ROUND 2 - APRIL 15 - SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK - REPORT
Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.
As per the first round, a healthy field of 22 cars rolled out onto the track in qualifying. Alex Kenny driving his new Nova set the benchmark with a time of 1:26.1129. A time that was good enough for pole position by a margin of nearly 3 seconds. South Australian Mark Laucke was second fastest from Chris Perini and Justin Tigani. Row 3 consisted of Alex Gardner and Mark Brame. The rest of the top 10 was Sergio Pires, Ryan Godfrey, Tim Cook and Paul Royal. The qualifying session was cut short due to Simon Coppin’s car ( West) breaking down at turn 5 and eventually catching fire. The unfortunate Coppin would be out for the rest of the meet.
The field had a clean start In race 1. Alex Kenny and Laucke justled for position on the arrival of turn 2. The two leaders swapped places multiple times in the initial laps, with both drivers making some daring but fair overtaking moves. As this was happening at front, Godfrey settled in 3rd position building a gap to Tigani and Perini. John Paul Drake, who had struggled in qualifying, started this race in 21st position. He was showing tremendous speed carving up through the field. By mid-race distance he was already in 5th position.
The unfortunate Jonathan Canavan’s Radical broke its front splitter while he was in 13th position, he soldiered home to finish in last place. Great dices were forming through out the field; Terry Knowles, Peter Clare, Stephen Champion and Warwick Morris were never separated by more than a few seconds. Alex Gardner and Tim Cook also swapped position throughout the race.
At front Alex Kenny eventually broke clear of Laucke and started building a small gap. The charging Paul Drake overtook Godfrey and eventually Laucke to find him self on Alex Kenny’s tail. With only a few laps to go he took the lead and eventually won. A last to first performance that consisted of a lap record. Alex Kenny finished 2nd from Laucke 3rd. Godfrey was 4th and Tigani 5th. Special mention to Greg Kenny, 50 race starts in the NSW Supersport Championship.
Race 1 winner Paul Drake did not make the start of the second race. Laucke took full advantage of this and lead the field into turn 2, Alex Kenny and Godfrey in close pursuit. Alex Kenny went past Laucke to take the lead. Laucke ran into trouble, at the third lap he was virtually last with damage to his rear left. By mid-race distance the race had settled down, the first 6 drivers were spread out, as Brame and Pires were dicing for 7th position.
The order at lap 7 was; Alex Kenny, Godfrey, Tigani, Perini, Cook and Gardner. Laucke was working his way back up the field but the deficit was too big to overcome. A spirited dice between Champion , Shields and Greg Kenny was forming, one that would run till the end of the race. At the end Alex Kenny won by a narrow margin from Godfrey. Tigani finished 3rd from Perini and Cook.
Due to the delays in previous races (other categories) the final race was run in diminishing light. Godfrey made the best start, closely followed by Alex Kenny and Perini. Godfrey kept the lead for two laps , until Alex Kenny made a great overtaking move at turn 2. The recovering Laucke was at this stage up to 4th position and putting a lot of pressure on Perini. During the 4th lap Laucke and Cook went past Perini and proceeded to hunt Godfrey down.
Jonathan Canavan, Brame and Pires had their own private battle as Steve Roberts hovered just behind them. The unfortunate Alex Gardner’s car toured slowly to retire; he was joined not long after by Greg Kenny. Laucke in 3rd was not able to close the gap to Godfrey at front and that is where he eventually finished. Alex Kenny was 1st from Godfrey and Laucke. Cook finished in 4th position from Tigani and Perini. The remainder of the top ten was Canavan, Brame, Pires and Roberts.