Holt slides into first

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Some came to win, some came because it was the chance to drive “the Mountain”, but they all came for exciting quality racing and that’s exactly what they got.
Results speak for themselves, 48 cars started in practice on Friday and after 2 hours of solid racing over the 3 days, 36 cars crossed the finish line on Sunday afternoon.
67 drivers took part in the Bathurst Motor Festival over the Easter weekend, and showed some of the more professional fields in the sport that you can have a large fields and the Safety car does not have to lead half the race.
The racing started Saturday morning with Driver A in a 10 lap race, followed in the afternoon with Driver B for the 2nd race which determined the starting grid for Sundays race.
One of many first timers to Bathurst this weekend, Jake Shelley had the drive of a lifetime, starting 5th and fought with the top runners to pass and get to 2nd. David Thomas’s weekend ended early dropping a cylinder in his CXC Global Evo. The Evo 10’s looked unbeatable early on, Simpson already had a 7 sec lead by lap 3. With times like this it didn’t take long for the back runners to start being lapped, there were blue flag on every flag point. The biggest casualty of the weekend was Dave Kruza, coming onto the straight he had a massive hit in his BMW M3, this bought out the safety car and Simpson lost his 33 sec lead. The restart turns the race into a 3 lap sprint to the end and excitement was bound to follow, last years champ Gerry Murphy came in a little hot into Murrays and lucky for him and the cars in front it could of been a lot uglier, Murphy drops back to finish 8th with minor damage, 2 laps to go and Pollicina front tyre blows most likely from debris picked up after the Kruza incident, the tyre fractures and failed in the braking area of the chase, a hairy moment crossing the finishing line when he loses the car and 2 spots, thankfully his experience gets the car back under control. Tony Virag had to go into fuel conservation mode when his fuel light in the HSV came on and lost 3 spots in the last lap. “Quick as a Flash” Scott Sullivan also lost 3 spots when he had a coming together with an unidentified BMW’s in the chase. Betland found himself in a spot he didn’t want to be, right behind the safety car he gave himself a pit lane drive though to get out of the way of the fast front runners and rejoined the field once they all went past. Ian Kingham should be buying a lotto ticket, his FPV front right tyre blew coming into the chase at a massive 230km per hour. Thankfully he was able to pull it up and park it.
Gridded up for race 2 and the call come across from race control that there’s a lot of oil on drivers line up at Skyline and at the exit of Murray’s, the clean up delaying the start of the race. Symonds gets a drive through for a jumped start, Jim Stewart’s Subaru kisses the wall up the top but continues on and Sullivans luck didn’t improve and he retires on lap 4 with broken steering from damage in the earlier race.
Brett Howard was in great form in the top ten but came to an abrupt finish with fuel issues on lap 8. Gus Barbara and Steve Hodges racing for top ten and pushing to the limit were both dealing with over heating, Hodges finished 10th and Gus’s race was over with just over a lap to go. Trevor Symonds in the Western Star Trucks GTS bad luck continued with a broken front cross member, turning out of the Chase front of car hits the wall and punctured the front left and the weekend is over. Murphy and Stewart both made great moves going through the field after starting at the rear due to not qualifying in session 2. Heeley also suffered damage to most of the left side but still finished 11th. As expected with a massive lead Simpson wins, he was the end of the front straight by the time 2nd place Walsh/Mechtler and Burges/Burges in 3rd followed by seasoned mountain man Peter O’Donnell in 4th, took the chequered flag.
Richard Gartner bought the gremlins with him, all weekend the team struggled with the BMW’s engine going into limp mode, the crew drove back to Sydney on Sunday morning to collect parts from the workshop and had replaced every component they could but with no change.

Talk up and down pit lane on Sunday morning when the grid sheet was issued, both Jim Stewart and Anton Mechtler had been given a technical infringement and to start rear of the grid. This opened up grid spot 2 and 11 and moved the front of the field forward. The cars on the starting line waiting for lights to go out and pit lane is full of yellow waving flags, Peter O’Donnell who was starting from 3rd has a dead engine and needs to be towed from the start line. Race underway but ended early for the father and son Shelley team. Steve is in the car and reports come in there was fire, no fire but it was the end of the race for the team and a disappointed Jake didn’t get another run. With a compulsory pit stop during this race there were a few teams hoping the Safety Car had of stayed out for one more lap coming in just before the pit window was open for 20 minutes, the Pedder’s Toyota 86 crossed the timing line right at the start of the 20th minute, Phillips jumps out and funny man Shane Jacobson finishes the race. Alex Veryinis was given a pit lane penalty for leaving the pits in an unsafe manner and Tony Shanks struggled with power steering issues. 3 minutes left in the race and Simpson is leading by a massive 55 seconds, 2 laps to go and he slows, his front right tyre has delaminated and his lead slips away, Holt sees victory as he passes the unbeatable Evo 10 coming into the final turn goes a bit wide onto the ripple strip, the car unsettles and is heading straight for the pit wall, Holt regains control and takes the victory, Pollicina passes and Simpson limps home in 3rd. Mechtler and Walsh made a staggering 38 spots in 8th.
Pollicina, Poll Performance was the first of the Series sponsors in 2nd, followed by Mocomm – Gerry Murphy 6th, Cary Morsink Savvy IT 12th, Shaw Vineyards Graeme Shaw in 16th and Deputy.Com Steve and Jake Shelley out early on.
Bilstein proved its reliability and performance again with 5 of the 7 Bilstein cars in top 15.
The series continues in 3 weeks for Round 2 at Sydney Motorsport Park April 20-21st.

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