2019 HQ HOLDEN NATIONALS PREVIEW

The HQ Nationals head to The Bend Motorsport Park on September 13-15 to decide for the season who is the top HQ driver in the land. Fifty-eight entrants are set to battle it out across two days of racing, with heats and a repocharge system set to determine the grid order for Sunday afternoon’s final race.

While last year’s Phillip Island event was also a brand new circuit for the national title, this season The Bend Motorsport Park offers the most level chance of a playing field that’s been seen in HQ racing for many years. A fair percentage of the field has never turned a lap in anger around the circuit until Friday morning’s first mandatory practice session.

CONTENDERS:

So, who are the contenders to watch out for? Unfortunately the current defending champion Rod Raatjes will not be at The Bend for this year’s Nationals and none of the top three from the 2018 event will be returning, as both Rodney Earsman and Glen McDonald also won’t be competing.

Osborn
NSW Driver and 2x Champion Brett Osborn will be tough to beat at The Bend

It will be incredibly hard to go past Brett Osborn in the #86 Osborn’s Transport car.  Osborn won the Nationals in 2016 and ’17 and finished inside the top ten at Phillip Island in 2018, where adverse weather conditions saw the New South Welshman go wide at Honda corner while leading the race in the closing stages, handing the lead to the battling group behind.

Osborn could become only the second driver to move onto 3 national victories, joining John Wood. However, he won’t be alone in trying to achieve that feat, with South Australia’s own Bruce Heinrich also looking to add a third title to his 2011 and 2014 titles. Notably Heinrich won the last Nationals held in South Australia, with victory at Mallala in 2011.

AROUND THE STATES:

Victorian Andrew McLeod will be tough to go past, finishing fourth at the 2018 Nationals as well as second in 2016, he has the pace to be a front runner on the right day and with The Bend’s long front straight likely to suit drafting in the HQs, McLeod will be one to watch.

McLeod_Leading
Andre McLeod (leading field) will be looking to take home the crown

Six Queenslanders will make the trek south to The Bend with 2018 State Champion Scott Andriske leading the charge. Finishing tenth at the 2018 Nationals, he’ll no doubt be looking to move further up the order come Sunday afternoon. The form man in 2019 has been Brandon Madden, currently leading the QLD Championship and with strong performances in interstate races this year, Madden will be one to watch out for.

Maddon_QLD
Maddon has been the form QLD Driver this year.

Western Australia will be represented with a fourteen strong contingent of cars. Marc Watkins currently leads their championship heading into the final round, with Michael Howlett sitting in second place. The WA HQs will be ones to watch, with large numbers they may be able to pull something out of the bag in qualifying and set their weekend up nicely.

HQ_WA
With 14 cars representing we should see some great racing from the WA contingent.

From Tasmania Philip Ashlin, Wayne Nichols and Otis Cordwell will be looking to take home the silverware. Ashlin regularly features in the pointy end of the field at national events, and he will be looking to improve on his sixth place at the 2018 title. Earlier this season, Cordwell took the opportunity to race in Queensland at their endurance round and while his car suffered a failure, he was able to throw himself into another car and drive to an impressive result in a car without a cabin setup to his needs – an effort which cannot be ignored with a fifteen lap final to round out the event.

 

Ashlin_Leading
Tasmanian Phil Ashlin will be looking to move up into a podium spot after a strong performance in 2018.

 

ONES TO WATCH:

With almost sixty cars competing it is hard to cover every driver and produce a form guide. Still, we’ve managed to pick out a couple of extras who may go all the way which we haven’t featured above.

Joel Heinrich – The South Australian driver is a gun across multiple levels of motorsport in Australia. With many HQ race victories to his name, Heinrich is also the 2018 Aussie Racing Cars Champion and races in Super 3 and Super 2. His talent behind the wheel and knowledge of The Bend as a home track will no doubt see him at the top of the field.

Joel_Heinrich
Joel Heinrich will be one to watch with home circuit knowledge

Andrew Magilton – The young Victorian took a clean sweep of pole and all three races at the recent Winton round for Vic HQ. While it was his first victories, he did it by beating home Bruce Heinrich all weekend, showing that his race craft and speed is up to scratch heading into the Nationals.

Magilton_Pic
Magilton (centre) has hit strong form at the right time in the season.

Chris Molle – The NSW driver is probably the best in the current state field not to have won a championship, regularly putting pressure on and pinching victories from Brett Osborn. A tough round at Wakefield Park saw the team not have the power they would expect, however that will only serve as fire for the Nationals, so Molle will definitely be one to watch.

