2016 Race Results & Reports

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Race Results and Reports from the 2016 944 Challenge Series.

Round 5. Winton – Race 3

19 cars gridded up for the 10 lap final race of Round 5 for the 2016 944 Challenge, with Dick Howe able to cure the various gremlins in his #8 Porsche 944 and joined the rear of the field for his first official session for the weekend.

Up front Chris Lewiws-Williams again got a great start to lead the run into turn 1 – but one car who didn’t get a great start – and in fact didn’t start at all – was Cameron Beller who went nowhere as the lights went out and the rest of the field ducked and dived to miss the stricken #55 car.

Partridge was able to again get a great start, but this time unable to edge his way past Misuraca into turn 1. Tony Westaway moved to fourth as Jason Miller and Mark Taubitz followed him into turn 1, with Michael Westaway diving around Beller’s car at the start and losing a couple of spots as a result to fall back to 7th behind Taubitz. The midfield retained their starting order, and all benefitted from Beller’s problems to move up one position, with the exception of Howe, who got a demon start to move himself up to 13th, while Millar moved past Jackman and Doherty passed Marriner. Jason Miller moved himself up to 4th passing Westaway under brakes into turn 3 before the safety car lights and boards came out as the field exited Nissan corner to retrieve Beller’s stranded car from the starting grid.

The order behind the safety car thus was Lewis-Williams from Misuraca, Partridge, Miller, Tony Westaway, Taubitz, Michael Westaway, Rowland, James, Knight, Wood, Catrina, Howe, Millar, Jackman, Raphael, Doherty & Marriner.

At the end of lap 2 the safety car returned to pit lane as the field resumed racing, and Jason Miller was on the hunt immediately, again making another move into Honda corner to move up to third with a pass on Partridge. Howe also moved up a position, passing Catrina for 12th, but Michael Westaway dropped a couple of spost as he went wide on the exit of turn 10, allowing Rowland and James to pass.

On Lap 4 Westaway was able to regain one of his lost positions getting back past James, as Howe plucked off another position to move ahead of Wood to go to 11th, as Millar also made another spot rounding up Catrina.

Lap 5 and Howe was into the top 10, getting around Knight, and Jackman was able to get past Catrina, however exiting turn 10 there was contact as Jackman and the unsighted Catrina made contact down Falken straight, with KJackmans car spinning off into the grass and making a glancing blow with the outside wall – thankfully without major damage – but the race was over with the car bogged in the mud where it would remain for the rest of the race.

The front two cars of Lewis-Williams and Misuraca were nose-to-tail up front, as Misuraca tried to stop Lewis-Williams replicating his achievement of a weekend sweep from earlier in the year. They were pulling away from the next battle group as Miller was defending hard from Partridge, Tony Westaway and Taubitz in a tight little group, before there was gap back to the battle for 7th as Westaway tried to move his way back ahead of Rowland, which he managed to do on lap 6. Greg Wood also encoutered some problems as the car slowed and dropped to the back before ultimately retiring the #19 Porsche.

On Lap 7 and Partridge made a move under brakes on Miller into turn 1, the two were side by side through 1& 2 before some wheel to wheel contact as the two cars collected themselves up. This was to the benefit of the following Westaway and Taubitz, who pounced on Partridge to move to 4th & 5th as Partridge recovered to sit onto Taubitz’s bumper.

Moving back into the picture as a result was the recovering Michael Westaway, who was able to make up a large amount of ground due to the fracas in front of him – while Miller just held Tony Westaway off without losing the third spot. Compounding his frustration, Partridge made an error coming out of Penrite corner and lost further spots, dropping him down into 10th position behind Howe.

Tony Westaway made a number of attempts to get past Miller, who was determined to hold onto the podium position, with Taubitz and Michael Westaway both right behind. Michael Westaway was able to make a pass into Penrite corner to move past Taubitz, and then got a free kick into fourth position when Tony Westaway looped his car exiting turn 9 as he tried to find a way past Miller – which ultimately dropped him back to 13th position. Partridge was able to benefit from this as well as a pass on Howe to get himself back up to the 8th position.

Up front it was Lewis-Williams and Misuraca all the way, both running their fastest laps in the last two laps of the race, Misuraca getting the edge with a 1:34.4216 to record the fastest lap of the race as he attempted to find a way into the lead, but ultimately fell short, and crossed the line right behind Lewis-Williams who took a hat trick of wins to clean sweep the weekend.

Miller was now getting harassed by his third challenger for the race for the third position in the form of Michael Westaway, but he ultimately ran out of time by the time he got onto the back bumper of the white 944, as Miller held on for a fantastic podium finish – after starting race 1 from the Pit Lane after missing qualifying – a super effort.

Fifth across the line was Taubitz after a consistent weekend that saw him also finish the weekend in fifth overall, with Michael Westaway’s trio of great results earning him fourth outright for the weekend.

A strong sixth position for Pedr James was a good finish to the weekend, and moved him to 7th in the series points – crossing the line ahead of Partridge, who was able to get past Rowland on the last lap, which also enabled him to finish the weekend third overall, with one point more than Michael Westaway.

Rowland was 8th in what was his breakout weekend for him with some great speed in his new car, and recorded the fifth fastest lap of the race to prove it. Behind him and finishing the race in 9th, and validating the decision to repair and return to the track with the car, was Dick Howe – a great effort!

Ken Knight finished off the race in 10th, capping off a great weekend for him with two 10ths and an 11th place to show for it which earnt him 10th outright for the weekend. 11th and just missing out on the top 10 was Ross Millar, a good result after his race 1 DNF.

12th position was Marius Catrina, which netted him 12th outright for the weekend also, he crossed the line ahead of Tony Westaway who was ruing his late race spin which cost him a third place result for the weekend.

14th was Ben Raphael, a good weekend as he finds his feet with his 944, benefitting from the extra running with the Sports Cars category for the weekend, managing to hold off Peter Doherty who finished in 15th, with Keith Marriner just behind the two of them in 16th.

DNF’s were for Greg Wood and Andrew Jackman, as well as Cameron Beller.

With one round left in the Vic State Series, Vince Misuraca finds himself in the box seat on points, while with two rounds remaining in the 944 series, the points battle is extremely tight with Beller, Misuraca and Lewis-Williams only separated by 8 points after each driver drops their worst round points!

The fast and flowing Phillip Island layout threw up a mix of results earlier in the year, what would happen in October in the the deciding round for the Vic State Series? Come on down October 29/30 to find out!

