Pocket Rockets Go Off in Darwin

It’s easy to say that we had a great weekend of racing at Darwin’s Hidden Valley, bit of a cliché actually, the weather was perfect we fielded 31 cars and the racing was unbelievable!  Whereas it was probably one of the best weekends racing in the history of Aussie Racing Cars.  The Darwin crowd were enthralled, it’s been 5 years since we raced there with the Superbikes and 10 years since we’ve been there with the V8Supercars.

As I sit here on my flight back to my home base typing this, Jamie Whincup is sitting across the aisle and I think, wow the V8’s put on a great show this weekend too, their two sprint races were great, almost as good as the Aussie Racing Car races! I’m proud to be part of the Aussie Racing Car family and this weekend we shone.

Every single car in the field, every team, every driver, every team member, every family member and every sponsor should be proud of the show from Darwin.  As part of the media team it was mind blowing hearing comments from the general public when I was shooting of how much they loved watching our races.  After the V8 race on Sunday I expected the crowd to leave and head home, there were three events to go, ours, Touring Car Masters and the Utes.  Incredibly not many left, they stayed on to watch our race, and without a word of a lie they started to leave after our last race!

The people from the Top End, plus those that travelled a long way to see the racing, just loved every single lap.  Guys and Girls pat yourselves on the back!

OK now the stats in the wrap!  We had a couple of “ring-in” drivers and it’s exceedingly fantastic to have them join us.  The current Bathurst Champion, Paul Morris and combining him with series regular Adam Uebergang was like putting a match to dry tinder, it became the Adam and Paul show, and this is how they were described by the track commentators as well as the likes of Auto Action etc, and they ignited a passion that enthralled everyone, especially Adam.  It was reported that Morris said he loved challenging Adam, and said he raced a fair game.  Well done to Adam Uebergang and his entourage on a great weekend.

Our class might not have the suave or the poise of say a V8 or GT class, but this weekend we ticked that box too 🙂  We introduced the Dude to the Gentleman, Freddie Hunt (yes he’s James Hunts son, encase you didn’t know) the smooth character from the UK.  Again we were over the moon that he choose our series to be his first in Australia, special thanks to Darwin Hyundai for bringing this deal together.  Unfortunately the stars didn’t align on the track for Freddie over the weekend, maybe they did off the track, who knows!  Great guy to meet.

Thanks again to Darwin Hyundai and Drive Hunters for getting 2 times Australian F3 champion into one of our Aussie Racing Cars, Fridays practice scared the pants off us after Tim Macrow was fastest, especially since this was his first time in the car!  But alas Macrow’s weekend didn’t go to plan either, which saw him only complete 2 of the 4 races after an off and wiring issues.  Tim we hope you’ll join us again.

Another notable weekend of racing has to be the Flack boys, both Damien and Adrian came away with good results for the weekend, Adrian won the Masters Cup and Damien scoring134 points for the weekend after a 4th place in the last race, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Damien, he came off at turn 11 in qualifying and managed to collect the wall, this ruled him out of race one and two after qualifying in 7th.

The current series champion Darren Chamberlin had mixed results, which saw them change and engine on Sunday morning after “sleeping on it” Saturday night.  With these results Darren sits 9th in the series results after three rounds.

Brendon Pingel has extended his championship lead after a fourth place in race one, 2nd in race two, he was 10th in the third race and he won the final race on Sunday.  “It was a hot and hectic weekend in Darwin. Had an absolute blast learning the track and managed some great results to help me keep a hold of the championship lead” said Pingel after the event.

Young James Abela took time out from his Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge to join us for the first time this year, back in the seat of his Toyota Aurion he was able to collect enough points to be awarded third for the weekend overall.

The final race for the weekend, the round win, was being fought over by Morris, Uebergang and Pingel, anyone of them could win, and along with Abela the 4 cars were swapping positions almost instantly.  The safety car came out on lap 3 after Macrow was turned around at turn one, and on the re-start Morris was deemed by race control to have jumped the start and was given a 27sec penalty which relegated him to position 21 at the end of the race.  Pingel won the final race from Uebergang and Abela.  This gave Uebergang the round win.

