resume in fourteenth position. Another retirement was that of Howe, who pulled into the pits without completing a lap.

Beller moved his way past Rowland, and then past Taubitz into Turn 1 at the beginning of Lap 2, moving him back into the Top ten, just before the yellow flags waved to signal the safety car was out to help resume the stricken car of Doherty.

As racing resumed at the start of Lap 4 it was Misuraca from Lewis-Williams, Tony Westaway, West, Winter, Crocitti, Gallagher, James, Michael Westaway and Beller in tenth. Taubitz was next from Rowland, Marriner, Catrina, Andreevski and Vainoras.

A heart stopping moment in Turn 1 for West, who while alongside with Westaway, spun and found himself stranded sideways in the middle of the corner as the rest of the field emerged from the spray. The field did a fantastic job to avoid the #77 Porsche, with Taubitz spinning as he went to the inside to try to avoid him, sliding through the grass and to the back of the field, while West was able to resume.

This allowed Winter to move up to third position, behind new leader Lewis-Williams, who passed Misuraca for the top spot. Crocitti and Gallagher moved up before contact between the pair dropped them both down the order.

James was the big mover in the melee and was up to fourth position, with Beller moving up to fifth ahead of Michael Westaway, Rowland, the recovering West, Catrina and Marriner. Tony Westaway was recovering in eleventh position ahead of Crocitti and Gallagher, with Andreevski the next through ahead of Taubitz and Vainoras.

West’s resurgence didn’t last long however, as he slipped off the road at MG corner and slid down the hill on the wet grass into the tyre wall, and into retirement.

Beller moved past James on lap 5 into the fourth position, while Michael Westaway also made his way ahead into fifth. Tony Westaway meanwhile continued his recovery and passed Marriner, and then Catrina into eighth position.

Retirement next befell Jim Gallagher, who after losing his nosecone which flew off and cracked his windscreen, was finding it very difficult to see where he was going, and spun out of twelfth position exiting Honda corner, and also found himself bogged and out of the race.

Paul Crocitti was the next out of the race half a lap later whenhe replicated Codey West’s misfortune, slipping off the track and aquaplaning under brakes for MG corner, sliding down the hill in the grass. The greatest tragedy was that as he replicated West’s slide, that meant that he found West’s car, making contact with the stranded car as West could only look helplessly with the flag marshals as Crocitti’s race also came to an end.

The race came to an early close on as Chris Lewis-Williams crossed the line the next time around at the end of Lap 7, a comfortable 10.5 seconds clear of second placed Misuraca after only 4 green flag laps once the safety car pulled off the circuit.

Brad Winter was a further 7 seconds adrift, a great podium result in his return round after missing the previous events, with another 15 seconds back to Cameron Beller in fourth spot, with Michael Westaway rounding out the top five – a good final result after sitting so strongly in Race 2 earlier in the day.

Sixth position was a great result for Pedr James after what can be described as a trying season with a number of mechanical failures and finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Right on Pedr’s tail was his adversary Ken Rowland, with Tony Westaway catching the pair but unable to mount a challenge to get past as the race came to a close.

Ninth position, and only just behind Westaway was a great result for Marius Catrina, one of his best results of the season, despite his Lap 1 spin! Keith Marriner was a distant tenth position, ahead of Toni Andreevski in twelfth after a sensible race, and Mark Taubitz in thirteenth – ensuring he made it to the finish without further incident, while John Vainoras was the final finisher one lap down.


So at the end of 22 races, it was Cameron Beller who secured the 2017 944 Challenge Triphy for the second time, ultimately securing the title by a mere two points ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams – 452 to 450 with Tony Westaway a great third place after a very strong and consistant season.

Stay tuned for a detailed season review of the 2017 season, and a preview for 2018 as the field look to fitting the new control suspension package for next season!

Thanks to all competitors, teams, crew, officials and supporters for their efforts in 2017! Next season promises to be even better!


Round 7. Phillip Island – Race 2

The rainclouds descended across the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit overnight on Saturday and left a soaked and gloomy circuit to greet the 944 Challenge for their final race day for 2017.

