Over the summer off season many of the teams sit down and study their data from the past season, some will look at it in depth and begin formulating their plans for the 2017 series, some will wonder “what happened”, and others will make the leap and invest in new cars or newer parts.
And there will be as always “newbies” to the game, they are our rookies this year, they’ll either purchase or lease a car and run it themselves or they’ll work with one of the established teams and some will just purchase the drive.
Whatever their situation, for 2017 it’s going to be a great year. Clipsal has just proven this!
The first Aussie Racing Cars Championship has been run and won, the first round of the year got off to an exciting start, 31 cars lined up on the dummy grid (that’s where the cars wait to enter the circuit) with once again an ecliptic collection of the available 11 makes and models.
The oldest car on the grid was Ruth Bowlers Ford Coupe, and during the weekend Bowler clicked over her 32nd Clipsal Race with the last race on Sunday, that’s more races than the class does in a whole year! Well done Ruthie Racer Racing.
As a tradition, Adelaide reserved it’s most wonderful albeit hottest weather once again, Wednesday setup and Thursday’s race days saw temps rock around 37C. Hot both for drivers and those working on the cars.
The class always promises the best racing you’ll ever see at each racing meeting and the Clipsal event didn’t disappoint! The high speed track mixes with some tight corners which suits the cars down to the ground, it’s also very wide in parts and the racing saw the boys and girls 3 and 4 wide! That’s exciting for the crowd there let alone the drivers!
The history books will show a number of winners being relegated from their winning spots to further down the field after post race penalties were applied. The officials are watching closer than ever for the 2017 series.
Last year’s champion James Duckworth started off his 2017 campaign on top of the podium for the round in his last years #1 Rinkin Racing/RDA Brakes car, chasing him were the Western Sydney Motorsports duo of Craig Woods (KIA Penrith Mustang) closely followed by Blake Sciberras (Millennium Building Services Mustang).
The class now heads to Tasmania’s Symmons Plains at the beginning of April.
Ruth Bowler – Ruthie Racer Racing: “2017 brings my 10th Season with Aussie Racing Cars, my 8th year competing at the Clipsal 500 and Sunday’s Race was my 32nd in Adelaide alone! That’s more than a season’s worth of Clipsal races! I love it and am so thrilled to share it all with so many familiar faces on and off the grid! My prep over the season was demonstrated on track with the little Ford Coupe holding its own with the larger more powerful cars! Well done to all our 2017 contenders! It’s going to be another phenomenal season!”
Jeff Watters – Cure for MND: Clipsal heralded a significant change in overall car setup and preparation for the #96 Cure for MND car with the move to WSM for preparation and maintenance. After some initial driver adjustments, I came to terms with the new setup and then set about putting in an ARC best performance of being in the top 30% of the field for the whole race meeting, finishing with 3 top 10’s and an overall 8th for the meeting. I can’t thank Craig and Paul from WSM enough here for their support of me. Even more importantly to me personally here, I’m now within striking distance of Gold Cup stalwart Brendan Tucker – my plans are to make sure Brendan doesn’t get his hands on the trophy again this year.
Chris Stevenson & Leigh Bowler – Advantage Motorsport: “Advantage Motorsport is wrapped with the return to form, speed and consistency for Chris Stevenson making it out of the weekend without a mark on the car and a solid 5th place overall for the round, speaks volumes for being smart & consistant”…..And regarding Leigh Bowler “Leigh felt comfortable in the car and was keen to push hard as it was his first return visit to a track since joining the series, except for one off track excursion leigh ran P15 in 3 out of 4 races. Couldnt be happier with his performance”
Jaie Robson – National Fire and Safety “My weekend went really well I thought. A couple of hiccups here and there but being my first race, with a new car and new team, I think we did better than expected. Having qualified 5th and finished 3rd in race 1 was definitely a high light. Race 4 was great as well, starting 23rd and finishing 4th. Massive thanks to Paul Reitdyk and Mitch Binner from Western Sydney Motorsport, Matthew Gould, 6star Custom Paint, Liquid Clothing Co, Ultra Tune, Pro Nutrition and of course my Dad, Mick”.
Blake Scibberas – Western Sydney Motorsport “Started the weekend with an engine failure in qualifying which put us still on p 13. From then on up I just kept moving forward, kept the Mustang clean and straight. Consistency is the key I didn’t do anything spectacular but brought it home in 3rd place. Bring on Tassie.
Scott O’Keefe – Multi Services Solutions “Overall a positive start to 2017, with a top 15 finish for round one at Clipsal 500. We had a target for the year to make the top 15 and with the success and proven pace from this round we aim to improve even further in the coming rounds to make the top 10 by mid-session. With some early gremlins, we worked hard to make race 2, 3 & 4 count to build momentum for Tasmania”
Mike Rinkin – Rinkin Racing “Our even bigger team are off to a great start and Terry’s and Lou’s attention to detail has increased our confidence dramatically and we only need to keep the chocolate up to them and they are literally sweet!
What an awesome weekend of racing, many personal bests were had from all of the team.
First and foremost a massive thanks to Terry Bull our new crew chief. What a difference it makes to somebody’s driving when they have complete trust in the person setting up the car, and we saw this, this weekend with Micheal’s driving a PB of 13/31 cars but with a couple of penalties to other drivers was updated to 11th and overall 18th for the weekend, James Duckworth, took out the round overall for the weekend, which is an awesome start for his quest to run back to back National Titles”
Craig Woods – Western Sydney Motorsport – “What another great weekend in Adelaide with Western Sydney Motorsport and I couldn’t think of a better way to start a long year. Got robbed of the win for the round, but she’s a long year……bring on Tassie!!!”
Grant Thompson – Western Sydney Motorsports – “Really excited for the rest of the year seem to have found some real pace this year managing to sneak into the top 10 at Adelaide until my acrobatics… hopefully I can park the black and green Mustang there for most of the year. And keep 4 wheels on the ground!!”
Ben Walsh – Dr Ink Tattoo Removal – A really up and down weekend for the Dr Ink Tattoo Removal, Collective Care Mustang. We had serious pace all weekend, definitely enough to challenge for the win but a late penalty from race one forced me down the grid. I had a massive charge from the back in the next race passing 23 cars to finish 5th. In race 3 we passed 9 cars to finish 2nd after a great duel with Treseder. I was stoked for the pass I put on him and Luke getting them both at the same time on the entry to turn 9, it felt mega!
In race 3 I wasn’t too worried that Treseder passed me on the start of the last lap as my strategy once I took the lead on lap 3 was to not lead the start of the last lap as I knew a last lap pass into 9 or 13 was on the cards. Unfortunately, my strategy failed when we both caught a lapped car through turn 1 which forced me wide into the marbles.
Race 4 and the car felt better than it had done all weekend, by turn 4 on the first lap I had made up 4 positions and I absolutely knew I had the speed to win the race, however a mid-race bump resulted in a flat tyre. It really was a shame as we had just tweaked the car and it felt the best it had done all weekend. We will take the positives out of this race and hit the ground in Tassie running”.