11 Nov MOBIL 1 APC CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWDOWN LOOMS FOR BATHURST SUNDAY
Just three points separate the top two cars in the Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars outright championship heading into the final day of racing for the 2023 season, with Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns holding the slight lead in the #25 TyrePlus Burleigh Ford Mustang today over Iain Sherrin in the #27 Sherrin Rentals BMW M4.
In third place and also still in touch is Grant Sherrin in the #27 Sherrin Rentals BMW M4, who is 50 points shy of the lead and 47 away from Iain Sherrin in second place.
There are 36 points on offer for a race win and two races to run, meaning both Sherrin brothers are still a chance of bringing home the team’s fourth outright APC title and the first for a single driver, but it would be foolish to count out the #25 Mustang, with Cowham and Kearns exceptionally focused on bringing home their maiden outright title after coming so close in previous years.
Title fights are still raging also in a number of classes – read on for the full details. The final day of the 2023 season for Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars will consist of two further 30-mintue races here at the Bathurst International tomorrow (Sunday 12 November), with the field hitting the track at 8.40am for race three and 11.05am for race four – with this final race of the year for the category to be broadcast live on Stan Sport.
It was a dramatic start to race one this morning with two separate issues on the start/finish line as the field gridded up twice saw the start delayed until 21 minutes into the allocated 30-minute race time.
First, the Tony Levitt/Luke King #16 AMG Spares Mercedes suffered an oil fire on the out lap, but thankfully while the delay was long the damage was minimal and the #16 was able to return for race two later in the day.
When the #16 was cleared a new formation lap was called at 17 minutes elapsed, and then the Wade Scott #81 Graphtex/BSR Evo 8 came to a halt off the side off the straight with clutch issues. Thankfully, Scott’s entry was quickly cleared, and the field were able to commence the race for what was a frantic three-lap dash to the checkered flag.
When all was said and done, it was Iain Sherrin who took the APC outright and Class X win, crossing the line ahead of Grant Sherrin (2nd for X, 2nd outright) and Beric Lynton (3rd for X, 3rd outright – #23 Bruce Lynton Service BMW F80 M3.
Fourth across the line was the X class entry of Simon Hodges, who is driving with Iain Salteri this weekend in the #31 Secure Wealth Advisers BMW F82 M4.
Rounding out the top five outright for APC was the A2 winning and current outright championship leader, the Mustang of Cowham and Kearns, with Cowham at the wheel.
Sixth outright was the #64 Bilstein HSV SS Camaro (2nd for A2) which was heralded as the round six Meguiar’s Best Presented Car yesterday, with Chris Lillis at the wheel. Third for A2 went to Brian Callaghan (#37 Callaghan Concrete Pumps Holden VY GTS) in 9th outright.
Taking class victories were Ben Gersekowski (1st for B2, 7th outright – #38 KCK Lubricants/Vic’s Timber BMW E92 M3), Tyler Mecklem (1st for A1, 8th outright – #9 Parramatta Vehicle Services Mitsubishi with Hadrian Morrall), Peter O’Donnell (1st for B1, 17th outright – #28 Spinifex Recruiting BMW 335i), Tom Needham (1st for C, 18th outright – #34 AllCarbitz Mazda 3 MPS), and Liam Moyse (1st for D, 25th outright – #97 GenFit Toyota 86).
The other race class podium placings went to Cameron Crick (#118 DA Campbell Transport Evo with Dean Campbell – 2nd for A1, 13th outright) and Michael Osmond (#7 Ozzy Outhouse Hire BMW M135i (3rd for A1, 15th outright), Chris Holdt (#51 Lithostone Surfaces HSV Commodore, 2nd for B2, 20th outright), Trent Allen (#84 ABC Building Products Subaru WRX Sti, 2nd for B1, 22nd outright), Chris Begg (#115 Btuned BMW E92 M3, 3rd for B2, 23rd outright), Karlie Buccini (#999 Brisbane Motor Works BMW 135i with Michael Von Rappard, 3rd for B1, 24th outright), Allan Jarvis (#70 TOA57D Motorsport VW Polo GTi, 2nd for C, 26th outright) and Chris Gunther (#15 Wahlstrom Financial Services BMW 130i with Mitch Randall, 3rd for C, 27th outright).
