The Shannons Nationals has come to a close for 2018 after a brilliant final round at Sydney Motorsport Park, which saw seven categories all take part in the season finale. With so many categories celebrating a successful year, Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge went down to the wire with a variety of drama unfolding in the final round of their season.
While a heartbreaking DNF to Cooper Murray in the final race saw Simon Fallon crowned the series winner, it was the hardworking and refreshed Jimmy Vernon who took out the round win.
Vernon had been struggling for the first half of the season due to funding, but with secured funding for the second half of the year, Vernon finished with a podium in Winton and first round win for the year in Sydney.
“We finished the year on a high which was our goal for the year and exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Vernon said.
“I feel a little bit relieved because it’s been a really tough year and for the final two rounds, it was like I driving completely different which felt really good.
“To actually be racing with the guys at the front and get a win like we should have been all year was a really good feeling,”
The historic opening round of the VSR Showdown at the Shannons Nationals provided plenty of action with Dylan Shepherd taking the first round win, Daniel Benefield second and Andrew Kahl third.
In the Radical Australia Cup, Peter Paddon marked his return to the series with a victory, as Peter Clare and the partnership of Brad of Mitch Neilson rounded out the podium.
Paddon’s round victory made it two for the year, the most of any competitors, despite only competing in three events.
“I think I got a bit lucky with Chris Perini unfortunately having issues with his car, but we had a great battle all weekend and it’s still good to be back racing and winning,” Paddon said.
“The event was a good opportunity to put the new team through their paces and we fell into the groove pretty rapidly, so I am pretty happy with everything across the weekend.”
Kel Treseder came to Sydney Motorsport Park with one thing on his mind, which was to win the Aussie Race Cars and put himself back into the championship mix.
Treseder did just that and more, dominating the field to take a clean sweep of four races ahead of title rivals Joel Heinrich and Kyle Ensbey, who rounded out the podium.
“It was obviously a pretty good weekend if you look at results. You can’t ask for more than what we did,” Tesender said.
“It was do-or-die for us this weekend so to come out with a pretty faultless weekend and close the gap on Kyle going into final round is brilliant.
“It is going to be a very interesting final.”
The CAMS PAYCE Australian F4 Championship also saw a category domination with Championship leader Jayden Ojeda returning to winning ways, taking out every available race.
Finishing second for the round was Team BRM’s Aaron Love who again showed great consistency, while Ojeda’s teammate Ryan Suhle rounded out the podium.
“We came to this round with high hopes after the last round at Winton. To come to our home track and perform really strong is a great representation of our team,” Ojeda said.
“We’ll go to New Zealand with a bit of a championship lead but it’s definitely not all over yet. We have to perform and put our best foot forward to come away with the championship.”
It was jubilation for another category title contender in David Capraro who won the Veloce Racing Association round, despite suffering multiple issues throughout the weekend.
Capraro’s mixed Saturday was capped off with two race wins on Sunday as Michael Musumeci grabbed second and consistency from Frank Carigliano earned him the final spot on the podium.
“To win the round was excellent because I was full of doubt on Saturday, but I got pole and somehow pulled off a podium and two wins,”Caprapo said.
“We had a lot of mechanical issues leading up to the races from the Wednesday practice all the way through to Saturday afternoon, so to win was very satisfying.”
Mark Laucke finally won a Australian Prototype Series round for the year, with the defending series champion taking out two wins from two races to slightly close the gap on leader Jason Makris.
Peter Paddon made his return to the category in style, picking up second place, while John-Paul Drake picked up his first podium since Sandown earlier in the year.
“It was just brilliant. I am even more happy that the win follows a trend we have set where different cars have won different at track so everyone takes a turns at winning,” Laucke said.
“After nearly a year, I finally had a reliable car and I drove the pants off it, so it was just brilliant. Even though I burnt my tyres in the final race, I was still happy that I had a car capable of doing that.”
The final race of the weekend saw Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer make it four Australian Production Cars wins in a row, with the Lotus pilots taking out the four-hour endurance race.
Lotus teammates Ryan Simpson and Jim Pollicina finished a lap behind the winners, with Grant and Iain Sherrin finishing inside the top three again with third.
“To win the race more on strategy was quite satisfying and I really enjoyed yesterday’s race,” D’Alberto explained.
“We didn’t have the fastest car outright, we didn’t quite nail the setup and we were a little bit behind the eight ball, so we are really happy to come away with the win and the championship lead.”