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Apr 18, 2013

CLEM SMITH CUP THE GOAL

THE KERRICK AUSTRALIAN SPORTS SEDAN SERIES moves to Mallala Motorsport Park on April 20-21, focused not only on the second round of the 2013 title chase, but also on the prestigious Clem Smith Cup which is part of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals this weekend.

This round is the hallmark event for Australia’s fastest tin top racing cars and the Cup is eagerly sort after. Clem Smith is the owner of the South Australian motor racing complex and a former Sports Sedan competitor – he uses his former racing car, a Valiant Charger-based Sports Sedan, as the pace car for the 15-lap race.

Last year, reigning current champion, Tasmanian born Queenslander Kerry Baily won his first Clem Smith Cup in what turned out to be a clean sweep of the round for his new Chev-powered Aston Martin. Event favourites Tony Ricciardello, from West Australia, and Victorian Darren Hossack both had problems before the 2012 opening round was officially underway. The former’s Alfa/Chev caught fire and the latter’s Audi/Chev had engine dramas.

The threefold win for Baily over the late Des Wall and Chev Corvette was the catalyst for Baily to win his sixth title and he is eager to collect a seventh title as well as another Clem Smith Cup. The reigning champ is currently second in this year’s title hunt which is currently led by Ricciardello who scored a perfect three out three at the Sydney Motorsport Park opener in March.

For Hossack though, the first round was not so good. He had a small fire in one race and failed to finish another, having an “off” at the fast turn one and careering off into a tyre barrier. “Tony and I are racing so hard that we are on the limit all the time,” he said later.

Victorian Daniel Tamasi and his Chev-engined Holden Calibra were a very competitive third at the first round ahead of Bruce Banks, the Tasmanian forsaking his usual Mazda RX7 for a leased Chev Camaro and reaping his best result to date. Next was Queenslander Shane Bradford after a troubled weekend which still netted him first in the Trans Am class.

The Mallala field is predominately Chev V8 powered, where the Aussie Sports Sedans allow more freedoms than any other sedan category in the country, and make up the most of the competitors. The technically-different but similarly paced Trans Am class which originated out of the United States also has a competitive mix.

They have been competing nationally since 1975, and can number among its winners such names as Allan Moffat, Frank Gardner, Allan Grice, Tony Edmondson and Allan Jones. The somewhat different Trans Am cars run alongside Sports Sedans, are of similar performance but originated in the United States, are built differently and have varying rules.

The Kerrick Sports Sedans are set to hit the circuit for two 25-minute qualifying sessions on Saturday at 1:50pm and 4:15pm, leading up to a 12-lap race one on Sunday scheduled for 10.00am. The feature Clem Smith Cup over 15 laps is at 12:30pm and the final race, over 12 laps at 3:30pm.