Molle
Chris “Captain Risky” Molle will be looking to make up for missing out on the NSW Championship with a national title.

OUR PICKS:

We spoke to the team at HQ Xtra and sorted out our picks for the 2019 HQ Nationals:

Daniel Beckinsale:

WIN: Brett Osborn

DARK HORSE: Andrew Magilton

Wayne “Hollywood” Healey:

WIN: Brett Osborn OR Joel Heinrich

DARK HORSE: Darryl Crouch

Chris “Bucko” Buckley

WIN: Brett Osborn

DARK HORSE: Andrew Magilton

 

ENTRY LIST:

#2 – Bruce Heinrich – SA

#3 – Shaun Boland – NSW

#4 – Scott Andriske – QLD

#5 – John Wise – Vic

#6 – Scott Allen – SA

#7 – Michael Howlett – WA

#8 – Neil Corey – SA

#9 – Matthew Linscott – SA

#10 – Marc Watkins – WA

#11 – David Smith – SA

#11 – Wayne Nichols – TAS

#13 – Scott Hames – WA

#14 – Darren Peat – WA

#15 – Andrew Magilton – Vic

#16 – Joel Heinrich – SA

#17 – Luke Harrison – NSW

#18 – Evan Kennedy – NSW

#19 – Marck Strachan – QLD

#20 – Christopher Molle – NSW

#21 – Scott Goding – SA

#22 – Derek Riseley – QLD

#23 – Bradley Schomberg – QLD

#24 – David Lines – SA

#26 – Darren Parker – NSW

#27 – Ryan Woods – Vic

#29 – Robert Zoanetti – SA

#31 – Pedro Marusic – NSW

#32 – Philip Ashlin – TAS

#35 – Andrew Lawton – Vic

#40 – Graham Boulter – SA

#44 – Darryle Crouch – SA

#47 – Mark Alfonsi – WA

#48 – Darren Jenkins – SA

#49 – Ryan Davis – WA

#54 – Lee Smith – SA

#57 – Brandon Madden – QLD

#61 – Tim McNamara – SA

#62 – Brian Pangler -WA

#64 – Brad Fox – SA

#66 – Lance Marsh – WA

#69 – Joseph Andriske – QLD

#71 – Otis Cordwell – TAS

#72 – Stuart Kenny – WA

#73 – Jack Harrison – NSW

#74 – Michael Woodbridge – WA

#75 – Phillip Breen – WA

#76 – Bradley Butler – WA

#77 – Brett McGarrigle – SA

#79 – David Redgrove – NSW

#80 – Corey Bradley – SA

#81 – Allan Smith – SA

#82 – Andrew McLeod – Vic

#84 – Matthew Davidson – SA

#86 – Brett Osborn – NSW

#91 – Rory Sharp – WA

#93 – Adam Butler – WA

#96 – Rodney Vervoort – Vic

#99 – Tony Molony – Vic

PREVIOUS WINNERS:

1989 WINTON – Richard Whyte

1990 WINTON – Bruce Williams

1991 WINTON – Geoff Manson

1992 BATHURST – Peter Hopwood

1992 SYMMONS PLAINS – John Talbot

1994 LAKESIDE – Paul Romano

1995 MALLALA – David Lines

1996 BARBAGALLO – David Lines

1997 BASKERVILLE – Neville Haley

1998 – NO EVENT

1999 BATHURST – Peter Dane

2000 LAKESIDE – Craig Yates

2001 HIDDEN VALLEY – Peter Holmes

2002 – NO EVENT

2003 BARBAGALLO – Tony James

2004 MALLALA – Steve Laybourn

2005 WINTON – Peter McNiven

2006 HIDDEN VALLEY – Layton Crambrook

2007 QUEENSLAND RACEWAY – Gary Bonwick

2008 BASKERVILLE – Gary Bonwick

2009 EASTERN CREEK – John Wood

2010 BARBAGALLO – Gavin Poreous

2011 MALLALA – Bruce Heinrich

2012 SANDOWN – John Wood

2013 HIDDEN VALLEY – John Wood

2014 MORGAN PARK – Bruce Heinrich

2015 SYMMONS PLAINS – Rod Raatjes

2016 WAKEFIELD PARK – Brett Osborn

2017 BARBAGALLO – Brett Osborn

2018 PHILLIP ISLAND – Rod Raatjes

2019 THE BEND –

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