Sunday morning dawned and with the first race scheduled for 9:20 before the promise of another high 30 degree day, the drivers were glad for the early start before the weather got too hot on the track, under the bonnet and in the cockpit…
History was repeating itself from 2015 with the ‘Winton Master Misuraca’ taking pole and race 1 win. In 2015 though, Vince’s luck ran out when the car suffered a mechanical failure on the warm up lap for Race 2. Fortunately for Vince, he got to the start line safely this time… Unfortunately for Miller though, the weekend kept on serving up dramas as the bonnet flipped up on the car as the field entered the track for their warm-up lap… some help from a track marshal ensured Jason was able to take the race start with the bonnet secured in place.. although a little bent…
The 7 lap race started well for the front row contestants – Beller tried to get around the outside of Misuraca into turn 1 but hung tough around the outside. Misuraca left Beller room which enabled him to get a run down the inside on the path down to turn 3 and take the lead.
Chris Lewis-Williams slotted back into fourth ahead of Michael Westaway, Crocitti and Winter, behind them however there was some contact as James, Miller & Gallagher all came together, with Millers car the worst for wear after seemingly getting a touch from behind which turned him around, then getting a clout in the door. Tony Westaway and Jim Gallagher got through the fracas to be 7th and 8th, ahead of Catrina and James dicing for 9th. Graham Smith toured the dry Winton grass to avoid contact and was 11th with Jason Miller getting the car going to resume at the tail of the field.
Beller led across the line to end lap 1 as the rest of field were quite spaced out as a result of the turn 1 drama, although James and Smith both passed Catrina. Coming into the left hander on the back straight Bellers car understeered on some oil left from the previous race and went wide, losing the lead and also second place to the two Hi Torque cars, with Vince back in front again from CLW while Beller recovered in 3rd.
Graham Smith continued his move forward, and passed James for 2nd on lap 2, Gallagher for 8th on lap 3 before he inherited 6th on the final lap of the race after passing Tony Westaway and then inheriting a spot when Brad Winter unfortunately spun out of 6th place midway around the final lap, and would recover to cross the line in 12th place.
Up front, there was some strong dicing amongst the top three sompetitors, so much so that Michael Westaway was able to latch onto the top three, and was ready to capitalise on a mistake from any of them to inherit a podium spot. That didn’t eventuate however, and the top 4 finished Misuraca, Lewis-Williams, Beller and Westaway all covered by 1.5 seconds across the finish line – a brilliant performance by Westaway one of the highlights of the race. Crocitti delivered another great performance for 5th from Smith after a fantastic recovery drive, Tony Westaway, Gallagher, James, Miller, Catrina and Winter.
The furious battle up front meant that the lap records weren’t troubled despite the cooler temperatures, with Cam Beller’s fastest lap of 1:36.01 over half a second slower than his new lap record from the day before.