The popularity of the
Mazda RX8 Cup continues to grow with a record 27 cars lining up for round 4 at
Sydney Motorsport Park on September 28-29. Heading into the final two rounds,
five drivers are in contention for the title, setting up a thrilling conclusion
to the second season.
There would be six contenders in the mix were it not
for the unfortunate withdrawal of championship leader, Stephen McLaine. Illness
has seen the New South Welshman retire from racing, however, that has opened
the door for Stephen’s son Shannon to take over the driving duties in the Mcdonalds West Gosford Mazda RX8 for the final two
rounds of the 2019 season. Shannon has accomplished success in karting over the
last 10 years and although this is his first occasion racing the #88 Mazda,
there is a buzz around his adaptability and raw speed.
That leaves William Harris sitting at the top of the Championship table. A consistent
season performance has seen him claim six podium finishes over 12 races, showing
that consistency can provide the points needed to be at the top.
Harris’s closest challenger, due to
McLaine’s retirement, is New Zealander Aaron Prosser.
Brisbane-based Prosser won last
year’s Mod Lites national title and has carried that success into the RX8 Cup
winning six races and qualifying on pole at both Morgan Park and Tailem Bend. It’s
been an uphill battle for Prosser to get back into champions contention, a pair
of DNF’s at Winton’s opening round see him currently 28 points adrift of the series lead.
Also amongst the front runners are
Terry Lewis and Nick Dunkley. Lewis is a former Improved Production National
Champion, who is making a return to racing after two decades away from the
sport. While Dunkley has impressed with his racecraft this season, particularly
at Winton where he netted a top three finish for the weekend.
there will be four other debutantes in the field, making the “rookie of the
round” honours a race-within-a-race to pay close attention to. All of the
newcomers enter the series with a variety of experience and success in other
categories that will make for entertaining racing at the Creek.
Four-time NSW Formula Vee Champion Daniel Reynolds
will line up for the first time in the S-Sport Racing RX8. Reynolds is joined
by Matt Chick from the Commodore Cup national series in the Continental
Appliance Repairs Mazda RX8 and former Dunlop Super2 and V8 Utes racer
Nandi Kiss will try his hand at the RX8 class this weekend. Also in the
field will be two-time Australian Production Car class champion Adam Dodd. Dodd
is no stranger to Mazda racing, previously competing in MX5s, Mazda6s and BT-50
The new recruits will
undoubtably provide an extra dynamic to the record 27-car field, as the title
battle heats up across the weekend. Make sure you come and check out Sydney
Motorsport Park across the weekend on September 27-29 as the Australian Motor
Racing Series heats up Western Sydney.
All of Sunday’s races can be viewed LIVE on Blend Line TV at the link below.
Championship rivals Aaron Seton and George Miedecke are set to continue their battle for the TA2 Muscle Car title as the series returns to Sydney Motorsport Park for the penultimate round on September 28-29.
While four podium finishes at Winton last round saw Miedecke take the upper hand on track, he only managed to condense Seton’s Championship lead by one point, leaving the Castrol Harris Racing driver with a 16 point margin as we head to Sydney.
Behind the battling duo, reigning champion Ashley Jarvis is in third 40 points adrift in the Lighthouse Electrical Camaro. With two rounds remaining he’ll be looking to bridge the gap before we head to Queensland Raceway for the series final round.
Sydney opened the season back in March, where third-generation racer Seton claimed victory in three out of four races holding off Miedecke’s strong challenge in Race 3. In the final of the weekend the Lubrimaxx/Miedecke Motor Group Mustang put pressure on Seton early, causing Seton to spin off the track in the fourth lap, handing Miedecke the race-win.
No doubt Seton will be looking to regain the upper hand at Sydney Motorsport Park, a track where traditionally the third generation racer has been strong in multiple types of machinery. With thirty other cars lining up at Sydney Motorsport Park, a record field for the category, there is going to be plenty of action.
