Bathurst Motor Festival Race Report – Mayhem & Magic on the Mountain

You can be the most experienced driver and the best prepared team, but in the end the mountain decides your race.

The opening round for Shaw Vineyards, NSW Production Touring Cars was held over Easter at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.

40 cars and 58 drivers from NSW, ACT and QLD made the annual trek for an action packed weekend of racing, which didn’t disappoint.

Friday was a wet and foggy day, practice session was lost due to low visibility in the morning, and so all drivers competed in 2 Qualifying sessions in the afternoon. Combine rain, rookies, minimum time on the track and anything is bound to happen. Thomas took pole position with Searle, Anderson, Holt and Pollicina making the top 5.

First practice session was cut short with an incident with Mark Phillips/Gavin Clarke HSV entry and the Mitsubishi Evo of Michael Craig and David Ryan.

Whilst both cars suffered significant damage, Craig’s team made the decision to try to repair the badly damaged car with the help of the local Tafe team. Many hours and a trip back to Sydney for parts and the team made the start for race 2 on Sunday, even though they only completed 13 laps of the 24 lap race, it was a tremendous effort by all.

A repeat of Fabian Coulthard’s massive roll in The Chase a few years ago, by Zach Loscialpo demolished his Holden VE, Zach walked away, although in shock he was not injured, this also caught out Ric Shaw and Trevor Symonds getting tangled, and the end of Ric’s race. The safety car was out for 4 laps of the 16 lap race, just as pit lane had opened for the compulsory pit stop, the front runners missing out by seconds, the middle of the field were able to come into pit lane under the safety car. The winners out of this were Daniel Flanagan and Kevin Herben, rejoining the race in position 1 and 2. In fact it wasn’t until the chequered flag had been shown that the team told the boys they had come 1st and 2nd. Daniel was stoked he had finished the race but was in total shock when he found out he had won, Herben thought he was racing for position 9 and 10. Both Warren Millet and George Violakis received a 5 second penalty for a jumped start, while Jim Pollicina and Robert Coulthard got a drive through penalty for pit stop errors. Kavich retired with a blown turbo and Seton/Symes Evo was the 5th car to DNF. Overnight a few of the guys in the club told Paul Lane they would get his car fixed in time to be a starter for the Sunday race, and they did.

Sunday and how quickly you can go from hero to zero, race 2 on Sunday afternoon was a dry start, coming through the chase on lap 3 Kevin Herben lost all brakes and ended up buried in the sandpit and making contact with the tyre barrier, he watched his race unfold from the side of the track. Graeme Shaw didn’t make it out of the dummy grid with a fuel pump failure. Next to retire was Geoff Kite with radiator issues on lap 4, Krinelos lost a wheel and Millet not feeling too well, couldn’t continue both on lap 13. Brian Anderson’s BMW threw the power steering belt, scaring the proverbial out of him with Brett Heeley right behind while going through the dipper.

Dylan Thomas led the hour race from the start to the end but an amazing charge by Luke Searle in the BMW had everyone on holding their breath. He went quicker nearly every lap, Thomas led by 34 seconds after the completion of the pit stops, by lap 21 Luke had the gap down to 15 seconds, it was on this lap he came within 2/10’s of breaking an 18 year Production Touring Car record. On the next lap the car, which is straight from the showroom floor, went into limp mode on the top of the mountain, Luke turned the car off and back on and finished in 2nd, Matt Holt in the HSV GTS finished 3rd. Race 1 winner Daniel Flanagan had a diff pump failure and Tony Virag GTS suffered overheating issues. This was the first race of the weekend that did not bring out a safety car.

Over all winners for the weekend Dylan Thomas, Matt Holt and Jim Pollicina all got the honours of standing high on the Bathurst Podium.

Class winners are

A1 – Dylan Thomas                                  Mitsubishi Evo X

A2 – Matt Holt                                         HSV GTS E3

B1 – Adam Proctor & Mark McHenry        Subaru WRX STI

B2 – Michael Hiscoe and Mark Caine          HSV Clubsport

C – Nick Cox                                                     BMW 130i

D – Chris Reeves                                                 Toyota 86

E – David Crowe                                      Suzuki Swift GTi

S – Equal points, Tony Shanks/Matt Shanks and Bradley Moss/Cameron Moss              Ford Falcon

Next round is at SMSP on May 2-3 for the seasons first sprint round.

This club could not be as good as it is without the added support of our corporate partners, Hankook Tyres supplied and fitted by the boys at Gary’s Motorsport Tyres, Shaw Vineyards, Bilstein who were very generous this weekend and gave away Laptop bag, umbrella’s, cap and lanyard to all entrants. CXC Global, MoreDriven for all your IT requirements, Racebred Engineering and Massel. MoComm for all radio needs, VSport supplier to the club of the top of the range Go Pro’s, which the club is giving one away to a lucky member at each round, this round congratulations Glenn Kenny and last but not least LA Racing Lubricants.

See the photo gallery for the weekend here


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