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Nov 13, 2015

TONY RICCIARDELLO: SHANNONS NATIONALS DRIVER OF THE DECADE

TONY RICCIARDELLO has been voted the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals ‘Driver of the Decade’ following a poll run by the series to celebrate its first ten years of competition.

The eight-time Kerrick Sports Sedan national champion was voted as the best of the best by an industry panel of series management, media and key supporters plus an online fan poll that attracted more than 3,000 votes.

More than 40 drivers were shortlisted, representing each category to have completed more than two seasons of ‘full time’ Shannons Nationals competition over the past ten seasons.

This weekend’s round at Sydney Motorsport Park is the 92nd in the series history and the culmination of the 10th year of competition, with the series founded at Wakefield Park in early 2006.

Ricciardello was voted to the top spot ahead of double Australian Formula 3 Champion Tim Macrow, Triple Production Car champion and F3 race winner Stuart Kostera, Ricciardello’s long-time Sports Sedan rival and two-time champion Darren Hossack and V8 Touring Car and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge star Ryan Simpson, in fifth.

Porsche ace Matt Kingsley (6th), British international import James Winslow (7th), giant-killing Production Car star Jake Camilleri (8th), the late Des Wall (9th) and the ‘king of Saloon Cars’, Bruce Heinrich, rounded out the top 10.

Drivers were assessed based on their sustained success within their own categories at the time, their impact on the Shannons Nationals and its categories and their general level of competition across their time at Shannons Nationals rounds.

“I have a passion for racing and sports sedans allows me to be able to engineer, develop, build and race a car that is filled with horsepower and speed,” Ricciardello said.

“It also gives competitors a challenge and has versatility on the grid. The Nationals gives us a great environment to race in at affordable yet high standards, I guess that's why we keep coming back.

“The first title definitely stands out, especially since it was my first year of racing. Each title comes with a story and are as good as each other. Holding this amount of titles in one category is a huge achievement, it proves that out hard work pays off. Winning the championship is what we always aim for.

“I enjoy seeing all of our fans who come through the gates at the rounds but I especially enjoy seeing the people through Kerrick who they bring to the track to experience real racing. It's great to have a sponsor who is supportive and involved, they are the back bone of sports sedan racing.

Sports sedans has developed a great comradery, I remember growing up at the track watching it and now I get to experience being in the middle of it.”

Ricciardello’s remarkable run of success in the Kerrick Sports Sedan competition has made him the most successful ever Australian circuit racing champion, his eight national titles recognised earlier this year by the Guinness World records.

His on-track battles with the likes of Sports Sedan legend Mick Monterosso, the late Des Wall, Kerry Bailey, Dean Randle and of course, Darren Hossack, ensured that he has always faced a high level of competition at the front of the field.

A more than 10-year period of racing wheel to wheel with Hossack has seen the pair establish one of the great rivalries in Australian motorsport, with the pair’s 2007 championship decider at Sandown commonly hailed as one of the best ever conclusions to a season at a Shannons Nationals round.

The West Australian and his small family team has continually raced at the front of one of Australia’s most open categories – where continued innovation and development are keys to remaining competitive in a series with a relatively ‘free’ rule book.

The continued and sustained performance of the Ricciardello Racing Alfa GTV-Chev has made it an iconic car in Australian Motorsport that appeals to a wide array of fans around Australia and beyond.

The Shannons Nationals team congratulates Tony and his team for their continued achievement at the highest level of the sport and thanks them for their support of the Shannons Nationals over 10 years.

The series also congratulates every driver recognised on this list, and to the more than 1000 drivers who have contributed to a sensational decade of racing with the Shannons Nationals.

DRIVER OF THE DECADE – TOP 10

Tony Ricciardello – 8x Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Champion
Tim Macrow – 2x Australian Formula 3 Champion
Stuart Kostera – 3x Australian Production Car / AMChamp Champion, Superkarts Champion, F3 winner
Darren Hossack – 2x Kerrick Sports Sedan Series Champion, 2x Australian Superkart Champion
Ryan Simpson – Porsche Gt3 Cup Challenge winner, 2x runner-up, Kumho V8 Touring Cars
Matt Kingsley – Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge winner
James Winslow – 2x Australian Formula 3 / Gold Star winner
Jake Camilleri – Multiple class champion, AMChamp / Production cars
Des Wall – Kerrick Sports Sedan Champion
Bruce Heinrich – 5x Australian Saloon Car Champion