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VHRR Phillip Island Classic meeting
Phillip Island VIC
Australia
March 09-11

DAY 1 REPORT

ADVANTAGE AUSTRALIA AS F5000s WOW ‘EM AT PHILLIP ISLAND

Australian pair Tom Tweedie and Tim Berryman claimed the early advantage in the SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series races at the annual VHRR Philip Island Classic ‘Festival of Motor Sport meeting presented by Burson Auto Parts’ in Australia yesterday and today.

So far this weekend Tweedie (Chevron B24/28), has been quickest, the Sydneysider claiming pole position in Saturday morning’s category qualifying session with a time – 1.26.9251 – a good second-and-a-half quicker than compatriot Berryman (Lola T332, 1.28.6314) then winning the first race of the weekend later that day and the second and the third (of five planned for the weekend) today.

Berryman, from rural New South Wales, had issues with his car’s throttle on Friday, but after qualifying second quickest and finishing a distant second to Tweedie in the first - 4 lap - race on Friday afternoon, was much more competitive once the throttle was working to his satisfaction today.

On his way to a close second place - just over a second behind Tweedie at the flag after five laps – in the second race of the weekend this morning he set the quickest race lap in the morning race.

He also finished a safe second in the third race this afternoon, this time crossing the line just over three seconds behind the Chevron of Tweedie, but again well ahead of the first of the Kiwi visitors, in this case, two-time former series champion Ian Clements (Lola T332) from Christchurch.

With four-time series champion Ken Smith (Lola T332) a late scratching thanks to engine parts not arriving in time from the United States, and impressive SAS Autoparts MSC series young gun Michael Collins (McRae GM1) attending his sister’s wedding this weekend, the onus of taking the battle to the top Australians at the Phillip Island Classic initially fell to one of the other former series’ title holders, Andy Higgins (Lola T332).

However after heading the nine-strong Kiwi ‘landing party’ in qualifying the Aucklander spun out of third place in the Friday race (though he managed to recover and finish that race in seventh position) then suffered a broken cam follower on his way to finishing third in the morning race today, putting him out for the third race and the final pair of races tomorrow.

Such is the core strength of the SAS Autoparts MSC Series field however, that each race so far has had the large crowd at the meeting lining the spectator fences as battles ebb-and-flow through the mid-field.

On Friday it was Aaron Burson and Ian Clements who stepped in when Andy Higgins spun, the pair crossing the finish line in third and fourth places respectively, Burson bridging the gap between Berryman and Clements and the best of the rest of the 11-strong ‘local side,’ Victorian David Hardman.

Hardman was driving the first of the Class A (for older F5000 models) cars home, the McLaren M10B owned by Australian motor industry identity (and former F5000 racer) Alan Hamilton and originally made available for local racing legend Alfredo (Alfie) Costanzo to drive this weekend.

With Costanzo unavailable Hardman stepped in at the last minute and ended up impressing everyone, qualifying sixth quickest and finishing sixth in the first race and seventh in both the second and the third.

Kiwi Class A counterpart Dave Arrowsmith (Lotus 70) looked set to keep Hardman honest after qualifying his unique Ford-powered Lotus 70 in eighth place. However he was slowed in Saturday’s race by a gear selection problem then (with that issue fixed) was forced out of the second weekend race this morning with an electrical fault.

He finally had a clean run in the third race, though had to start from the back row of the grid but managed to get back to 10th place before the chequered flag came out.

Aucklander Frank Karl (McLaren M10B) has also had an up and down weekend so far in his Class A car, though with an early overheating issue fixed by a borrowed water pump he was able to start and finish both races today.

Defending series title holder Brett Willis (Lola T330) has not had the best of starts to his Phillip Island weekend, struggling with a gearbox issue. In stark contrast, however, David Banks and series newcomer Tony Galbraith (both Lola T332) have enjoyed a so far trouble-free run, The pair have rarely been more than a second or two apart in the races with Galbraith getting to the finish line first in the first and third race but Banks returning the favour in the second.

Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) was typically quick in qualifying (fourth) and finished third in the first race and fourth in the third. In the second one though he outbraked himself heading down Lukey Heights and into the MG hairpin (after changing brake pads) and after running off the track and letting most of the field by, ending up back in 10th place at the flag.

The F5000 cars will be back on track at Phillip Island tomorrow (Sunday) with a fourth five lap race in the morning followed by a 50km category feature race on Sunday afternoon.
EVENT REPORT

‘SPECTACULAR’ PHILLIP ISLAND THE PERFECT VENUE FOR F5000 SERIES’ FINAL

Australia’s Phillip Island circuit proved the perfect venue for the final round of this season’s SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series over the March 10-11 weekend.