 

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Round 5. Winton – Race 2

Sunday morning and 18 cars gridded up for Race 2 – absent was Jim Gallagher who was unable to compete in the Sunday races, and Dick Howe. Despite missing Qualifying and Race 1, the Yellow #8 Porsche was back at Winton after a trip to Melbourne to find a replacement alternator – however a further problem while warming up the car in the morning meant the car would also miss Race 2.

Cameron Beller was back on the track, and would be starting from position 17 in his attempt to get back to the front and consolidate what was now a diminished points lead.

As the lights went out Lewis-Williams again led away, as Partridge again got past Vince Misuraca, this time into turn 1. Misuraca slotted behind into third ahead of Tony Westaway, with Mark Taubitz getting the jump on Michael Westaway for fifth.

Ken Rowland maintained his 7th position ahead of a fast starting Ken Knight, then Pedr James & Greg Wood in 10th. Cameron Beller made a demon start and was already up to 11th as the field entered turn 3, ahead of Jason Miller, Andrew Jackman, Marius Catrina, Peter Doherty, Ross Millar, Ben Raphael and Keith Marriner.

Lewis-Williams again set off on extending his lead to the pack, meanwhile however Beller had moved himself past Wood, James, as well as Knight to be into 8th by the time the cars got onto the Falken straight, with Knight now in 9th, and Jason Miller also moving up to be 10th by the end of the lap. As they crossed the line the first time it was Lewis-Williams from Partridge, Misuraca, T Westaway, Taubitz, M Westaway, Rowland, Beller, Knight, Miller, James, Wood, Jackman, Catrina, Doherty, Millar, Raphael and Marriner.

Beller was up to 7th on lap 2, moving past Rowland through the turn 7-8-9 complex and set off after Westaway, setting a new lap record as he did so – a 1:34.9505 – as Miller and James moved past Knight to 9th and 10th place respectively.

Beller was into 6th the next lap, passing Westaway into Penrite corner, but lost his newly acquired lap record to Lewis-Williams who ran a 1:34.6194 as Jackman moved himself into 12th position at the expense of Wood.

Lap 4 and Beller took the lap record back again, a 1:34.5933 as he hunted down the battle for 2nd through to 5th consisting of Partridge, Misuraca, Tony Westaway and Taubitz – while Lewis-Williams further extended his already comfortable race lead. Miller also moved up into 8th position by getting around Ken Rowland.

Lap 5 and Misuraca was able to get a good run down the old main straight to get on the inside of Partridge under brakes for Turn 3 to move himself back up to second place and set his fastest race lap to date in doing so, 1:34.6125, only just off Bellers new record. Beller himself in the meantime elevated himself up to 5th with a pass on Taubitz down the Shannons straight.

Taubitz found himself losing a further spot to Michael Westaway as he missed a gear coming onto the front straight dropping him back to 7th as Beller then smashed his own new lap record as he honed in on Tony Westaway, a 1:34.0791 that would not be touched over the rest of the weekend. Ross Millar was able to make his way around Peter Doherty with a pass into Nissan corner further down the field to move into 15th position.

Beller was up to fourth on the following lap, a move around Westaway down the Falken straight put him into fourth, and importantly, back to a second row starting position for the final race. Miller also was able to pick off one more  spot, getting around Taubitz into Penrite corner. Jackman lost a couple of spots with a mistake, as he dropped behind Wood and Catrina, and and there was some slight contact between Raphael and Doherty into the final corner, which turned Doherty around and to the back of the field.

That was the way the field would remain for the completion of the race, with the top three results of Lewis-Williams, Misuraca & Partridge replicating Race 1. Beller fourth from the Westaway brothers, Tony & Michael, Miller, Taubitz, Rowland & James rounding out the top 10. Knight was 11th followed by Wood, Catrina, Jackman, Millar, Raphael, Marriner & Doherty rounding out the field after his mishap. Showing the speed of the cars and the track, The top 7 cars went faster than the race lap record going into the weekend that was set in March!

Race 3 would be a 10 lap affair to close out the Round, could CLW make it three from three, or would Misuraca, Partridge or Beller spoil his party? Or would the Westaways, Miller, Taubitz or any of the others be able pull something out of the bag??

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Round 5. Winton – Race 1

A 9 lap race would be the duration for the first of three races for Round 5 of the 2016 944 Challenge series on Saturday afternoon, and Chris Lewis-Williams made the most of his pole position to lead into turn 1 after making a nice clean start ahead of Cameron Beller, who was able to jump ahead of Vince Misuraca from the second row of the grid to be into second place. Vince slotted into third but he was vulnerable to Lee Partridge, and the #27 machine moved into third under brakes for turn 3, which relegated Vince back to 4th.

In fifth position was Tony Westaway, who got the better start off of row three alongside Michael Westaway, who missed a gear on the run to turn 1 and narrowly held off the advances of Mark Taubitz going through the first few corners as the two of them diced for 6th position.

Pedr James and Ken Rowland retained their starting positions in 8th and 9th respectively, ahead of Greg Woods who jumped up two spots from the start to slot into tenth.

Ken Knight was in 11th ahead of Ross Millar who also moved up two spots from his starting position, with Andrew Jackman hot on his tail. Marius Catrina was 14th ahead of Jim Gallagher who dropped a bunch of spots at the start from 10th on the grid to be back in 15th. Peter Doherty was 16th ahead of Ben Raphael and Keith Marriner, with Jason Miller in 19th – an amazing effort to travel from the northern most part of the country to get to the track with seconds to spare, as he jumped into the race car as it was being taken to pit lane to start the race!

Lewis-Williams was on a charge, but Beller was hot on his heels, as the two front runners pulled a gap on the following battle for third between Partridge and Misuraca, which Misuraca was able to take advantage of with a return-of-serve move back on Partridge down the inside of turn 3 on lap 2 to reclaim third position. Rowland also moved up to 8th at the expense of James on lap 2 as he was starting to come to grips with his new car.

On lap 3, Vince Misuraca set a new lap record as he set about closing the gap to the front two with a 1:35.1716 second lap, as Jim Gallagher started his recovery from his bad start, and moved ahead of Catrina for fourteenth on  lap 3.

Drama on lap 4 for Ross Millar, as the little blue car rotated entering the turn 5 left hand sweeper, through the waterlogged Winton infield before coming to a boggy rest where it was not getting out of without the help of the rescue crews. His demise was to the benefit of those behind him who were gifted a spot, with Jim Gallagher also moving ahead of Andrew Jackman to be into 12th position by laps end.

