2020 ROUND 1 - JULY 11 - WAKEFIELD PARK - RACE REPORT
Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.
After a long break, the 1st round of the Supersports NSW Championship had finally arrived. The event was successfully run under strict social distancing conditions as the NSW government slowly eased the restrictions. For Supersports, the last time these cars ran was towards the end of 2019, a lifetime away under this current climate.
A heathy grid of 11 cars turned up for qualifying in what could be describe as gloomy and dark conditions. Nick Kelly claimed pole in the Radical SR8 and was joined on the front row by Peter White also driving an SR8. The Juno driven by Alex Kenny was on the second row alongside Stephen Champion. Ryan Godfrey in a beautiful livered Radical SR3 was 5th with Peter Clare in 6th.
Prior to the start of race 1, the heavens opened. Rain had eased just as the race started, however there was standing water everywhere. Nick Kelly made a great start with White beside him. The wet conditions caught out White with his car spinning out of harms way, he rejoined in last position. The race quickly settled down with N Kelly leading A Kenny, then a gap to a 3-car battle between Clare, Champion and Godfrey. By mid-race distance White was making his way through the field but still a long way behind the leaders. This all changed when Sue Hughes car spun coming down the hill. The incident caused damage to the rear wing and the safety car was introduced.
Once the safety car was introduced, the field bunched up to the relief of early spinner White. At the restart, second position A Kenny took this opportunity to go past N Kelly and claim the lead. Unfortunately for him it did not last long, his car spinning at the fishhook and dropping down to 9th outright. Nick Kelly was now alone at the front and drove superbly to finish in 1st position. The recovering Peter White finished 2nd and Clare stayed out of trouble to come home 3rd.
Race 2 started in wet conditions, the drivers tip toed through the puddles at race start and found grip where ever possible, the luckless White spun again in the opening lap. This caused the safety car to come out, fortunately White was able to get going with no assistance. Once the field was released the order was Godfrey, N Kelly and A Kenny.
The conditions worsened and A Kelly spun on top of the hill dropping him down the order. Up front N Kelly overtook Godfrey for the lead with a courageous move down the main straight. Clare found the conditions difficult resulting in another spin. By Mid race distance the order was N Kelly from Godfrey, then a big gap to the recovering A Kelly and Chris Barry. The latter spun while he was in a comfortable 4th position, resulting in positions lost.
The leader also came to grief due to the wet track; he was not alone as Champion lost control and became stuck in the gravel trap causing another safety car period. With only one lap to go the safety car released the field, Craig McLatchey spun on cold tyres dropping him to the rear. The final order after the one lap dash was Godfrey 1st, A Kenny 2nd, N Kelly 3rd and White 4th.
Race 3 was run in very dark conditions; the rain had abated, and the track was drying. The unfortunate Clare was towed off the grid missing the start, A Kenny lead the race early from Godfrey and N Kelly. White spun at turn 10 making it a trifecta with a spin in each race. Greg Kenny followed suit with a spin at the start of the straight. The race settled down and the order was A Kenny, N Kelly and Godfrey. These 3-drivers built up a considerable lead from Champion. The hard charging White spun again as he was working his way up through the field.
The race was turned on its head when leader A Kenny lost control of his car, causing the safety car to come out. This allowed the field to bunch up for a sprint to the finish. White used the safety car to his advantage making his way up into 3rd position, and eventually overtaking Godfrey on the back straight to claim 2nd. The result was N Kelly 1st, White 2nd, Godfrey 3rd and Champion 4th.
A great comeback to racing in the adverse conditions, congratulations to all involved.