Round 7 of 8 for the HQRAWA state championship.
Barbagallo Raceway - 20th October 2018
18 Cars made the field for Qualifying. Wade Hedley #16 had mechanical issues from the start of qualifying and only managed 3 laps which put him 13th on the grid for race 1. Rory Sharp #19 also had mechanical issues only completing 2 laps and qualifying 9th. Watkins #1 got pole with a 1.16.78. Over 1 second slower than pole for the previous round. Michael Howlett #7 placed 2nd with a 1.17.21, 3rd Adam Butler #93 and 4th Mick Woodbridge #74. It was all very close with only .4 of a second between 2nd and 7th place.
Watkins led the pack into turn 1, Woodbridge had a great start and moved up 2 places on the first lap going from 4th to 2nd place. Howlett, Roelofs, Adam Butler and Kenny were all very close for the first couple of laps until Butler missed his brake marker going into turn 1 and tagged Michael Howlett sending the #7 car into the sand which then brought out a 3 lap safety car period. Watkins maintained the lead as the race re commenced under pressure from Woodbridge and Roelofs. Ainscough was pushing hard making 4 passes in the last 3 laps moving up from 14th to finish 10th. Sharp retired on lap 6 with mechanical issues and unfortunately retiring the #19 car for the day. Laurie Marsh was driving well moving up from 12th to 9th but then had brake issues going into turn 6, after a short while cutting the grass and avoiding the sand trap he returned to the track in 13th and finished the race 12th. Watkins took the chequered flag followed by Woodbridge, Roelofs & Stu Kenny, Pangler finished 5th setting some very quick lap times. Roelofs, Kenny, Pangler, Davis, Russell, Breen & West all set their fastest laps of the day in race 1.
Wade Hedley retired the #16 car for the day leaving 16 HQ’s for race 2. Rob Roelofs & Peter Marsh came together early in the race sending Roelofs hard into the wall on the back straight which brought out the red flags. All drivers were ok but the #24 car suffered heavy front end damage ending the day for Rob Roelofs. A full race re- start then followed with only 15 cars now. Howlett got squeezed onto the grass by Stu Kenny on the first lap encountering a close shave with the wall on the start / finish straight, luckily no damage but Howlett decided to retire from the race. Phil Breen had clutch issues and did well to bring #75 car home in 11th place. Watkins got through the pack early in the race to take the lead under pressure from Ryan Davis, Adam Butler was flying coming from rear of field to pass Ryan Davis on the final lap to take a well deserved 2nd, Davis 3rd & Woodbridge finished 4th with a blown head gasket followed by Pangler & Kenny. Ainscough drove well to finish 6th, Steve West & Brad Butler were having a great battle with Brad finishing 9th & West 10th. Ainscough & Laurie Marsh both set their fastest times of the day.
Only 14 HQ’s made the final race of the day. Woodbridge made a move on Watkins to take the lead on the first lap. Ainscough & Peter Marsh had a great race exchanging positions from start to finish, Kenny had mechanical issues and retired to the side of the track on lap 5. Russell was closing the gap on the Marsh & Ainscough battle finishing 10th. Laurie Marsh drove well and did not blow a head gasket for a change finishing 7th. Watkins was all over the back of Woodbridge waiting patiently to make a move but Woodbridge was not going to make it easy. Adam Butler was on a flyer starting 9th and now up to 3rd closing the gap on Watkins & Woodbridge with Davis close behind in 4th. Watkins tried out braking Woodbridge down the inside in the final turn with both drivers heading for the chequered flag side by side with Woodbridge taking a well deserved win only 8 hundredths of a second ahead of Watkins, Adam Butler 3rd & Davis 4th. Scott Hames managed another 360 spin in spectacular style and kept it going to finish 13th. Peter Marsh, Brad Butler & Scott Hames all set their fastest laps of the day.
Another great performance from all involved. Well done to Ryan Davis on claiming his first podium finish for a round, well deserved and a long time coming. Although we lost a few cars over the day it looks like almost everyone has sorted their cars out and another good field will be ready for the final round of the year. The championship winner is already decided (Marc Watkins) but many other places are yet to be taken. Places 2 and 3 promise to be a good battle between Adam Butler and Mick Woodbridge. See it all at Night Masters 3 on the 17th November at Barbagallo Raceway, see you all there!
Current championship standings and full results can be found HERE.