MOSTLY dry conditions complimented a massive cohort of 265 entrants for Round 3 of the VSRS at Phillip Island, a packed schedule of racing also changing the championship prospects for many competitors.
Jamie Westaway logged his second Porsche 944 round victory for season 2021, out pacing defending champion Cameron Beller to take the top step – re-securing his lead in the championship race in the process. Beller would settle for second, having claimed a win in Race 2, chased by Mark Taubitz who was enjoying a strong weekend in mixed weather conditions to be third. Tony Westaway and Richard Howe completed the top-five.
Ben Schoots proved to be, once again, unbeatable in his SIN Cars Australia #65 entry. Having taken out the opening race of the weekend in the Sports Cars, a super-short four-lap race, Schoots backed it up with an emphatic win in the 40-minute endurance race Sunday afternoon. Jamie Lovett overcame Andrew Hall in a battle for the honours of being first Porsche home, supplementing his second place in the 2021 championship battle. Richard Campbell came home P4 in his immaculate McLaren 570S GT4, just ahead of a fast-finishing Jim Manolios in his Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
A pair of wins on Sunday helped Vince Gucciardo to his second-round victory on the go in the MGs and Invited British Sports Cars. With Phil Chester taking out the opening race of the weekend on Saturday, Gucciardo struck back on Sunday overcoming a stern challenge from both Chester and MGs stalwart Robin Bailey. Keith Ondarchie made it onto the final step of the podium after late-weekend misfortunes struck Bailey, with Gary Bulmer and Barry Pritchett completing the top-five.
Reef McCarthy completed his perfect weekend in the Formula Vees, successfully pulling off a last-minute pass on Heath Collinson on the run to the chequered flag in the finale. With a win on Sunday morning, McCarthy extended his lead in the 2021 championship battle. Ash Quiddington claimed P3, just ahead of Ash Clifford and Shane Purvis who featured in the battle for the lead early in Race 3.
Alex Jory enjoyed an undefeated run on Sunday in the BMW E30s, having their second race of the weekend re-scheduled to Sunday morning after the significant delays suffered on Saturday. Brian Bourke capped his weekend off in P2 not able to match the round winner on overall pace. Simon Leech meanwhile climbed onto the podium. Geoff Bowles and Dean Coutts finished P4 and P5 respectively.
The Holden HQs were bundled with the Historic Touring Cars for Round 3, with the mixed pace of both classes providing an entertaining prospect. Ryan Woods emerged victorious in the HQs, taking a win in the finale to sneak ahead of fast-man Rodney Earsman. Gavin Ross made it onto the podium in the final eight-lap race of the weekend.
A close battle meanwhile between Andrew Clempson and Michael Miceli saw the former claim round victory from Miceli. With several Mustangs featuring inside the top-ten, Andrew Lane dragged his fastback ‘Pony Car’ to P3.
The impressive, 41-strong Improved Production field enjoyed a relatively more straight forward day of racing on Sunday, Adam Poole claiming victory after a battle with fellow Holden giant, Damien Milano. Jarrod Tonks made it three Holdens on the podium, with Andrew Butcher and Robert Braune putting two BMWs inside the top-five.
Clay Richards claimed Formula Ford round victory in his Spectrum following a sodden Race 3, catching out Race 2 winner Tom Sargent on the opening lap and spinning at Turn 4. Following two Safety Cars, Richards, despite spinning, made his way back into the lead to claim race and round victory. Conor Somers finished his weekend P2, ahead of Matthew Holmes who enjoyed a strong return to competition. Brendan Jones meanwhile extended his lead in the Kent championship, ahead of 16-year-old Jack Clifford and James Meaden.
Saloon Cars, Anthony Beare pulled off a masterstroke of wet weather driving to win the finale, edging out championship leader Travis Lindorff to claim race and round victory. Simon Tabinor led home club president, Daniel Johnson, to secure P3, Adam Lowndes home in fifth.
It was a perfect weekend in all conditions for Dean Camm and his impressive Chevrolet Corvette in the Sports Sedans. The veteran mastered wet conditions to win the finale from John Ippolito and Tony Groves. Groves suffered in his final race of the weekend following a spin at Turn 5 with Paul Pennisi. Terry Hamilton and Gregory Lynch finished inside the top-five.
Circuit Racing Excels saw Jarred Farrell ease home for round victory in mixed conditions – combined with his Race 2 victory Farrell extended his lead in the championship after claiming victory in a Safety Car affected Race 3. Kobi Williams finished his weekend in P2, with Toby Waghorn home in P3, under incredible low-light conditions. A speedy Ben Bargwanna and Adam Bywater completed the top-five.