The first race of the day would be a 5 lap dash, and it was Chris Lewis-Williams who leapt into the lead on a very wet track while Cameron Beller bogged down off the line. Getting a great start into second position from fifth on the grid was Michael Westaway, with Tony Westaway in third ahead of Vince Misuraca, Beller, and another fast starter in Paul Crocitti. Mark Taubitz was next in seventh position ahead of Dick Howe.

Jim Gallagher was next through with Brad Winter, Pedr James, Ken Rowland, Toni Andreevski, Peter Doherty, Codey West into fifteenth, followed by Marius Catrina, Keith Marriner, John Vainoras and Jim Mitchell.

Lewis-Williams immediately started pulling a gap on the field, clearly the car and driver most in tune with the wet track which was headed by Tony Westaway after Michael Westaway spun out of second position on the second last corner of the first lap, dropping him all the way to seventeenth position before he got back on the track and up to speed. Brad Winter also had a moment dropping him down to sixteenth just ahead of Westaway, while pulling in to retire at the end of the lap was Dick Howe, leaving eighteen runners in the race.

Across the line the first time it was Lewis-Williams comfortably ahead of Tony Westaway, Misuraca, Beller and Crocitti. Taubitz was next with Gallagher behind him, then James, Rowland and West up to tenth after moving ahead of Andreevski and Doherty. Doherty was next through ahead of Catrina and Marriner, with Andreevski following after a small moment, and Vainoras into fifteenth position ahead of Winter, Westaway and Mitchell.

Misuraca moved himself into second position ahead of Tony Westaway, as Gallagher made his way into sixth position as he pulled alongside Taubitz down the front straight, and then up to fifth when he passed Crocitti on the run to Stoner corner.  West also moved up into ninth position when he passed Rowland, who lost time while dicing with West and James for eighth position, while Winter began to move forward when he passed Vainoras, and then Andreevski, along with Michael Westaway also moved past Vainoras into sixteenth.

Codey West continued his charge forward as he made his way past James, and then ahead of Taubitz down the front straight to end Lap 3, and then up to sixth with a pass on Crocitti on the exit of Southern Loop through to Stoner corner. James had a moment and slipped down from ninth to thirteenth position, while Catrina passed Doherty to get into tenth position, with a great recovery from his rear of grid start. Winter also moved ahead of both Marriner, and then Doherty into eleventh position, with Doherty now twelfth and Marriner fourteenth behind James. Behind them Andreevski retired with the engine cutting out,moving Westaway Vainoras and Mitchell all up a position.

Chris Lewis-Williams meanwhile was in a class of his own, and crossed the line a massive 23 seconds ahead of Vince Misuraca in second position – a dominating performance in the wet. Tony Westaway crossed the line for third a couple of seconds adrift, with Beller hot on his tail, while Jim Gallagher rounded out the top 5 after a great drive.

Codey West was sixth, ahead of Paul Crocitti, with Brad Winter crossing the line eighth – Brad was able to just sneak past Taubitz on the run to the finish line when the latter had a moment coming into the final corner for the last time – the loss of momentum allowing Winter to cross the line a tenth of a second clear of Taubitz.

Rounding out the top ten was Peter Doherty, with James a few seconds behind in eleventh – both benefiting from Catrina having a lose on the last lap while running tenth, dropping him back to twelfth position across the line.

Keith Marriner was next in thirteenth, ahead of a disappointed Michael Westaway in fourteenth, with John Vainoras fifteenth ahead of the final finisher, Jim Mitchell in sixteenth.

Ken Rowland was unfortunately again a DNF after being in the heat of the mid pack battle in the wet conditions, he stopped on the last lap not making it to the chequered flag, joining Toni Andreevski and Dick Howe as DNF’s.

The very last race of 2017 was to follow, and the weather seemed it was there to stay. Could anyone challenge the webbed feet of Lewis-Williams in the final race for the year?


Round 7. Phillip Island – Race 1

Race 1 was held just after lunchtime in warm conditions, thought the threat of rain was looming…

Two drivers werent able to take the start, as Marius Catrina lost drive on his way to pre-grid, along with Codey West who also was unable to take the start – though both would fortunately be back on the grid tomorrow for Race 2.

