RACE REPORT – 2018 Round 1, Sydney Motorsport Park

NSW 2018 Motor Race Championship – Round 1

NSW Production Touring
Sydney Motorsport Park 17th of March 2018

Oppressive heat greeted the competitors for the first round of the NSW Motor Race Championship with temperature of 36 degrees on Saturday and 40 degrees on Sunday, this would sure test the cars and drivers respectively. The production touring category has gone from strengths to strengths over the past few years and with a 34 car field coming out to qualify 2018 would continue the trend.

The large field consisted of a variety of cars competing in seven separate classes. It did not take too long for home grown V8 to stamp its authority by claiming the first 3 places on the grid; Tony Virag’s HSV Gts claimed pole from Mark Caine, the second row consisted of Matthew Holt (Clubsport) and Clay Skinner in a Evo 10. Although large capacity cars dominated qualifying they would not have it their own way throughout the races.

 Virag made a great start heading the field into turn 1 and he was closely followed by Skinner who was able to use the 4WD advantage to leap frog Holt and Thompson. Caine would be missing from the starting grid as his HSV Clubsport had a mechanical failure leaving the dummy grid. As the field arrived at turn two for the first time, Stephen Thompson had too much speed and jumped on the brakes, his car locked up and nearly collected the car in front. Once the smoke had settled the black marks left behind from his tyres would be around 150m long.

Jimmy Vernon first outing in his EVO 10 settled in 4th position shadowing the leader and keeping the main pack at bay. Dices where evolving throughout the field. Adam Gosling, Brent Howard, Nick Cox (all BMW) and Gavin Holland battled in close proximity for most of the race. Harrison Grey in a Toyota 86 was pushing the braking limits of his car often resulting in locked up tyres into turn 2.

As the race progressed Virag and Skinner built up a small gap to third placed Holt. Vernon in turn was keeping Mark McHenry and Stephen Thompson behind him with some clever driving, unfortunately McHenry would retire on the 10th lap. In the end the final result was Virag 1st, Skinner 2nd and Holt 3rd.  Towards the end of the race it was getting noticeable that some of the bigger rear wheel drive cars were starting to struggle with tyres due to the extreme heat, and the forecast for Sunday would be even hotter.

Sunday late morning and the second race starts in 40 deg temperature, the 4WDadvantage prevailed again with Skinner winning the jump and was closely followed by Vernon and Thompson. By the end of the first lap Virag found himself in 5th position with a lot of work to do, he started passing a few cars as each lap passed and eventually made it to 2nd. Another driver that was making his way up through the field was McHenry, staring from the back of the grid due to his previous DNF he was already just outside the top ten by lap 3.

The heat was having a factor in the race, some of the bigger cars were struggling to get traction out of the slow corners, and evidence of this was Andreas Veryinis in his Commodore power sliding around turn 2 looking for some traction. Virag pursued Skinner and was slowly making up ground, however as this was only an eight lap race he ran out of time. The final result was Skinner 1st, Virag 2nd and a strong showing from Thompson 3rd.

For the third and final race it was Caine’s turn to have a great start. Skinner, Caine and Thompson headed the field into turn 2 and continued dicing for the lead for the oncoming laps. Caine set the fastest lap of the race during the 2nd lap propelling him into the lead. A great Mid-pack battle was forming between Paul Pearson and Adam Gosling, a dice that would last the entire race with Pearson coming out on top.

At front Skinner, Thompson and Virag went past Caine allowing, these leading position remained static until the very last lap when Caine went re-overtook Virag and finished 3rd out right. The final result in the trophy race was Skinner 1st, Thompson 2nd and Caine 3rd. Darren Herbert was first home in class B1 (8th), Geoff Kite was the class B2 winner (10th). In class C it was Adam Talbert in a BMW, in Class D it was Daniel Smith prevailing and the winner of class E was Andrew McMaster in a Mazda 3.

Congratulation to Clay Skinner with two wins and one second he was clearly the star of the weekend.



Race 1

1    41  Royalty Wraps and Graphics     Tony Virag (NSW)         HSV GTS             

2    32  Andersons Scaffolding          Clay Skinner (NSW)       Mitsubishi Evo X rs 

3    65  METCALFE AUTOMOTIVE            Matthew Holt (NSW)       HSV Clubsport R8

Race 2        

1    32  Andersons Scaffolding          Clay Skinner (NSW)       Mitsubishi Evo X rs 

2    41  Royalty Wraps and Graphics     Tony Virag (NSW)         HSV GTS             

3    92  Access Homes/DTMF Racing       Stephen Thompson (NSW)   Mitsubishi Evo10

Race 3

1    32  Andersons Scaffolding          Clay Skinner (NSW)       Mitsubishi Evo X rs  

2    92  Access Homes/DTMF Racing       Stephen Thompson (NSW)   Mitsubishi Evo10    

3     2  Angry Cactus Racing            Mark Caine (NSW)         HSV R8 

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