The 2012 Shannons Nationals kicked off over the weekend, with the first round taking place at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway. The weekend was jam-packed with a number of one-make series championships, including the Commodore Cup, HiTec Oils Suzuki Swift Series, Australian Manufacturers Series, and the Australian Radical Cup.
2012 Shannons Nationals – Commodore Cup
After three practice sessions and no qualifying, grid places were determined by a ‘pick out of the hat’ ballot. In lap one Allan Hill retired with an oil hose coming loose, with Ross McGregor out through an engine failure. A safety car led the reduced field of six for four laps before the red flags came out.
The race was restarted with attrition being the watch word very quickly. Beechey, restarting in second, grabbed the lead, Jeff Watters pulled up at turn four with a broken castor rod whilst Matt Hayes, all over the end of Michael Tancredi, retired on the final lap with a broken tailshaft. Chris Stevenson, starting from eighth on the grid due to a failed clutch fork, found himself taking fourth.
A diminished race two field saw Adam Beechey hardly threatened, while Hayes and McGregor didn’t take to the circuit. Beechey came home easily for the win with Stevenson, with a repaired clutch, making it home in third behind Tancredi.
Race three saw Beechey untroubled for his third win. Hayes came out however had yet another issue inside the first lap, pitting for a few laps, whilst McGregor’s team swapped an engine to get him out with a great drive between Ross and Chris resulting in McGregor getting third ahead of Stevenson. Allan Hill’s woes continued with a retirement mid race.
2012 Shannons Nationals – HiTec Oils Suzuki Swift Racing Series
A small field for the Swift series took to the track, boasting names such as Adam Brand and Robbie Bolger. Queenslander Allan Jarvis had qualified quickest for pole position and held that position through to a win in race one. Brand made a charge towards the end of the race, picking up 0.6 seconds over a couple of laps and finished second. Race two had Ken Dalton go wide at turn one and was a passenger as his car skated across the damp grass and halving the length of the nose of his Swift. Jarvis won once again holding out Reece Murphy and three-peated the round ahead of Brand, Rob Jarvis and Murphy in race three.
2012 Shannons Nationals – Australian Manufacturers Championship
The Australian Manufacturers Championship had just two races for the weekend however both were enduros at one hour each. The big banger HSV of Steve Briffa had a great start in race one, moving from fifth to third inside half a lap while Jake Camilleri had an engine let go on lap three. Briffa’s driveshaft failed him with just three laps to go whilst the Team Mitsubish Ralliart Mitsubishi Evo X of Ian “Inky” Tulloch and Stuart Kostera was completely unheaded to win by 24.7 seconds, with Kostera finding 1.5 seconds per lap from after the driver change. A former Bathurst 12 Hour winning BMW 335i coupe, driven by Peter O’Donnell, had recurring computer issues, pitting the car five times.
Race two saw Briffa scream past eight cars at race start. The race itself was a mix of entertainment and skill with Camilleri’s team going gangbusters overnight to swap the engine only to have the car retire after just a few laps. O’Donnell carved his way through the field with an enthralling battle with the sister under the skin car of Grant Sherrin. Jim Pollicina, doing double duties, eventually finished second, some 31 seconds behind the slick Tulloch and Kostera duo.
2012 Shannons Nationals – Radical Cup
Former Porsche campaigner Neale Muston was unstoppable in the two sprint races held on Saturday, taking convincing wins. Brett Sutton and Chris Medland both went off early in race 1 while Tony Palmer and Glyn Edis were barely separable at the top end of the field. Ed Singleton closed rapidly in the final half of race one to finish fourth. In race 2 Simon Haggarty had a massive spin at turn 4 and lost seven positions.
Race 3 was the 50 minute enduro race; Muston once again skipped away to an early and sizeable lead while front runners Glyn Edis and Singleton had a dust-up around at the revamped turn six with Singleton spinning. Just before the halfway mark Mark McGill pulled his Radical off at turn two, forcing a safety car.
Shortly afterwards the car of Tony Palmer, after a visit to the pits for an issue, stopped on the exit of turn 4. With an excessively long safety car period leading to a seven minute sprint to the flag. Singleton closed on Muston with lapped traffic mixed in with a restarted field.
With five minutes left Singleton threw everything he had at Muston, closing to within a half car length at some points while Muston drove the race of his Radical career to hold out a desperate Singleton to win by a mere tenth of a second. Singleton said afterwards he was so close to Muston’s tail he didn’t see the chequered flag.
A fantastic way to finish off the opening round of the 2012 Shannons Nationals.