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Apr 3, 2016

FRENETIC OPENING ROUND FOR SPORTS RACERS AT SANDOWN

 

This weekend’s event at Sandown Raceway was the first of the year and the first at the venue for the Australian Sports Racer Series, and the 19-strong field certainly did not disappoint with plenty of action and drama across their three races.

It was the biggest field in the Series six-year history, and catered for not only  outright victors, but also winners in the SR2 (Division Two), F1000 and Radical classes.

Following one race yesterday and two races today, F1000 racer Josh Townsend took out the round win and the F1000 class victory in his #9 DSR Downunder Nova Race LSR F1000, ahead of SR2 racer and class winner Jason Makris (#44 Marina Mirage West) and Mark Short – driver of the #16 MSR Motorsport Fabrication Prince LSR.   The Radical class was won by Peter Johnston in the #17 RAD PJS Air Radical.

The round results were not without their controversy, with F1000 racer Josh Cranston originally classified as third for the round and second in the F1000 class. However, the young firefighter was hit with a 26 second penalty for passing after the checkered flag in the final race (he had crossed the line third), dropping him to 12th in the overall standings.

The race had been flagged two laps earlier than planned, due to the well-alight #53 West of privateer racer Jonathan Stoeckel. The entry he fields with his father Brian had become engulfed in flame after coming to a stop on the straight when a misjudged gear change blew the engine.

2014 defending champion Roger I’Anson lead the field across the line in that race, taking out his second race of the day from Townsend after an intense battle. Townsend had fought hard for the entire race, recovering from a problematic start to lead for a number of laps while under attack from first Makris – who would later overshoot turn one trying to pass him, eventually recovering for fifth – and then I’Anson. Short took out the SR2 honours for that race while Johnston claimed the Radical honours from sixth on the road.

Despite the flaming end to race three, it was not the most drama-filled race of the weekend for the category – instead that honour went to this morning’s race two.

In that race, I’Anson took the win ahead of Townsend (2nd overall, F1000 win) and Makris (3rd overall, SR2 win). Chris Sutton took out the Radical honours (8th overall).

I’Anson had started that race from the rear of the grid due to his non-finishing result on Saturday (click here for Saturday’s report), and so along with Saturday race winner Jason Makris (ROG for changed tyre) had a prime view when Michael Whiting fishtailed 90 degrees into the path of a charging Adam Cranston (brother of Josh Cranston) while trying to avoid a stalled Peter Johnston off the start.

Both cars would take no further part in the race, and while Whiting's car was back for race three, Adam Cranston was forced to withdraw the #2 F1000 from the meeting – the racer had only just jumped into it this morning after a broken driveshaft saw his original West steed for the weekend put out of the running yesterday.

Just two laps later, John Morriss' brand new #34 Motorsports Leasing P/L Radical endured a massive spin and crash on turn 9 to bring out a safety car. Morriss was okay with “just some sore ribs”, but the car incurred heavy damage and would take no further part in the event.

On the restart from Morriss’ incident, the Radicals of David Crampton and Rob Knight would come into contact to produce a massive plume of dust on turn one, before Josh Cranston looped his F1000 around at turn 3 - on both instances, Stoeckel and Short narrowly avoided becoming involved themselves. Crampton, Knight and Cranston would all resume to finish the race.

Also falling foul of the race gods today was Mark Laucke. The defending champ was forced to retire from race two before greeting the starter with a broken water pump, but was able to recover from the rear of the grid in race three for ninth in the race.

While I’Anson took out both race wins today, a ‘did not finish’ result on Saturday due to a broken fuel pump fuse (click here for Saturday’s race one report) saw him unable to factor into the overall round result this time around.

For full results from the weekend, please visit http://www.sportsracer.com.au/results.

The Australian Sports Racer Series now heads to Winton Motor Raceway for its second round of the year across June 10-12. For more information, visit sportsracer.com.au

QUOTEBOARD – ROUND ONE, 2016 – SANDOWN RACEWAY – SUNDAY 3 APRIL, 2016

ROUND WINNER, F1000 WINNER – JOSHUA TOWNSEND - #9 DSR DOWNUNDER NOVA RACE LSR F1000


“The last race in particular was a cracker, it was so good to have four or five of us in the front pack just having a go at it. The weekend has been fantastic really, it was a great effort by the team - the car prep was spot-on this weekend. We really didn’t have any significant dramas which meant we could concentrate on setting the car up for the races and that is what got us the trophy in the end. We hope to be at the next round - we have to find a bit more budget first, so hopefully some sponsors can come on board and we can head to Winton.”


ROUND RUNNER-UP, SR2 WINNER – JASON MAKRIS - #44 MARINA MIRAGE WEST

On the last race overshoot of turn one: “I just got a bit impatient and I wanted to take (the lead) back quickly so I thought ‘it is either now or never’ and I overshot it, so bad luck for me,” said Makris.

“It is good that we got the car home, it was a productive weekend – there has been a lot of work in the off-season with a new motor and the guys at West building me a solid (new) car. Now we just have to go back to the garage and get the car properly set up for the next round. She is heavy around corners, I get gain on the straights but around corners I have to throw her around, so we need to do some testing and get the set-up right - if we can get around the corners quicker she should be a weapon.”


RADICAL WINNER – PETER JOHNSTON - #17 RAD PJS AIR RADICAL

“This weekend has been great. I haven’t been in the car for six months, so it is great to be out with a bunch of new and different people and different cars,” said Johnston. “I am very happy with that - it is good to be back in the car and trying to knock the rust off a bit,” he laughed. “You get to a certain point and then the last second to second and a half (of lap times) is all about driving, so you have to get your skill back. The car is all in one piece which is good, and we had a good weekend.”