Close calls headline Tasmanian Circuit first round

Wednesday 27 February, 2019
Photos: Angryman Photography

Symmons Plains International Raceway has hosted the first round of the 2019 CAMS Tasmanian Circuit Racing Championship with six categories each getting four races throughout the weekend.

Starting off proceedings was Regularity, which saw Morris Cooper S pilot Craig Trenham top the table ahead of the 10 other competing drivers.

Trenham had a slow start to the weekend, posting the slowest times of the group, but he had the last laugh after scoring the most points on two out of the four occasions.

Only two points separated second and third in the outright standings, as Mark Dilger and his MGBGT had a brilliant fourth race to score six points over the Brett Mansfield driven Holden VL Commodore and secure second. 

A joint race between the HQ Holdens and Historic Touring Cars saw nine cars take to the track and it was Scot Cordwell in the Torana LJ XU1 who dominated the weekend.

Cordwell was the only driver across the weekend to claim a clean sweep and won every race for both outright and class, while Mazda RX 2 driver Phillip Triffitt finished second in every race to place second outright.

Leading the HQ Holdens charge and placing third outright was Otis Cordwell, as Joe Rattray finished up ahead of Neville Rattray to claim second in class, despite Neville topping the class in the third race.

Another joint category saw Eric Taylor win three of the four Improved Productions & Sports Sedans races.

Behind the wheel of the Hyunadi Excel and representing the Sports Sedans category, Taylor fell short to Improved Productions leader Matthew Grace in the first race before the Nissan 200 S race winner failed to finish the second race and was forced out of the weekend.

With Grace out of the picture, Toyota Celica driver Leigh Forrest and Toyota 86 pilot James Holdworth lead the Improved Production Charge finishing second and third behind Taylor in the remaining three races to round out the outright podium.

Justin Murphy came quite close to securing a clean sweep of the Formula Vees with victories in the opening three races, before dropping to third in the final race to Callum Bishop.

Finishing the round in second place was Darren Easterbrook thanks to his two top-three places, while the battle for the final step on the podium contained three drivers.

Richard Gray, Stephen Cashion and Michael Vaughan each had the chance to sew up third but couldn’t capitalise as Gray’s three third placings were ruined by a last place finish in the third race.

Consistent driving from Cashion saw him finish the opening three races in fourth but it was Michael Vaughan who would be the most disappointed with the weekend’s results, his two runner-up races marred by coming last in the final race.

Like Murphy, Peter Kemp was one race away from a perfect record in the Hyundai Excels but a third place finish in race three ruined the opportunity.

Grant Seamer was the driver to take out the third race after just beating Josh Webster. The two drivers were in an intense battle all weekend and ended the event equal runner-up after Webster was able to finish three races in second. 

The recurring theme of close clean sweeps continued in the Sports GT category as invited class driver Brett O'Shea ended the weekend with three wins and a runner-up. 

Finishing behind O’Shea in the outright standings was Stephen Noble as the Nissan 350Z driver gave O’Shea a run for his money all weekend. Behind the wheel of the Mitsubishi Evo, Edrei Stanton went home as Class B winner. 

The next round of the Tasmanian Circuit Racing Championship will take place on 23-24 March