2013 Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, Round 1, Sydney Motorsport Park.
Tony Ricciardello’s campaign to get the #1 back on the Chev powered Alfa GTV from the west got off to the perfect start at SMP March 22-24 when he converted 3 pole positions into 3 race wins.
An entry list 17 cars long was reduced to 14 for Qualifying with no-shows by Phil Crompton (Mustang) and Dean Camm (Corvette) and Charlie Senese (Corvette) suffering mechanical problems in practice.
Ricciardello dropped below his 2012 lap record (1:28.9391) with a first session time of 1:28.9231 to take pole, Darren Hossack secured P2 for his Audi A4 with a best of 1:29.0035. This played into the pre meeting build up of a deep-seated rivalry between the two that has existed for some years. Shane Bradford put his Camaro down for 3rd with last years champ, Kerry Baily in his Aston Martin beside him. They were followed by Tamasi (Calibra), Jameson (Jaguar), Smith (Monaro), Banks (leased Camaro), Barnes (Pontiac), Robinson (Monaro), Cox (SAAB), McLoughlin (Comodore), Johnson (Torana) and McLeod (RX-7).
Numbers dropped further to 13 for Sunday morning’s 10 lap Race 1 but at least Senese got on to the track, if only briefly. Cox didn’t even get to face starters orders and retired on the warm-up lap. Ricciardello powered away from the rolling start but the same couldn’t be said for Hossack who was crowded approaching T2 and contact between Baily and Barnes resulted in the Aston Martin taking to the grass on the inside. Senese and McLeod failed to complete the opening lap bringing out the SC boards. After 2 laps behind the Safety Car racing continued with Ricciardello leading Hossack and Tamasi home. Robinson was the other retirement on lap 5 and retired for the meeting.
Race 2 saw Hossack jump his Audi to the lead from Ricciardello and Tamasi, this lasted for a couple of laps until he slowed and pitted. Over the next 8 laps Tamasi fell victim to Baily, Barnes, Bradford and Banks. Cox was able to get his SAAB across the line in this one, as did McLeod with his Mazda.
It was announced as an honour to the late Des Wall the winner of the 3rd race of the opening round of the season would be awarded the Des Wall Trophy. Des Wall had been a long time competitor and supporter of Sports Sedans and had taken out the 2009 title. Jeff Barnes carried the number 38 and signage as a tribute over the weekend.
The third and final race of the round saw Hossack put in an inspired drive from the rear of the grid to catch Ricciardello’s red Alfa after just over a couple of laps. But his challenge ended at the start of the 6th when he went off track at T1 and into the barriers. Barnes retired the same lap. This left Baily some distance behind in 2nd followed by Tamasi and this was how they finished.
Tony Ricciardello left the western Sydney venue with 3 race wins, the inaugural Des Wall Trophy and the series lead. Even though it’s early days it would seem he has every chance to take his 8th title.
Top five being:
Tony Ricciardello 135
Kerry Baily 122
Daniel Tomasi 108
Bruce Banks 101
Shane Bradford 98.
- Graham Mison
In memory of Des Wall