Getting the best jump off the line was Vince Misuraca who swept around the outside of Pole Sitter Cameron Beller to lead into Southern Loop corner, with Chris Lewis-Williams slotting in behind them. Brad Winter and Tony Westaway ran through Turn 1 alongside behind them, with Winter prevailing in fourth positionwith the inside running. Next in sixth position was Mark Taubitz after getting a good start, ahead of Ken Rowland, Paul Crocitti, Michael Westaway and Pedr James. Jim Gallahger was next through in eleventh position, ahead of Keith Marriner, Peter Doherty and Dick Howe – the latter after stalling from sixth position at the start sending him back down the field. Jim Mitchell was next ahead of Ken Knight, with Toni Andreevski and John Vainoras rounding out the field.

Beller took the wide line through Southern Loop in an attempt to move around Misuraca, but this allowed Lewis-Williams to sneak through on the inside and take the second position on the run to Stoner corner. Lewis-Williams moved to the left on the run to Honda corner and took the high line around the outside. He was able to remain alongside which gave him the inside run for Siberia corner, the prefered race line allowing him to move into the lead, with Beller following his move and moving into second at the same time, relegating Misuraca back to third.

Misuraca moved alongside Beller under brakes for MG corner to attempt to take the spot back, but Beller held on which gave him the inside line for Turn 11 and maintain the position.

Further back in the pack, Peter Doherty moved underneath Keith Marriner to take twelfth position under brakes for Honda corner, with Dick Howe following him through. Michael Westaway also made up a position with a pass for position on James under brakes for MG.

Across the line the first time it was Lewis-Williams, Beller, Misuraca, Winter, Tony Westaway, Taubitz, Rowland, Crocitti, Michael Westaway with James rounding out the top ten. Gallagher was next, with Howe passing Doherty for telfth down the straight. Marriner was next with Mitchell, Knight, Andreevski and Vainoras in behind.

Michael Westwawy was battling with Crocitti for position and went to the outside line of Honda corner, and was able to then convert that to the inside line for Siberia to allow him to take the eighth position. Up ahead. Rowland was shadowing Taubitz but had a big wiggle on the exit for MG, which caused him to lose momentum and allowed Westaway and Crocitti to get past, with James also getting past before turn 1, dropping Rowland back to tenth spot.

Rowland was keen to make the spot back and the three drivers ran three wide on the approach to Honda on lap 3, with James in between Crocitti and Rowland as the trio jumped onto the brakes. Rowland ran wide however, and stayed in tenth spot. Howe also made his way past Gallagher, moving up to eleventh, while Andreevski moved ahead of both Knight, and then Mitchell into fifteenth position.

Lap 4 and up front, and Beller continued to shadow Lewis-Williams, but was unable to find a way past, as the two edged away from Misuraca. Justbehind them, and disaster for Brad Winter as he slipped off the road at MG corner, slipping all the way back to tenth before he was back on the track and up to speed. He got one spot back the following lap, when Rowland started experiencing mechanical difficulties, which dropped him behind Winter and Howe before retiring. Joining him on the sidelines on lap 6 was his namesake, with Ken Kinght retiring with engine issues – unfortunately they would put an end to his weekend – a disappointment after venturing all the way down from NSW for the event.

Michael Westaway moved himself into the top 5 with a pass on Taubitz going into Turn to begin Lap 7, while both James and Winter dropped down the order, James back to tenth and Winter all the way back to thirteenth position.

Howe was able to move up to seventh position in a good recovery drive as he moved ahead of Crocitti on the final lap, with Taubitz moving alongside Michael Westaway under brakes for Honda corner for the last time, but couldn’t take the position.

Chris Lewis-Williams was able to hold on to the lead, with Beller on his tail as the pair crossed the finish line, with Misuraca in third 7 seconds behind, just holding out Tony Westaway for the final podium position.

Michael Westaway rounded out the top 5, crossing the line less than a tenth of a second ahead of Taubitz in sixth, with Howe in seventh from Crocitti, Gallagher and James rounding out the top ten finishers.