That would all come undone for Gallagher on the next lap, as he himself left the circuit exiting turn 4 the and was into the outfield. This would be the end of Gallaghers weekend as other commitments forced him to miss Sundays race proceedings. While this was happening, Beller lowered the lap record to a 1:35.1044 in his pursuit to find a way past Lewis-Williams for the lead – his glory was short-lived however, as Lewis-Williams reset the lap record again on the next lap with a 1:35.0349

Jason Miller closed onto the back of the pack, and moved his was up to 16th on lap 6, and into 15th a lap later to try to maximise his starting spot for Race 2.

Tragedy struck for Beller on the penultimate lap, as the #55 slowed, and then rolled around the circuit while the rest of the field raced on, dropping him down the order. Miller was able to benefit also by moving ahead of Doherty as well as the crawling Beller to move into the 13th position.

This left Lewis-Williams able to cruise through the last two laps for a comfortabel 6 second victory from Misuraca, with Partridge back into the final podium position after closing the gap back up to Misuraca over the final three laps.

Right behind, and just off the podium was another solid result from Tony Westaway, with a small gap back to Michael Westaway in fifth position. In sixth was Taubitz, ahead of a great 7th position for Rowland, with James, Wood and Knight rounding out the top ten in a collection of good results for this group.

Just outside the top ten was Jackman, narrowly ahead of Catrina. Miller finished in 13th with Doherty, Raphael and Marriner behind him.

The final finisher was to be Beller, who crawled around slowly and cleverly timed his last lap so that he could cross the line just after the leaders finished the race, collecting some valuable points as the final classified finisher in 17th. These points could prove to be valuable in the final pointscore… but he would have his work cut out for him coming from the back of the pack in race 2!

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Round 5. Winton – Qualifying

The 944 Challenge series returned to Winton, in what was a round of the Vic State Race Series for the first time in 10 years, and after the resurfacing of the track earlier in the year, some cooler weather than in March meant the lap record times were set to tumble further as the field headed out for qualifying.

Chris Lewis-Williams immediately jumped outand was on the pace, with a 1:35.7871 onhis first flying lap, with Cameron Beller just behind with a 1:35.8440. Vince Misuraca went to third with a 1:36.4922, with Mark Taubitz 4th with a 1:37.4784. Lee Partridge was 5th with a 1:38.4266, and Greg Wood straight into 6th with a 1:39.4014 ahead of Jim Gallagher with a 1:39.5988 and Ken Rowland with a 1:39.6565 in 8th.

Tony Westaway was 9th with 1:40.1140 with Marius Catrina 10th on a 1:40.7562 ahead of Pedr James on 1:40.9962. Michael Westaway was 12th on is first lap for the weekend with 1:41.2213 with Andrew Jackman 13th on his first visit to Winton with a 1:41.5132.

Ross Millar was 14th on a 1:42.5060, 15th was Ken Kinght on 1:43.0506, then Ben Raphael on 1:44.0427, Peter Doherty with 1:44.3836 and Keith Marriner on 1:47.3606.

On the second lap and Vince Misuraca vaulted to the top of the timesheets with a 1:35.3365 second lap, as Partridge also moved himself onto the second row with a 1:36.5114, displacing Taubitz who also dipped into the 36’s with a 1:36.8690. Pedr James moved to 6th with a 1:37.8165 ahead of Wood who also moved down into the 37’s with a 1:37.9926.

Tony Westaway set about finding his groove as he moved to 8th with a 1:38.3869 ahead of Gallagher now on a 1:38.4719, and Michael Westaway in 10th with 1:39.4339.

Marius Catrina now in 11th as he lowered his time to 1:39.4931 in what would be his fastest time for the session before encountering some further engine heating issues on board car #12, which ultimately caused a spin with water pumping out and onto the rear wheels.

Andrew Jackman and Ross Millar maintained their positions in 13th and 14th but lowered their times to 1:40.4493 and 1:41.2449 respectively, with Peter Doherty up to 15th with a 1:41.4765, Ben Raphael down to 1:42.2774 ahead of Ken Kinght now on a 1:42.7919 and Keith Marriner down to 1:45.2398.

Lewis-Williams didn’t like the idea of second so then found some more speed as he cracked into the 34’s, with a fantastic 1:34.8844 ahead of Misuraca who was just behind now on a 1:35.0323 as they completed their third laps.

Michael Westaway moved into 6th position behind Beller, Partridge and Taubitz with a 1:36.9996, with James setting what would behis fastest time of the session to move him into 7th with a 1:37.3265, just ahead of Rowland who was now 8th with a 1:37.3820.

Greg Wood also set what would be his fastest time in the session with a 1:37.8458 in 9th, dropping Tony Westaway to 10th as he moved his marker down to 1:37.9207.

Jim Gallagher kept chipping away at his times and recorded a 1:38.2732, as Ken Knight jumped up to 12th fastest with a 1:39.0434, and Peter Doherty recording his fastest time for the session, a 1:39.9145 to move up to 14th behind Catrina.

The Millar/Jackman battle continued in earnest, with Jackman holding out Millar in the battle for 15th fastest by one thousandth of a second, a 1:40.2839 versus a 1:40.2849. Marriner lowered his fastest time to 1:42.1507 as he moved to 17th ahead of Raphael.

Status quo at the pointy end as the only car to improve was Taubitz who shaved half a tenth from his fastest time on a 1:36.8126 – with Ken Knight also improving by half a second to a 1:38.4906 although maintaining his 12th position, and Raphael moving back to 17th with a 1:41.0964.

Lap 5 and Lewis-Williams played his trump card and recorded a 1:34.6471, with Beller and Misuraca also dipping into the 34s, with Beller just edging Misuraca to move back to 2nd with a 1:34.8931 against Misuracas 1:34.9094.

Partridge also lowered his time into the 35s, with a 1:35.7468, and Michael Westaway improved slightly to a 1:36.8267, just behind Taubitz.

Jim Gallagher also lowered his marker slightly, now down to 1:38.1340, as Millar improved by a tenth to 1:40.1507, enough to sneak ahead of Jackman for 15th.

Lap 6 and Misuraca moved back ahead of Beller improving by a tenth to a 1:34.8027 to go back to 2nd, as Tony Westaway moved up a spot to 9th ahead of Wood, recording a 1:37.6995 lap, and Jim Gallagher also dipping into the 37s with a 1:37.8635, still in 11th position.

The following lap and Misuraca went slightly faster again, narrowing the gap to he and Lewis-WIlliams to .08 of a second with a 1:34.7265, as Taubitz found another half a second to a 1:36.3547 to receord his fastest time for the session, just holding out Tony Westaway who moved up to 6th with a 1:36.4191.

