We were looking forward to our second visit to the Tailem Bend Circuit after a successful weekend last year and off the back of a successful round 5 at Townsville where we had Cooper, Luffy and Gilbo all on the podium.
Unfortunately, due to work commitments, Gilbo had to sit out the Tailem Bend round, so we drafted in our front running GT3 Cup Challenge Pro Am driver Brett "Blisters" Boulton to take over that car. The race format for the weekend was an 11-lapper on Saturday then on Sunday a 20-lap mini Enduro followed by an 11-lap sprint race.
Cooper was a bit disappointed to qualify 4th but was confident of a good start and a better race.
In race 1 he got a ripper start and going for 2nd spot into turn 1, he pulled alongside front-row starter Maxwell but the two cars made contact doing significant damage to the front bumper and splitter of his car. Although he dropped down the order he did a good job to keep going and taking 8th in Pro class.
Due to a penalty from race 1 (which the team and driver felt was heavy handed), Cooper started race 2 from grid 17. He did everything he needed to by getting a safe start, attacking when necessary and being patient when required to charge through to a hugely impressive 4th by the end of the 20-lap race.
In race 3 Cooper got another great start and jumped from 4th to 3rd on the run to turn 1 then took 2nd off Wall later in the lap. He made a small mistake a few laps later dropping to 3rd. Despite some heroic attempts to grab 2nd place back, this was is how the race finished.
Luffy was also unhappy with his qualifying result starting race 1 from the inside of row 5. He was able to benefit slightly from the shenanigans at turn 1 on the first lap to move up a couple of places. He had a great battle with David Wall in the middle of the race but was unable to find a way by, eventually settling for 7th place and another good handful of points.
Luffy started race 2 from grid 7 and was making good progress when he was escorted off the track by an ambitious Hill. This broke the front splitter which compromised his front down force, and dropped him down to 18th. He did a terrific job to fight through to 9th by the end.
In race 3 Luffy started from grid 9 and was in a frantic 4-car battle pack, doing another top job to keep his car out of trouble and take two positions to finish 7th.
Tim qualified 5th in Pro-Am. He got a good start but hit the rev limiter in 1st and 2nd gears allowing a couple of other Pro-Am drivers to get by on the long run to turn 1. He then set after Shahin and got by into turn 1 after a bold ABS assisted manoeuvre. He spent the remainder of the race in a fierce battle with Grove, Shahin and Cook, eventually finishing second in this battle and 5th in Pro-Am.
Tim's race ended with a broken drive-shaft on the warm up lap. This was obviously disappointing when there was a good chance he would have collected a podium finish.
In race 3 Tim started from the rear of the grid due to his DNF in race 2. He made good progress in the early laps then when he got to 7th, the lead pack had got away so he focused on closing the gap ahead to circuit owner Shahin, but ran out of laps before being able to take 6th.
David did a terrific job to qualify 8th in a competitive field of 11 Pro-Am drivers. In race 1 he did a good job to chase the experienced Cook and held on till mid-race. He drifted back in the second half of the race but learned plenty for the future.
In race 2 David started from grid 18 and had a great race. He picked his way through the field staying ahead of Loccisano and taking a very well-earned 6th in Pro-Am and 14th overall in the 22 car field.
In race 3 David got away well and had a strong opening few laps. Teammate Tim made a pass but David took advantage of Pro Steve Richards' move on Tim and followed Richo through leading to a great dice between the two until Tim finally got clear.
Brett was 7th quickest after the two Friday practice sessions and well on target for a great weekend in his Carrera Cup debut. Unfortunately he had an incident during qualifying which put him out for the weekend.
Although we tested at "The Bend" a few weeks before the race weekend, the test day was hampered by allot of rain so we got very little dry running and opportunity for real testing. This is probably the only explanation we could have about the weekend as all our drivers did really good work, the crew did their usual amazing job, but the results just didn't come our way.
Obviously, we do have our fair share of success, so we need to take it on the chin when we don't do anything wrong but also didn't get the results we all wanted. It hurts but that's racing and you can rest-assured we will come back stronger at our next round at Bathurst in 7 weeks. Thanks for your support!