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Jul 31, 2013

WEATHER OR WHETHER AT QR

THE KERRICK AUSTRALIAN SPORTS SEDAN SERIES competitors will be banking on better conditions after round two when they vie for top honours in third round at Queensland Raceway this weekend.

The last round at Mallala threw up a conundrum of weather conditions that affected all the favoured car and driver combinations. Series front runner Tony Ricciardello, from West Australia, hit a back marker with his Chev-powered Alfa Romeo, and Victorian Darren Hossack was delayed badly with a late call on tyre strategy with his Audi/Chev.

Reigning champion, Tasmanian-born Queenslander Kerry Baily managed to take the lead in the championship but was not without dramas in the greasy conditions. The Aston Martin/Chev driver and Shane Bradford in his Chev Camaro, both spun away the chance of a good points haulage while Phil Crompton’s weekend end early with drive problems with his Ford Mustang.

The only real beneficiary from the weekend was Jeff Barnes. The category veteran steered his Pontiac Trans Am to victory as well as taking out the category hallmark event, the Clem Smith Cup, capping off an emotional weekend for the Queenslander. Clem Smith, the Mallala track owner is a close long-time friend and Barnes was also dedicating his victory to another great friend, the late Des Wall.

Bailey will be looking for a trouble-free outing after a near disaster at the corresponding event last year. He qualified fastest then but had engine dramas as they rolled up to the start of race one – it was a game-changer but fortunately he was able to salvage two reason race results after an engine change.

At that round last year, Hossack and Ricciardello were the stars, putting on some the best racing seen in any category at the Shannons Nationals in 2012. If the form is true and mechanicals not an issue, the battle between the three will be enormous.

Bradford has new 6 litre V8 engine slotted into his Chev Camaro and will also be a threat along with Crompton, the Holden Calibra/Chev of Daniel Tamasi, and Dameon Jamieson in the exquisite Jaguar XKR/Chev V8 among a host of top rated spaceframe race machines.

There will also be a quality rollup of local cars and talent as well, including Bob McLoughlin (Commodore/Chev), Anthony Cox (Saab/Dodge), Colin Smith (Holden Monaro/Chev) and Barnes up against the interstate visitors Michael Robinson (Monaro/Chev) from Victoria and the Tasmanian Bruce Banks in a NSW Chev Camaro that has been the model of consistency this year.

The Queensland Raceway 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 20-minute practice sessions on Friday, August 2 at 8:35am and 10:55apm, leading to a pair of qualifying outings the next day, at 8:55am and 11:20am before the first of three races scheduled for 4:35 pm. The other two 12-lap races are at 10:25am and 3:05pm on Sunday, August 4.