Ken Knight also moved to the 37’s with a 1:37.8746, though he remained in 12th though now only .01s behind Gallagher, while Raphael finding another couple of tenths to record his fastest lap for the session, a 1:40.9164.

Partridge found the limit of the speed he could extract the next lap, another half a tenth of a second netted him a 1:35.6982 lap, while Jackman moved ahead of Millar again – as well as Doherty, recording a 1:39.8678 to put him into 14th place, as Marriner lowered his marker to 1:41.7542

Lap 9 and Beller threw everything at his quest for Pole, but fell just short, a 1:34.7861 the best he could muster. Michael Westaway found another tenth and recorded a 1:36.6900, as Ken Knight also found another tenth of a second for his fastest lap, although his 1:37.7598 was enough to move him ahead of Gallagher and Wood to jump into the Top 10. Jackman also moved his time down by a couple of tenths to a 1:39.6546.

Michael Westaway managed to slice another half a second from his time to move into 5th position recording a 1:36.1916, as Millar also delved under the 1:40 bracket and into 15th position ahead of Doherty with a 1:39.9139, and Marriner gained another three tenths recording a 1:41.4375.

As the session neared its finish, Tony Westaway managed to get himself onto the third row alongside brother Tony recording a 1:36.1158 lap, pushing Taubitz back to 7th. Jim Gallagher also improved to a 1:37.5988 which moved him back ahead of Knight and also Wood to move into the Top 10.

Jackman meanwhile moved up to 13th with a 1:39.2749, with Millar recording a 1:39.4888, pushing him to 14th – at the expense of Catrina who dropped back from 13th to 15th just behind the pair, as Marriner slashed 8 tenths of a second from his best on the last lap to record a 1:40.6135 and put him back up to 17th ahead of Raphael.

The final improvement would come from Michael Westaway who would knock another four tenths off – a great time continuing his love affair with Winton, and only .15 away from snaring a second row starting spot away from Partridge.

Not making it onto the track for qualifying would be Dick Howe, after some alternator issues befell the series veteran in practice which he was unable to solve, and the car was on the trailer to go back to Melbourne. Also not on track was Jason Miller, his car was in the garage, but he was in transit all the way from Queensland in an atttempt to make it to the track for a rear of grid start for race 1!

So Chris Lewis-Williams held out for pole from Misuraca and Beller, with a small gap back to Partridge, Michael & Tony Westaway and Taubitz. Another small gap back to James, Rowland, Gallagher, Knight and Wood who are all close together, with another small gap ahead of Jackman, Millar, Catrina, Doherty, Marriner and Raphael.

Race 1 was at 2:40. Could Chris hold out Vince, Cam, Lee and others to take the win?

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Round 4. Sandown – Race 3

The third and final race of the weekend was held in the late afternoon – despite more rain in between races, the 944 drivers were lucky to again have a virtually dry track to race on for this final Sandown race for the year. 17 cars fronted for Race 3, with Marriners car unable to be repaired for the last race, and with Peter Doherty having a repeat of the issue which kept him from Qualifying, a disappointing end to a good showing from the 944 Challenge stalwart who was revelling in some improvements to his car.

Cam Beller again got a great start to lead into Turn 1 ahead of Chris Lewis-Williams, who this time was able to stick in behind car #55 to give him the best chance of challenging Beller that he had all weekend. It was 4 wide down the front straight as Misuraca and Winter got better starts than the Westaway brothers on Row 2. Somehow contact was avoided, and Misuraca was the one who prevailed from Turn 1 in 3rd position, with Tony Westaway, Brad Winter, Michael Westaway following. Behind them was Dick Howe and Mark Taubitz, these two edging ahead of Gallagher and Goddard who didn’t get off the line as well and were down to 10th and 9th respectively.

Ross Millar was next ahead of Pedr James, Marius Catrina, Andrew Jackman, Robert Lange, Ken Knight and Ben Raphael – although Lange would again succumb to his car issues, and would park car #6 without completing the lap.

Down the back straight Taubitz was able to move up to 7th in front of Howe when he seemed to miss a gear entering the back straight kink. Entering the second last corner Tony Westaway went deep into the corner as Brad Winter poked his nose on the inside, with the Yellow Porsche off into the grass and looping back onto the track as Tony tried to stay onto the tarmac. This caused Michael Westaway in 6th to also have a moment as his locked his brakes and dove to the grass to avoid coming together with his brother as Tony spun back onto the track, fortunately facing the right way when he came to a stop!

As a result Winter was able to move off into 4th while Taubitz wove through the gap to be 5th, with Howe behind in 6th from Goddard and the recovering Michael Westaway, ahead of Gallagher and Millar. 11th across the line was James, with Catrina in tow ahead of Jackman, Raphael and Tony Westaway as he got going just ahead of Knight.

Howe returned serve re-passing Taubitz down the back straight the next lap when he messed up his gear changem while Gallagher got past Westaway into turn 1, and then pulled alongside with Goddard on the run onto the main straight to end lap 2. Ben Raphael meanwhile, made a trip to the Dandenong Road Gravel trap, beaching car number 29.

Howe and Taubitz both locked up on the entry to Turn 1, while Howe help onto his 5th place, Taubitz was vulnerable to Gallagher and Goddard who were fighting hard behind him and steered clear as those two fought hard through turn 2 & 3, with Gallagher only just avoiding nosing into the turn 3 outside wall after a slight touch. This allowed Michael Westaway through to 7th – with more contact as the two black cars rubbed as they rounded turn 4 side-by side before racing down the back straight.

More action was behind them with James and Catrina battling hard for 11th place, some contact between the two relegating Catrina behind Jackman and Tony Westaway. The Safety Car boards and flags would allow everyone to catch their breath as the recovery crew got to work extracting Raphael’s car from the gravel to allow him to resume the race, albeit two laps down as a result.

Racing resumed at the end of lap 5, with 3 laps remaining. Goddard and Howe started going at it as Goddard moved past Howe down the back straight, but Howe was not giving up on retaking the position and lunged to the inside of the second last corner, although as the cars danced through the two corners Howe’s car slid wide onto the grass and he slipped back to 9th behind Taubitz as a result.

Up front, and Chris Lewis-Williams made his move -getting past Beller under brakes into turn 1, and made the move stick, elevating car #37 into the lead. Howe was still int the thick of things meanwhile, as Westaway was able to get past Millar into turn 1, and then had another fierce battle with Howe which he was able to benefit from, moving to 9th.

