It is always a pleasure to have the Super Trucks in town! Winton Raceway has had a busy few months, the latest weekend of course being the first round of the Victorian Motor Racing Championship featuring a huge 10 categories sharing the track for a non-stop action packed weekend!
The schedule included 2 Litre Sports Sedans, BMW E30/E36, Legend Cars Australia, Mini Thundersports Series, NSW Excels, NSW SuperTT, Super Trucks, Vic V8s, Victorian Formula Racing Series, Victorian Sportscar Championship. Quite the lineup!
Barry Butwell led an incredibly close qualifying for the Super Trucks with Shannon Smith just 0.04 seconds behind in P2. Robert Fern crossed the line just two and a half tenths further back, absolutely nothing in it and a precursor to a great weekend of racing. Butwell led a faultless weekend in the ANTRO Mack Superliner winning all four races across the weekend, with his teammate Tye Oxley coming in third in both teams races for a fantastic overall weekend. The Fern Earthmoving team had a similarly consistent weekend with Robert Fern finishing P2 in all four races with his teammate Lachlan Fern putting in an incredible effort to win both teams races! Mark Noonan, who qualified 4th in his Scania T123, managed to improve his results as well, finishing P3 in the first three races before a rough final race finishing in P5. Mark manages a P2 and a P4 in the teams races to round out a very respectable result for the weekend.
The Victorian Formula Race Series saw a great amount of names grace the podium across the weekend. In qualifying Luke Klaver pull a second out of thin air in an incredible display of skill, followed by the Hyper Racer development driver, Dean Crooke, with young karting up-and-comer Damon Sterling only another 4 tenths back. Luke and Dean shared two race wins each with Damon seeing the podium three out of four races, setting the fastest lap in multiple races as well. Lucas Stasi and Hamish Leighton also saw the podium, capitalising on mistakes and picking up those extra points. The final standings for the weekend are split by the smallest of margins with Luke Klaver in P1 with 49 points, Dean Crooke on 42 points and Hamish Leighton in third with 37 points, followed by Lucas Stasi and Damon Sterling right on his heels with 35 and 34 points respectively.
It was fantastic to see the GT Cars and Cup Cars back on track at Winton again racing in the Evolve Technik Victorian Sportscar Championship. Jamie Lovett ran a grandslam weekend in his 991.1 GT3 Cup taking out qualifying, all four races and every fastest lap, sometimes by mere hundredths. Well done Jamie! Those few hundredths behind was Andrew Hall who led a similarly consistent weekend in P2 for both qualifying and all four races. Steven Kepper seemed to be set to do the same thing in P3 all weekend until the final race which saw Andrew Smith take third place on the podium, both in their 997.2 GT3 Cup Cars.
The Hyundai Excel racing returned to the VMRC in force with a whopping 35 entrants taking to qualifying on Saturday. Race 1 saw George Wood (P1), Wil Longmore (P2) and George Mawad (P3) on the podium, the only time all 3 of them would see the podium over the weekend. Race 2 saw Alice Buckley, Ryan Casha and Jack Wood in the top three spots and would remain on the podium together for the rest of the weekend with Buckley seeing P1 in race two and Wood winning the final two races.
The 2 Litre Sports Sedans (2LSS) played host to a story very close to many hearts in our racing community. It is said a mother should never have attend their children’s funeral, but that’s what happened when a young and much loved member of the racing community, Joshua Dowell, was taken far too soon earlier this year. Damien Hunter took to the track this weekend in honour of Josh, sporting his orange racing number 799 and a special livery “In memory of Joshua Dowell, 2000 – 2023” featuring a massive #doitfordowelly sticker across the back of his Renault Clio along with Dowell’s name above Hunter’s on the rear window.
Damien Hunter went on to win the round with three race wins as Josh’s family watched on from the finish line. Well done Damien, a truly fantastic way to honour the Dowell family.
The Garagistic BMW Drivers Cup brought yet another healthy number of entrants to the weekend in both the E30 and E36 classes. Royce Lyne in the Toplyne Concreting E30 led a stunning weekend with three race wins and a P2. Ashley Rogers took that fourth race win and another two P2’s in the Westvic Earthmoving entry. Jesse Bryan also saw the podium several times with a P2 and two P3’s in his Trading Garage & The Motorists sponsored E30. Meanwhile in the E36 category, we saw Rob Boaden take P1, followed by David Bailey in P2 and Aaron Lloyd take P3 in all four races.
The Australian Pulsar Racing Association racing teams came to the weekend extremely competitive with some very close qualifying results. Despite having the competition on his heels, Dan Smith drove his N14 pulsar to victory in all four races. A masterclass in being smooth and making no mistakes that might allow the cars just seconds behind him a chance at the lead. Mathew Butters finished P2 in the final three races, after finishing P3 in the first race, a very consistent weekend for Butters finishing 3 seconds or less behind the race leader. Ryan Tomsett took that P2 in race one before slotting in behind Butters to finish P3 for the remaining races of the weekend.
Andrew Goldman and Gerry Burges traded race wins in the Super TT Championship Over 2L category, sharing two each along with a compliment of podium places. The Subaru WRX of Paul Conrnell finished well with two P2 finishes in the first two races but was sadly unable to start the final two races. Brendan O’Connor ran a safe and strategic weekend cleaning up a healthy amount of points finishing in P3 for all four races. The Under 2 Litre field was led by Rob Boaden in his E36 BMW claiming P1 in all four races. Behind, David Bailey finished P2 with Paul Currie coming home P3 for all four races.
The Legend Cars and Mini Thundersports saw 5 races together across the weekend. In their Legend Cars, Robert Hogan and Billy Finnegan shared two wins each with Brendon Hourigan taking the other race victory. Scott Morgan also ran a very smooth weekend with two P2’s, two P3’s and a P4, picking up a constant stream of points all weekend. Ben Goodridge also saw the podium along with a stream of P4’s and P5’s to end a very productive weekend for his team.
Over in the Aussie Racing Cars field competing in the Mini Thundersports category, Daniel Price led a strong weekend enjoying three race wins, a P2 and a P3 with Blake Purdie hot on his tail with a race win himself, three P2’s but an unfortunate DNS in the final race bringing a halt to his points collection for the weekend. Robert Coulthard played the long game, taking three P3’s behind Price and Purdie before capitalising on the final race to bring home the win. Jack Boyd also saw the podium twice in P2 and P3 rounding out the podium sitters for the weekend.
The Victorian V8 Series was a sight for sore eyes, the liveries and sounds of V8 Supercars from yesteryear flying around the circuit. Gregory Lynch in the Ravage Raceworks VT Commodore with its stunning red and white Mobil1 livery took home the final three out of the four race wins, followed by it’s sister car the VS Commadore wearing that same livery piloted by Brian Finn who came in P2 for all three of Lynch’s wins with the pair swapping places as Finn took home the first win of the weekend. Mark Houeix and Allan Argento both took a final podium place each and Mark Kakouri rounded off the podium for the final two races.
Round 2 of the Victorian Motor Racing Championship will take place once again at Winton Raceway on the 15th – 16th of July
📸: Colson Photography