Nov 2, 2014
'It's an amazing feeling' - Hodge ends 2014 on top
Simon Hodge won the 58th Australian Drivers Championship for the CAMS Gold Star in the same way he’s raced all season in Australian Formula 3.
He battled hard, got to the front, and then ran away.
The 20-year-old South Australian clinched the title in the second of three races contested at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend after a breathtaking four-car battle for the lead that, at one stage, had him only third.
But he raced his way to the front past season-long rival Ben Gersekowski and grabbed a victory to seal the title.
Victory in the 14-lap feature race was merely an exclamation mark on an incredible season, one that netted 12 wins, 18 podiums and, of course, the longest-consecutively awarded prize in Aussie motorsport.
“It’s Amazing. I’m still pinching myself and I can’t believe it yet. Even though we came into the round with a lead, we were still nervous and it doesn’t necessarily mean terribly much,” he said.
“To get the job done, and get it locked away is an amazing feeling.”
Hodge said that winning the way he did added to the significance of today’ achievement.
“That’s what we’re in it for, to have a good race and I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap the title up with a race like that.
“The Mygale has been fantastic all year and the team has done an amazing job to bring the best out of it. It’s a case of using where the car is strong and minimising weaknesses and doing the best possible job.”
An unpredictable championship battle with season-long rival Ben Gersekowski and the McDonald’s Gilmour Racing team has netted Team BRM a record eighth Championship – and a sixth Gold Star.
It was also the first ever Australian Formula 3 title for Mygale after years of Dallara domination.
Six titles equals the great Birrana Racing in the Gold Star title-winning record books for most championships won, while Hodge is the first South Australian driver since 1979 – when John Walker won in a Lola T332 Chev – to win the title.
“It hasn’t been straightforward even though we’ve lead since the first round of the year,” Hodge grinned.
“We’ve had our challenges and Ben has been pushing us the whole way. It’s been a tug-of-war between the two of us and come out on top when it counts is just an unbelievable feeling.
“It’s a huge honour to be up on such a prestigious list. It’s something that, coming in through the motorsport ranks, through Karts and Formula Ford, you always look up to the Gold Star winners and the Formula 3 championship, with a lot of prestige.
“To add my name to such an incredible list is fantastic.”
Hodge ultimately edged out Gersekowski 283 points to 248 after a season where the pair were rarely split by more than 20 points.
In two races of high-level competition, Garnet Patterson grimly held on to second place in race two having earlier led the race thanks to a blinding start. He held out Ben Gersekowski to grab his best result of the season and lock away the Forpark National Class championship.
Sadly a battery issue forced him out of the final race, having run at the front of the field in the early laps.
Chris Anthony posted a pair of resolute performances today, ultimately finishing third in the feature race to cap off a season of great promise in the second Team BRM Mygale.
The 18-year-old from Cooma started from the back of the grid in both races but charged forwards and battled for second place in the feature race with Ben Gersekowski, though he was unable to find a way through.
Ricky Capo posted his season-best performance in race three, scrapping his way past Garnet Patterson mid-way through the 14-lap affair and closing on the leading trio to post a strong fourth place at the end of his rookie season.
The battle for the F3 Kumho Cup went down to the final race, R-Tek Motorsport driver Roland Legge taking the class win.
The 16-year-old ex-Karter was one of the stars of the season, though his final day didn’t quite go to plan.
Legge won race two in the morning and led the finale’ comfortably however a 5-second penalty for a false start saw him relegated behind ultimate winner Nathan Gotch in the end.
Gotch, in the AGI Sport Dallara, finished second in the Kumho Cup standings and Dennie Rumble third.
The Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship concludes the 2014 season with the Shannons Nationals before returning in 2015 – the opening round to be held at Sandown Raceway in Victoria in late March.
This weekend’s championship will be broadcast on SBS Speedweek in coming weeks.
Simon Hodge 283
Ben Gersekowski 248
Chris Anthony 188
Ricky Capo 112
Forpark Australia National Class:
Garnet Patterson 245
Chelsea Angelo 204
Roland Legge 58
Roland Legge 110
Nathan Gotch 99
Dennie Rumble 41