"This place is just off the scale,” said Kiwi racer Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) after a weekend best second place finish in the feature length 12-lap F5000 category final on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s just so different to what we have at home. And it’s hard to pick one bit that I like more than another, the whole place is spectacular. For a start, at almost 4.5 kms around the lap is a lot longer and it’s got lots of elevation changes which you don’t see from watching the V8s when they are here. That, and all the fast, flowing high entry speed corners means it’s completely different to the other tracks we race at.

“The fact that you’re so close to the sea is also one of the things I like about the place. At any other track all you see down the start/finish straight is the car in front of you. Here, the track dips as you pass the pits, then you crest a rise and then all you see is Bass Strait!”

The circuit, on Phillip Island, due south of Melbourne, could well have been built for the robust, stock-block V8-powered wings-and-slicks Formula 5000 single-seaters.

Weekend pace-setter, former Australian Formula 3 race winner Tom Tweedie (Chevron B24/28), was consistently the fastest man at the meeting, qualifying quickest before going on to win all five category races very much as he pleased and only conceding the fastest race lap once – to compatriot Tim Berryman (Lola T332) in the second race of the weekend on Saturday morning.

Tweedie was the only one to break the 1.27.00 barrier (with his pole time in the Saturday morning qualifying session of 1.26.89251. but both he and Berryman ran easily in the 1.27.00s in the races.

Both also beat the two Formula 1 cars – the March 741 of former V8 Supercars ace John Bowe and the Ferrari 156/85 of Sydney driver Guido Belgiorno-Nettis – which joined the F5000 field for the first race on Sunday morning.

By way of comparison the MotoGP lap record round the Grand Prix circuit is a 1.27.833 set by Italian Jorge Lorenzo, and the current Supercars one - set in 2017 by Kiwi Scott McLaughlin in a Team Penske DJR Ford Falcon - is a 1.31.2142.

Like the other four races (a 4-lapper ‘sprint’ on Friday then two five lappers on Saturday, and a third five lapper on Sunday morning) the 12-lap 2018 Phillip Island Classic on Sunday afternoon was another Tweedie master class, the Sydney stock broker leading all 12 laps.

Until the first lap of the feature final Berryman had tucked in behind to head the rest of the 19-strong field home. In the final however, he was forced to pit to retether his car’s fire extinguisher and could only make it back up to 10th place before the chequered flag came out. That left the way open for Aaron Burson to take second place ahead of fellow Kiwis Ian Clements, Tony Galbraith (both Lola T332s) and David Arrowsmith (Lotus).

After working through gear selection then electrical issues on Friday and Saturday Arrowsmith was back to his giant-killing best in his older Class A car on Sunday, winning an entertaining battle with fellow Kiwi Tony Galbraith for seventh spot in the morning 5-lapper, then finishing a weekend-best fifth – after another race-long battle, this time with Australian ace Dean Camm (Chevron B24) in the feature final.

Behind Camm was another entertaining battle for track and race position, eventually decided in the favour of Kiwi Brett Willis (Lola T330) from Aussie Frank Harris in his Chevron B24).

Category original Charles Talbot (Lola T332) rounded out the feature race finishers with just three starters failing to finish. Kiwi Grant Martin finally called time on his weekend when he ended up with just one usable gear (4th) while Australian Michael Glynn (Elfin MR8) had a wild ride exiting Turn 1 when a wheel bearing collapsed and pitched his car off the track and into a barrier.

The VHRR’s annual Phillip Island Classic meeting hosted the final round of this season’s SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series. The next outing for members of New Zealand’s Formula 5000 Association is to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion meeting at the Laguna Seca circuit in northern California in August where they will get to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Formula 5000 category with fellow owners, drivers and fans from the United States and Europe.
Qualifying

1. Tom Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 1:26.9251
2. Tim Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 1:28.6314
3. Andy Higgins (NZ, Lola T332) 1:30.5634
4. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 1:31.6998
5. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 1:32.9768
6. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren M10B) 1:33.6687
7. David Banks (NZ, Lola T3320 1:34.7091
8. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B) 1:34.9786
9. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola T332) 1:35.9141
10. Grant Martin (NZ,Talon MR1A) 1:37.0260
11. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 1:37.5042
12. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 1:38.6491
13. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 1:41.0780
14. Rodney Carroll (NSW, Lola T140) 1:41.1059
15. David Crabtree (VIC, March) 1:46.9718
16. Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24) 1:46.9854
17. Maxwell Pearson (QLD, Elfin MR5) 1:50.5664
18. Robert Splatt (VIC, March 732A 1:53.0243
19. Michael Glynn (VIC, Elfin MR8-BC) 4:23.8889

