With spring in the air, an excited field of over 180 cars came out for Round 6 of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championships. Despite NSW being in the grip of one of the longest wet spells in a while, the track dried out nicely in time for both Saturday and Sunday racing. For this event it was the Formula Ford’s turn to have a break from racing, whilst the Production Sports category took its turn to have their annual one-hour enduro.
Formula Vee’s started their program with a good field of 34 cars and the action was push and shove right from the start. Early in race one Craig Sparke expired billowing plumes of smoke from his exhaust at turn two, while Dylan Thomas spluttered to a crawl allowing Simon Pace to continue his determined climb through the field from 10th on the grid to a second place podium finish. Heath Collinson’s front wheel tried to climb aboard Ash Quiddingtons’ rear causing them both to spin losing places to the field. Race three was equally feisty with three safety car stints. Darren Willliams was enjoying his up the front of grid status due to his races one and two third-place podiums, but a spin early in race three put him smack dab in the path of Allan Harrison who t-boned him as Allan had nowhere to go but straight ahead. More disaster was to come Ash Quiddingtons’ way with a lost wheel at turn 1 whilst William Pym expired gracefully at turn two. Ash’s brother Mitch Quiddington suffered a “hands in the air” ignominious end to race three as Dan Stein clobbered him from behind pushing him through the dirt and right out on track again at turn two. This was the final straw and with these two cars requiring “all up lifts” the race petered out as the laps ran down.
Ryan Reynolds carried the day with two wins and a third, with Simon Pace having his best day all year with two seconds. Dylan Thomas bounced back from his earlier car troubles to salvage a spot of satisfaction with second place in race three. Our 2015 debutante Aaron Pace ( Jacer #86) had some valuable experience in the wet conditions on Friday. Trying to avoid Michael Kinsella, who spun and ended up facing the wrong direction at turn five, Aaron dodged when he should have weaved and lost his own backend smacking the stationery Kinsella and causing himself gear box damage and consequently gear change issues all weekend.
Out the front of Sports Sedans Grant Doulman was doing his usual quick flawless driving keeping a handy 4-5 seconds gap on the field. This regularity gave him all three race wins. Nice to see Birol Cetin back after missing last round. Cetin had an uncharacteristic moment at turn two spearing a direct course towards the ARDC sign through the field thankfully missing everyone.
In race three Cetin was the unfortunate recipient of a direction change from David Atkin (BMW3) as he was executing a passing manoeuvre at turn 3. After contact Birol lost his road grip in the big Camaro and veered sideways across the track eventually contacting the wall on drivers right halfway down the hill towards turn 4. With fiberglass bits strewn everywhere, a bonnet that resembled a wobble board and major structural carnage to the front end suspension, we hope that the car can be rebuilt in time for the years final racing championships at SMSP in late October. Prior to this mishap, Cetin had racked up two second places for the day. Steve Lacey drove his regular race and brought home three podiums including a second in race three.
Chris Jackson will be busy over the next couple weeks as huge smoke plumes from a lunched motor rose in the air at turn one as his burning Calibra looked more like a bonfire for a weeny roast.
While the HQ’s may not be everyone’s cup of tea and they may not go as fast or elegantly as some of the later model high tech race cars, they more than make up for this in their wobbling and rockin’and rollin’ racing demeanour. The speeds that they do with the uncouth manners that these cars display (not the drivers) is a real credit to the pilots who navigate these classic machines around the track.
Talented tacticians, it was a real privilege to watch the dog fight between John Baxter and Brett Osborn, as they worked hard not only to “outpsyche” each other playing a wonderful cat and mouse game, but the driving skill as they drove nose to tail and side by side using every ounce of skillful nouse they possessed, working the slip stream and blind spots to gain the upper hand. Races two and three were both the “Osborn and Baxter Show” (up front). They swapped the lead numerous times throughout the course of each race as they came through both turn 15 and turn 2, manhandling these cantankerous beasts and tryng to hold them strongly to a racing line.
As the brakes heated and lost efficacy this allowed both drivers to take momentary advantages in lapses of concentration or moments of vehicle mechanical uncertainty, allowing one or other to steal a small piece of real estate, reluctantly given up as each battle raged in the 21 minutes of war each race provided. Osborn won race two by three one-hundredths of a second. That’s 30 Milliseconds!!! That’s not even the time distance from the front bumper bar to the front wheel.
Not only that…. Baxter was leading coming halfway down main straight before Osborn wacked out a passing manoeuvre Ayton Senna would have been proud of!! Cojones the size of Mango’s. Race three wasn’t much different. Same two guys : same ferocious battle. Similar antics and lead changes. This time the separation at the chequered flag was 90 milliseconds. Nine one-hundredths of a second. Distance from bumper to back door. Thanks John and Brett for a fabulous stoush which was worth the price of admission right there.
Words and pics by Rob Annesley