Close Action As Circuit Racing Returns To Western Australia
The WA Sporting Car Club returned to racing after a three month break at the weekend and with six categories racing including Formula Ford, Formula Vee, Excel Cup, Historic Touring Cars, Time Challenge, Saloon Cars and Improved Production the expectation was always going to be for some close, entertaining racing.
Even with restrictions in place such as only one pit crew per competitor, social distancing requirements for volunteer officials and no spectators permitted to be track side, the usual hum of the race day was not diminished and perhaps was more heightened by the length of time between the last laps turned here.
From the start of the day it was clear that there were some cobwebs needing to be blown out of the engines of both the drivers and the cars with some minor visits to the various sand traps around the track for most of the first outings of each category however there were no visits that caused early retirements for the day.
In the Formula Ford category a field of twenty were on track during the day with outright results going to Craig Jorgenson, Joshua Matthews and Mark Picket swapping the podium places for most of the day while over at the other open wheeler category, the Formula Vees, the split field of 1600 and 1200 engines had David Caisley, Ross Murray and Rod Lisson taking the 1600 podium spots while Franz Esterbauer, Andrew Lockett and April Welsh headed up the 1200 category podium positions.
Heading to the “tin top” racing categories, and the Excel Cup series had another field of twenty out on track and with the tight regulations around this category and the field always growing, proved to be some of the more entertaining racing for the day with Robert Landsmeer, Cooper Smart and Ryan McNess finding those extra few milliseconds where crucial to stay ahead of the rest.
The Saloon Cars were split with the EA/VN category running separately to the AU/VT field which joined the diminished Improved Production Car category to make up the numbers.
The Saloon Cars resembled something closer to the American NASCAR series with drivers bump drafting, swapping door paint and challenging each other through turns with a few spins later in the day as drivers perhaps got their confidence back on track a little too soon.
In the EA/VN category the podium places were taken by Marc Watkins, Chris Kneafsey and Michael Holdcroft while the AU/VT category had Grant Johnson, Rick Gill and Brock Boley on the steps, while the latters teammate Brad Boley was handed a 30 second penalty in Race 3 for careless driving.
Even though there were only three runners in Improved Production racing, Barry Baltinas, Dom Coniglio and Tim Riley didn’t hold back with all drivers putting in respectable times.
The Historic Touring Car class had a big surge in entrants driving Morris Cooper S’ vehicles with a total of seven entered. Dan Forster and Lance Stannard would each split wins for the day while Garry Edwards, Grant Johnson and Laurie Lapsley would all take out their categories for the day.