New Zealander John Hepburn has taken out Round 3 of the Australian Super Truck Championship, coming out on top by just a single point over Steve Zammit after four thrilling races.
Hepburn finished second behind Zammit in the opening two races before the pair engaged in a ferocious battle in Race 3, Hepburn eventually coming out on top after a daring overtaking move at turn 1. Hepburn also prevailed in the final Super Prix race, while Zammit fell back to third after a close contest with John Bomberle.
Zammit holds a slender lead over Hepburn and Bomberle ahead of the final 2015 Super Truck round at Wakefield Park in November.
In the Super Trucks Teams Championship race on Saturday afternoon, it was Brett Dalgish who drove Zammit’s truck to victory ahead of Marcus Prillwitz and Shannon Smith.
The Super Trucks were supported at the race meeting by nine other categories, as part of the Victorian Motor Racing Championships.
In his very first visit to Winton, Synergy Motorsport driver Andrew Kahl took a comprehensive victory in Formula Ford, winning all three races. Jayden Ojeda was second overall ahead of Jordan Boys, while the second Synergy Motorsport entry of Ryan Pike ran strongly in the first two races, but retired from the final after a collision with Ojeda at turn 3.
John Connelly was the best of the Kent Class drivers ahead of Brendan Jones and Daniel Holihan.
The V.E.K. Tools Pulsar Challenge was a typically close-fought affair, with a pair of sprint races around the Winton Club Circuit followed by a longer feature race around the National Circuit. Johnny Rachele and Joel Heinrich won the sprints, before Josh Heath claimed the feature race, and overall round victory, after a race-long scrap with Heinrich.
The Pulsars were also responsible for the most spectacular incident of the weekend, Craig Thornton rolling his car at turn 5 on the opening lap of the feature race.
Also competing on the Club Circuit were the speedway-derived Legend Cars, with Kyle Angel taking the round victory ahead of his brother Reagan. Greg Davis was third overall, just one point ahead of Winton operations manager Wayne Williams. HQ Holden racer Keven Stoopman also tried his hand at a Legend Car, but endured a tough weekend with two DNFs.
A “State of Origin”-style contest between Victoria and New South Wales was the highlight of the Excel Racing Series, and NSW appeared to have the ascendancy after Race 1, in which Daniel Smith streaked away to a seven second victory. However, Smith retired after an early collision in Race 2 and Nathan Blight capitalised to take victory.
Blight had to work harder in Race 3, fending off the reigning champion Jarrod Tonks for the duration of the race, but ultimately prevailed to clinch the round victory from Tonks. Emily Duggan ensured NSW was represented on the podium by finishing third overall.
The Parcel Pass Victorian Super TT Championship presented a typically diverse assortment of cars, with a number of drivers from other categories cross-entering to gain extra track time. Chad Cotton dominated the races in his Future Racer, leading home the Aussie Racing Cars of Jake Klein and Jase Collins, but it was reigning Champion Stephen Harrison who was the best of the drivers eligible for points, bringing his BMW E36 home fourth overall.
Chad Cotton also won the Miniature Race Cars, which competed in combined races with the PRB Clubman category. Stuart Shirvington dominated the Clubmans with victory in all three races, including the reverse-grid second race.
Mark Kakouri won all three Liqui Moly Vic V8s races in his Holden VH Commodore, his main opposition coming from the Ford XB Falcon Coupe of Victor Argento. Adam Caddeo finished third overall in his VL HSV Group A SS.
After coming into the weekend tied for the championship lead with Kakouri, a disappointed Glenn Bethune was sidelined for the weekend after gearbox problems with his Commodore. Graeme Meer was another driver with dramas; after a strong second in Race 1, he retired from Race 2 and did not start Race 3.
Sean Bell won the BMW Drivers Cup round from Stan Armstrong and Geoff Bowles, while Michael Coulter claimed honours in the Stock Car round ahead of his father Steve Coulter and David Hender.
Victorian Motor Racing Championship Round 3 Results
1st. John Hepburn – Kenworth SAR404
2nd. Steven Zammit – Kenworth T401
3rd. John Bomberle – Kenworth T900
1st. Andrew Kahl – Spectrum 012
2nd. Jayden Ojeda – Spectrum 014
3rd. Jordan Boys – Mygale
V.E.K. Tools Pulsar Challenge
1st. Joshua Heath – Nissan Pulsar
2nd. Joel Heinrich – Nissan Pulsar
3rd. Johnny Rachele – Nissan Pulsar
1st. Kyle Angel – Legend Car
2nd. Reagan Angel – Legend Car
3rd. Greg Davis – Legend Car
Excel Racing Series
1st. Nathan Blight – Hyundai Excel
2nd. Jarrod Tonks – Hyundai Excel
3rd. Emily Duggan – Hyundai Excel
1st. Chad Cotton – Future Racer
2nd. Jake Klein – Aussie Racing Car
3rd. Jase Collins – Aussie Racing Car
1st. Michael Coulter – Oz Truck
2nd. Steve Coulter – Oz Truck
3rd. David Hender – Pontiac GTA
1st. Mark Kakouri – Holden VH Commodore
2nd. Victor Argento – Ford XB Falcon
3rd. Adam Caddeo – HSV VL Group A SS
1st. Stuart Shirvington – PRB Clubman S3
2nd. Trent Shirvington – PRB Clubman Composite
3rd. Chris Barry – PRB Clubman Composite
BMW Drivers Cup
1st. Sean Bell – BMW E30
2nd. Stan Armstrong – BMW E30
3rd. Geoff Bowles – BMW E30