Through Turn 1 for the final time, Goddard and Michael Westaway both went wide, this left Westaway vulnerable to Goddard through the next few corners as Gallagher dove to the inside entering turn 4. The cars rounded the corner side by side but the compromised exit for Gallagher meant Taubitz was able to round him up on the outside as the cars ran down the back straight the final time. Taubitz tried to make a move around Westaway through the esses but slotted in behind Westaway to consolidate the position.

Up front, and Lewis- Williams would take a well deserved and hard fought victory, with Beller following him across the line – the only session that Beller did not finish in Position 1 across the pair of back-to-back Sandown events, a great effort as he attempts to take his first 944 Series Championship.

Third and fourth were Misuraca and Winter, a trouble free run for both to net a solid weekend for both, with Goddard crossing the line 5th, a great come back after his race 1 DNF.

Classified in 6th was Taubitz, after a 5 second penalty was give to Michael Westaway for a jump start, which would drop Michael back to 10th in the standings, and also elevated Gallagher and Tony Westaway to 7th and 8th in the final results.

Ross Millar would benefit also from not only the penalty handed to Westaway, but also of that handed to Dick Howe – meaning car #18 was classified in 9th position for the second race this weekend – Dick’s 5 second penalty meanwhile dropping him back to 13th behind Pedr James and Marius Catrina in 11th and 12th.

14th was Andrew Jackman, a great debut in his first race behind the wheel of the Poolmaster Bayside 944, ahead of Ken Kinght, who also overcome his early weekend dramas to have a solid weekend in his first weekend behind the wheel after a substantial absence, while Ben Raphael was able to complete the race after his ‘off’, crossing the line in 16th.

So Sandown was done for 2016, and would leave a tantalising result as we return to Winton in September. Could Misuraca claw back the points gap to Beller with a replica of his dominating March Winton weekend, or would Lewis-Williams spoil the party? Throw in the prospect of the returning Jason Miller after missing this round, a strong challenge from a number of the 944 regulars such as Howe, the Westaways, Taubitz, Gallagher and others, along with the rumour of a special guest driver who acquired some 944 series silverware last year looking to throw the cat amongst the pigeons – there are many cars and drivers who could be challenging for the podium when we return to central Victoria early in September!

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Round 4. Sandown – Race 2

There was some overnight rain again on Saturday night but by the time the 944 Challenge hit the track for the longer 10 lap race at lunchtime the track was dry… on the racing line at least – with some wet patches to be found if you strayed off it in the northern end of the circuit.

19 cars fronted up for Race 2 with the return of Marius Catrina after replacing a head gasket, and Pedr James after going home to do an engine change overnight – a great effort from both crews and helpers to get the cars back on the grid. Unfortunately, Paul Greer put his car on the trailer, unable to solve his persistent issues.

Cam Beller again got the best start and was able to clear the pack in order to set himself up for the first corner, while behind him there was a battle for second as Vince Misuraca and Tony Westaway both also got a great start to challenge Chris Lewis-Williams who was slightly slower with his getaway. Vince was able to move into 2nd through turn 1, while Westaway settled for fourth behind Lewis-Williams, with Mark Taubitz into 5th place.

Brad Winter was 6th, ahead of a fast starting Robert Lange who jumped up to 7th from his 10th place starting spot, with Michael Westaway, Jim Gallagher and Dick Howe rounding out the top 10 through turn 1. Ross Millar was 11th losing a couple spots off the line, ahead of Peter Doherty.

Moving up well was Ken Knight in 13th from Marius Catrina and Pedr James, who both got great starts from the back row of the grid after missing race 1, ahead of Ben Raphael, John Goddard and Keith Marriner. Andrew Jackman was the big loser at the start, missing the start and bringing up the rear of the field.

Beller began to open up a small gap up front while the next 4 cars, with a small gap back to the battle for 6th with Winter and Lange. James and Goddard moved up to 13th and 14th respectively while Jackman moved his way back to 17th passing Raphael and Marriner.

On Lap 2 Lange moved his way up to 6th place past Winter, while Millar moved himself back into the top 10 by getting past Howe, while Goddard continued his move forward passing James, then Doherty to be up to 12th at the end of Lap 2 after his Race 1 DNF.

Howe re-passed Millar to get back into 10th on lap 3, while Catrina repassed James for 14th, and Jackman passed Knight for 17th.

Beller worked himself a small gap while Lewis-Williams searched for a way past Misuraca, with Westaway and Taubitz following – that was until Taubitz made an error coming out of Dandenong Road corner, missing a gear and dropping 2 seconds back off the trio in front. This put him in the clutches of Lange, but entering the final corner, the car hit a small wet patch and this was enough to gyrate car #74 out of 5th position. Lange who was right behind by this stage did a great job avoiding Taubitz, taking to the grass on the outside of the final corner while Taubitz turned the car around behind the battle between Winter, Westaway and Gallagher, which was now for positions 5 to 7, then Lange, Howe and Goddard with Taubitz in 11th once he got up to speed down the straight ahead of Millar, and Catrina who got past Doherty.

Unfortunately for Lange, his problems returned as he slowed down the back straight to retire car #6 while Millar past Taubitz down the back straight for 10th.

Lap 6 and alarm bells for Vince Misuraca – literally – as car #15 showed no oil pressure. Vince’s experience helped him deduct that it was most likely a failed or loose sensor connector as the car was still running fine, nevertheless, he backed off slightly allowing Lewis-Williams through to 2nd, although by this stage, Beller was 7 seconds up the road… Michael Westaway also passed Winter down the back straight to move up to 5th while Taubitz moved back past Millar down the back straight also to move back to 10th.

Tony Westaway moved into a podium position the next lap as Misuraca was still being wary of the oil pressure situation, while Millar moved back around Taubitz into 10th as when slowed briefly exiting turn 3. The lap later, Michael Westaway also rounded up Misuraca for 4th, while Keith Marriner pulled out, unable to get the car out of 3rd gear, which would unfortunately end his weekend.

Taubitz moved his way back to 10th again past Millar down the back straight on Lap 9 while the rest of the top 10 maintained position to the finish, with Beller taking another commanding win to continue his perfect Sandown weekend, ahead of Lewis-Williams, the Westaway brothers in 3rd and 4th, with Misuraca consolidating for fifth, just ahead of Winter and Gallagher. A small gap back to the battle for 8th between Howe and Goddard, with Taubitz rounding out the top 10 just in front of Millar.

Catrina was 12th, ahead of James who passed Doherty for 13th on the last lap, witha  gap back to the close battle for 15th with Jackman and Knight, with Raphael behind them.

One race remained, more rain on the way… what would happen for Race 3? Could Beller sweep both Sandown rounds?

