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Aug 5, 2015

DOUBLE DUTY FOR TONY ALFORD AT QR SHANNONS NATS

AMChamp competitor Tony Alford will have his hands full this weekend (August 7-9) at Queensland Raceway, competing in not only the Australian Manufacturers Championship but also the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series.

The Retail Food Group Managing Director will contest his regular Donut King BMW1M in the AMChamps, and a Donut King-sponsored Marc Car in his appearance in the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series.

“Time is a precious commodity and a weekend of motor racing activity can either be very eventful or very sparse in activity – depending upon the program and schedule.  To maximise this time, I will participate in multiple categories at the same meeting wherever the opportunity arises,” said Alford, whose Gold Coast-based public company Retail Food Group Limited (RFG) owns the Donut King Franchise system as well as nine other Franchise systems.

“With respect to QR, the opportunity arose to compete in the Donut King Marc Car as well as the Donut King BMW 1M.  The Marc Car is new and has had only one opportunity to compete before now – some 4 weeks ago at QR where we entered the car into two categories – so every opportunity to familiarise with the Marc Car is welcomed as it will ultimately be utilised in the Australian GT long distance races and international 12 and 24 hour events.

“When it comes to racing in two categories, there is no special preparation or considerations, just a need to ‘switch on’ with respect to the vehicle which one is about to enter the circuit in – the individual nuances of each car, whether you are running slick tyres or treaded, if it is rear wheel drive, 4WD or front wheel drive, or what gearbox it is running – manual, sequential or paddle shift.”

“The cars I am racing this weekend each have very different DNA - one is a road car with a number of safety-orientated modifications, while the other is a bespoke race car. Both cars require a different attitude and the driving techniques are very different, particularly given the aero package, sequential gearbox and slick tyres on the Marc Car versus the R spec tyres, 6 speed manual and no aero of the BMW.  That said, both cars are very rewarding to drive.”

Alford is a series entrant in the Australian Manufacturers Championship and says it is in his opinion the best category around.

“The AMChamps is simply the best racing category in Australia – bar none – due to the longer race formats as well as the combination of one driver and two driver events.  There is no other category that offers such a long time in the cars over a race weekend.  That is the sole reason the Donut King Team continues to participate in the category,” said Alford.

With more than 2,500 outlets across its Franchise systems including 1700 in Australia, more than 600 team members and franchise employees in excess of 25,000, RFG has supported motor racing in Australia through Donut King and other brands for more than 25 years.

“The race formats require more than just ten/tenths of speed – it demands a high degree of planning as well as rigidly adhering to the race strategy while being prepared to adjust strategy when circumstances require,” said Alford.

“The BMW Crew excel in this environment ensuring that both Beric (Lynton – team principal and fellow AMC competitor) and I are always maximising any opportunity.

“The AMChamps is also a category which both creates very strong team member comraderies and rewards team cohesion.  Therefore it not only rewards the drivers it rewards the entire team which I think is an important outcome.”

When it comes to results for what will be round three of the 2015 AMChamps this weekend, Alford and his team mates will be spurred on by a challenging 2014 last outing to the circuit often called ‘the Paperclip’.

“We don’t have any expectations for this weekend but a motivation for sure is for both Beric and I to be consistent over the two 200 kilometre races – if that can be achieved then the rewards will be good points and a very satisfied team,” said Alford..

“The race was not without its challenges last year when – in the night event – some careless driving resulted in Beric’s BMW being hit from behind and turned around for a front-on heavy impact on the Donut King BMW.  Not only did Beric’s car sustain damage and not finish the race, but the front of my BMW was totally destroyed back to the firewall and the car was not able to be repaired until after the end of the racing year.

“QR has been described as a boring track format by many, however for me it offers two very attractive aspects. From a spectator’s perspective, the entire track can be viewed from almost any vantage point. From a competitor’s perspective, it is extremely difficult to achieve the ‘perfect lap’, however it rewards consistency and is an excellent track for the AMChamp longer race formats.”