ROUND 3 - OCTOBER 29-31 - SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK - REPORT
Written by Riccardo Benvenuti.
The INDUSTRIE Supersports state championship returned after an extended Covid lockdown that gripped the state of NSW. The Round was held as a support category for the Supercars championship, and as patronized by the Supersport/PRB community. A massive field of 29 cars entered, they included Radicals, Stohr’s, PRB’s and a lone Juno. As usual, the format would be Qualifying and 3 races.
Qualifying was held Friday evening in warm windy conditions. Alex Kenny in the Juno claimed pole with a time of 1:28. 3889. Peter White (Radical SR8) joined him on the front row. The second row was occupied by Neale Muston (Radical SR8) and Darren Barlow (Stohr). Row 3 consisted of Mitchell Neilson (Radical SR3) and Brad Shiels (Radical SR3).
Race 1 was held Saturday early afternoon. White made the best start followed by, Alex Kenny, Muston, and Barlow. As the field rounded turn 1, Peter Clare went wide and toured the grass for a couple of hundred meters. Alex Kenny momentarily passed White for the lead, but the Radical driver was having none of that. Barlow was harassing Muston for 3rd position and eventually went past him.
During the middle of the race the unfortunate Ollie Shannon and Nick Kelly retired in different sections of the track. This caused the safety car to come out for 3 laps. At the end, the compressed field had a one lap dash to the finish, White romped home to claim a well-deserved win. Alex Kenny came home second followed by Barlow. Brad Shiels came home 4th just in front of Peter Paddon.
White continued his form and made the best start for the 2nd race, he was closely followed by Barlow, Alex Kenny and Paddon. Ollie Shannon toured the outfield losing a few positions. As the cars rounded turn 2, Stephen Champion spun and stalled his car facing the wrong direction. From that point on he was just a sitting Duck. The unfortunate Ivan Srejber could not avoid the stricken car and they collided. Srejber’s PRB hitting his right side against Champions front end. The safety car was introduced again.
As the field rounded turn 1 again, they all had to reduce speed rapidly due to the relatively late introduction of the safety car. Josh Versluis stalled the engine due to the sudden stop and could not fire it up again. He was safely removed under the Safety car. At the restart,3 laps later Paul Palmer and Peter Clare collided resulting in Clare’s car stopping. He eventually rejoined the race, albeit in last position.
At front White was still leading from Barlow and Alex Kenny. A great dice for 4th place was brewing between Chris Perini, Nick Kelly, and Mitch Neilson. In the end White won again, Barlow edged out Alex Kenny and Neilson claimed 4th.
In the trophy race White again made the best start. He was closely followed by Kenny and Barlow. As the field came out of turn two, Briana Wilson and Paddon had a slight touch. This resulted in Paddon spinning his car to a stop and eventual retirement. The three leaders were putting on a great dice, side by side racing and the constant position swap really entertained the large crowd.
Rear of the grid starter Neale Muston was working his way through the field, passing cars with ease. By mid race distance he was just outside the top 3. Another notable mention is Nick Kelly, he was debuting a new Radical RS10. His speed in the car improved as the weekend progressed.
A four-way dice formed in midpack between Champion, Warwick Morris, Paul Braico and Andrew MacPherson. Morris had a spin at the hairpin that resulted in a slight collision with Braico. Both raced on albeit plenty of time lost. Champion spun at turn 6 trying to get past MacPherson.
Third position Alex Kenny retired on lap 7, at this stage the order was White from Barlow and the charging Muston. Brad Shiels car started smoking going down the main straight to an eventual retirement. James Dick in a Clubman spun coming out of the last turn, he quickly recovered. At race end White made it 3 wins from 3 starts, Muston went past Barlow to claim 2nd. Neilson finished 4th with Nick Kelly 5th. Chris Perini and Ryan Godfrey came home 6th and 7th respectively. Ollie Shannon, Wilson, and Clare rounded out the top 10.
Peter White was the star of the weekend, he was fast, consistent and raced well to score 3 wins. A special mention to Peter Paddon, Nick Kelly and Neale Muston, all 3 drivers racking up 50 race starts in the NSW Supersport State Championships. But the biggest milestone went to Darren Barlow, in this race he achieved his 100th podium in the NSW Supersport Championship. That is from 119 race starts and only 3 DNF.