Huge Nationals program set for Eastern Creek

by Sean Henshelwood

Tuesday, June 28th 2011, 15:45 GMT+10:00
Australia


Always one of the most popular venues on the annual Shannons Nationals program, Eastern Creek International Raceway will signal a significant event for Australia’s most successful circuit racing championships when the series arrives this July for round four of the 2011 season, complete with the biggest entry list in Nationals history.

Eastern Creek to host the Nationals biggest ever event!
Preview: Rnd#4 – 2011 Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships
Eastern Creek International Raceway, NSW – July 14-17

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Points of Interest;

• The Eastern Creek event is Rnd#4 of the 2011 Shannons Nationals Motor Racing Championships; competing classes include;    

– Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge (Rnd#3)
– Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars (Rnd#3)
– Kerrick Sports Sedan Series (Rnd#3)
– Radical Australia Cup (Rnd#4)
– Commodore Cup National Series (Rnd#4)
– Australian Saloon Car Series (Rnd#3)
– Australian Swift Racing Series (Rnd#3)
– Formula 3 (Rnd#3)
– Formula Ford (Rnd#3)
– Superkarts (Australian Championships Rnd#1)

• Cars are on track from Thursday July 14 (private practice), with qualifying on Friday afternoon and racing all day Saturday and Sunday.

• Never before has the Shannons Nationals (now in it’s sixth year, with Eastern Creek it’s 54th event), been conducted over four days (including private practice), with as many as ten classes.

• more than 200 competitors are expected to enter the Eastern Creek round, with the Superkart field expected to attract more than 40 entries for the opening round [of two] of the Australian Championships.

• The Eastern Creek round of the 2011 Shannons Nationals will be the first time that Australia’s fastest and leading open-wheel and tin-top categories have been on the same program with the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship joined by the Australian Formula Ford Championships, whilst the Kerrick Sports Sedans will be joined by the Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car series.

• The Eastern Creek round will be the first time Australia’s oldest open-wheel category has joined the Shannons Nationals, with the Australian Formula Ford Championships contesting the first of two rounds with the Nationals for 2011.

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Always one of the most popular venues on the annual Shannons Nationals program, Eastern Creek International Raceway will signal a significant event for Australia’s most successful circuit racing championships when the series arrives this July for round four of the 2011 season, complete with the biggest entry list in Nationals history.

Traditionally a Shannons Nationals event will feature five to eight classes, but certainly no more than that, however such is the popularity of the series, and the western Sydney venue, that ten categories of competition are scheduled, amongst them the top classes of open-wheel, sportscar and tin-top (sedan) competition, with significant entries across every field.

“It’s unusual to be faced with so many classes all wanting to compete at the one venue,” Shannons Nationals Series Director Rob Curkpatrick admitted, “but we’ve managed to produce a schedule that will give everyone a fair go and provide fans with a collection of the best cars in the country. It’s fantastic to see the depth of so many categories, including new categories to the Nationals like Radical Australia Cup, and the Swift Racing Series in addition to the emerging Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car Series which could see 20 or more competitors at Eastern Creek. – not bad considering in 2010 they had just four cars at the first round.”

Topping the bill will be the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge where reigning Nationals champion Roger Lago (Queensland) continues to pull away in the championship race. Behind him Jeff Bobik (Victoria) looks to be his strongest challenger after 2009 champion and pre-season favourite Matt Kingsley (Queensland) was eliminated in dramatic fashion from round two at Mallala in mid May.

For the Kingsley team it has been a tough 12 months, with the talented young Queenslander suffering from two other major incidents (Bathurst and Sandown), all of which have contributed to the demise of their trusty Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup Car, necessitating a new shell for the Eastern Creek round. Enter Jon Trende, the man who was involved in Kingsley’s most recent incident. One of the main players behind the GT3 Cup Challenge, Trende suffered a major off in the opening race at Mallala coming into contact with Kingsley’s car at speed after a big lose on the infield grass. Trende’s car suffered serious damage but was repairable, whilst Kingsley’s car had seen its last hit. With a Type 996 shell sitting in his workshop, Trende has donated the car to Kinglsey to keep him in the championship hunt, with the Action Tyres & More team working feverishly to be on the grid at Eastern Creek to resume the ‘challenge’.

The Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Car Series will return to Eastern Creek with the biggest field in their short Nationals history, with more than 20 former Holden and Ford V8 Supercars expected to line up and do battle, led by a pair of former Stone Brothers BA Falcons contested by South Australian Chris Smerdon and Victorian Terry Wyhoon. Both are veterans of the Touring Car discipline, and both are serious about their challenge on the 2011 title, but whilst the Fords have been strong, it’s fellow veteran Scott Loadsman in his ex-Paul Morris Racing VY Commodore that leads the points after consistent runs at both Wakefield Park and Mallala.

It may be the experienced hands that are dominating the series at present, but look out for a couple of quick brothers from Queensland to rain on their parade, with both Justin Garioch and younger brother Nathan stunning the regulars with their pace at the opening two rounds under the watchful eye of experienced Sydney-based Supercar campaigner José Fernandez. As a former Championship series and Development series competitor, Fernandez is well versed in tuning the cars and he knows a thing or two about the fast way around the Eastern Creek circuit.

Add emerging star, Matt Hansen in the Holden Racing Team built HRT054 which was put on pole at the 2006 Bathurst 1000 by Mark Skaife before being famously eliminated on the opening lap of the race by Jack Perkins Jack Daniels Racing Commodore, and you have all the ingredients for an intriguing battle between the young chargers and the old hands…

Whilst the tin-top brigade is well represented by the country’s most popular category [Touring Cars], it is also represented by the fastest, with the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series returning to Eastern Creek where multiple champions (and former V8 Supercar competitors) Tony Ricciardello and Darren Hossack are expected to renew one of the most intense rivalries in Nationals history.

