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2021 ROUND 2 - MAY 22 - WAKEFIELD PARK - REPORT

Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.

A strong field of 16 cars competed round 2 of the 2021 NSW Supersports Championship. Late May can bring some cold temperatures at Wakefield Park however, the biggest problem was thick fog that delayed proceedings by about an hour.

 

As the cars came out to qualify, visibility was still limited and many drivers took the safe option by just getting used to the environment. Brad Shiels was probably the bravest taking out pole with a respectable time of 57.03461, Peter White shared the front row with him. Neale Muston and Nick Kelly occupied the 2nd row as Darren Barlow and Ryan Godfrey shared row 3.

By the start of the first race the fog had cleared up into a cool but sunny day. Stephen Champion spun during the warmup lap, showing just how hard it was to get warmth in the tyres. White made a brilliant start and build up a 20m lead by the time the field reached the top of the hill. Muston was 2nd and Shiels was 3rd. Before the first lap ended Kelly went past Shiels to claim 3rd. The top 5 drivers built up a commanding lead from Ryan Godfrey who was 6th.

Gregory Kenny was late on the brakes at turn two trying to pass Paul Palmer. The two drivers collided resulting in Palmer spinning, he rejoined the race in last position. Kenny continued but at a reduced pace. The race had settled down and the only other dicing on the track was a battle for 2nd between Muston and Kelly, and also a group of 5 cars, nose to tail that included Champion, Warwick Morris, Brad Neilson, Steve Shiels and Peter Clare.

Barlow came off the track at turn 2 touring the grassy outfield, losing plenty of time but fortunately no positions. Towards the end of the race Godfrey started slowing down, he just made the finish coasting over the line. The result was White 1st, Muston 2nd and Kelly 3rd.

White made a similar start in race 2, however Muston quickly passed him to take the lead. Brad Neilson spun just after the turn one kink. His car toured the infield backward and the momentum took him back onto the track. Luckily the oncoming field took avoiding action, missing the stricken car.  During the second lap, White spun at turn 3, his car stopped in the infield and took a long time to get going, he eventually rejoined in last place.

 

As the race settled, the order was Muston 1st from Kelly, Barlow and Brad Shiels. Champion was having a great dice with Godfrey, the former was hounding the back of Godfrey’s car. Unfortunately, this battle did not last long. Champion’s car stopped coming down the hill forcing a safety car to come out. The racing resumed and it would be a sprint to the finish. Muston won from Kelly, Shiels overtook Barlow towards the end of the race to claim 3rd.

Race 3 started nearly at sunset; the temperature had dropped considerably into single digit. Muston made the best start from Kelly. Shiels and Barlow raced side by side towards the top of the hill, the former took the racing line at the top forcing Barlow into 4th. The first two pulled away as  3rd and 4th continued their dice. White was distant 5th, credit to him as he started from the back of the grid.

 

The battles for minor placing were just as intense; Sue Hughes was dicing with Kenny, Steve Roberts with Morris and Champion. The leader reached back markers at unfortunate parts of the track, this forced the leading four to bunch up. As this was happening Palmer had a spin at turn 2, he rejoined in last place. The quartet at front remained in the positions despite the obstacles incurred. The result was Muston 1st, a great way to cap your 50th race starts in the NSW Supersports series. Kelly was 2nd and Barlow held on for 3rd. Brad Shield finished 4th and White rounded off the top 5.