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Nov 28, 2012

SANDOWN - RACE THREE - MIEDECKE MAKES IT 3 FROM 3

Lining up for the final laps of a season that has so far seen eight rounds, five states, 24 races, 220 laps and 817 kilometres of awesome racing, the remaining 19 Masters took to the grid for the very last time to close the sixth year of a growing and ever popular showcase of muscle. At last it would be a race without carnage, but there was certainly action as Miedecke charged from rear of grid to take the win in the final moments, while for O’Brien and Bowe it would be the final class round wins, with Stillwell strong again to take his maiden Masters title in Pro-Sportsman (Class B), with Bowe sealing back-to-back Outright (Class A) titles.

Tiley had the launch, with Collins and O’Brien making hay from the starting line. Collins was into fourth, Tilley had the lead and was pulling away as an ever hungry pack roared towards turn one. Pye made the move on Youlden’s HQ, going around the outside on the first pass on the back straight, Miedecke already having charged ahead moving from rear of field to jump six places in the first five corners.

Light contact between Bowe and Tilley showed the passion was strong, putting Bowe back into the field, while Pye took second along the straight but eyes moved to Benson as he went side by side with the Wilson Charger. Makarios was making up ground, and Edwards was again one to watch, the SL/R having had a drama fuelled weekend, and once again forcing its way through the pack to be back inside the top ten.

 

Miedecke was not eighth, Crick and Collins who shared the grass in race two detours, were now fighting hard. O’Brien was pushing for the class win, making it tough for Kassulke to find a way through in the battle scarred XB, with Mercer and Benson side by side as Mason headed to pit lane for a stop/go penalty. Tilley was pulling away at the front, with a freight train of muscle holding strong on his wake, Pye, Bowe, Crick together then Kassulke, Collins and Miedecke all battling on.

An impressive move on the way to turn one saw King split Youlden and Keene, coming through to take both positions and move into ninth. Edwards may have been without windscreens but not without pace as he passed Youlden to go top ten. Stillwell was moving on past Almond, edging closer to the Class title, with Makarios having made his own move on Wilson. Kassulke was in maximum attack mode as he dropped the rears into the dirt at the final turn, moving side by side with Miedecke, but the Camaro had the inside line and held on, while teammate King retired early after a big effort from both sides of the Whiteline Transport Racing garage.

Youlden, Keene and Stillwell were nose to tail with Almond’s exotic hunting them down, while to the front and it was now a Bowe versus Miedecke battle, the Camaro pilot having gained an incredible 16 places from the start of the race, now finding a way past the reigning series champion to secure fourth. Mason had caught up to the Wilson Charger as both looked to regain lost ground to the field ahead.

Crick was the next name on Miedecke’s hit list, the pair side by side on the run to turn one, Miedecke needing third position to keep his outright third for the season alive. Kassulke drove around Bowe along the run into Dandenong Road, Edwards took to the outside of O’Brien’s HQ along the home straight, while Stillwell was all over Youlden, with Mercer ready to follow.

In the closing stages, Tilley, Pye and now Miedecke were close and their commitment unquestionable, the #95 Camaro dropping four wheels over the curb, before charging under Pye for second position. Keene and Almond were doing it for the exotics, their Porsches nose to tail in a tussle for the import honours, but Stillwell was soon on their tails. Benson was now through to take on Youlden, HQ versus HQ along the front straight on the approach to the final lap of the year.

 

As they crossed the line for the last competitive time, Tilley still led but all his efforts soon evaporated as he over-steered and spun at turn one, the pressure evident, handing the lead and the race win to Miedecke, a rear of grid to victory drive showing he’s still got what it takes to take the glory. The chequered flag was out, the final lap and an epic season came to an end, Miedecke taking the last win, Crick home in second, with Pye, Bowe, Kassulke, Collins into sixth on his return after a huge team effort and lots of race tape, Edwards another huge effort to come home seventh, Tilley back on in eighth and finishing just a nose in front of O’Brien who took the Pro-Sportsman race win, ahead of Keene rounding out the top ten.

It was a race, a weekend and a season to remember for the good, the bad, the heart-breaking and the glory, and it ends with the final round victories going to Bowe (Class A – Outright) and O’Brien (Class B – Pro-Sportsman), while Stillwell takes his first series title (Class B) and Bowe makes it back-to-back series titles (Class A) after a record breaking, and hugely challenging year. One to remember.

 

Chris Stillwell, 2012 Pro-Sportsman (Class B) Series Champion
“This feels absolutely fantastic!

“The car has been on song all year, and we decided to try and stretch the year so this is the second year on this engine. We weren’t sure if it would make it for the full second season but it did and we have had both Amanda Sparks and Nigel Benson very close so the pressure was on.

“If I didn’t finish a race this weekend Nigel (Benson) would have been receiving and deserved the championship trophy, so we’re thrilled to see the class championship that close and to come out on top.”

John Bowe, Round 8 Class A winner and 2012 Outright (Class A) Series Champion
“I think this year I’ve won more races and had more pole positions, but it’s also been harder, tougher with more depth through the field than ever before, not to mention some pretty good car and driver combinations to need to beat, so it’s very gratifying.

“When you compete you should compete to do your best and to win, and if you don’t win you’ve got to accept it, but it’s nice to win, well, it’s more than nice, it’s fantastic!

“The sponsors always support me and they have been very good, very loyal to me and quite a lot of them are here to celebrate with and thank.

 

“I won the round more because of the misfortunes of others, but sometimes it’s a good thing, like Alan Jones used to say I’d rather be lucky than good.

“It’s just great, really great, and it’s really nice to get ‘Sally’ home to the end of the year. She has a few battle scars but basically has done a very good job and this weekend with new guys from Maranello Motorsport running the car, it’s been on song again.

“The Maranello boys have done a terrific job to come in and compete at this level, and I would also like to very much thank Savy Motorsport because their team had the car for three years and we had many great successes together and I’m very grateful for that.”

Gary O’Brien, Round 8 Class B winner
“It feels pretty good, to have the car going well and staying out of trouble. It’s really good for the team and the families because everyone gets involved with this and to get these cars to the track is a big effort.

“The team have given me a very nice car and I’m wrapped because there is some stuff in there for our Torana that we have tried and now we have learned again from this weekend which was really positive, so moving forward is exciting and I’m looking forward to getting the Torana going.

“We haven’t run most of this year and it’s one of those things that you get a bit rusty and you’ve got to be in the saddle a fair bit to keep up. We went to Bathurst where the car was quick but I wasn’t 100% comfortable, but coming here, by about race two I was back in the saddle so have really enjoyed the weekend and the team have put together a really fast car – very rewarding.”

The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2012 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.