Austral Technologies & The Federal Hotel Collie Double Header Weekend
After a long break since Round 2, 17 HQ’s made the trip down south for the Ernie Hastie Memorial race meeting at Collie Motorplex with 15 arriving early on Friday to get a few laps practice with Peter Marsh & Rory Sharp arriving bright and early Saturday morning. Practice session was very busy but all cars managed a few laps. Scott Hames managed a spectacular 360 spin in turn 1 with impressive tyre smoke but soon got back down to business. It was a first time at Collie in a HQ for our rookies Chris Ainscough, Dennis Russell and Scott Hames. Most cars ran the sessions fine except Adam Butler & Stuart Kenny with some tricky carby’ issues but all were sorted with help from Ryan Davis & Mick Woodbridge. Friday night would see most of the HQ racers congregating at one of our weekend sponsors The Federal Hotel for some delightful meals and beverages.
Saturday Rory & P. Marsh joined the party and all 17 HQ’s were out qualifying. Wade Hedley put it on pole with a 57.82, Adam Butler was second fastest with a 58.35, Watkins 3rd with a 58.61. Wade Hedley’s time put him half a second clear of the rest of the field with less than half a second separating 2nd to 6th place. There was also a slight misunderstanding between Watkins and Sharp with the two making contact between turn 2 and 3.
Adam Butler got off to a great start leading away the strong field of HQ’s followed by Wade, Watkins & Woodbridge. Wade Hedley’s car rolled forward before the start of the race giving him a 5 second penalty. On lap 4, Wade made a move on Adam to take the lead on that same lap Mick ‘Fudgebridge’ dropped a few places down to 9th. Again, good battles all through the field, Wade crossed the finish line first, but 5 second penalty put him back to 4th position giving Adam Butler the win from Watkins & Howlett. Chris Ainscough made up a few places finishing 10th which would put him on pole for race 2 alongside Woodbridge. Adding to Wade’s misfortune, a broken gear box would see him miss the next race.
Chris Ainscough was caught napping and missed the start, Woodbridge shot off into the lead hotly pursued by an in-form Ryan Davis. Peter Marsh avoided the slow starting Ainscough car with a run along the gravel and curb on the inside into turn 1. Turn 4, Rory missed a gear and got tagged by Stu Kenny turning Rory’s car Sharply to the right and into a spin which in turn got hit by Ainscough causing extensive panel damage. Luckily all cars continued to race but the field of HQ’s were now split. Rory Sharp recovered well to get back up to 8th place from 16th. There was no catching Mick ‘dusty’ Woodbridge especially when he laid down a dust cloud in turn 2 after running wide in turn 1, he led the race from start to finish under pressure all the way from Ryan Davis followed by Stu Kenny & Michael Howlett. Peter Marsh had a strong race and did well to finish 7th.
Wade Hedley and his pit crew worked hard to complete a gear box change so the final race for Saturday would see of 17 HQ’s back on track. Adam Butler starting on pole, alongside Woodbridge with Watkins & Howlett on row 2. Once again battles were being had all throughout the field with positions changing each lap. Wade after his gear box change had the bit between his teeth from the rear of the grid made it through the field to 3rd place setting fastest lap of the race with a 57.36. Adam Butler held off Watkins to take the race win and claim his well-deserved first round win, Watkins 2nd and Woodbridge 3rd for the day.
After a great days racing, drivers, officials & pit crews made their way back to The Federal Hotel for some well earned lemonades and a good bit of banter.
Wade Hedley again put it on pole with a blistering 57.17 which was nearly half a second clear of his nearest rival Mick Woodbridge. There was only a tenth of a second between 2nd & 5th place, all drivers were now improving on their lap times.
Wade took the lead followed by Woodbridge Watkins & Howlett. Howlett made a move on Watkins with both of them passing wounded Woodbridge with a blown head gasket. Dennis Russell was now getting to grips with the collie circuit with an impressive 59.66 amongst the busy field of HQ’s. Chris Ainscough was making steady progress until a spin on lap 6 dropped him back to 15th place. Wade took the chequered flag from Howlett, Watkins & Woodbridge. After the race the 74 car was swarming with activity with all hands on deck resulting in a 30 minute head gasket change, thanks to all.
Laurie Marsh starting from pole alongside Peter Marsh, 2nd row, Stuart Kenny & Ryan Davis. The race got off to a good clean start but then lap 2 would see Peter Marsh attempt an impressive drift display from turn 2 all the way into turn 3. Pete than dropped back to 9th where he remained for the rest of the race. Adam Butler now had the lead from Ryan Davis & Marc Watkins. Lap 5 Watkins passed Davis and on the last lap Adam Butler ran wide in turn 3 allowing Watkins through to take the win followed by Adam, Davis & Howlett. Lots of last lap action with Phil Breen passing Ainscough for 15th, Laurie dropping 4 places to finish 14th both Mark Alfonsi & Brian Pangler passing Dennis to leave them 11th, 12th & 13th & Brad Butler moving up to finish in the top 10.
Watkins led away the pack for the final race of the weekend followed by Hedley, Butler &Howlett. Pangler had mechanical issues leaving him stranded on the grid, red flagging the race. A full restart but the delay would see Phil Breen, Stu Kenny, Brian Pangler& Mark Alfonsi retire for the weekend. 13 HQ’s made the restart with Wade putting Watkins under pressure from the get go. Wade passed Watkins on lap 2 & Howlett made a move on Adam Butler into turn 4 with Adam tagging the rear of Watkins sending him off into the gravel re-joining in 7th behind Rory Sharp. Wade held the lead for the remainder of the race chased hard by the in-form Michael Howlett. Watkins worked his way back up the field to finish 3rd, Adam Butler 4th & Ryan Davis 5th after a good battle with Woodbridge. Wade won the day, Watkins 2nd & Howlett 3rd.