The race one finishing results had some key implications for championship chases, seeing Iain Sherrin close the gap to the outright leading Cowham/Kearns entry from 33 points to 18, and third placed Grant Sherrin also close his gap to the lead from 68 points to 56. In A2, Levitt’s DNF combined with Brian Callaghan’s result saw him jump Levitt in the points for P2 in the title behind Cowham/Kearns, with 20 points between Callaghan and Levitt heading into race two.
The second race of the weekend came in the late afternoon, with a 5.05pm kick-off time thankfully getting off to a much smoother start than the morning outing.
In what was a much less dramatic race, Iain Sherrin put in another strong showing to bring home the outright and Class X lead, while Salteri (with Hodges) claimed second outright and for Class X.
Grant Sherrin was 3rd outright and for Class X, crossing the line ahead of Lynton (4th outright and for X), and outright championship leader Cowham, who also claimed another A2 race win for him and Kearns from 5th outright.
The result for the two Sherrin entries and the Cowham/Kearns Mustang sees Iain Sherrin close the gap to the leading #25 to just three points in the outright title battle ahead of tomorrow’s closing two races, while Grant Sherrin remains in touch, 50 points shy of the leaders.
Also taking back-to-back class race wins today were Gersekowski (6th outright, 1st for B2), Morrall (7th outright, 1st for A1), O’Donnell (1st for B1, 14th outright), Needham (1st for C, 17th outright) and Moyse (1st for D, 22nd outright). Levitt’s DNF would see Brian Callaghan further extend the lead between himself in 2nd and Levitt in 3rd to 31 points ahead of tomorrow’s final two races.
The other race class podium placings went to Jacques Oosthuizen (#94 Fang It Customs HSV Clubsport R8, 2nd for A2, 8th outright), Symonds (3rd for A2, 9th outright), Osmond (2nd for A1, 13th outright), Holdt (2nd for B2, 16th outright), Chris Begg (3rd for B2, 19th outright), Scott Turner (#29 Fierce Racing Mercedes A45 with Rob Rubis, 3rd for A1, 20th outright), Allen (2nd for B1, 21st outright), James Keene (#50 MWM Racing Mini JCW with Trevor Keene, 2nd for C, 23rd outright), Gunther (with Randall, 3rd for C, 24th outright), and Von Rappard (with Karlie Buccini, 3rd for B1, 26th outright).
While getting off to a better start than the morning’s proceedings, race two would have an unfortunate ending, with A1 championship leader Dean Campbell making heavy contact with the wall at The Grate to become stranded in the middle of the track in his damaged #118 DA Campbell Transport Mitsubishi Evo he shares with Cameron Crick.
Campbell lost control after contact of his left front tyre with Monochrome GT4 Australia competitor, Tim Leahey, who was passing the lapped Evo on the inside and was unfortunately unsighted by Campbell.
With the #118 unlikely to return for Sunday’s action, this incident not only ends the entry’ weekend hopes, but also could see a real threat to their championship aspirations with the Morrall/Mecklem entry already nipping at their heels and closing the title gap to just 32 points with their class race win this afternoon.
Also running into trouble in the afternoon’s race were the cars of Lillis (fuel pump issue), Levitt (electrical issue), Scott (right hand front tyre delamination) and Tony Quinn (cooling issues in the #101 Game Over Ford Mustang GT), with each of these entries failing to finish the race. Allan Jarvis in the #70 TOA75D Motorsport VW Polo GTi was served a post-race five second penalty for spinning the #15 Wahlstrom Financial Services BMW 130i driven by Chris Gunther, who thankfully was able to avoid contact with the wall, however the penalty did not change his finishing position.
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