Race 1 of Round 6 was run just after lunchtime on Saturday at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the final round for the Victorian State Race Series.
Getting the jump off the line to lead into Turn 1 was Cameron Beller, as Tony Westaway followed in his wheel tracks from fourth on the grid to be second, ahead of Michael Westaway with Chris Lewis-Williams recovering from a slow getaway to round the corner in fourth position. Filing through next was Ken Rowland, who held out Mark Taubitz as they rounded Turn 1, with Dick Howe right behind in seventh position.
Lyndon Watson was next in eighth after rounding up Codey West on the outside of Turn 1, with Jim Mitchell up into tenth after making a fantastic start from fourteenth on the grid. Marius Catrina was eleventh ahead of Jim Gallagher, with Rob Holding, Keith Marriner, Andrew Jackman and John Vainoras rounding out the field through Turn 1.
Chris Lewis-Williams wasted no time as he moved his way back forward, passing Michael Westaway for third under brakes for Honda corner, and repeated the move on Tony Westaway half a lap later under brakes for MG corner, and set off after title rival Beller. Dick Howe moved up to sixth as he prevailed from a battle with Taubitz which saw the two run side-by-side through Honda and Siberia corners before #8 came out in front. Watson then closed on the back and pulled out of the slipstream of Taubitz as the pair crossed the line the first time, moving himself to seventh and Taubitz back to eighth.
Gallagher also started moving back after his tardy start, passing Catrina, and then Mitchell under brakes for Honda corner, as Holding moved past Catrina, but would lose the position again later in the lap, while Jackman passed Marriner for fourteenth position.
Across the line the first time it was Beller, Lewis-Williams, the Westaway brothers, Tony ahead of Michael, Rowland, Howe, Watson, Taubitz, West and Gallagher in tenth. Mitchell was eleventh, ahead of Catrina, Holding, Jackman, Marriner and Vainoras.
Codey West was the next to make a move forward as he moved past Taubitz on the run down the straight into Turn 1 to start Lap 3, while Lewis-Williams made a move into the lead into Honda corner, getting around Beller. Jackman was the big gainer as he made up three positions on lap 3, passing Catrina Mitchell and Holding – Catrina maintaining his twelfth position as he also moved past Mitchell who dropped to thirteenth.
On Lap 4 and Howe made a move ahead of Rowland up into the fifth position, though he would relinquish the position back again two laps later as the two had a great scrap. Catrina made his way back in front of Jackman while Holding also moved past Mitchell, the four driversin close proximity having a fantastic tussle.
Up front Lewis-Williams was able to slowly eke out a gap on Beller, who seemed content with second position, while there were some small gaps back to the cars of Tony Westaway, and Michael Westaway in fourth. The next cars were all in two way scraps, Howe with Rowland and West with Watson, Taubitz with one second gap to Gallagher and the four car battle with Catrina, Jackman, Holding and Mitchell, with Marriner just behind – with Vainoras a little bit behind.
A lock-up under brakes for Honda corner on Lap 6 sent Taubitz wide, which allowed Gallagher who had closed in, to take the position easily on the run to Siberia corner, as Hoding passed Jackman to move into twelfth position behind Catrina.
Taubitz made his way back ahead of Gallgher on the run into Turn 1 to start Lap 7 back into ninth position, which became eighth when Ken Rowland unfortunately slowed, allowing Howe up to fifth, as well as moving the rest of the field up one position.
Gallagher turned the tables back on Taubitz and took the position back on the run to turn 1 for the final time, and was able to hold him out for the position on the run to the flag. while Jackman moved up to eleventh on the final lap with a pass on Holding
Taking the victory at the end of the 8 laps was Chris Lewis-Williams, ahead of Cameron Beller – a result which was enough to lock in the Vic State Title for Beller.
Third across the line was yet again Tony Westaway, with Michael Westaway a couple of seconds behind him in fourth position. Dick Howe crossed the line in fifth position, as he was pursued by Lyndon Watson who closed in at the end but ran out of laps to try and find a way past Howe.
Just behind the pair was Codey West, a good result in his first race at the Island as he grew more comfortable with the circuit, as he lapped faster than he managed to in qualifying.
The battle for eighth went to Gallagher over Taubitz, with Marius Catrina rounding out the top ten after clearing away from the big dice for position earlier in the race.
Next over the line were Andrew Jackman and Rob Holding, with Jackman just getting the position as they crossed the finish line side by side in a great battle.
Keith Marriner finished in thirteenth, a few seconds adrift of the Jackman and Holding scrap, with a comfortable gap back to Jim Mitchell who finished in fourteenth after moving up to eleventh early on after making a fantastic start, but finding grief on the final lap.
The final finisher was John Vainoras, who was no doubt pleased as he lowered his personal best time around the Island by two seconds with his first laps in the 1 minute 59 bracket.
The only DNF for the race was to Ken Rowland, a disappointing end after dicing for fifth position for most of the race before the car cut out, and Ken rolled back to the pits into retirement. After a number of changes the car fired up and was prepared to start from the back of the grid on Sunday for Race 2.
With the State Series now secured for Beller, the attention for the front runners shifted to the 944 pointscore. Another early race tomorrow, would the weather throw a curveball??