Shannons Nationals has big weekend – Despite the wind and rain!
15/08/2007 at 7:10:29 AM:

Gale force winds, followed by persistent wet weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm of spectators or competitors at last weekend’s sixth round of the Shannons Nationals, held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.

Whilst it rained for most of the weekend, Shannons Nationals categories were able to put on a stunning show of action-packed races to a strong crowd at the 4.46km circuit two hours south of Melbourne.

It was the second Nationals round of the season to be held at the world-famous circuit and the weekend attracted a number of big-names and close fields.

Former Australian Touring Car and Open Wheel Champion John Bowe led home a star-studded field in the fifth round of the Australian GT Championship, heralding the return of Team Lamborghini Australia to top level racing with pole position and three race wins.

Arguably the highlight of the weekend was witnessing Bowe exchange positions with fellow V8 Supercar ace Will Davison (who was driving an Aston Martin DBRS9), series leader Allan Simonsen (Ferrari), Bryce Washington (Lamborghini) and David Wall (Porsche) in the final GT race of the day, showing the strength of the GT field.

Bowe won the round whilst Simonsen was able to extend his points buffer over Washington in the championship with three rounds remaining – all at Shannons Nationals events.

A strong show was also put on by the wings-and-slicks warriors of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, who turned on two of their most unpredictable races of the season in challenging wet / dry conditions.

Tim Macrow won the first race by passing James Winslow for the lead on the final lap, whilst Leanne Tander continued her Island form by taking out race two.

Both races featured unbelievably close wheel-to-wheel racing with the lead changing hands in both races – showing the level of competition within Australia’s top Open Wheel series.

Charlie Hollings stood on the podium in both races, however he was unable to maintain the points lead which now falls back to Victorian Macrow with just two rounds remaining. The top three – Macrow, Hollings and Tander – are split by just eleven points.

In the Shannons Australian Production Car Championship a round of upset results continues to keep the championship in the balance half way through the season – and it’s turning out to be a pitched battle between Holden and BMW.

Holden Commodore driver Steve Briffa is earning a reputation as something of a giant-killer as his Class A SS Commodore once again stole an outright race victory from the quicker Super Production cars, as he did at Eastern Creek recently.

In race two BMW Turbo driver Barry Morcom survived the big wet whilst championship leader and Morcom’s team-mate Garry Holt survived an off-track excursion to score valuable championship points.

Bruce Heinrich extended his margin in the Supaloc Australian Saloon Car Championship by virtue of another pair of race wins; however his season-long rival in Queenslander Kris Walton continues to remain in the hunt after coming through the field from last to first in the third and final race.

Daniel Richert dominated proceedings in the Empire Trade Exchange Commodore Cup Series, clean-sweeping the round and vaulting himself to a clear championship lead for the first time this season.

Richert has been a contender all season but the battle has been tight with multiple champ Geoff Emery. The Axent racing driver was at the peak of his powers at Phillip Island, however leaving Emery and Brett Holdsworth to take the round podium positions.

In four exciting races, Victorian Rodney Earsman won three races in the HQ Challenge, John Wise winning the fourth and final race.

The next round of the Shannons Nationals will be held at Symmons Plains Raceway on September 1 – 2.

The Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship, Australian GT Championship, Empire Trade Exchange Commodore Cup and the HQRA Challenge will be making the trek to the Apple Isle, the second time the Nationals will have competed at the picturesque circuit outside of Launceston.

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