With our events seemingly stacked on top of each other the Awesome MR Crew once again worked their tails off to get our four GT3 Cup Challenge cars ready for Winton as well as our four Carrera Cup cars that needed to be prepped and loaded for the trip to Darwin in time for the next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship.
The weekend also marked the start of the 'Jim Richards Endurance Trophy' championship with a 35 lap endurance race on Saturday followed by two 12 lap sprint races on Sunday.
After a great effort learning the track, Jim upset the establishment (particularly his team-mate Tim!) by qualifying an impressive 2nd in class. In race one he ended up at the back of the pack after the first lap so had a big job ahead, but fortunately the 35 lap race gave him the time he needed to work his way back up to the front finishing a very respectable 4th.
In the second race Jim got a good start from 7th on the grid and carved his way through the carnage at turn one to pop out second on the road and first in his class. During the race his 'Pro' team-mate Jake chased him down but he still managed 3rd outright and won his first A Class 'Elite' race!
In race three Jim started in third where he stayed for three laps until a recovering Jaxon Evans pushed him back to 4th. Still, he withstood pressure from an aggressive Ryan to hold position behind the Pros to win his second race on the trot securing his first round win in 'A Class Elite'.
Jim is fully deserving of this result and after the last round at SMP, we predicted "he will be a pain in Tim's butt before too long!" Still there is plenty of respect between the two of them so we hope we don't have to make a 'Multi-21' call anytime soon!
It was good to have Jake's sponsor Ray from Super Rooster join us for the weekend. After learning the track in practice he qualified 3rd, impressively only 2 seconds off pole. In race one he drove a sensible if quiet 35 lap race, but being the intelligent driver he is, he took the opportunity to experiment with some driving styles and learned plenty to be applied the next day.
For race two he dropped a spot at the turn one melee but did well to stay out of trouble. During the race he hunted down 'in form' team mate Jim and took 2nd place with a time 3 tenths of a second closer to the fastest time.
In race three he had a cracking start to lead the pole sitter into turn one and he led until a clean but forceful move from Hardeman into turn ten. He chased hard then had a good dice with a recovering Jaxon and produced his fastest lap of the weekend less than a second off the new lap record.
It was an excellent weekend for Jake who learned plenty about the art of driving these cars and continued closing the gap on his first race win.
Tim qualified 3rd and in race 1 he got a great start and made two spots to lead Jake and Jim. Jake finally taking 3rd place half way through the 35 lap race. Tim pressured Ryan for many laps eventually forcing a mistake allowing Tim a relatively easy final 15 laps to grab another Challenge class race win with 4th outright.
In race two Tim started well from 4th but was caught up momentarily in Jaxon's turn one crash with Tim's 'nemesis' Jim Campbell getting through the carnage a little quicker, to get ahead. He was sitting behind Jim plotting a cunning plan to get past when he lost the rear into turn 11 on lap 7. Unfortunately the clutch was damaged in the recovery so a modest run to 5th was all he could salvage.
In race three he drove a really strong race getting through traffic to make up for lost time, and would have loved a few extra laps as he was closing on Shahin and would likely have finished 2nd in 'Elite' class. In any case, his win in race one and combined results still gave him second for the round in 'Elite' class and he has extended his championship lead.
Jaxon was always going to have a challenge on his hands at Winton, going up against Hamish Hardeman at his home circuit. Jaxon was disappointed to miss pole by 1/tenth of a second, but the team was quite satisfied knowing his race pace would be very strong.
He got a decent start in race 1 to follow Hardeman and apply plenty of pressure over the first 5 laps, giving the team confidence it was a matter of time until he took the lead. Unfortunately his tyres 'grained' badly on the new Winton track surface after 6-7 laps and his car didn't have the pace to keep up with the leader.
We made some changes to his car and were very confident we had his car on the pace for race two. Unfortunately an aggressive opening two corners from both the young guns on the front row resulted in Jaxon's car getting turned around in the middle of the circuit, which followed by him getting hit by a back marker damaging the radiators on his car.
In race three Jaxon drove a great race from near the rear of the grid to muscle his way through to 2nd by the end of the race to bag some valuable championship points.
We didn't test at Winton prior to the round and this cost us some pace particularly in the first race.
While the recent Rennsport weekend was an amazing result for MR, it was a similar sense of achievement for us to get all four of our GT3CC drivers on the podium, particularly with the level of competition in the championship this season.
Many thanks to our supporters and the MR drivers, sponsors and families. We now head straight to Darwin for the next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup where conditions are sure to be allot warmer!