After two historic visits to Sydney Motorsport Park, the Motor Racing Australia series returns to its spiritual home this weekend.
Goulburn’s Wakefield Park will play host to the final two rounds of the 2017 season, with the first of those being this Sunday, ahead of the finale two months down the track, on September 10.
The series has enjoyed tremendous interest so far this season, and that interest is again reflected by a massive entry list, across seven categories, for the fifth event of the year.
In breaking with tradition, this weekend’s round will not be the annual All British Day, that has been a signature part of the series for many years. Instead, the day will be headlined by Super TT, the Series X3 Excels and Pitcher Partners NSW APRA Series.
The inclusion of the Triumphs on the program will ensure that a once ‘All Britsh’ day maintains a touch of the old flavour.
The battle for supremacy in the Pitcher Partners NSW APRA Series is hotting up.
Daniel Smith won the opening four races of the season, and Joshua Heath won four of the next five, but upsetting his winning ways was Matthew Boylan, who snared victory in the opening race of the previous round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Boylan is most certainly a title contender, but Heath will enter this round as the title favourite, with Daniel Smith set to miss the third and final race on Sunday, in order to fulfill commitments in Round 4 of the NSW Production Touring Car Championship, which he currently leads, at Sydney Motorsport Park.
You can read a full preview of Sunday’s APRA round, HERE.
The ever popular Series X3 Hyundai Excels return to the program. They to have had an outing on the CAMS Championship card this season,
Emily Duggan will lead the charge, but will face stiff competition from Ryan Mee, Ben Bargwanna and Reece Harradine, who have all been challenging for podium positions in the previous three rounds of the series at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Also lining up this weekend is Jacob Andrews, who finished second in the last race of the previous round. It’s a change of pace for Andrews, who’s better known for his appearances in one of the CXC Global Racing Mitsubishi Evo’s in the NSW Production Touring Car Championship, and will next weekend feature on the Toyota 86 Racing Series grid, supporting the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the Watpac Townsville 400.
Both the Excel and Pulsar categories are known for tight, tense pack racing, much like Formula Vee, with so many drivers evenly matched, and if we do see big battle groups forming on-circuit, expect slip-streaming to play a big part in proceedings.
Super TT will see the racing debut of a former MRA Clerk of the Course, when Jessica Nicholson joins a massive field of 27 for this round of the series.
Nicholson has spent much of this year contesting regularity in her Mazda RX8, getting comfortable with the car, and her driving, but Sunday will be her first test in racing conditions.
Nicholson commented on social media that she has no expectation that she’ll be fighting for victory on Sunday, but rest assured, the battle will be on at the front of the field, with Endree Saade, Benny Tran and Parry Anastakis all lining up once more.
Thirteen different manufacturers will line-up in Super TT, including some Triumphs that will cross-enter Super TT and the Triumph specific races, and keep an eye out for the JAGUAR E Type Series 3 of Jac Cousin, who can expect to be a sentimental favourite with those who have a love with that great British manufacturer.
There are some notable names and cars missing from the entry list, but that takes nothing away from the quality of this 27-car field that will take to the track, and deliver some great entertainment for the fans who brave the chilly Goulburn weather on Sunday morning.
Matthew Cosier has stepped back from Super TT to contest Regularity this weekend, and there’ll be another familiar name taking to the track in Regularity with Matthew, when Samuel Morsillo jumps behind the wheel of the #164 Triumph Dolomite Sprint. Mark Morsillo will run the #164 in Super TT and the Triumph races across the day as well.
There’ll be four runs for the 12-car field contesting Regularity in Goulburn on Sunday.
As mentioned earlier, the name Morsillo features in three categories on Sunday. Mark AND Greg will both contest the Triumph races, where fifteen cars will line-up, including Rod Chivas, Trevor Lindsay, who, along with Rod Carey, is making the long trek over from South Australia for the event, Joshua and Howard Glinn, Elliot Wright, and, Chris Swingler, who’s making the long trek up the Hume Highway, from Victoria, for the race meeting.
Speaking of Victoria – David Thirlwall will be back on the Clubman grid on Sunday, and looking to pick up where he left off in Sydney four weeks ago, where he claimed a clean-sweep.
The 11-car field won’t feature Peter Brown, who finished second to Thirlwall in Race 1, but both Brett Lansley and Shane Hutchinson will be – they were second to Thirlwall in Races 2 and 3 respectively, and will be out to improve on that, and stop Thirlwall’s winning streak along the way.
Sue Tahir will fly the flag for the girls in the Clubman series.
The last category is the ever-popular Mazda MX5 Series, where seventeen cars will line-up, in what continues to be a good year for the series, in terms of entry numbers.
Last time out, Todd Herring and Verne Johnson locked out the top two positions across the day, with Herring claiming his first clean-sweep.
Modern Sports Car Series race winner, Andy Harris is back on the grid again, as are Nick Martinenko and Matilda Mravicic – all of whom have vast experience at Wakefield Park, and will be out to challenge Herring and Johnson, as well as the men who finished third in the three races at SMP – David Stone (1), Cameron Macarthur (2) and Ian Caldwell (3).
This round of the series also sees former MX5 Cup race winner, Daniel Deckers back on the grid, adding yet another contender, for race victory, to what is becoming an increasingly competitive field.
Goulburn is not immune to the chilly cold snap that has swept through New South Wales in recent days. On race day, we’re expecting a mostly sunny day, after morning fog and frost, and while 12 degrees is a reasonable winter day for Goulburn, the expected low of -8 could lead to the coldest start for a MRA meeting in history.
It’s a three-race program for all categories, on what will be a busy day trackside.
FREE Entry for all spectators. Lachlan Mansell will provide commentary of the day’s racing, and you’ll be able to listen to his call on 87.8FM.
The final MRA event for season 2017, will also be at Wakefield Park, on Sunday, September 10.