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Round 4. Sandown – Race 1

After a bout of hail hit Sandown Raceway following on from the qualifying session for the 944 Challenge, drivers were unsure what changes to make for the wet conditions – however found that the track was drying rapidly, and lap times dropped to within a few seconds of the lap record by the end of the 8 laps.

18 cars lined up on the grid after Catrina was unable to replace the head gasket on car #12 in time, while Pedr James had the car on the trailer and on the way home to do an engine swap on car #98 to return to the track in the morning – a great effort by Pedr and his team to get back on track for the last two races!

As the lights went out Beller made the best start at the front and commanded the lead, while Misuraca also made a great start to move alongside Lange on the run to turn 1. As the field swept through turn 1 however Lange was on the inside line and held onto the 2nd position, while Chris Lewis-Williams followed Lange through to get back into 3rd, relegating Misuraca back to the fourth position he started from. 5th was Tony Westaway who got a great start also and got the jump on Taubitz who was 6th in a Westaway sandwich, with Michael behind him in 7th, with Brad Winter in 8th.

Behind him there was chaos as John Goddard encountered issues in the Plaza Auto Sales 944 exiting turns 2 and 3 as the car slowed and the field behind did a great job to avoid him, bringing the car to a stop on the inside halfway up the back straight.

This left Ross Millar in 9th from Jim Gallagher, Paul Greer who got a great start in 11th, Dick Howe, Andrew Jackman in 13th, Peter Doherty, Keith Marriner, Ken Knight and Ben Raphael.

A drag race down the back straight between Taubitz and Michael Westaway ended in the latters favour and crossed the line in 6th place at the end of the first lap, though they swapped spots again as Michael went wide on turn 1 and allowed Taubitz back through on the short run to turn 2.

Meanwhile, Paul Greers problems continued as issues for car #14 dropped him to the back of the pack, as Peter Doherty moved up to 12th place behind Howe as he passed Jackman down the back straight on lap 2.

Up front Beller was slowly opening his lead over Lange, who was in turn pulling away from Lewis-Williams, in turn pulling away from Misuraca. A large gap was opening back to Westaway who wasn’t quite at ease on the slippery track, then Taubitz and Winter, passing Michael Westaway for 7th at the start of lap 3 as Gallagher also moved up a spot, passing Millar for 9th on lap 3.

Lap 4 and Lange’s pace dropped, allowing Lewis-Williams into 2nd, and then Misuraca into 3rd the lap later. Starting Lap 6, Taubitz was able to pull alongside Tony Westaway and moved into 5th under brakes for Turn 1, as Greer decided to park car #14 after being frustrated by the fuel surge issues in his car.

Lap 7 and Lange’s pace slowed substantially, and he was caught and passed by Taubitz as they started the last lap, which was followed by Westaway, Winter, Michael Westaway, Gallagher and then Millar, to cross the line in 10th place.

Up front it was all Beller, who once Lange dropped back managed to cross the line 5 seconds ahead of Lewis-Williams, with Misuraca a further 10 seconds back. Taubitz was 4th, ahead of Winter who got around Tony Westaway for fifth on the last lap. Tony was 6th with Michael Westaway in 7th, then Gallagher, Millar and Lange rounding out the top ten.

11th was Howe, with Doherty and Jackman right behind – Jackman showing great promise in his first race. Marriner was 14th, with Ken Knight right on his tail – with Raphael in 16th as he came to grips with the slippery track.

Two races tomorrow, with the threat of more rain overnight, anything could come tomorrow!

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Round 4. Sandown – Qualifying

The 944 Challenge contingent had to wait until lunchtime on Saturday before venturing out on track for their qualifying session. After some overnight rain this meant that the track was almost dry, apart from a few damp spots here and there, notably at Dandenong Road corner, and the final corner onto the main straight.

Cameron Beller was on pole and clean swept Round 3 and was the favourite going into qualifying – although returnee Robert Lange was expected to challenge, along with Chris Lewis-Williams and Vince Misuraca.

Chris Lewis-Williams laid the first fast time down with a 1:27.0816 on his first flying lap, ahead of Beller with 1:27.7755, John Goddard third on a 1:28.3170, Vince Misuraca with a 1:28.7696 and Brad Winter 5th with a 1:29.6789 as the field sorted themselves out to find a spot on the track to run their laps. The order following the top 5 was Gallagher, Taubitz, Millar, Jackman, Lange, James, Catrina, Raphael Knight, Tony Westaway, Marriner, Howe, Michael Westaway and Greer – who wouldn’t complete more than an outlap with problems. The outlap was one more than Peter Doherty managed however, after discovering a large pool of oil under his car just before qualifying that should have been in the engine… He would miss qualifying but would be on the grid for Race 1.

Chris Lewis-Williams pushed the time down on his next lap with a 1:25.9648, with Misuraca moving to second fastest with his 1:27.1087. Lange leapt up to third fastest with a 1:27.3083 ahead of Beller on 1:27.5724 with Goddard down to 5th. Winter improved his time to 1:28.6363 ahead of Taubitz on a 1:29.0711, Howe up to 8th with a 1:29.6771, Catrina running his fastest lap of 1:19.7521 in 9th – before car #12 started losing power – a blown head gasket the culprit.

10th fastest was Gallagher with a 1:30.0043, ahead of Millar on 1:30.0575, James on 1:30.6384, Jackman with 1:30.7809, Raphael with 1:32.6205, with the Westaway brothers biding their time to run their fast laps, Michael Westaway on a 1:32.8734 ahead of Tony with a 1:32.9273, ahead of Knight on a 1:33.5462 as he pulled off the track with some small issues with his Porsche as a result of some late night work after Friday’s practice session, ahead of Marriner with a 1:34.1761 to be 18th fastest.

Beller moved himself up to the front row with a 1:26.1773 while Lewis Williams pitted, while both Misuraca and Lange went quicker, down to 1:26.3013 & 1:27.1593 respectively. Taubitz moved up to 5th with a 1:27.6256 with Goddard and Winter remaining 6th & 7th. Millar jumped up to 8th on a 1:29.3060, as James and Gallagher both moved into the 29’s with 1:29.7445 and 1:29.7705 to be 11th and 12th behind Howe and Catrina. Tony Westaway moved to 13th with 1:30.3405 ahead of Jackman now on 1:30.7388. Raphael was now 15th with 1:32.3066 ahead of Michael Westaway with 1:32.4077, with Marriner on 1:32.9212.