Mark Griffith also had a good weekend and came away with the Gold Cup and was fourth outright for the weekend, and Myles Bond collected the Rookie award for this round and 7th outright.

Our next round is at Sydney Motorsport Park 21st-23rd August.


Driver Quotes:

Ruth Bowler: What a great return to Darwin and Hidden Valley!  World class racing and plenty of excitement. I improved my PB from 2010 but not without plenty of drama and near misses! Thanks to all the fans who came out to Raintree Park for the meet and greet, listened to my story on ABC Radio and stayed the whole event to Mexican wave to me as I left the circuit on a tilt tray after Race 4!  Don’t worry everyone! No major issues and the Ford Coupe and I will definitely be ready for Sydney Motorsport Park! See you again next year Darwin! Wear your plaits… we’re coming back!!!! 😉

John Reynolds: Bad weekend for me. Slow all weekend,2 DNF’s ,2 engines needing repair, but we are all still over the moon as the other green 55 car (David V8Supercars) won the main V8 race on Sunday. Had a great weekend in Darwin. Love the place and the race track.

Greg Miskiewicz:  Darwin – you little rippa!!!  What a great weekend MMS had in the top ends heat. The racing was the best we’ve seen all year with our LendMe Aurion going from 16th in Race 1 to 8th in the last, eventually placing 10th for the round. We found pace throughout the weekend as we gained more knowledge of the track, pushing hard in Race 3’s reverse grid to give us a shot at our first top 10 finish. Well done to the ARC gang and Hidden Valley Raceway for putting on such a great event. We’ll be back.

Ben Walsh: What a seriously eventful weekend of racing in the most competitive Aussie car field yet to hit the track this year. I started the final in 7th place as I am starting to come to terms with the nuances of driving these machines. I made my way up to 5th position, after a restart I got myself into 4th position, wanting to dice with the leading cars I Unfortunately pushed too hard and spun coming onto the straight on the 2nd last lap.  This was all my fault, but I’m glad I went down fighting hard and giving it a real crack than just settling for a good finishing position. This is just part of the learning curve that I must go through in what was only my 3rd ever race in the category. I still finished in 10th position and am leading both the Rookies Cup, the Masters Cup and have now elevated myself to 5th position in the outright Championship.

Adrian Flack: We are pleased that the whole team was in the Top Ten with two cars in the top 5.

Western Sydney Motorsport: #64 car had a difficult start to the weekend after a Good qualifying session Craig Woods struggled with the rear of the car in the opening of race one which lead to an off on turn 11 leading him to his first and hopefully last DNF for the year. Craig’s experience prevailed over the next 3 races whilst struggling with overheating issues and rear handling problems to salvage a commendable 14th place for the round.

#72 Craig Thompson continues to plug away and refine his race craft with a steady result in race one. The overheating issues which plagued the entire team over the weekend lead the #72 to be parked in the Pit for 2 laps during race two which ensured a poor finish even though we circulated the last lap for an official finish. This decision to finish race two enabled Craig to start on pole for the full reverse grid and he made the most of it getting a flying start and gapping the field. However a costly mistake at turn 14 and a spin put an end to any chance of a podium finish.” I was beyond excited after getting away from the first group in race 3 at that point of the weekend I knew I was matching pace with Kent Quinn the overall race winner I really felt I let a podium chance go begging there”.

#78 Grants weekend was really plagued by misfire issues all weekend and he just couldn’t get a decent enough car to have a real go. He is disappointed but understands this is one of the pitfalls of racing. Our wildcard entry #68 driven by two time National Kart champ Blake Sciberras was an exciting development for us to be a part of. Blake certainly didn’t disappoint and showed everyone that if he can secure the funding for a full time drive into the future he has the talent level to put his car up the front.

Jeff Watters: The 2015 ARC season has been challenging for me coming to terms with my new car – all made more difficult due to some unfortunate “coming togethers” on track that have hampered setup time. Thankfully by the end of the Darwin round the Advantage Motorsport team now have the car & driver dialled in so we’re looking forward to strong performances to round out the season. (Without the near misses that Ruth & I had at Darwin that could’ve totalled both cars)

I hope to see you all at our next round at Sydney Motorsport Park 21-23 August.

Darin Mandy
Aussie Racing Cars Media Liaison