Rotax Pro Tour Warwick - Saturday's NewsTweet
The final round of the 2011/2012 Rotax Pro Tour has kicked off in fine style both on and off track at the Sandy Creek Raceway, with strong performances on track, and distinguished guests off track adding to the excitement of the whole event to the entire town of Warwick.
Queensland State Minister for Health and Member for the Southern Downs, The Hon. Lawrence Springborg MP visited the track, and formed a genuine interest in the event. Mr Springborg spoke of the true benefit of the Pro Tour’s visit to Warwick, and also being intrigued as to the scope of entrants in the fields. “It has fantastic to have an event of this status visit the Southern Downs region,” Springborg said, “to have drivers from as far as New Zealand is brilliant, and reflects truly on the potential this area has to offer to Queensland and to Australia.”
DD2 Masters kicked off the day’s proceedings on-track. New Zealander Niki Urwin returned to join the field, all vying for Rotax ranking positioning ahead of the World Finals in Portugal. Brent Coghlan was out of the blocks early, setting the fastest time in the opening qualifying session which would see him take up the front row alongside Cameron Harch. Coghlan took victory in two of the three 14 lap heats, with a hard charging Daniel Richert interrupting Coghlan’s chance of a clean sweep, as the former Commodore Cup racer Daniel Richert taking out heat 2.
Rotax Heavy’s Troy Woolston was on the hunt to eclipse the field again in Warwick and look to secure six round wins from six outings for the 2011/2012 Rotax Pro Tour. Aaron Rintoul broke Woolston’s qualifying run, setting the fastest time of Q1 ahead of the Victorian from Brendan Nelson and the returning Matt Greenbury. Woolston was forced to start 2nd in all of the heats as Rintoul was awarded pole position, subsequently the Victorian had a challenge to defend his line and return fire with victory. His experience in conjunction with a determination to round clean sweep saw him take home 3 wins from 3 heats.
The wins through Rotax Over 40’s were shared between both Dean Penrose and Shane Karandrews. The CRG and Tony Kart drivers respectively both fought for prime track position through the races while the final placing on the podium was also split between Malcolm Walker and Anthony Grant.
Victoria’s Matthew McLellan has made the step to Rotax Light this weekend, his first race in the senior category since being a consistent front runner in the Junior Max field. The 16 year old qualified 7th and took advantage of some close racing to close in and finish 3rd in the opening heat, an outstanding performance in front of some more fancied opposition. Both Pierce Lehane and Tyler Greenbury fought for top placing through the heats, with the two matching times lap by lap, with Greenbury taking victory in the opening two races; however Lehane set himself on his way towards the finals as he steered his new Exprit chassis to the win in the final race.
Current National Champion Thomas Randle is well on his way towards another Pro Tour round win, greatly assisting his chances of a journey to the Rotax World Finals in Portugal. Fellow front runner Joseph Burton-Harris who claimed 2nd in all races stuck with Randle for the day, creating an action packed race at the front of near capacity field in Junior Max. With that in consideration, both the pre-final and final are sure to keep people looking for the next piece of action.
Queensland’s Lucas Ward took pole position in the DD2 class, yet he settled for 2nd place in all three of the heats as his fellow sunshine state driver James Macken grabbed the chequered flag in the first and final heats, with CRG pilot Jason Pringle taking the spoils in the second race in conjunction with two DNF’s in the corresponding two races, forcing the veteran down through the field. The final placing on the podium was shared between Troy Bretherton and his namesake and Rotax Heavy reigning National Champion, Troy Woolston.