Shannons Nationals - The Bend Preview

Wednesday 13 November, 2019
Photo: Bob Taylor/ Speed Shots Photography
After six huge rounds across the country, the Shannons Nationals will end a record-breaking season at The Bend Motorsport Park this weekend.
 
With brand new categories, large fields and record breaking crowds all part of a wonderful season in the Shannons Nationals, it all wraps with a second visit to the iconic South Australian track.
 

Of the six competing categories at the grand finale, there will be a number of title fights going right down to the wire, as well as the exhibition of others which have already been crowd pleasers.

More than 130 entries are part of the season finale, with many of the six categories looking to finish their respective seasons on a high.

S5000

A grand debut at Sandown Raceway in September saw the newest open-wheel category impress the record numbers at the track and watching via the live stream.
 
With a grid featuring both international and local stars, including former Formula 1 star Rubens Barrichello, the category’s debut had everyone talking.
 
For the second stand-alone round at The Bend, the category once again features the same format to Sandown with two qualifying races and a feature race to take place.
 

While Rubens Barrichello and Matt Brabham head back overseas, British international James Winslow, Virgin Australia Supercars Championship regular Anton De Pasquale and current Dunlop Super2 Series runner-up Thomas Randle are the new kids on the block trying their hand in the new cars.

carsales TCR Australia Series

Will Brown was the man of the moment during the penultimate round at Sandown, having sealed the inaugural series with a round to spare.

So while the pressure is off the 2016 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Champion to get a good result, it now moves to the drivers locked in the battle for second.

Dylan O’Keefe currently leads the way on 481 points with Tony D’Alberto just eight points behind him, while a little further behind the pair are Aaron Cameron and Nathan Morcom.
 
 The category will have 22 entries as part of the season finale with a couple of a new inclusions and old faces returning to the series, including international driver James Allen and Chelsea Angelo, who returns having competed in three rounds earlier this year.
 
As it has all season, the category will have qualifying on Saturday morning and the first of three races during the afternoon, before Sunday’s two consecutive races wrap up the year.
 

Australian Prototype Series

Like the carsales TCR Australia Series, the entry list has some different names competing compared to the previous round, with reigning champion Jason Makris making a shock return and Greek International Andreas Laskaratos attending the final round.
 
While there will be lots of interest surrounding Makris and Laskaratos, all eyes will be on the mouth-watering four-way tight fight, which is expected to go right down to the last lap.
 
David Barram currently leads the series having held top spot all season, while Daniel Gonzalez and John Paul-Drake are both within arms reach of the title and potential chance still remains for 2017 winner, Mark Laucke.
 
Two races make up the weekend, with one 25-minute race on Saturday and the 35-minute final race on Sunday afternoon.
 

Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia

The one-make series will be the first to wrap up their season over the weekend with all 20-minute races to be completed on Saturday.
 
As it stands, Harri Jones has comfortably led the way for the majority of the season but a strong round from Aaron Love has seen the title fight extended to the final races at The Bend, but Jones doesn’t need to do much to secure the win.
 
Like Jones, Tag Heuer Pro-Am class leader Sam Shahin has one hand already on the title with Brett Boulton the only driver standing in his way.
 
The category has a healthy 21 drivers competing with South Australian Max Vidau looking to repeat his efforts with a round win to back up the category’s last visit to the venue.
 

Australian Production Cars

The third series with everything to play for this weekend as current series leaders Chris Lillis and Nathan Callaghan look to complete a solid progression up the ranks and cap off their brilliant year with a win.
 
Just nine points behind the leaders are Grant and Iain Sherrin, while Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns also remain in the hunt as 23 drivers from all classes take part in the fifth and final round of the year.
 

The Australian Production Cars will have four-one hour races take place with Qualifying on Friday afternoon, races one and two to occur on Saturday, race three on Sunday morning and the fourth and final race to wrap up the year on Sunday afternoon.

 

Excel Nationals

It should come as no surprise that the biggest field to grace the South Australian circuit will be the Hyundai Excels with 46 cars to form part of the exhibition style national event.
 
Some of the best Excel drivers from around the country will make their way down to the Tailem Bend for the final with a number of current and former state champions part of the stand-alone event.
 
Victorian Michael Clemente, Queenslander Brock Giblin, South Australian Asher Johnston lead the huge entry list predominately made up of competitors from each of those states, as well as three drivers from New South Wales and one sole Tasmanian in Joshua Webster. 
 
The Excel Nationals will be the first category to begin official business with qualifying on Friday, before two races on Saturday and a third race on Sunday morning set up the main feature race on Sunday afternoon.
 
Tickets to the Shannons Nationals start from $20 per day and $30 for a weekend pass. Click here to purchase tickets to the season finale.

Fans unable to attend the round can catch the live stream on thenationals.com.au. TCR & S5000 will once again be screened on SBS on Saturday and Sunday.  

The final round of the Shannons Nationals will take place at The Bend Motorsport Park on 15-17 November.

AIMSS_Mono