Formula 5000 Race 1

(Fri 4 laps)
1. Tom Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 5:56.6373
2. Tim Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 6:06.0570
3. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 6:15.9769
4. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 6:21.3568
5. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren MB10) 6:22.9853
6. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola 332) 6:29.0793
7. Andy Higgins (NZ, Lola T332) 6:29.2261
8. David Banks (NZ, Lola T332) 6:30.7417
9. Grant Martin (NZ, Talon MR1A) 6:34.3050
10. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B) 6:37.3263
11. Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24) 6:42.6949
12. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 6:48.8187
13. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 6:49.6617
14. Rodney Carroll (NSW, Lola T140) 6:54.1010
15. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 6:59.4158
16. Michael Glynn (VIC, Elfin MR8-BC) 6:59.4973
17. David Crabtree (VIC, March) 7:06.0026
18. Robert Splatt (VIC, March 732A) 7:49.6827
19. Maxwell Pearson (QLD, Elfin MR8) 6:09.2092

Race 2

(Sat am 5 laps)
1. Tom Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 7:27.8583
2. Tim Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 7:28.9281 (1:27.9066*)
3. Andy Higgins (NZ, Lola T332) 7:52.9796
4. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 7:57.1690
5. David Banks (NZ, Lola T332) 8:07.5428
6. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola T332) 8:07.9012
7. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren M10B) 8:12.1533
8. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 8:17.7248
9. Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24) 8:18.2481
10. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 8:19.9689
11. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 8:29.4778
12. Grant Martin (NZ, Talon MR1A) 8:29.6494
13. Michael Glynn (VIC, Elfin MR8-BC) 8:50.4490
14. Rodney Carroll (NSW, Lola T140) 8:50.7387
15. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 8:51.3887
16. Adrian Akhurst (SA, Lola T332C) 8:51.5026
17. Robert Splatt (VIC, March 732A) 7:31.1072
18. Frank Karl (NZ, McLaren M10B) 7:53.2060
DNF. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B), Max Pearson (QLD, Elfin MR5)

Race 3

(Sat pm 5 laps)
1. Tom Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 7:27.9943 2 1:28.4367*
2. Tim Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 7:31.2318
3. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 7:52.2989
4. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 7:59.3080
5. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola T332) 8:00.6361
6. David Banks (NZ, Lola T332) 8:01.3975
7. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren M10B) 8:10.5329
8. Grant Martin (NZ, Talon MR1A) 8:11.9353
9. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 8:18.1092
10. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B) 8:18.4609
11. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 8:23.8618
12. Rodney Carroll (NSW, Lola T140) 8:35.1597
13. Michael Glynn (VIC, Elfin MR8-BC) 8:42.0470
14. David Crabtree (VIC, March F5000) 8:42.1625
15. Adrian Akhurst (SA, Lola T332C) 8:42.6994
16. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 8:56.3927
17. Frank Karl (NZ, McLaren M10B) 9:10.8619
18. Robert Splatt (VIC, March 732A) 7:44.0112
DNF. Max Pearson (QLD, Elfin MR, Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24)

Race 4

(5 laps Sun am)
1. Tom Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 7:24.6503
2. Tim Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 7:25.7314
3. John Bowe (VIC, March 741 F1) 7:30.9333
4. Guido Belgiorno-Nett (NSW, Ferrari (T) 156/85 F1 7:39.6481
5. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 7:54.2889
6. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 7:55.2076
7. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B) 8:08.4936
8. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola T332) 8:08.7297
9. Grant Martin (NZ, Talon MR1A) 8:10.8879
10. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 8:18.5032
11. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 8:18.7669
12. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren M10B) 8:21.3331
13. Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24) 8:31.0037
14. Michael Glynn (VIC, Elfin MR8-BC) 8:31.0763
15. Rodney Carroll (NSW, Lola T140) 8:37.0324
16. Adrian Akhurst (SA, Lola T332C) 8:37.1727
17. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 8:42.2358
18. Frank Karl (NZ, McLaren M10B) 7:25.1815
19. Maxwell Pearson (QLD, Elfin MR5) 8:04.2037
DNF. David Banks, David Crabtree, Robert Splatt

Race 5

(Sun pm 12 Laps)
1. Thomas Tweedie (NSW, Chevron B24/28) 18:01.6912 1:27.7985*
2. Aaron Burson (NZ, McRae GM1) 18:53.2066
3. Ian Clements (NZ, Lola T332) 18:54.0784
4. Tony Galbraith (NZ, Lola T332) 19:00.0037
5. David Arrowsmith (NZ, Lotus 70B) 19:30.3419
6. Dean Camm (VIC, Chevron B24) 19:30.8353
7. Brett Willis (NZ, Lola T330) 19:38.9779
8. Frank Harris (VIC, Chevron B24) 19:39.6913
9. David Hardman (VIC, McLaren M10B) 18:06.6764
10. Timothy Berryman (NSW, Lola T332) 18:14.2185
11. Charles Talbot (VIC, Lola T332) 18:59.6657
DNF. Grant Martin, Michael Glynn, Robert Splatt

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