Beller jumped into Provisional pole the following lap with a 1:25.1825 lap as almost the entire field set their fastest lap as the drivers found the speed of the track getting better and better. Misuraca and Lange were extremely close in 3rd and 4th with 1:26.2298 & 1:26.2355, Goddard set a 1:26.7468 to move to 5th in what would be his best lap of the session, just ahead of Taubitz who ran a 1:26.7553. Gallagher vaulted up to 7th with a 1:27.8658 from Winter on a 1:28.1487, Tony Westaway finding his pace with a 1:28.1813 to go to 9th with Howe in 10th with a 1:28.4029.

11th was Millar with a 1:28.4493, Pedr James with 1:28.9844, Michael Westaway who moved to 13th with 1:29.6684 ahead of Catrina. Jackman dropped his marker to a 1:30.3109 as Marriner moved to 16th with a 1:32.2366 ahead of Raphael.

Beller went slightly faster the following lap to lower the provisional pole time to 1:25.0934, as both Lewis-Williams and Misuraca also went quicker, Chris on a 1:25.6421 and Vince with a 1:25.9432. Gallagher also improved his time by a couple hundredths of a second, and Michael Westaway moved ahead of Pedr James to be 12th as he recorded a 1:28.7253. Raphael and Marriner also went quicker, and swapped spots again as Ben ran a 1:31.1794 which would be his fastest lap for the session, with Keith running a 1:31.7746.

Robert Lange jumped into 3rd ahead of Misuraca on the next lap with a 1:25.6465 lap, as Tony Westaway also jumped into the top 5 with a 1:26.3852 pushing Goddard, Taubitz, Gallagher & Winter down a spot. Gallagher again shaved a tenth of a second off his time, down to 1:27.7369 as Howe also got into the 27 second bracket with a 1:127.9682. Westaway moved another spot up the grid ahead of Millar with a 1:28.4434, while Pedr James set his fastest time with a 1:28.6582 but then there was a big bang, and lots of smoke as car #98 exited the track at turn 1. The PKJ Rural Fencing team would go home to swap engines over to be back for Race 2 on Sunday.

Lange continued his move forward as he moved onto the front row the next lap with a 1:25.4419, pushing Lewis-Williams back to Row 2 with Misuraca. Tony Westaway set his fastest lap for the session with a 1:26.2589. Howe moved to 8th with his fastest time for the session also, a 1:27.1830 to leapfrog Gallagher. Michael Westaway continued lowering his times and moving forward on the grid, now into 10th with a 1:27.9721. Marriner moved into the sub 1:31 second category with a 1:30.9413 for his best lap of qualifying to be 16th ahead of Raphael, with Ben unable to improve his time to get back ahead.

Beller etched slightly closer to the 24’s with a 1:25.0437 on his 8th lap, as Vince also improved slightly to a 1:25.8291, as did Brad Winter with a 1:28.0480, and Ross Millar with a 1:28.2864, and Andrew Jackman who ran his best time in qualifying, just unable to get under 1:30 with a 1:30.0120

Robert Lange got himself to within a tenth of a second of Pole the next lap, a 1:25.1538 impressing the field, but he was not able to go quicker to get the #1 spot. Chris Lewis-Williams also ran what would be his fastest lap for qualifying with a 1:25.4857, just in front of Vince who improved with a 1:25.5715. Michael Westaway improved to 1:27.7769, as Ross Millar also shaved a couple hundredths from his best time.

Beller responded the next lap by lowering the mark another quarter of a second with a 1:24.7890, which would be his fastest time and would lock in consecutive pole positions for him at the Sandown circuit. Taubitz also improved his time to a 1:26.6025 to move back into 6th ahead of Goddard, while Brad Winter moved to 9th with his fastest lap of 1:27.1940. Michael Westaway stayed in 10th as he improved his time to 1:27.4474, with Ross Millar also running his fastest lap for the session to be 11th with a 1:27.5911. All three drivers moved around James Gallagher, despite him also lowering his fastest time to 1:27.6645

Vince Misuraca went slightly quicker on his next lap with a 1:25.5012, just unable to move past Chris for 3rd position, with his next two laps only a tenth slower, leaving Vince in 4th. Taubitz further lowered his best time to 1:26.2736 to be just behind Tony Westaway in 6th, but on his next and final lap dropped into the 25s with a 1:25.8067 to move into 5th spot on the grid. Michael Westaway also found a quarter of a second to elevate him two positions, up to 8th with a 1:27.1324 just clear of Howe & Winter, while Gallagher also improved on his last circuit to just sneak back ahead of Millar with a 1:27.5854.

So a very exciting qualifying session, but there was rain and hail on the way before Race 1 to make things a bit more exciting before Race 1!

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Round 3. Sandown – Race 3

The third and final race of the weekend was just after lunch, a great weekend so far with lots of clean and fair racing, and all 17 cars entered for the event lining up for this final shoot out.

The inside line drivers at the front got a great start, with Cameron Beller streaking away to the lead, with Tony Westaway and Mark Taubitz moved up to second and third, while Jason Miller struggled with a rogue 4th gear after an OK getaway the car stumbled when he attempted the shift, he would drop right to the back of the field. Taubitz made the run down the inside of Westaway down the front straight but backed out of the move, Westaway then turned in but unfortunately rotated around on cold tyres which put him towards the back with Miller. This left Taubitz in second with Misuraca second ahead of Rose who made a brilliant start, and Brad Winter in 5th, also a great start from car #22.

Up to 6th was John Goddard, then Pedr James, Dick Howe and then Michael Westaway in 9th after getting shuffled out through the first few corners. Jim Gallagher was in 10th, with Ryan Woods, Marius Catrina, Ross Millar and Ken Rowland in behind. Tony Westaway and Jason Miller were back to the back along with Keith Marriner.

Down the back straight the first time, and Misuraca and Rose were able to freight train their way past Taubitz to move into 2nd and 3rd respectively, while Beller was already off in the distance and building on his lead. Lap 2 and Michael Westaway went too deep into turn 1 and dropped back to 13th position just ahead of brother Tony who moved past Rowland into 14th, while Dick Howe moved past James to move into 7th place. The following lap Tony Westaway was able to get past Michael as he started his move back up the field, also passing Millar to be back into 12th by the end of lap 3.

Gallagher moved up to 8th position on lap 4, displacing James, as Tony Westaway moved into the top 10, passing Catrina and benefiting from a DNF for Woods, who retired the number #17, while Michael Westaway passed Millar to move back up to 12th place.

Lap 5 and Winter was able to capitalise on a mistake from Taubitz to get a run on the #74 car down the back straight to take the 4th position, and Jason Miller was overcoming his gear problems and improving his lap times, getting past Rowland to move to 14th position. Jim Gallagher was up to 7th when he got past Howe, as the Westaways continued their move back up, Tony passing James for 9th, as Michael moved back to 11th after passing Catrina.

