Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 2

Round 2. Phillip Island – Race 2

Race 2 of Round 2 was early on Sunday morning – as the lights went out it was Cameron Beller who jumped away off the start, with Mark Taubitz getting a good jump to out drag front row starter Jamie Westaway to move into second into Turn 1, with Westaway slotting into third with Lyndon Watson next through in fourth position. Brad Winter was next in fifth position, ahead of Michael Westaway and Tim Petrusic with Dick Howe in eighth position as most of the field held their position from the start.

Andrew Jackman was ninth, ahead of Keith Marriner and the fast starting Jim Mitchell from the back of the grid. with Peter Doherty in behind, ahead of John Vainoras and Toni Andreevski who missed a gear change on the run off the line, though he was able to move past Vainoras exiting the first corner.

Jamie Westaway didn’t want to lose touch with Beller, and was able to get a stronger run than Taubitz coming out of Southern Loop and took the second position back on the run around Stoner corner, with Mitchell moving into the top ten around the outside of Marriner.

As the field ended Lap 1, Watson ranged up onto the tail of Taubitz as the pair came down the straight, and moved to the inside to take the third position into Turn 1. Taubitz then shadowed Watson for the rest of the lap and made a move back down the inside under brakes for MG corner later in the lap. The two cars ran side-by-side through Turn 11 before Taubitz conceded to draft Watson down the straight, while Jamie Westaway was doing the same to Beller further up the road.

Howe meanwhile moved himself up to seventh position as he moved himself past ahead of Petrusic down the main straight to end the second lap.

Taubitz was eager to move back into a podium spot back past Watson, but pinched a brake on the entrance to Southern Loop and sailed off the corner into the grass, and nosed into the gravel trap. He was able to stick the boot in and got the car out and back onto the track, albeit dropping down to ninth position behind Jackman, and just managing to stay ahead of the battle for tenth with Mitchell, Marriner, Doherty and Andreevski.

Just ahead on the track, Howe was looking to find a way past Michael Westaway for what became fifth position, however he ended up going down the escape road at Honda corner, plonking him back right amongst the aforementioned battle with Mitchell and co as they found themselves now fighting for ninth, with Howe behind Mitchell, Marriner and Doherty with Andreevski right on his tail as the group rounded Siberia corner.

As the halfway point was reached it was Beller with Jamie Westaway up front, with an increasing gap back to Watson, and then Winter who began to slowly shrink the gap between the two. Michael Westaway and Petrusic were next as they started pulling a gap on Jackman in seventh position. Taubitz was next as he looked to chase down Jackman and pull away from the battle behind him.

Howe quickly made his way to the front of that pack as he moved ahead of Doherty first through Hayshed corner, followed by a move on Marriner under brakes for MG, and then past Mitchell on the inside of the final corner and he set his sights on Taubitz up ahead. Mitchell was then tenth, with Marriner and Andreevski next having past Doherty down the straight to move up to twelfth, with Vainoras in fourteenth a small distance behind.

Beller wasn’t getting any rest with Westaway right behind him in the most exciting battle on track, while Andreevski was re-passed for the twelfth position by Doherty when he returned the favour played on him from the previous lap by getting a superior run onto the straight to move ahead.

Lap 5 and for the first time this year, Bellers’ name wasn’t on the top of the lap scoring as Westaway made his move past to lead across the line to commence the final lap. Beller though was able to play the race back to his advantage as he retook the lead on the final circuit to take a narrow victory, crossing the line less than two tenths of a second ahead of the younger Westaway, with Watson rounding out the podium finishers, a little over a second ahead of the closing Brad Winter.

Michael Westaway was able to hold out Tim Petrusic to round out the top 5, with Andrew Jackman having to deal with Taubitz who closed on him on the final circuit to challenge for the spot, ultimately falling just short as Jackman crossed the line .05 of a second ahead in seventh position, with Taubitz eighth. Dick Howe was ninth a further five seconds ahead in a lonely second half of the race, with Jim Mitchell able to hold onto the tenth position ahead of Keith Marriner and Peter Doherty.

Thirteenth place went the way of John Vainoras, passing Toni Andreevski for the position after the latter began suffering with a misfire on the penultimate lap, though he was able to limp home to complete the race distance in fourteenth position.

That wasn’t the worst part for Andreevski though, as smoke filled the cabin of the car on the return to the pits after the race, a wiring short the culprit. Damage was fortunately minimised, apart from to the wiring inside the car, which would rule Toni out for the final race of the weekend.

The challenge to Beller was getting stronger, could he continue his winning streak in the last race, or could Westaway (or someone else) be able to bring it to an end in the final race?


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