Doherty was right on James’ bumper and narrowly missed out on a top ten, with a few seconds back to Marriner in twelfth position. A disappointed Brad Winter was next in thirteenth, with Andreevski in fourtheenth from Mitchell and Vainoras.

1 Race down for the weekend, with 2 remaining on Sunday to round out the 2017 season. And the weather forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking pleasant…


Round 7. Phillip Island – Qualifying

Qualifying for the Island Magic event was bright and early on Saturday morning as the 20 car field headed onto the circuit just after 9am.

Cameron Beller set the benchmark first up as he recorded a 1:50.4653 to top the times as the drivers set their first competitive lap, with Chris Lewis-Williams and Tony Westaway close together in second and third, with Chris’s 1:50.8269 just ahead of Tony’s 1:50.8873, with Vince Misuraca just behind in fourth with a 1:51.5914.

A small gap back to Brad Winter in fifth with a 1:52.5070, with Ken Rowland sixth on a 1:52.7637. Mark Taubitz was next in seventh position with a 1:53.2489, just ahead of Michael Westaway’s 1:53.2756, with Codey West (1:53.4850) and Dick Howe (1:53.7853) rounding out the top half of the field early on.

Jim Gallagher was eleventh with a 1:54.5303, ahead of Keith Marriner on a 1:55.6032, Marius Catrina (1:55.7580) Paul Crocitti (1:57.4298) and Ken Knight fifteenth after recording a 1:59.0622 lap. Pedr James was sixteenth with a 1:59.5012, ahead of Toni Andreevski (1:59.8340) Peter Doherty (2:00.5180) John Vainoras (2:07.1545)and Jim Mitchell, who was having engine cut off issues with his car as he recorded a 2:38.6168 before pulling off the circuit.

The top 5 all improved their times on the second lap, though the positions stayed the same, with Bellers fastest time now a 1:49.7070, from Lewis-Williams 1:49.7736, Westaway’s 1:49.8268, Misuraca’s 1:50.5769 and Winter’s 1:50.9391. Michael Westaway recorded a 1:51.1300 to move himself up to sixth, ahead of Taubitz who ran a 1:51.7553 and remianed seventh, with West running a 1:52.3243. Mechanical issues for West meant he was unable to continue and put an end to his session. Moving up to tenth was Gallagher after recording a 1:53.2066, putting him behind Rowland who slipped to ninth spot.

Crocitti moved up to eleventh as he improved with a 1:53.22518 to move ahead of Howe, with Catrina also improving with a 1:53.8737 to remain thirteenth for the time being, although he would not improve on this time throughout the session. James inproved to fourteenth spot with a 1:54.0139 with Marriner alsoimproving, but slipping to fifteenth with a 1:54.9578.

Knight was sixteenth with a 1:55.4846 as Doherty moved to seventeenth with a 1:56.4503 ahead of Andreevski on a 1:58.8351 and Vainoras now on a 2:03.4005.

Beller re-set the benchmark the following lap with a 1:49.2364, a time that he, no anyone else would beat for the remainder of the session as he secured Pole position. Lewis-Williams improved also with a 1:49.6309, with a time he would also be unable to improve on throughout the session. Brad Winter meanwhile, moved up into fourth position with a 1:50.1174, pushing Misuraca back to fifth.

Marriner also improved with a 1:53.8748 moving him to fourteenth between Catrina and James, while Vainoras lowered his time but remained nineteenth with a 2:02.4484.

Winter and Misuraca both improved on their times the next lap around, Winter with a 1:50.0532 with Misuraca running a 1:50.1361 while Taubitz also ran quicker with a 1:51.2001. Rowland slotted in behind Taubitz with a 1:51.7983 while Howe moved back up to tenth position behind West with a 1:52.4395.

James moved into thirteenth with a 1:53.8032 to be just ahead of Catrina and Marriner, while Knight and Doherty also both improved their times, with a 1:55.3277 and 1:56.0680 respectively.

