14 cars fronted for Race 1 at Sandown Raceway after the demise of Mark Taubitz’s car in qualifying, and Jim Gallagher also unable to front for Race 1.
Cameron Beller was able to make the most of his pole position to get the jump off the line to lead into turn 1, with Vince Misuraca slotting into second position. Brad Winter got a good start from fifth position to slot into third, ahead of Paul Crocitti up to fourth position with Codey West slipping back into fifth position. Chris Lewis-Williams moved up two spots on the first lap to sixth, ahead of Dick Howe and Lyndon Watson, who unfortunately got a bad start and dropped back from his fantastic third position in qualifying.
The Westaway brothers followed in ninth and tenth for Tony and Michael, with Andrew Jackman next from Rob Holding, Jim Mitchell and John Vainoras rounding out the field.
Under brakes for Turn 1 at the start of lap 2 Paul Crocitti unfortunately spun and dropped himself back all the way to twelfth position behind Holding, while Lewis-Williams benefitted from Paul’s spin and a pass for position on Codey West to move up into the fourth position.
Jim Mitchell encountered mechanical issues and retired on lap 3 of the race, moving Vainoras up to thirteenth as the field settled themselves down as Lewis-Williams set his fastest lap as he chased after Brad WInter in third position.
Beller meanwhile, set the race’s fastest lap on Lap 4 as he opened a gap up on Misuraca in second, while Codey West had a wild moment, dropping him back to ninth position and promoting Howe up to fifth, with Tony Westaway moving up to sixth after passing Watson, who remained in seventh, with Michael Westaway up to eighth with West behind him.
Holding moved up into the top ten on Lap 5 when Andrew Jackmans pace slowed, while the following lap Lewis-Williams moved himself into third position after a pass on Brad Winter which relegated him to fourth. Behind them, Watson moved his way back past Tony Westaway to go back into the sixth position, as Crocitti continued his recovery drive, moving up to eleventh past Jackman, and then into the top ten the following lap ahead of Rob Holding.
Misuraca had improved his pace up front as he started matching pace with Beller up front, but the damage had been done as Beller now held a 5 second lead in the closing laps, with Lewis-Williams a further 5 seconds behind him in fourth. Misuraca set his fastest lap of the race on his final lap while Beller took the chequered flag, with Vince second from Lewis-Williams, Winter and Howe rounding out the top 5.
Watson was next ahead of the Westaways, Tony from Michael, with West in ninth ahead of the recovering Crocitti rounding out the top ten. The final finishers were Rob Holding, Andrew Jackman and John Vainoras.
Could Beller keep his streak running on Sunday? Two races to find out!