Oct 28, 2014
RED V BLUE SHOWDOWN SET FOR SYDNEY
RED-VERSUS-BLUE will be the underlying theme of key Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals title deciders this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Two major national titles – the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship and the Kumho V8 Touring Cars Series – will go down to the wire this weekend with two drivers in each seeking title glory.
The synergies between each are remarkable with two drivers and two different teams, one each representing the red or blue sides of the racing spectrum, set to do battle.
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In the Kumho V8 Touring Car series Holden driver Justin Ruggier will take on Ford ace Ryan Simpson while the Formula 3 showdown will see Simon Hodge – driving a bright blue Mygale – take on Ben Gersekowski’s Red Dallara for the Gold Star crown.
The Holden and Ford fight for V8 supremacy is legendary while the French Mygale chassis – representing Blue – has been battling for F3 success against the Italian-built Dallara for years but is yet to score a crown.
Just 44 points split Ruggier and Simpson in the V8 fight while 20 points are all that separate the pair of Formula 3 rivals.
The four drivers involved are each managing their title expectations ahead of the weekend.
“I remember as a kid I used to get over-hyped about Soccer grand finals and the nerves would get to me, so I’m just approaching it as a usual round,” McDonald’s Gilmour Racing driver Ben Gersekowski said of his Formula 3 title quest.
“I’ll be pushing hard and giving it all I’ve got like every round and if I do that, the championship will take care of itself – what happens will happen.
“It’s appropriate that it’s come down to this because Simon (Hodge) and I have battled all season long and we said after the opening round that it would go down to the last race, and it has.
“It’s fitting that its two brands, Dallara and Mygale, and Red-versus-Blue this weekend.”
The winner of the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship receives the CAMS Gold Star, to be awarded for the 58th consecutive year to Australia’s top open-wheel driver this weekend.
The Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Cars fight will go down to the wire following two dramatic rounds in the last two months that turned the championship on its head.
Justin Ruggier won the most recent round at Wakefield Park two weeks ago after he and season-long rival Ryan Simpson clashed in the early laps of the final race – Simpson penalised for his role in the contact.
The Wakefield win coupled with Simpson’s poor result saw the points battle swing in favour of the Eggleston Motorsport driver, placing him in the box seat ahead of the final round.
The final Kumho series round of the year features a strong 13-car entry that includes the return of V8 Supercars race winner Cameron McConville in a second Eggleston Motorsport entry.
McConville won the Phillip Island round of the series in late September on his series debut and will be handy addition to the squad looking to win a second V8 title this year, having earlier won the V8 Development series with Paul Dumbrell.
Also joining the grid this weekend are former V8 Supercars racer Jose Fernandez, popular Queenslander Shane Hunt and Blue Mountains driver, Chris Delfsma, amongst others.
Two other major National racing titles will be decided this weekend, the Kerrick National Sports Sedan Series and the Radical Australia Cup both to crown their 2014 winners with the Shannons Nationals.
Sports Sedan legend Tony Ricciardello need only finish consistently this weekend to wrap up a record eighth national circuit racing championship – a clear record for any CAMS National category.
Ricciardello last won the title in 2011, adding to previous victories in 1998-99, 2001-02, 2005 and 2007.
It is believed that only nine-time Australian hill climb champion Peter Gumley has won more CAMS National Championships in Australian motor racing history than the ever-speedy West Australian and his family-run team.
The Radical Australia Cup championship will be decided in an interesting fight between four and eight-cylinder racers, with leader Michael Shaw (SR3) leading V8-powered Tim Berryman by just 15 points ahead of the final round for the open-top, LeMans style sports cars.
The series’ points system rewards consistency and allows the four-cylinder drivers to compete with the faster V8 Radicals for the overall Radical Australia Cup title despite the V8 cars having a pace advantage.
A strong 20-car field will round out the 2014 Radical season across two 35-minute and one 50-minute endurance races across the weekend.
The one-make PRB series will also feature this weekend.
Tickets are available at the gate for $15 on Saturday, $25 on Sunday or $35 for a weekend pass.
Sunday’s action will be streamed live at thenationals.com.au