So make sure you head out to the Western Sydney circuit across the weekend on September 27-29, as the V8s return to the creek.
All of Sunday’s races can be viewed LIVE on Blend Line TV at the link below. While Fox Sports will broadcast a half hour highlights package following the event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We spoke to the team at HQ Xtra and sorted out our picks for the 2019 HQ Nationals:
Throughout August we worked with some great events and categories, including TA2, Hyundai Excels, Production Cars, Sports Sedans and the Victorian Rally Championship. On our travels we were able to film some cool things in slow motion, which we decided to compile into a video for your enjoyment.
So settle back and enjoy a few minutes of racing in slow motion.
Pheasant Wood Circuit just outside Marulan hosted the opening round of the 2019 Small Car Cup. An impressive thirteen cars took to the circuit for qualifying with Phil Alexander taking outright and class B pole position in the Raceway N16 Nissan Pulsar, a 1:05.2780 best lap establishing the new lap record for class at the circuit. In Class A Nathan Senior put his Mazda 121 bubble car on pole with a 1:06.9170 best lap during the session.
While future events will see class A&B split for their respective heat races, for the opening round classes were combined, producing some great racing throughout the field. In the two heat races, Phil Alexander and Mike Behnke split the outright victories with the former receiving a drive through penalty in the second heat, dropping him to 10th outright for the race. In Class A, Nathan Senior continued to show that a bubble car was not making up the numbers, with a pair of class victories heading into the final.
Freezing temperature, 50km/h wind gusts, and a reverse grid format greeted competitors for the forty five minute final race of the weekend, giving these small cars a final race length which is considered endurance in many other levels of motorsport. Not only would time be a factor, but the twisty, ten-turn layout of the Pheasant Wood circuit would no doubt take its toll on competitors.
Starting from the rear, Mike Behnke passed his way through to the lead quickly, while Phil Alexander took his time working past the field. Once clear, Alexander set about closing Behnke’s lead down and by mid race distance the pair were together, the stage set for a great battle. Over half a dozen laps Behnke did all he could to hold the Raceway car behind, until just after the mid-point of the race when Alexander took the lead. Behnke did not allow a gap to open and shadowed Alexander to the flag, however never had enough to remount a challenge for the top spot. Behind, a spin for Gerry Frohriech in the second half of the race dropped him down the order, while Nathan Senior was able to hold on in the hotly contested Class A, with a five second victory over Andy Clarkson.
The Small Car Cup returns to Pheasant Wood Circuit on October 6th. Entries will be opening soon on the Drivetek website, so if you want to get involved make sure to get your hands on a small car and put an entry in!
Check out this great battle for the lead in the final race of the Production Touring Cars round at Sydney Motorsport Park last week. Featuring five cars fighting for the lead with; Tony Virag (#41 HSV GTS), Matthew Holt (#65 HSV Clubsport R8), Michael King (#111 Mitsubishi Evo X), Duane West (#98 Holden VF GTS) & Daniel Oosthuizen (#94 HSV Clubsport R8).
Don’t forget you can catch all the highlights from the second round of the 2019 GT1 Australia season from their round at The Bend Motorsport Park with the AMRS.
Foxtel Ch173 at 8:30pm on Monday July 29th. Or on our YouTube channel, link below.
The 2 Litre Sports Sedans headed to Phillip Island circuit for a round of their championship as part of the Endurance Access event with the Australian Production Car Championship.
To find out more about 2 Litre Sports Sedans head to their website HERE
The Queensland Production Sports Car Championship kicked off with the AMRS at Morgan Park across April 6/7.
The TV highlights package from the weekend will be broadcast on Fox Ch173 at 8:30pm on Monday May 13th. If you don’t have Foxtel, or missed the show, you can watch it below.
We also have full race coverage from the weekend, with two races falling within the live stream, produced by Blend Line TV.
Watch Race 3 from the round in full here:
Watch Race 4 from the round here:(available from 7:45pm Monday May 13th)