NEW KERRICK AUSTRALIAN SPORTS SEDAN title holder for 2013, Bruce Banks achieved the win in the most unprecedented circumstances ever imagined. The fact that he had used two cars to be leading into the final round was no so unusual, but then having to resort to a third car after his mount expired in qualifying, was certainly inconceivable.
To be even heading the points coming to Sandown Raceway for the finale at the Shannons Nationals on November 16/17 had the humble Tasmanian in awe. He wasn’t expecting to hold off the might of this round winner Tony Ricciardello in his charge to an eighth title, even more so when his Mazda RX7 expired before gathering a point.
He had been in this position by racing a leased Chev Camaro in the early rounds before reverting to his own car for round four. But by lunchtime last Saturday he was without a ride. At this point in steps Victorian Dean Camm with the generous off to race his Chev Corvette and with a sign-off by the rest of the field, it was all systems go for the fifth and final round.
“I jumped at Dean’s gracious offer and I also have to thank my fellow competitors for all giving their approval and allowing me to make the car change,” Banks said. “Then to win the title, it is hard to put into words the way I feel.”
In the meantime Ricciardello and his Chev-powered Alfa Romeo gave it their best shot, after scoring pole position he won all three races and took a new lap record – a time that was two tenths of a second faster than the new lap record set in Formula 3 on same day.
But he fell 11 points short of the ultimate prize. “A Tasmanian beat me for the title last year and another one beat me this year, I think we should have them banned,” quipped the West Australian. “We had the pace to win this year but the problems with the front end at the last two rounds cost us. We think it relates back to Mallala where we struck a lapped car that had dramas right in front of me. That hit we think cars the damage that went undetected at the time.”
Riccardello’s main rival for round honours was the John Gourlay-owned Audi Chev driven by Darren Hossack who led the first race for a couple of laps until Ricciardello gamely passed him over the rise on the back straight. Hossack had a brief look at the lead in race two also but suffered a tyre blow out early in race three whilst challenging for the lead.
Going into the final round second overall was Queenslander Shane Bradford who ultimately finished third overall in the series and third for the round behind Banks. Bradford did win the Trans Am class for the year in his Chev Camaro and was in title contention until a broken axle in race two dropped him down the race order.
Fourth for the round went to Colin Smith (Monaro/Chev) ahead of Peter Beninca (Alfa/Nissan), Damian Johnson (Holden Torana), Hossack and Daniel Tamasi who considered among the front runners until engine woes in the Calibra/Chev delayed his progress.
Race One (12 laps)
1 Tony Ricciardello (WA) Alfa Romeo GTV/Chev 12:50.9319
2 Darren Hossack (Vic) Audi A4/Chev 12:53.3920
3 Shane Bradford (Qld) Chev Camaro 13:29.2412
4 Daniel Tamasi (Vic) Holden Calibra/Chev 13:47.6451
5 Bruce Banks (Tas) Chev Corvette 14:01.8070
6 Colin Smith (Qld) Holden Monaro/Chev 14:02.9691
7 Peter Beninca (Vic) Alfa Romeo GTV/Nissan 10 laps
8 Damian Johnson (Vic) Holden Torana 6 10 laps
9 Charlie Senese (Qld) Chev Corvette 10 laps
DNS Bob McLoughlin (NZ) Holden Commodore/Chev
Fastest lap: Ricciardello (1:08.8729)
Race Two (12 laps)
1 Tony Ricciardello (WA) Alfa Romeo GTV/Chev 13:52.4920
2 Darren Hossack (Vic) Audi A4/Chev 13:58.0579
3 Daniel Tamasi (Vic) Holden Calibra/Chev 14:55.3406
4 Bruce Banks (Tas) Chev Corvette 14:57.3436
5 Colin Smith (Qld) Holden Monaro/Chev 14:59.6118
6 Charlie Senese (Qld) Chev Corvette 11 laps
7 Peter Beninca (Vic) Alfa Romeo GTV/Nissan 11 laps
8 Shane Bradford (Qld) Chev Camaro 11 laps
9 Damian Johnson (Vic) Holden Torana 6 11 laps
DNF Anthony Cox (Qld) Saab/Dodge 1 lap
Fastest lap: Ricciardello (1:08.1700)
Race Three (12 laps)
1 Tony Ricciardello (WA) Alfa Romeo GTV/Chev 14:26.1385
2 Shane Bradford (Qld) Chev Camaro 14:39.5468
3 Bruce Banks (Tas) Chev Corvette 15:10.2187
4 Peter Beninca (Vic) Alfa Romeo GTV/Nissan 15:20.3404
5 Colin Smith (Qld) Holden Monaro/Chev 15:21.2324
6 Charlie Senese (Qld) Chev Corvette 11 laps
7 Damian Johnson (Vic) Holden Torana 6 11 laps
DNF Darren Hossack (Vic) Audi A4/Chev 2 laps
DNF Daniel Tamasi (Vic) Holden Calibra/Chev 0 laps
Fastest lap: Ricciardello (1:08.6687)
1-Ricciardello 1:08.1779, 2-Hossack 1:08.8566, 3-Bradford 1:11.5856, 4-Tamasi 1:12.1085, 5-Camm 1:13.3007, 6-Smith 1:13.7649, 7-Banks 1:14.3563, 8-Beninca 1:15.3274, 9-Senese 1:16.4548, 10-Jameson 1:17.0588, 11-McLoughlin 1:17.2822, 12-Johnson 1:18.8195.
|1. April 1-3 Sandown Motor Raceway|
|2. June 10-12 Winton Motor Raceway|
|3. July 29-31 Queensland Raceway|
|4. Sep. 9-11 Phillip Island GP Circuit|
|5. Nov. 11-13 Sydney Motorsport Park|