An incredible weekend of Pulsar racing to wrap up the 2020 season. Josh Craig #1 and the TC Racing team go back to back and retain the #1 in the NSW Championship for season 2020. Shane Tate #147 has taken out the Masters Cup and a dominant season display from Josh Haynes #37 has seen him take out rookie of the year.
With 2 sprint races on the Saturday and a 1 hour final enduro on the Sunday across two grid allocations, it was wall to wall Pulsars.
Friday practice for those that chose to attend was hot and humid. The challenge of a new tyre compound and a limit of 6 new tyres per entrant was always going to be a challenge leading into the weekend’s events.
With 50 entrants far exceeding the Grid Density allocation, the field was split into two grids for the event. Qualifying would be released from the dummy grid in current championship order with the top 25 taking to the track first for their 20-minute session.
Josh Craig #1 set the pace claiming Pole with a 1:10.01 with Josh Haynes #37 three one hundredths behind bashing out a 1:10.04. Third went to Timothy Colombrita #6 only two tenths behind with less than a second covering the top 8 qualifiers in the session. The results determined the grids for the start of the first sprint race. The top 25 going into the grid known as Pulsar 1 and the rest going into the grid for Pulsar 2.
Race 1 – Pulsar 2
Pulsar 2 was the first grid to take to the track. Kane Alderton #78 on Pole as a result of his P26 in qualy. An action packed race over 30 mins finally saw Thomas Khouri take the win with what was a fantastic display of driving. Showing patience and fantastic driving. Second place went to the reigning APRA Masters Cup Champion, Matthew Leenman #21 with Damon Schofield #191 rounding out the top 3. The place getters along with P4 to P8 all earning themselves a promotion into Pulsar 1 for their next race of the day.
Race 1 – Pulsar 1
Immediately after Pulsar 1 competitors formed up for their Race 1, with no major incidents and some strategic tyre saving taking place down the pack, Josh Haynes #37 took out a hard fought win despite dropping down the field early in the race, followed by Josh Craig #1 and Timothy Colombrita #6.
Race 2 – Pulsar 2
Race 2 was another 30min sprint race. After being relegated to Puslar 2 Ian Joyce in the Townsend Signs/StartFresh Accounting #3 took the grid in Pole. An intense battle between Joyce and Jonathon Hovey #11 for the majority of the race showcased some of the best racing of the season. The intensity couldn’t be maintained which saw Brianna Wilson in the FullGas Racing #274 work her way through the field to take the win, Jonathon Hovey #11 in second and Will Foot in the Willflow Plumbing #26 bringing it home in third, a great result after issues earlier in the day. The top 8 from this race earned a promotion into the Pulsar 1 Enduro to take place as the final even of the weekend on Sunday afternoon.
Race 2 Pulsar 1
To complete Saturdays event, Josh Haynes #37 took his place on Pole after his hard earned win in race 1 with Josh Craig #1 up alongside in P2. A poor start for Haynes saw him drop back through the field into a battle pack of around 6 or 7 cars. Meanwhile a small breakaway group consisting of Craig #1, Boylan #777 and Colombrita #6 gaped the field and went into Lap 2 with a comfortable lead.
Whilst the top 3 drove away from the pack, the battles further down in the field were intense. A group of cars consisting of Haynes #37, Agathos #66, Reynolds #22, Manning #8, Sheedy #4 and Osmond #17 saw multiple positional changes throughout the race.
Ultimately it was Josh Craig #1, that would take the win from Boylan #777 and Colombrita #6. This would also see them secure there place in the Top 10 Shootout to take place on the Sunday morning.
Top Ten Shootout
Sunday greeted competitors with some cooler weather. An uneventful warmup in the morning, with only a few taking to the track in an effort to conserve tyres for the race, took place prior to preparations starting for the Shootout.
First to take take to the track for a solo lap of Wakefield Park was Shane Tate #147 after an last minute promotion into the ten as a result of penalties. Heading out with a car fully race prep’d including full tanks Tate managed to yield a 1:12.03 to set the bar early. One by one each of the top 10 set down lap times. Eventually Matthew Boylan #777 would set a time of 1:10.53 to take Pole Position and the Pitcher Partner cash spoils for the Pulsar 1 Enduro to take place later in the day.
Pulsar 2 – Race 3 Enduro
Pulsar 2 grid rolled up for race start as the last event before lunch. This grid was laced with competitors that in most cases would not find themselves in this group so it was always going to make for an interesting race. Harrison Inwood #43 and Matthew Leenman #21 would start at the rear of the grid as a result of DNFs in the races on Saturday. They were always going to be entertaining to watch.
At the chequered flag and after 60 minutes of pushing through the field by all three place getters, it was Leenman #21 that would come out victorious with a patient and workman like display of driving pushing through the field. Second place would go to Jamie Canellis #222, who also started close to the rear of the grid and third to Inwood #43 who had a been chasing car issues all weekend long.
Puslar 1 – Enduro
2020 has been a tough year for all, it is not taken for granted how lucky our NSW members have been to still be able to complete a championship over 6 of an originally planned 8 rounds. With a massive 450 points of offer for the final race of the championship and the final event of the weekend the championship could be taken out by any one of 5 drivers in a mathematical sense.
Apart from Inwood #43, all drivers in the hunt would take there place on the grid in or around each other.
Race start saw Boylan #777 from pole gap the field early but he was soon chased down by a hungry pack of 3 in Haynes #37, Colombrita #6 and a patient Craig #1 to form a 4 car battle pack. Further back Agathos #66, Sheedy #4, Manning #8 and Osmond #17 displayed some intensely close racing as they tried to chase down the leading four.
Haynes #37 managed to gap the others leading into the compulsory pit stop. Craig #1 showing patience knowing that all he needed to do was finish near the front of the field to secure a back to back MRF Tyres APRA NSW Championship.
As the pit stops started Brianna Wilson #274 after starting near the rear of the grid was charging through the field and found her way into the top ten. Another notable performance on debut was Angus Wallace #77, a quiet calculated drive all weekend saw him make his way safely through the field, putting some of the more APRA experienced competitors on notice. Certainly a driver to watch in 2021.
After the pit stops and the closing of the pit window at the 40 minute mark saw Agathos #66 jump both Haynes #37 and Craig #1 to end up just behind Boylan #777 in the race for the chequered flag. It was short-lived with a small off-track excursion for Agathos #66 at turn 9 saw Haynes #37 regain the lost place.
Approaching lapped traffic Haynes #37 would manage to get past Boylan #777 who would then succumb to damage and a flat tyre as a result of a tangle with a lapped car thus ending his championship fight.
In clean air Haynes #37 would take the flag on a well deserved win, Agathos #66 would cross the line in second and Craig #1 would come home in third and also secure his grip on the MRF Tyres APRA NSW Championship.
That’s a wrap, onto 2021
After an incredible weekend of racing with 50 Pulsars, the focus turns to 2021. A short break over the festive season and then a return to Wakefield Park on the 31st January will see the kick-off to another great year for APRA NSW. Keep an eye on our social pages and our website for calendar updates for NSW and Victoria as they become available.
A special thanks to our category partner for their support in a difficult 2020,
MRF Tyre, Pitcher Partners, BlueSky Modular Buildings, Bluett Bodyworks, Townsend Signs and RaceAway Tracktime.