New Zealander Chris Gwilliam (Neilson Motorsport Boss/Esslinger) overcame intense pressure to win round two of the Diamond Air Speedcar Super Series at the Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway on November 19.
After winning the Dash Gwilliam drove from pole position directly into the lead at the outset of the 30 lap A Main with his countryman Hayden Williams right behind and Adam Clarke third. Gwilliam opened a small gap on Williams after a couple of laps while Clarke came under attack from Brad Mosen (NZ). Mosen had been a late nomination in the second IGA St Georges Basin Esslinger with Aidan Corish in the sister car. Michael Jordan finished what had been a disappointing night after clipping a wheel and rolling into the fence during lap 7. Driver okay and car not badly damaged but with a flat tyre was out of the contest.
After the restart Mosen went past Clarke with the Kiwis now one, two, three. Michael Stewart (CP3/Fontana) had started from the fourth row but had steadily been working his way forward and was now fifth behind Clarke with Nathan Smee and Scott Doyle next. Smee was driving Scott Wilson’s Boss/Stanton SR 11) while Doyle was in Bobby Smith’s Spike/Esslinger.
During lap 17 Paul Murphy (Rod’s Auto Care Fontana) came to a stop in the back straight and was pushed infield where he was joined by Darren Vine (Mike Vine Turbo Spike/Esslinger) after a rock had gone through a new radiator. When the green light appeared again the front three were nose to tail while Stewart began to drop back and withdrew a couple of laps later with falling oil pressure. Smee was now gaining on the leaders after passing Clarke a couple of laps earlier. Lapped cars were going to be an issue near the end of the race so an interesting finish was imminent.
In the last five laps Williams began to hustle Gwilliam while Mosen was watching both and just waiting for an opportunity but had to be cautious as Smee was now on his tail. With two laps left Williams made a move but in the process opened a gap for both Mosen and Smee to take advantage. A blanket could have covered the front four runners as they crossed the finish line with Gwilliam an elated winner scoring his third feature win since joining the Queensland ranks this season. Mosen was third, Smee third and Williams fourth in want had been a great contest.
Adam Clarke (Jack Berry Racing Spike/Esslinger) set the mark with a 13.236 in The Speedway Shop Time Trails just ahead of Hayden Williams (13.396) and Scott Doyle (13.572). Both Chris Singleton and Michael Jordan failed to time with issues. Singleton, a SSS contracted driver, had an electrical issue that couldn’t be overcome despite a lot of hard work in the pits. The Terry King car that Jordan was driving had a faulty ignition trigger which was replaced in time for the heats.
The opening round of heats went to Rodney Harders, Aidan Corish (NSW) and Adam Clarke with the only casualties being Brendan Palmer (EastLink Air Breka/Esslinger) and Paul Murphy. Palmer stopped during the opening heat with a broken oil pump that finished him for the night while Murphy suffered a flat left rear tyre during the second encounter.
Chris Gwilliam won heat 4 from Corish and a fast finishing Williams with Murphy next. The name Brown is deeply imbedded in the history of Victorian and Australian speedcar racing with Mark Brown an icon of the sport for three decades. His son Kaidon Brown, at just 16 years of age, made his speedcar debut at Parramatta the previous week and come to Lismore to gain some more experience. In heat 5 he started from position four and with precision passed the cars in front of him to go on and collect his maiden speedcar win. No doubt he still has a lot to learn but with such a polished performance Kaidon Brown has a very promising racing career ahead of him. Clarke finished qualifying with another win ahead of Charlie Brown (Rod Singleton Racing Spike/Esslinger) and Brad Young (Federal Tyres Spike/Gaerte). During this race, young Jack Black took a big tumble right in front of the grandstand. The car went up on two wheels and after catching a rut cartwheeled high into the air before coming to a landing wheels up. The second-generation racer was winded and disappointed but otherwise okay.
Clarke drew marble 4 for the Dash inverting the front two rows and giving Gwilliam a great opportunity to capitalize. He took it with both hands and won from Williams and Clarke. Four cars were due to go from the B Main but the field was decimated before the start with a couple of withdrawals including Paul Murphy with another flat left rear tyre. When Mitch Haynes (Foreman Brothers Stealth/Porsche) suffered a breakage in the rear suspension the race was halted with Matt Hunter (NSW) the winner over Michael Jordan (NSW) and Cal Whatmore. Murphy, as a contracted driver, decided to use his provisional start which meant he started position 20 in the A Main.
The Speedcar Super Series continues to provide outstanding racing and with the three Kiwis thrown into the mix it was a night of great racing action and must have given great satisfaction to tournament director, Ken Jenkins. Thanks to David Lander and all the staff at the Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway who go out of their way to make it all work in a friendly and efficient manner.
The midgets return to the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday December 3 with round 3 of the Polar Ice Midget Series with every one gunning for the last round winner, Chris Gwilliam.
Adam Clarke (NSW) 13.236
Hayden Williams (NZ) 13.396
Scott Doyle 13.572
Heat 1 Rodney Harders 2 Rob Stewart 3 Michael Stewart
Heat 2 Aidan Corish (NSW) 2 Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 3 Reid Mackay
Heat 3 Adam Clarke (NSW) 2 Nathan Smee (NSW) 3 Charlie Brown
Heat 4 Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 2 Aidan Corish (NSW) 3 Hayden Williams (NZ)
Heat 5 Kaidon Brown (NSW) 2 Nathan Smee (NSW) 3 Scott Doyle
Heat 6 Adam Clarke (NSW) 2 Charlie Brown 3 Brad Young
Dash Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 2 Hayden Williams (NZ) 3 Adam Clarke (NSW)
B Main Matt Hunter (NSW) 2 Michael Jordan (NSW) 3 Cal Whatmore
A Main Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 2 Brad Mosen (NZ) 3 Nathan Smee (NSW) 4 Hayden Williams (NZ) 5 Adam Clarke (NSW) 6 Scott Doyle 7 Aidan Corish (NSW) 8 Brad Young 9 Reid Mackay
10 Matt Hunter (NSW) 11 Kaidon Brown (NSW) 12 Adam Wallis (NSW) 13 Charlie Brown 14 Cal Whatmore