Ken Rowland moved himself up to sixth on the next lap, running a 1:51.0114 to push back Westaway and Taubitz a position. James improved slightly with a 1:53.7001, while Knight recorded a 1:54.6557, though remained sixteenth, a time he was unable to improve on in the remaining laps. Vainoras lowered his best time again with a 2:01.9446.

Rownland improved again with a 1:50.8874, which would be his quickest time of the session, while Howe moved ahead of West into ninth spot with a 1:51.7855. Crocitti moved up to eleventh with a 1:52.4943, while James moved to twelfth with a 1:52.9232. Doherty (1:55.0749), Andreevski (1:55.7959) and Vainoras (2:00.3152) also all improved their best times, without a change of position.

Misuraca was able to pull out a great lap on the next time around, a 1:49.5340 which would move him up to second position alongside Beller, bumping Lewis-Williams back to third position where he would start alongside Tony Westaway for the afternoons first race. Winter also ran what would be his quickest time for the session, dipping under the 1:50’s with a 1:49.8507, just falling short from bumping Tony Westaway off the second row.

Howe moved himself up to sixth fastest when he recorded a 1:50.7303, while Crocitti moved himself into the top ten with a 1:52.2434 in his best lap for the session. James also recorded his best lap for the session with a 1:52.6940, though he would remain in twelfth position.

As the session wound down, Howe again lowered his benchmark with a 1:50.4537 to secure the sixth position on the grid for him, while Taubitz and Michael Westaway both ran their fastest laps also, thought Taubitz moved ahead fo Michael with a 1:50.9535 to a 1:51.0844 dropping Michael back to ninth fastest.

Marriner also moved up a few spots as he ran his best time of 1:52.8596 to moveup to thirteenth position, while Doherty also improved to sixteenth position with a 1:54.4083 – while Vainoras delighted himself when he ran his first sub 2 minute lap, recording a 1:59.6264.

The field was largely set as the session ended, with Gallagher running his fastest lap on the final lap, but his 1:53.1752 wasn’t able to promote him on the grid, while Doherty moved up one more spot to fifteenth as he ran a 1:53.5577 on his last lap.

So it was Beller and Misuraca on Row 1, ahead of Lewis-Williams sharing with Westaway on Row 2. Winter was next ahead of Howe, with Rowland and Taubitz sharing Row 4, with Westaway and Crocitti rounding out the first half of the field.

West would start eleventh and would no doubt move forward in the race, with James alongside him, with Marriner and Gallagher to share Row 7. Doherty was next with Catrina for company, while Knight, Andreevski, Vainoras and Mitchell would round out the grid.

An early Race 1 just after lunchtime – could Misuraca, Westaway or Winter finally break the streak of race wins for Beller & Lewis-Williams?


2017 Round 7 Preview – Phillip Island GP Circuit

The seventh and final round of the 2017 944 Challenge is looming, and a strong field of 20 drivers are getting prepared for a big weekend of action at Phillip Island as this round coincides with the prestigious Island Magic Race Weekend.

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

#1 Cameron Beller – Cam Beller has an unassailable points lead by virtue of the dropped worst round rule – however he will go into the weekend looking to finish on a high note to bookend his 2017 season.

#37 Chris Lewis-Williams – Chris has secured second in the 2017 season pointscore, paying dearly for his Winton weekend and unable to threaten Beller for the series title. He will also look to be on the top step of the podium for Island Magic as he resumes his battle with Beller.

#50 Tony Westaway – Tony has secured third outright in the points with a string of podium finishes throughout the year, another selection of podiums will be his plan for the weekend to underline his points position for the year.

#45 Michael Westaway – Michael was again strong at Phillip Island last round, another good round will be his plan to stay fourth in the series points.

#15 Vince Misuraca – After missing a few rounds Vince has slipped down the order and out of series contention, but can move back up to fourth with a strong weekend this weekend.

#74 Mark Taubitz – Sixth in the points for Taubitz after an up and down season, he will be looking to stay in that spot with a consistent weekend.

#8 Dick Howe – One of his best weekends for a while at Phillip Island with a podium finsih for the series veteran, he will look to continue that this weekend with another solid weekend at Island Magic.