Disaster yet again for Rose as his misfire returned going through the turn 2-3 complex on lap 7, this allowed Winter through but he was able to recover to just stay ahead of Taubitz. This let an opportunistic Goddard to capitalise and moved into 5th going over the esses at the end of the back straight. Taubitz attempted to retake the spot down the front straight but some shrewd car positioning by Goddard helped him maintain the position. This track position was a big help as the #38 of Rose again faltered through Turn 2 and 3, Goddard dived through into turn 4 and was lucky to maintain control as the car slid on the oil dry on the inside line. Taubitz was baulked as a result and lost time to Goddard as Rose pulled the Green 944 to the inside of the track down the straight. While this was happening, Tony Westaway was up to 8th, passing Dick Howe, while Miller and Millar swapped positions, Jason getting around Ross for 13th.

Taubitzs’ dramas were to get worse, after his slow  run down the back straight after a missed gear dropped him back into the clutches of the 6th place battle between Gallagher and Tony Westaway. Under brakes into Turn 1 there was contact, and the two black cars spun into the gravel, with Tony Westaway able to take the avoiding inside line into an unchallenged 5th position, while Howe took avoiding action unto the turn 1 gravel. Not wishing to get stuck, Howe kept his foot into the throttle, and in the finest ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ moment of the year, performed a 360 degree loop in the gravel and got back onto the track with an impressive rooster tail from the back of car #8, but dropping down to 12th position. Gallagher would rejoin the track behind him in 13th, but Taubitz was out, unable to re-fire the #74 Zantek car.

This altercation left the order as Beller, Misuraca, Winter, Goddard, Tony Westaway, James, Michael Westaway, Catrina, Millar and Miller after swapping spots again, and then Rowland and Marriner.

On the Penultimate lap Miller was able to get past both Millar again, as well as Catrina, elevating him to 8th position, while Howe and Gallagher closed in on Rowland after recovering from their trip to the gravel.

Beller was able to take another commanding win in a perfect weekend – Pole Position, three victories and three fastest laps in an ominous showing for the rest of the 944 field. Misuraca was a solid 2nd in the final to take 2nd overall for the round also. Winter a great third,= his first Podium finish – a great recovery for the weekend after his race 1 DNF, with Goddard a fine 4th, moving forward steadily after his Race 1 spin. Tony Westaway rounded out the top 10 after his unfortunate spin in turn 1, with James in 6th position – a career best race finish. Michael Westaway was another who recovered well after dropping back early in the race – ditto for Jason Miller after his gearbox dramas – but no doubt ruing not being able to take the fight to Beller as a result.

9th for Millar rounded out a great return to the track for car #18, with a bold pass on Catrina in the last couple of corners, while 10th for Marius Catrina was a solid result for car #12 for the weekend. Howe was able to pass Rowland on the last lap to get up to 11th across the line, while Rowland finished just behind in 12th, with Gallagher just behind in 13th, Marriner was 14th and the last classified finisher, with unfortunate DNF’s for Taubitz – lamenting a couple of mistakes in the race, Rose who could not get the misfire issues sorted and for Woods, who was an early DNF after only 3 laps.

With a two month break before the next round of the 944 Challenge, there will be some cars and teams that will be hard at work trying to figure out how to close the gap to the flying #55 of Cameron Beller before the field return to Sandown in July. A big field is expected, and the racing should be even more exciting throughout the field!

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Round 3. Sandown – Race 2

Early Sunday morning and the 944 Competitors were the first event for the day with a shorter 8 lap race to kick off the days racing. With some overnight repairs to the cars of Brent Rose, Brad Winter, Keith Marriner and Ken Rowland, as well as the return to the circuit for Jim Gallagher, 17 cars gridded up for Race 2 of the weekend.

Off the line it was Beller with a fantastic start from Pole position, while Jason Miller struggled off the line and was overtaken by Tony Westaway on the run to Turn 1. His start wasn’t as bad as Vince Misuracas though, the United Petroleum car bogging down and dropping behind Tony Westaway, Mark Taubitz and Michael Westaway. James was in 7th from Goddard who made a couple of spots up at the start, then Howe, Rose & Winter both making good starts, followed by Catrina, Woods, Millar who had a bad start and dropped back, then Gallagher, Rowland and Marriner.

Miller passed Westaway for second at his favourite Race 1 passing spot – under brakes for turn 1 on the inside. Beller though had pulled out a 4 second lead by the end of lap 2 and wasn’t looking back. Misuraca made a move on Michael Westaway into turn 1 also, but overshot the corner and ran off on the outside, giving Westaway the spot back, as well as dropping behind James. Rose was able to get ahead of Goddard to move up to 8th, while Winter moved back into the top 10th by passing Howe. Gallagher was moving through on his first race for the weekend also, passing Millar, and then Woods.

Misuraca moved back past James into Turn 1 the following lap to move back into 6th position, and then back into the top 5 passing Michael Westaway on lap 4 down the back straight. Goddard also made a move around Rose to get back into the 8th position, and then into the 7th spot the following lap, passing Pedr James. Rose was slipping back as his car problems resurfaced, dropping behind Winter into 10th on lap 5.

Up front Beller continued to pull away, with every lap bar one in the 1:25 second category. The only other car able to run a lap in the 1:25 second category was Misuraca as he pursued 4th position held by Taubitz. Lap 5 was the fastest laps for the pair, but Misuraca was able to close the gap and had a peek down the inside of Taubitz on lap 6 going into the esses at the end of the back straight, but chose to wait and make the pass into Turn 1 to start lap 7 and move into 4th position. Winter was able to pass James to elevate himself to 8th as Rose dropped out of the top 10, passed by Howe.

A ten second margin for Beller up front though when he crossed the chequered flag, ahead of a great tight battle between Miller and Westaway, the Westbon car unable to find a way past the White #3. Misuraca was 4th a few seconds back from Taubitz. Michael Westaway, John Goddard, Brad Winter, Pedr James and Dick Howe rounded out the back half of the top ten.

Gallagher was able to get into 12th position when he got past Catrina on lap 7, and ultimately finished in 11th when he past the ailing Rose, relegating car #38 to 12th, while Woods also passed Catrina on the last lap to get into 13th. Millar was 15th, only three seconds covering this tight 5 car battle across the finish line, with a little margin back to Rowland in 16th, and Marriner who completed his first race commendably, and managed to improve by a second on his qualifying time.

Could anyone catch or stop Beller in Race 3?? Only a few hours until Race 3 and we would find out…

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