The final race of the weekend, and the final race of the 2017 Vic State Series saw 14 cars line up on the grid, after the demise of John Vainoras with overheating issues, and Jim Mitchell after suffering damage in his incident at Honda in Race 2 being too great to repair before the last race.
With Cameron Beller and Chris Lewis-Williams tied for points with a win and second place each, the round win would go to the higher placed finisher, and it was Chris Lewis-Williams who got the jump off the line ahead of Beller to lead through into turn 1 with Beller on his tail. Howe moved into the third position ahead of Tony Westaway, wih Michael Westaway next, followed by Codey West.
Jumping up into seventh into Turn 1 was Mark Taubitz after another good start to move ahead of Andrew Jackman and Ken Rowland who followed him through with Gallagher holding onto tenth position. Rob Holding was next through with Keith Marriner, Lyndon Watson and Marius Catrina all in tow.
Rowland moved alongside Jackman on the exit of Southern Loop to gain the spot on the run to Stoner corner while Catrina made a move past Watson under brakes for Honda corner to slot in behind Marriner.
Gallagher made his way past Jackman as the pair ran down the front straight to commence Lap 2, while Rowland passed Taubitz under brakes for MG corner and Marriner was overtaken by both Catrina, and Watson during the second lap. Taubitz attempted an over and under passon Rowland buy backed out of it, allowing Gallagher to move past into Turn 1 due to the slight loss of momentum onto the main straight.
Up front Lewis-Williams and Beller again manage to pull a gap on the 4 car battle behind them, with Howe heading the Westaway brothers and West, with Rowland attempting to hunt them down. Gallagher was next with Taubitz right behind him, while Jackman began to struggle with gear shifting issues, allowing Rob Holding to make a pass around the outside on the approach to Turn 2. Behind him, Watson moved past Catrina into twlefth position, with Marriner in fourteenth, while Taubitz moved back past Gallagher after positioning himself on the outside of Stoner corner to make a move under brakes for Honda to take the spot back.
As the front runners began to lap some of the slower MG’s on track, Michael Westaway was able to make a move on his brother Tony in between Turns 1 & 2 as Tony was baulked trying to navigate the lapped traffic. West also began to struggle with gearbox issues, and Rowland pounced under brakes for Honda and took sixth position.
Gallagher again got the slipstream down the straight and retook the position from Taubitz entering Turn 1 while Jackman continued to struggle to find gears, and the delay exiting MG corner at the end of lap 4 allowed Watson to move past before Turn 12, and Catrina to drive past down the front straight, relegating him to thirteenth position into Turn 1.
Lap 5, and Taubitz was able to turn the tables of the past two laps back on Gallagher, and got the slipstream and took back the eighth position going into Turn 1. Gallagher got the better run exiting Southern Loop however and pulled alongside. Neither driver wanted to giveup on the spot however, and the pair ran sided by side all the way through from Stoner corner to Lukey Heights where Gallagher just nosed ahead and held the spot out of MG. While this was going on, Watson overtook Holding under brakes for position at MG.
In front of all of them, Michael Westaway made a couple of attempts to move past Howe under brakes for Honda, and MG corners – but wasn’t able to pull them off – the latter leaving his compromised for the run fown the straight, allowing Tony to sweep past to re-take fourth position. Tony continued his surge forward a few corners later, taking Howe for third position under brakes for Honda corner.
Lap 6 Catrina made a pass for position on Holding under brakes for Honda corner, but Holding didn’t give up easily and took the inside line on Catrina exiting Siberia, and was able to retake the position by the time they reached MG after they ran side-by-side through Hayshed and Lukey Heights. A little further up the track, Taubitz again repeated his move into Turn 1 after slipstreaming Gallagher and moving back into eighth, this time he was able to pull a small gap to give himself some breathing space.
Further up front, Howe wasn’t going to let go of his hard earned third position, and used the slipstream to swep back past Westaway into Turn 1. In a continued reversal of events of the previous lap, Michael Westaway passed Tony in the same way Tony gained position the lap, before – under brakes for Honda, dropping Tony back to fifth position. All the battling for these positions allowed Ken Rowland to sneak onto the back of the trio.
At the front, Lewis-Williams and Beller were running line astern, with Beller seemingly content with second position, knowing that was enough to secure the series title for the year. Further back, Catrina continued to try to find a way past Holding and tried again at Honda the next lap – on the outside this time -but ran wide, allowing Jackman to close back in on his bumper. The chase would only last until Lukey Heights however, before Catrina spun entering the fast left hander, with Jackman taking avoiding action by veering to the right – through the gravel trap, dropping behind Marriner by the time he resumed, with Catrina retiring as a result.
As the last lap started, another change of position as Tony Westaway again moved back past his brother on the run to Turn 1, and began attacking Howe immediately. Michael didn’t lie down though, and in a repeat of his move the previous lap, again outbraked Tony into Honda and prevailed again with fourth position. Howe had to defend fiercly, though held on for the third position, with a second covering the time across the line for Howe, Michael and Tony Westaway and Ken Rowland in sixth.
Ahead of them, Lewis-Williams took the victory by just under a second from Beller, with Howe rounding out the podium followed by the Westaway brothers and Rowland.
West managed to holdon for seventh as Taubitz closed in but ran out of time to mount a challenge, crossing the line 0.4 of a second behind. Watson was able to move past Gallagher on the final lap for ninth position, with Gallagher rounding out the Top Ten. Holding was eleventh, with a large gap back to Marriner, and Jackman a few seconds back the final finisher for the race.
So the 2017 Vic State Series came to a close – thank you to all of the competitors,and their crew and supporters, Vic State Race Series Organisers, Victorian Flagmarshalling Team, Fire & Rescue and Team Medical for all their assistance to allow us to all go racing throughout the year!
Congratulations to all of those who raced throughout the year!
Congratulations also Cameron Beller who secured the 2017 Vic State Race Series Title, to Chris Lewis-Williams who was second, and Tony Westaway for third position. A fantastic effort from all three drivers and their teams.
Two more Race events for the year still to come, with the special event at Historic Sandown on November 11-12, before the final round for the 2017 944 Challenge at Island Magic on November 25-26!