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Round 1 (Night Masters) - report

2018 Season Underway What a great start to the 2018 HQ race season. 17 HQ’s made it for the season opener at Barbagallo raceway for the Night Masters event on the 17th February. It was a welcome return for the Marsh brothers and Brad Butler after a short vacation from HQ racing and Scott Hames making his debut for his first HQ race event.

All 17 HQ’s made it through qualifying. Brian Pangler was on form with a 1:18.3 just behind Ryan Davis with a 1:18.1 putting them 7th & 8th fastest. Adam Butler just missed out on his first pole position to Michael Howlett with Wade Hedley 3rd . There was only .006 of a second separating the first 3!

Race 1 Good battles were being had all through the field with Watkins taking the win from Howlett with Hedley 3rd. Unfortunately, Peter Marsh only completed 2 laps before electrical gremlins forced him to retire and grind to a halt on the exit ramp. After the race, Ryan Davis assisted the recovery team with a gentle push to return the stranded Marsh car back to the garage.

Race 2 15 of the 17 HQ’s made it for the reverse grid race. Hobbs with an unknown problem and Rory Sharp having trouble with his nuts causing a delayed start. Laurie Marsh picked up his game starting 14th and making up 6 positions to finish 8th. Peter Marsh finally cured the electrical gremlins starting rear of grid finishing a well earned 10th. Good battles between the Marsh brothers, Phil Breen & Brad Butler throughout the race and Stu Kenny battling along with gear box issues did well to finish 7th. Roelofs was having a good race until mechanical issues caused early retirement on lap 6. Watkins took the win from a hard charging Butler with Howlett claiming 3rd.

Race 3 Hobbs with mechanical issues unable to make the start leaving 16 HQ’s for race 3 under the Barbagallo flood lights. Hedley got the meatball flag with a broken exhaust causing early retirement of lap 5 and Roelofs after making up at least 6 positions also retired on lap 8. Phil Breen & Peter Marsh had a good battle, Mark Alfonsi picked up his pace after a little tuning between races 2 & 3. Good battles again all through the field, Rory Sharp had a great race making up at least 7 places. Watkins led from the start with Howlett keeping him under pressure from start to finish. Watkins took the win with Howlett crossing the line .3 of a second behind and Butler taking 3rd.

It had been a good clean nights racing until Woodbridge had a senior moment attempting to thank all the flaggies by manovering his car on the run down lap flashing his lights to thank them all not realising Ryan Davis had pulled up alongside causing a little HQ paint to be traded. Both drivers saw the funny side and shook hands later in pit lane.

Big congratulations to Scott Hames for completing all 3 races without incident!

All in all, a great opening to the season for HQ Racing WA with a good atmosphere and comradery amongst all drivers and officials. Looking forward to more of the same at Night Masters 2 at Barbagallo Raceway on the 17th March.

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