Race 1 was held just after lunchtime in warm conditions, thought the threat of rain was looming…
Two drivers werent able to take the start, as Marius Catrina lost drive on his way to pre-grid, along with Codey West who also was unable to take the start – though both would fortunately be back on the grid tomorrow for Race 2.
Getting the best jump off the line was Vince Misuraca who swept around the outside of Pole Sitter Cameron Beller to lead into Southern Loop corner, with Chris Lewis-Williams slotting in behind them. Brad Winter and Tony Westaway ran through Turn 1 alongside behind them, with Winter prevailing in fourth positionwith the inside running. Next in sixth position was Mark Taubitz after getting a good start, ahead of Ken Rowland, Paul Crocitti, Michael Westaway and Pedr James. Jim Gallahger was next through in eleventh position, ahead of Keith Marriner, Peter Doherty and Dick Howe – the latter after stalling from sixth position at the start sending him back down the field. Jim Mitchell was next ahead of Ken Knight, with Toni Andreevski and John Vainoras rounding out the field.
Beller took the wide line through Southern Loop in an attempt to move around Misuraca, but this allowed Lewis-Williams to sneak through on the inside and take the second position on the run to Stoner corner. Lewis-Williams moved to the left on the run to Honda corner and took the high line around the outside. He was able to remain alongside which gave him the inside run for Siberia corner, the prefered race line allowing him to move into the lead, with Beller following his move and moving into second at the same time, relegating Misuraca back to third.
Misuraca moved alongside Beller under brakes for MG corner to attempt to take the spot back, but Beller held on which gave him the inside line for Turn 11 and maintain the position.
Further back in the pack, Peter Doherty moved underneath Keith Marriner to take twelfth position under brakes for Honda corner, with Dick Howe following him through. Michael Westaway also made up a position with a pass for position on James under brakes for MG.
Across the line the first time it was Lewis-Williams, Beller, Misuraca, Winter, Tony Westaway, Taubitz, Rowland, Crocitti, Michael Westaway with James rounding out the top ten. Gallagher was next, with Howe passing Doherty for telfth down the straight. Marriner was next with Mitchell, Knight, Andreevski and Vainoras in behind.
Michael Westwawy was battling with Crocitti for position and went to the outside line of Honda corner, and was able to then convert that to the inside line for Siberia to allow him to take the eighth position. Up ahead. Rowland was shadowing Taubitz but had a big wiggle on the exit for MG, which caused him to lose momentum and allowed Westaway and Crocitti to get past, with James also getting past before turn 1, dropping Rowland back to tenth spot.
Rowland was keen to make the spot back and the three drivers ran three wide on the approach to Honda on lap 3, with James in between Crocitti and Rowland as the trio jumped onto the brakes. Rowland ran wide however, and stayed in tenth spot. Howe also made his way past Gallagher, moving up to eleventh, while Andreevski moved ahead of both Knight, and then Mitchell into fifteenth position.
Lap 4 and up front, and Beller continued to shadow Lewis-Williams, but was unable to find a way past, as the two edged away from Misuraca. Justbehind them, and disaster for Brad Winter as he slipped off the road at MG corner, slipping all the way back to tenth before he was back on the track and up to speed. He got one spot back the following lap, when Rowland started experiencing mechanical difficulties, which dropped him behind Winter and Howe before retiring. Joining him on the sidelines on lap 6 was his namesake, with Ken Kinght retiring with engine issues – unfortunately they would put an end to his weekend – a disappointment after venturing all the way down from NSW for the event.
Michael Westaway moved himself into the top 5 with a pass on Taubitz going into Turn to begin Lap 7, while both James and Winter dropped down the order, James back to tenth and Winter all the way back to thirteenth position.
Howe was able to move up to seventh position in a good recovery drive as he moved ahead of Crocitti on the final lap, with Taubitz moving alongside Michael Westaway under brakes for Honda corner for the last time, but couldn’t take the position.
Chris Lewis-Williams was able to hold on to the lead, with Beller on his tail as the pair crossed the finish line, with Misuraca in third 7 seconds behind, just holding out Tony Westaway for the final podium position.
Michael Westaway rounded out the top 5, crossing the line less than a tenth of a second ahead of Taubitz in sixth, with Howe in seventh from Crocitti, Gallagher and James rounding out the top ten finishers.
Doherty was right on James’ bumper and narrowly missed out on a top ten, with a few seconds back to Marriner in twelfth position. A disappointed Brad Winter was next in thirteenth, with Andreevski in fourtheenth from Mitchell and Vainoras.
1 Race down for the weekend, with 2 remaining on Sunday to round out the 2017 season. And the weather forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking pleasant…