Late on Saturday afternoon, the field rolled out for Race 2 of Round 5 of the 2017 season at Mallala raceway less than two hours after the end of Race 1.
Two cars who did not make it for the start, and were out for the weekend were Pedr James – his engine dramas unfortunately more terminal than what was hoped, and Jim Mitchell – whose clutch dramas put him out for the rest of the weekend also.
Cameron Beller got the jump off the line again to lead into the first few corners, with the next few drivers remaining in grid formation behind him, with Chris Lewis-Williams in second, from Tony Westaway, Paul Crocitti and Michael Westaway in fifth. Ryan Woods jumped up to sixth ahead of Ken Rowland and Dick Howe, followed by Keith Marriner, Toni Andreevski, Marius Catrina, Mark Taubitz and John Vainoras.
How made his way past Rowland under brakes for the hairpin for the first time, while Catrina and Taubitz both pulled the same move on Andreevski, dropping him back to twelfth position, and then thirteenth when Vainoras also passed him for twelfth.
At the close of lap 2 Michael Westaway moved up to fourth position briefly, before some contact between he and Paul Crocitti saw Westaway come off second best and he dropped back to eleventh position behind Taubitz. Behind him, Andreevski made a pass back on Vainoras again to move back to twelfth spot while Howe made his way past Woods for the fifth position on the following lap.
On lap 4, and drama for Beller as the car didn’t pull up as he braked for the hairpin corner, allowing Lewis-Williams through to the lead of the race while Beller recovered to second position. A few seconds later there was deja vu as Dick Howe suffered the same fate, spearing off at the hairpin though he resumed in seventh position, though now found himself with Marriner, Catrina, Taubitz and Michael Westaway surrounding him.
Marriner tried the outside line in the last hairpin which didn’t pay off, while Catrina did the same while Taubitz took the inside line, which gave him the position through the final corner, with Westaway following him past into tenth position.
Howe continued to struggle as he ran wide exiting turn two, with Taubitz attempting a move to pass Marriner as he reacted to Howe rejoining the circuit, but ended up being wrong footed and lost ninth position to Michael Westaway on entry to turn three. Dramas again for Westaway though as he slowed suddenly around the left hand sweeper the following lap, allowing Taubitz and Catrina back through as he found himself in eleventh position again as he returned to pace.
Taubitz now resumed hostilities with Marriner, who had a huge tank slapper exiting turn 1 which he somehow regained control of, thought left him vulnerable and was passed by Taubitz for position under brakes for turn 3. Marriner was struggling with the handling as he then understeered of the track exiting the last corner later in the lap, making slight contact with the outside wall and dropping to twelfth position behind Andreevski, though he was able to continue on.
Beller was able to make some small gains on Lewis-Williams at the front, though it was a comfortable 3.5 second victory at the end, with Tony Westaway a small amount further behind in another third position. Paul Crocitti was again fourth, just over a second behind Westaway, with Woods crossing the line in fifth a few seconds further adrift.
Rowland was sixth not far behind Woods, with a gap back to Howe, who was able to keep Taubitz at bay across the final lap, with Michael Westaway not far behind the duo in ninth position, with Catrina rounding out the top ten.
Toni Andreevski crossed the line in eleventh position, with Marriner surviving to finish twelfth, ahead of Vainoras in thirteenth position.
So at the end of the first days racing, it was 1 win each to Beller & Lewis-Williams – who would take the weekend spoils after two more races on Sunday?