HQ: Queensland Raceway round report
17/06/2007 at 11:24:59 AM:

Friday 25th of May dawned sunny and hot at Queensland Raceway, as 32 HQ Holden’s arrived for Round 2 of the Lamont Constructions HQ National Challenge and the HQRA National Title. Queensland locals mingled with interstate visitors as they prepared their cars for the important race weekend.

Friday’s practice session saw all the drivers reacquainting themselves the track and the lap times were fast, making everyone keen to start racing. The highlight of the day was the afternoon’s sponsor rides. It was a great opportunity for the drivers to show their appreciation to their sponsors and supporters, and everyone that participated had an exciting and fun afternoon.

Saturday morning was fine and cool, and the drivers were out on the track early for a 20 minute practice session. The top three in the practice session were local drivers Gary Bonwick, Darren Aspinall and Dale Youd.

Qualifying was held on Saturday afternoon, and the standout performer was 2006 Queensland Champion Gary Bonwick, who was about a second quicker than the rest of the field. Queenslanders took out the top four positions, with NSW tourists Kieren Pilkington and 2006 Australian Champion Layton Crambrook coming in next.

The first race of the weekend was held on Saturday afternoon, and there was plenty of close, hard racing. The front three, Bonwick, Aspinall and Queensland’s Dave Blunt, were close for the whole race, and there was an exciting battle for the rest of the positions in the top ten. There were a lot of passing and swapping positions, and cars going three- and four- wide down the straights it was great entertainment for the spectators. The final positions for Race One were Bonwick in first, Aspinall in second and Blunt in third, with points from this race contributing to the Lamont Constructions HQ National Challenge and starting positions for the final in the National Title.

After some extra preparations to cars overnight, the field of HQ’s lined up for the second race of the weekend on Sunday morning. Once again, local drivers Bonwick, Aspinall, Simpson and Blunt ran as a group in front with a small gap back to a very intense battle between Queenslanders Bart Stanfield, Dale Youd, Stephen Whyte, Brad Schomberg and visitors Pilkington and Crambrook. The battle between these drivers was intense, with the final positions decided in the very last corner of the final lap.

On the first lap of heat three, in the mad scramble that is HQ racing, Ian Mundell ended up sideways on the track in the middle of turn three and unfortunately Ian Wan Lum, with no where to go, crashed hard into the front of Mundell’s car. This bought out the safety car to allow for the damaged cars to be removed, after three laps behind the safety car normal racing resumed, the intense battle for positions throughout the field continued, as this was everyone’s last chance to gain points to improve their starting position for the final. The winner was Bonwick once again, with Aspinall and Simpson in second and third respectively.

The field of 28 cars lined up for the fifteen lap final race on Sunday afternoon, which would decide the “HQRA National Champion”, with any of the top ten capable of taking out the title, although to do that, they had to stop the dominant Gary Bonwick. There was another busy start, with more doorhandle to doorhandle action. This continued until the middle stages of the race when another safety car bunched the field up, after an incident involving Wayne Lamont, Raymond Connell and Cameron Stanfield. It was a long safety car period because just as the safety car was about to leave the track Queenslander Dion Cidoni’s car caught fire after backfiring. This required the safety car to stay out for a couple more laps, and when racing finally got back underway there was only three laps remaining. During these last laps, it was on for young and old, with some tough racing and bold moves by many of the drivers. Again, Gary Bonwick prevailed and took out the race to become the new Australian Champion. Dave Blunt finished of a strong weekend with second and Layton Crambrook broke free of the pack to take third.

The winner of the Ian Beechey Perpetual Trophy for the hard charger in the final race went to Ben Simpson, who performed strongly all weekend and led to final race at one stage. Rounding out the top ten were Ben Simpson (4th), Keiren Pilkington (5th), Dale Youd (6th), Mike McCloud (7th), Stephen Whyte (8th), Leigh Ralph (9th) and Bob Fullerton (10th).

The weekend ended with the trophy presentation for the Lamont Constructions HQRA National Challenge and the presentation of the Championship trophies. It was a great weekend of exciting racing and great camaraderie that was enjoyed by all.

I would like to personally thank everyone involved in this round, including Lamont Constructions, Pedders, Kuhmo, Merc Bits, Queensland HQ Racing Association and all the drivers, teams and sponsors for their support and participation. I look forward to seeing you all at the next round at Phillip Island on August 11th-12th.

Don’t forget that you can watch all the action from this meeting on Speedweek (SBS) on Sunday July 1st at around noon.
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