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Night Masters 2 - Race Report

A good turnout of 18 HQ's for round 2 of the 2018 WA HQ Racing Championship. A big welcome to the 2 new racers, Christopher Ainscough and Dennis Russell making their debut in HQ Championship. A welcome return to Rhys Brown in car #18 after a short break from the track.

Qualifying Rory Sharp was on fire with 1:16.57 giving him his first Pole Position by half a second over Marc Watkins in 2nd. Stuart Kenny was showing some good form and took 3rd position. Only 0.4 of a second separated 2nd to 6th place. Unfortunately Rhys Brown only managed a couple of laps with terminal engine problems causing him to retire the #18 car for the day.

Chris Ainscough was all geared up and good to go for qualifying but did forget his bucket and spade, taking an unplanned trip to the sand at turn 7.

Race 1

Wade Hedley got off to a flying start going from 3rd to 1st on the opening lap, Watkins dropped back in to the hungry pack of battling HQ's whilst Sharp and Hedley pulled a gap on the rest of the field. Watkins struggling with gearbox issues was trying to stay with the pack but with a little help from Stu Kenny dropped back to 7th. Michael Howlett, Rob Roelofs, Stuart Kenny and Adam Butler had a great battle exchanging positions all through the race, Butler blew a head gasket on the penultimate lap dropping him back to 10th. Sharp reeled Hedley in on the final lap and made a move to take the Checkered flag and his first HQ Race Win with Hedley crossing the line 0.2 of a second behind and Howlett 3rd. Scott Hames kept himself entertained during the race with a couple of 360 spins, Kenny got all crossed up on the final turn causing heavy contact with Roelofs allowing Watkins to take 5th from Kenny and Roelofs 4th. Phil Breen did his fastest lap of the day with a 1:19.38 and all 17 HQ's finished Race 1.

Dinner Break An earlier than expected dinner break was called due to an incident on the circuit. It was good to see all HQ drivers, friends and families unite having a yarn and catch up during the Dinner break. Many laughs and criticisms were had whilst watching over the on-board footage... A Big Thank You to Grant Howlett for supplying and preparing the hot beef and gravy rolls.

Race 2 (Reverse Grid) Adam Butler starting from pole after his head gasket change

(Cheers Grunta) with Brian Pangler alongside on the front row for race 2, Butler shot off in to the lead hotly pursued by Mick Woodbridge who had now turned up the wick on the #74 car. Sharp and Hedley struggled to make their way through the field. Mark Alfonsi and Dennis Russell put in their fastest laps of the day, Alfonsi with a 1:20.57 and Russell with a 1:20.18. Lap 6 saw Woodbridge run wide in the left hander and Butler struggled for grip causing him to take an unusual line which allowed Watkins through to take the lead. Howlett dropped back to the rear of the grid with mechanical issues, Watkins took the checkered flag from Woodbridge and Kenny 3rd. Ryan Davis on fresh rubber finished 4th and Sharp with the Fastest lap of the race finished 5th with a 1:16.93. Peter Marsh kept Pangler under pressure throughout the race crossing the line with only .01 between them.

Race 3 17 HQ's made it for the final race of the evening, Sharp starting Pole with Watkins alongside, Hedley and Woodbridge on the 2nd row. Both Laurie Marsh and Howlett retired on lap 2, Howlett with mechanical issues again and Laurie Marsh having double booked with his bowling event needed to leave early. Watkins and Sharp raced side by side for the 1st couple of laps with Watkins then taking the lead from Sharp with Hedley sitting on Sharps rear bumper. Some clean close racing from Hedley, Woodbridge, Kenny, Butler and Roelofs exchanging positions each lap of the race. Pangler and Peter Marsh also racing several laps door to door with Phil Breen close behind. Ainscough set his fastest lap of the day with a 1:21.21 as did Scott Hames with a 1:22.18. Alfonsi and Russell had a good clean battle with Alfonsi on Russell's rear bumper all the way to the finish. Watkins took the Win closely followed by Sharp and Hedley. Woodbridge had pulled a gap on Davis to finish 4th and 5th. Only 0.4 of a second separating the battle pack of Kenny, Butler, Roelofs and Peter Marsh finishing in that order.

Congratulations to Christopher Ainscough and Russell Dennis on completing all 3 of their first races without incident. Driver of the day has to go to Rory Sharp for his scorching fast Pole Position and first race win. We will wait and see if someone can better a 1:16.5719 this year.

A great day and night of racing at Barbagallo Raceway. Strong fields, strong comradery and close racing between all competitors. Here’s looking forward to more of the same at Collie Motorplex for the double header on the 19th and 20th May. 2 full rounds will be contested over 2 busy days. Fingers crossed the new extended circuit will be available.

^ Laurie Marsh got his dates mixed up,

Looking at those race boots obviously

thought he was 10 pin bowling today.

Championship standings and race results available here.

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