Round Two Symmons Plains Tasmania – Weekend Wrap
Wet and freezing cold, that’s what greeted us on Thursday when we unloaded the pint sized Aussie Racing Cars off the transporters. We had a great turn out for this event again, we love the trip south and yet again Tassie turned it on for us over the three days.
With the forklift slipping and sliding on the wet grass fast turning to mud we managed to get them all off safely thanks to Sean Rose’s (and company) forklift skills! Once the cars were safe and sound in the huge pit marquee the teams set about preparing for the weekend.
Friday’s first practice was just after the V8Supercars hit the track in a downpour so it was extremely slippery, a few drivers elected not to venture out in the miserable weather, especially seen as the weather report for the weekend looked more towards finer, but cool days.
The second practice saw all the cars hit the drying track with times coming down but no one daring to use a new set of tyres until qualifying on Saturday morning. Tassie local Adam Gowans again used his track knowledge to stamp his authority and take pole from Queenslanders Adam Uebergang and Adrian Flack. The fastest cars from the NZ round followed with Darren Chamberlin, Craig Woods and Brendon Pingel.
As Australia’s largest racing category (we field 50 cars at Bathurst!) it was great to have a round with very little attrition with our door handle to door handle racing. Only a few front splitters needed replacing and the fiberglass front of Greg Miskiewicz’s car which was smashed in the final race on Sunday, plus a door for new comer Myles Bond after it flew open in race three and was soon removed via another Aussie Car.
The Aussie Racing Cars without a doubt put on the best racing and closest racing at the Tassie event, races one and two on Saturday had the crowd enthralled, Gowan’s leapt off the line but the race didn’t go all his way in race one – the lead changed numerous times with Uebergang on top from Gowans and Flack.
Gowans turned the tables on the field for race two streaking away to win it over Uebergang by more than 4 seconds. Darren Chamberlin finished third as he came to grips with the Camaro. A couple of series regulars struggled this weekend, James Duckworth, usually in the top 5, was running mid pack all weekend after car issues, on Friday practice two he arrived back at the pits on the flat deck after an oil line came off heading into the turn four hairpin (which Lowndes was later to spin in, in the V8SC practice!) Back this year is Allen Smith whom had engine troubles on Friday and had to swap to an older engine which saw him down on power and running towards the back of the field all weekend.
The only lady driver in the field Ruth Bowler had a great weekend racing with some young Tassie female drivers as pit crew, she was also on pole for the third reverse grid race.
Ruth described her weekend like this: “Running an original Ford Coupe Chassis with an air cooled 1200cc engine left me well out of the pack this round. Congrats to all the competitors who used the draft off my Bathurst Aero kit to their advantage, too!
We plan to be working through available options with the factory to get back into the action ahead of Round 3 in Darwin. Thanks to Tassies Fastest Ladies for crewing all weekend and to local sponsors Explainer Videos, Tas Autosport, Subaru Spare Parts and Lid Design who backed the team. Despite the on-track results we had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed promoting motorsport in Tasmania. Special thanks to Betty Klimenko for meeting with the team, the volunteers and staff at Symmons Plains for another great round and all to the locals who still love seeing my Ford Coupe have a go! “
Craig Thompson from Western Sydney Motorsport describes his weekend; “highlight for myself in car 72 was holding onto my position during the reverse grid race3 and finishing 7th”. The WSM team have a test day planned at Sydney Motorsport Park prior to the Darwin round. Craig’s brother Grant had this to say “My mustang performed awesome at Symmons Plains, I am still learning every time I get in the car as to what they are capable of. Have to wait till June now to get it out again at hidden Valley in the NT”.
The Advantage Motorsport Team had a good weekend, Jeff Watters’ comments were; “My aim from Symmons Plains was to have a nice uneventful top 15 run after the carnage that was Highlands Park. Other than blowing 2nd gear to smithereens in the last race, I had a good solid run and am looking forward to consolidating my performance at Hidden Valley, we also welcomed a new sponsor this round in iPack the gurus of specialised packaging for importing/exporting”.
Race three on Sunday was taken out by another new comer Ryan Cochran from Kent Quinn which saw the pair cross the line side by side with Chris Stevenson in third. The final race again saw Gowans romp away from the pack with Uebergang and Chamberlin second and third.
WSM driver Craig Woods struggled after a spin at turn 6 mid race (race 4), this continued a tough weekend after having to change an engine Saturday night and continual braking and power problems all weekend which saw him drop to second in the championship.
Having a relatively quiet weekend was Brendon Pingel, after some close racing and as he describes a “strategic weekend” he sees himself in top spot of the championship. Banking a good set of points is ARC Series owner Tony Quinn in third spot in the champs.
The Nissan Altima of Muswellbrook Nissan Racing had a solid weekend, driver and team owner Michael Rinkin had a great race three starting 4th he managed to stay in the top 10 with 6th place. “Really happy with our result and the support of my crew and others with our 6th place even knowing it was a reverse grid we had our best drive of the weekend” said Rinkin.
The cars were packed back onto the transporters and then headed to the Devonport seaport for the ferry trip back to the mainland.
Our next round is at Hidden Valley at the SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin event June 19-21.
Current Standings after Round Two
Brendon Pingel 145pts
Craig Woods 143 pts
Tony Quinn 136 pts
ARC Gold Cup Standings
Tony Quinn 151 pts
Allen Smith 147 pts
John Reynolds 146 pts
Masters Cup Standings
Ben Walsh 151 pts
Kent Quinn 148 pts
Brendan Tucker 145 pts
Ben Walsh 151 pts
Grant Thompson 144 pts
Andrew Waite 102 pts