Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 1

Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 1

Race 1 commenced just after lunch and it was an even start by the front row combatants Cameron Beller and Jamie Westaway running side by side through Turn 1 before Beller edged ahead into Southern Loop corner.

Mark Taubitz got the jump ahead of Brad Winter to slot into third, with Dick Howe also getting a great start to slot into fourth position, with Lyndon Watson moving into fifth position ahead of Winter dropping back to sixth spot. Tim Petrusic was seventh in line with Michael Westaway in eighth position.

Keith Marriner was ninth into Turn 1, with Andrew Jackman alongside – and Jim Mitchell in his mirrors as both got a good start behind him, as did John Vainoras who jumped up to twelfth at the expense of Peter Doherty – who bogged down off the start, and Toni Andreevski who was slow away and rounded out the 944 field into the first corner.

Exiting Southern Loop corner, Westaway was able to get the better run on Beller and pulled alongside as the pair braked for Honda corner. Westaway went in a little too deep however, and drifted through the corner, skillfully controlling the car, though allowed Beller to move back past, with Taubitz also capitalising and moving ahead into the second position as they raced towards Siberia corner.

Behind the leading trio, Winter moved back around Watson on the outside on the exit from Southern Loop corner to move back to fifth position, while it was a three wide battle into the corner for ninth position, with Jackman prevailing and moving into the spot, though Mitchell was fighting him hard for it, with Marriner slipping behind the duo. Doherty also moved ahead of Vainoras, with Andreevski doing the same around the outside of Southern Loop. Mitchell then was able to power past Jackman on the run to Honda corner, and moved into the ninth position.

Across the line for the first time it was Beller from Taubiitz and Jamie Westaway, though the latter was able to draft past and take the second position back down the straight to start the second lap, with Howe sitting in behind in fourth place, and a small gap back to the next quartet of Winter, Watson, Petrusic and Michael Westaway. A gap before the next pack led by Mitchell in ninth, with Jackman, Marriner, Doherty, Andreevski and Vainoras all in tow.

Michael Westaway was the next to make a pass for position, as he passed Petrusic under brakes for Honda corner on the second lap. Jackman was determined to get around Mitchell, and also made the move under brakes for Honda on the inside, taking until the Hayshed to finally clear the Martini liveried racer for ninth position and started to build a gap. Andreevski meanwhile got a better run onto the main straight to end Lap 2 and moved past Doherty for twelfth position.

Beller had worked out a comfortable lead to Westaway who was edging away from Taubitz, while Winter closed in on Howe, and passed for the fourth position, also under brakes for Honda corner on Lap 3. Andreevski also made up a further position as he moved past Marriner exiting Southern Loop, with Doherty also moving past Marriner under brakes for Honda, dropping Marriner to thirteenth position.

At the start of Lap 4, and Howe drafted his way up to and alongside Winter down the straight, and swept in front to take back the fourth spot, with Winter having an issue through Hayshed allowing Watson to move past also to move into fifth position. Doherty also moved back ahead of Andreevski as the pair diced for eleventh position, while trying to find a way past Mitchell in front of them. Doherty was baulked as he tried in vain to get around Mitchell, allowing Andreevski back past under brakes for Turn 1. Both drivers were trying to gain the upper hand to be able to move ahead of Mitchell, and unfortunately for Doherty a spin and some light contact under brakes for Honda on Lap 5 took him out of the battle, though he resumed in thirteenth.

Beller was comfortable out in front as he continued to open up his gap to Westaway, who did the same back to Taubitz in third, who also was easing away from the Howe/Watson/Winter battle. Westaway and Petrusic were circulating together a short distance behind, with Jackman having a lonely race behind them having dispatched of Mitchell. Mitchell was next from Andreevski, Marriner, Doherty and Vainoras.

Lap 6 and with the battle for fourth still on in earnest between Howe, Watson and Winter, Howe had an issue going through Lukey Heights and dropped back all the way to eighth position, allowing Watson, Winter, the Michael flavoured Westaway and Petrusic to all be promoted a spot. Andreevski pulled alongside Mitchell down the front straight as the pair finished the sixth lap, though Mitchell retained the position entering Turn 2. Andreevski continued to fight for the spot, and on the last lap was able to pull alongside Mitchell exiting Southern Loop for the final time.

Side-by-side under brakes though, and Mitchell locked up the rear brakes and gyrated in front of Andreevski as he turned in, the noses of both cars just making slight contact. Andreevski continued on with a nosecone that threatened to come adrift and was flapping about, and he lowered his speed as a result, allowing Marriner to inherit the final position in the top ten, while Mitchell retired.

At the end of the 8 laps it was Beller who took the victory by over four seconds from Westaway, with Taubitz in third securing his first podium finish. Watson closed the gap in the last two laps but ran out of time to mount a challenge and settled for fourth, with Winter rounding out the top 5, a further four seconds off of Watson.

Michael Westaway was sixth, with Petrusic close behind in seventh, and Howe a few seconds back in eighth after his off. Rounding out the Top ten was Andrew Jackman a further 8.5 seconds behind Howe in ninth, and Marriner another fourteen seconds behind Jackman in tenth. Andreevski consolidated to be classified eleventh with his wounded car, with Doherty a few seconds behind in twelfth. Vainoras was the final finisher, with Mitchell not classified after failing to greet the chequered flag.

Two races on the Sunday, would we see some different results play out over the two events?

          

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