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Jul 17, 2013

SYDNEY WRAP

This round of the Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing Series could be described in two words, 'Biff and Barge'. With only one car escaping any sign of damage. Everyone else made use of their guards, doors and bumpers to try and make it to the front or stay in front. Tyre conservation was also a key word for the weekend with driver's having in the back of their mind the 1 Hour race that was looking on Sunday. The Achilles 123S proving by the end of the weekend that it was up to any punishment the drivers could throw at it.

Friday practice was a smooth affair with Andrew Price (Race 4 Kids) and Ben Grice (Finance Ezi) setting the pace while series leader Luke Fraser (CLS Finance) struggled to match the two front runners complaining about a lack of pace in a straight line. Callan Sayers (Shannons Nationals) and Allan Jarvis (Achilles Radials) wrapped up the top 5 for Friday practice.

Saturday the action started heating up. With Saturday qualifying to be shared with the Australian Manufacturer's Championship (Amchamps) clear laps were going to be hard to come by. NSW Local James Spicer (Spicer Consultants) made that job a little bit harder after having a spin on the opening lap and backing the Spicer Consultants Swift into the concrete barrier at Turn 4. Unfortunately this ended James' weekend and it also cut qualifying in half. Ben Grice managed to make the most of the difficult qualifying and finished on pole for the race along side Allan Jarvis. Then Rob Jarvis, Callan Sayers and Andrew Price all within a tenth of a second.

Race 1 saw the Biff and Barge escalate with Allan Jarvis and Ben Grice being called in front of the officials to explain their case the following morning. No penalties were handed down but a stern warning was given to all the drivers that they would be watched closely in the up coming 1 Hour Race. Luke Fraser was the noteable mention from Race 1 managing to work his way up from 6th to finish 3rd just .015 behind Grice with Jarvis taking the win.

Sunday saw the Swifts competing in their second and last mini-enduro of the year. Competing in the 1st hour of the 3-Hour Amchamp Race in a track share arrangement the Swift Driver's knew from Phillip Island that they had about 6-8 laps before the quicker class A Amchamp cars would catch the Swifts. Ben Grice controlled the race from the start never surrendering the lead. Ben quickly secured himself a lead and controlled the race from the front conserving his tyres and driving smart until the end.

Behind Ben the race was open to anyone with Allan Jarvis, Callan Sayers, Andrew Price and Luke Fraser all in a tight battle. Andrew had managed to work his way up to 3rd place and was hunting down Allan and Ben before being hit from behind and losing almost 5 seconds over Callan and Allan. Andrew recovered to work his way back up to second passing Allan for second place on lap 14 and started his pursuit of Ben. However disaster struck with just 10 minutes to go Andrew received a Mechanical Black Flag. After confusion in the pits initially as to the reason for the Black Flag the Trans Tasman Motorsport team quickly fixed the issue (the exhaust had fallen off a hanger) but the damage was done. Andrew fell a lap behind and finished Fourth overall.

The battle continued at the front though with Allan Jarvis and Callan Sayers in a fight for second place. Unfortunately with just two laps to go Callan made a move down the inside of Allan but was unable to pull the car up in time resulting in a big impact between the Achilles and Shannons sponsored drivers. Leaving Callan with a damaged right hand wheel and unable to finish the race. The big winner was Luke Fraser making his way on to the final step of the podium in the action packed race.

The end result sees Ben Grice close in on championship leader Luke Fraser with Allan Jarvis also closing the points gap to the leader opening up the Achilles driver's opportunity at making it Three Championships ina  row. Keep an eye on Speedweek for the highlights from Race 2 of the Hi-Tec Oils Australian Swift Racing Series.