#32 John Vainoras – John had his first DNF’s at the last round which has dropped him behind Howe in the points – a reliable weekend will help him maintain his position in his first full year.

#64 Keith Marriner – Keith had good pace last time out and will look to further improve on that pace as he attempts to finish the season in the top ten in points.

#77 Codey West – Codey fared strongly at his first visit to PI at the last round – with some track knowledge of the fast seaside circuit, expect his times to tumble as he looks to battle the top 5 through the weekend.

#13 Jim Gallagher – Jim has misseda few rounds this year which sees him down a bit in the points, but he always runs well at the Island and should feature strongly throughout the weekend.

#4 Ken Rowland – Ken is another who missed a few rounds during the year, but also has been very quick around PI in recent events and will also look to feature around the top 5 results throughut the weekend.

#22 Brad Winter – Brad returns to the track for the first time in Sandown whichhas dropped him downthe points order, he will look for a good comeback round in preparation tochallenge for the 2018 season.

#12 Marius Catrina – Marius had some dramas last time out at PI, and will be chasing a good solid weekend to finish his 2017 season off strongly.

#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul returns to the track after some engine woes at Mallala, and will be another who will be ooking to get well inside the top ten this weekend..

#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim had a weekend to forget last time at Phillip Island also, but an encouraging outing at Sandown for the Historic Invitational round will put an extra spring in his step as he looks to close in on a top ten result for the weekend.

#98 Pedr James – Pedr returns to the series after his Mallala engine woes, and subsequent gearbox issues at Sandown. A clean reliable run throughout the weekend will be what Pedr is looking for, and hope to emulate the speed he had back in April when battling just outside of the top 5 before being involved in a crash that was none of his doing!

#53 Peter Doherty – Peter returns after a solid round at Sandown for the Historic round, and will also look to mix it up with the back of the top ten runners this weekend.

#27 Toni Andreevski – Toni is entered for his first rae weekend at PI after giving the engine a freshen up after his debut race weekend at Mallala. Toni will no doubt be looking to mix it up with those around him as he comes to grips with the PI layout.

#88 Ken Kinght – making a welcome return to the series all the way from NSW is Ken Knight, hopefully we will see him as a more regular fixture on the entry lists next year!

A few regulars such as Lyndon Watson, Rob Holding and Andrew Jackman will be absent this round, and we look forward to seeing them return for 2018!

But first – there was an exciting weekend ahead of us to close out the 2017 Season!

Qualifying was bright and early at 9:10am on Saturday with Race 1 at 1pm, with Sunday welcoming another early start with race 2 held at 9:10, before the final feature race at 11:35pm.

By |November 18th, 2017|Categories: News|0 Comments

Historic Round Exhibition Event. Sandown – Race 3

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 and was back into third immediately, pulling alongside and taking the position under brakes into Turn 1 to begin the second lap. Taubitz was then right on Holdcrofts bumper and pulled alongside when Holdcroft replicated Westaway from the previous lap and drifted wide exiting Dandenong Road corner. The two raced side by side down to Turn 11 with Taubitz holding the line around the outside to come out in front and take the fourth position.

Behind them, James moved alongside Jory down the straight to start Lap 2 to move to fifth position, and moved alongside Holdcroft into fifth position when Holdcroft seemed to slow briefly coming onto the main straight after what appeared to be a missed gear change. The following lap however, Holdcroft moved alongside James and took back the fifth position again.

James was unable to mount a serious comeback however as he was forced to retire at the end of the lap with a busted gearbox. Behind them, Howe had moved past Bourke on Lap 3, and then ahead of Freeman, and Doherty into what became eighth position after James’ retirement, with Mitchell making his way ahead of Jory in the latter part of the fourth lap, which moved him to sixth position.

Up front meanwhile, Oxley was on a charge and was able to move alongside Beller down the front straight as the pair began Lap 4 and took the lead, the superior power of the E36 Super Tourer proving too much to overcome down Sandowns two long straights. Beller did not let Oxley escape anywhere and was shadowing him, but unable to find an opportunity to retake the lead.