Ricciardello returns to the series after a sabbatical to pursue the V8 Supercar Championship series with Kelly Racing in 2010, whilst Hossack is running a limited campaign after electing not to contest the full series in 2011, both though are expected to push the standing Eastern Creek tin-top lap record of 1:29.9528 set by reigning champion James Sera in 2010.

Tin-tops won’t be the only cars well represented at Eastern Creek, with Australia’s oldest and fastest open-wheel categories in attendance.

In another first for the Shannons Nationals – the Australian Formula Ford Championship, a series responsible for grooming the bulk of the V8 Supercar field – will contest the third round of their national championship series in their maiden appearance in the Nationals, whilst Formula 3, a staple category of the Shannons Nationals will also contest the third round of their season with what are the fastest racecars in Australia.

They may be based at Eastern Creek, but the Radical Australia Cup – now a part of the 2011 Shannons Nationals – adds a taste of true sportscar competition to the series, and they haven’t disappointed since their Nationals debut in April.

Eastern Creek will see a ‘bi-duro’ event for the Radicals, which means spectators will be treated to two 50-minute endurance races, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. The bi-duro events allow teams to contest two drivers (although this isn’t compulsory), with a compulsory pitstop in each race, something which in past rounds has thrown a huge variable into the result, making the final standings unpredictable, which is fantastic for race fans sitting on the hill.

For Shannons Nationals fans too the Radicals provide a new look, a new sound and an incredible turn of pace. They may be powered by a 1500cc motorcycle engine, but their prototype sportscar looks are more than matched by their performance, with the SR3 turning laps of Eastern Creek at very close to V8 Supercar laptimes.

If that’s not enough, the Eastern Creek round will also provide a staple diet of traditional Nationals classes like Commodore Cup and Saloon Cars, two hotly contested categories where parity between cars provides for plenty of on-track action and lots of door-banging.

Throw in the opening round of the Australian Superkart Championships and you have something to satisfy every motor racing enthusiast, whatever their passion…

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Eastern Creek winners, 2010 Shannons Nationals..

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
Qualifying; 1. Trende (1:35.4144), 2. Burchartz (1:35.6807), 3. Lago (1:36.1324)
Race#1 (9 laps); 1. Terry Knight, 2. Roger Lago, 3. Jeff Bobik
Race#2 (9 laps); 1. Roger Lago, 2. Shaun Juniper, 3. Jeff Bobik
Race#3 (12 laps); 1. Shaun Juniper, 2. Roger Lago, 3. Sven Burchatrz

Kumho Tyres V8 Touring Cars
Qualifying; 1. Evangelou (1:35.4215), 2. Walter (1:35.8409), 3. Loadsman (1:36.7531)
Race#1 (10 laps); 1. Scott Loadsman, 2. Tony Evangelou, 3. Stephen Voight
Race#2 (10 laps); 1. Sam Walter, 2. Scott Loadsman, 3. Tony Evangelou
Race#3 (10 laps); 1. Tony Evangelou, 2. John Vergotis, 3. Stephen Voight

Kerrick Sports Sedans
Qualifying; 1. Sera (1:29.9528), 2. Hossack (1:30.2187), 3. Jackson (1:32.8301)
Race#1 (10 laps); 1. James Sera, 2. Darren Hossack, 3. Chris Jackson
Race#2 (10 laps); 1. James Sera, 2. Darren Hossack, 3. Chris Jackson
Race#3 (10 laps); 1. James Sera, 2. Chris Jackson, 3. Scott Butler

Commodore Cup
Qualifying; 1. Andrews (1:45.5847), 2. Hughes (1:45.7184), 3. Holdsworth (1:45.8358)
Race#1 (9 laps); 1. Scott Andrews, 2. Brett Holdsworth, 3. Adam Beechey
Race#2 (9 laps); 1. Tony Bates, 2. Brett Holdsworth, 3. Adam Lloyd
Race#3 (9 laps); 1. Brett Holdsworth, 2. Tony Bates, 3. Josh Hughes

Formula 3
Qualifying; 1. Evans (1:25.5856), 2. Sofi (1:25.8158), 3. Tweedie (1:26.0193)
Race#1 (9 laps); 1. Mitchell Evans, 2. Ben Barker, 3. Tom Tweedie
Race#2 (10 laps); 1. Mitchell Evans, 2. Ben Barker, 3. Tom Tweedie
Race#3 (14 laps); 1. Ben Barker, 2. Tom Tweedie, 3. Mitchell Evans

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2011 Shannons Nationals
Rnd#1 – Wakefield Park, Goulburn, NSW (April 1-3)
Rnd#2 – Mallala, Adelaide, SA (May 13-15)
Rnd#3 – Winton, Benalla, VIC (June 24-26)
Rnd#4 – Eastern Creek, Sydney, NSW (July 14-17)
Rnd#5 – Morgan Park, Warwick, QLD (August 12-14)
Rnd#6 – Sandown, Melbourne, VIC (September 9-11)
Rnd#7 – Phillip Island, VIC (November 4-6)

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Gates open 7:30am (Thursday –  Sunday). Tickets; $15 (Saturday), $20 (Sunday, $25 (2-day pass). Kids under-12 FREE, Thursday/Friday entry FREE.

Traveling from the city approach via the M4 Motorway, take the Reservoir Road exit to the Great Western Highway, turn left onto Great Western Highway then left into Brabham Drive. (Shell service station on corner).

Traveling from west of Blacktown approach via M4 Motorway, take the Wallgrove Road exit, turn left onto Wallgrove Road, turn right onto the Great Western Highway, turn right into Brabham Drive (Shell service station on corner).






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