Mitchell dropped back behnd Jory and Howe on Lap 5, slipping to eighth position, although when Holdcroft slowed down the front straight to begin the sixth lap, Mitchell was able to get back past Howe and Jory, and was now into fifth place. Freeman also passed Doherty and into eighth as Holdcroft retired. Another retirement was Dick Howe, not finishing the final lap.

So Oxley was able to hold on to take the win from Beller, with Westaway third, Taubitz in a lonely fourth position after his potential challengers dropped out, with Mitchell in a fantastic fifth position outright! Jory and Freeman were sixth and seventh and the first E30 BMW’s home, with Peter Doherty mixed in with them in eighth position in his 944, just ahead of Bourke with Vainoras rounding out the Top Ten.

So a fun and successful outing with the BMWs led to some different challenges overcoming the speed differences between the different cars, and a big thanks to the E30 series organisers, as well as the Vic Historic Racing Series for allowing us to be part of it!

Thanks also as always to all the flag marshalls at Victorian Flagmarshalling Team, and all of the organisers, volunteers, media, team medical and all of those in the grandstands who came to watch us over the weekend!

One round left at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as the 944 Challenge finalise the pointscore for season 2017 on the weekend of the 25th-26th November as we return to the famed Island Magic event!


Historic Round Exhibition Event. Sandown – Race 2

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 suddenly pulled into pitlane to retire at the end of lap 3

At the end of lap 4 it was Oxley from Beller, Westaway, Holdcroft, Taubitz, James, Doherty, Bourke, Mitchell, Jory, Freeman and Vainoras.

Westaway moved himself up to second position on Lap 5 as he again made a pass down the back straight, this time on Beller to try to find a way past Oxley. Doherty meanwhile found himself coming out on the losing side after a touch from Bourke in the E30, dropping him from seventh position back to eleventh behind Mitchell, Jory and Freeman.

Westaway was unable to find a way past Oxley and would follow him across the line again, this time earning the second position with no time penalties and taking consolation in securing the fastest race lap. Beller was third right behind Westaway, Holdcroft was fourth in the first E30 BMW, with Taubitz in fifth position.

James slipped away from Taubitz’s bumper to finish an uncontested sixth, with Bourke, Mitchell, Jory and Freeman rounding out the Top Ten, with Doherty finishing eleventh ahead of Vainoras in twelfth position.

1 race to go, could the ‘David’ Porsches conquer the ‘Goliath’ BTCC winning BMW in the final race??


Historic Round Exhibition Event. Sandown – Race 1

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 brakes, and with the right rear wheel on the outside ripplestrip, Howe spun his way through Turn 4, nudging the barrier lightly with the rear of the car, and dropping to the back of the pack in fourteenth position.

Beller made his move into third position under brakes for Turn 1 at the start of Lap 3, getting ahead of Holdcroft, while Howe moved ahead of Plant, who subsequently retired the following lap.

Oxley was keeping Westaway at bay with Beller a couple of seconds adrift while Holdcroft fell into the clutches of Taubitz. Doherty and James were running in close quarters in sixth and seventh, with Mitchell a few seconds back holding off Bourke, with Freeman just behind the pair in tenth position. Jory was just behind him while Howe moved himself into twelfth ahead of Vainoras.

Taubitz moved ahead of Holdcroft as they ran to the end of the back straight on Lap 5, while James moved past Doherty at the start of the lap to move into the sixth position.

At the end of the six laps it was Oxley who crossed the line narrowly ahead of Westaway, with Beller acouple of seconds behind. It was decreed however that Westaway jumped the start, and was handed a 5 second time penalty. This dropped him behind Beller, though still stayed third ahead of Taubitz who crossed the line fourth, with Holdcroft crossing the line fifth, the first of the E30 series runners.

James was sixth from Doherty, with Mitchell in eighth from Bourke and Freeman, the second and third E30’s in ninth and tenth outright. Jory, the recovering Howe and Vainoras were the final finishers.

The power of the newer BMW E36 BTCC car would prove tough to overcome, but the 944 field will be giving it their best shot to prevail with two races to come on Sunday!