THE GREAT FORMULA VEE WIPEOUT!
The front row for Race 1 The Vees under the AmorAll Bridge Round 1 of the 2011 Clemenger International Freight Australian Formula Vee Series finished with one of the biggest proverbial bangs in the history of 46 years of Formula Vee in Australia when the four leading cars wiped eachother out on the last corner of the last race, allowing Queensland’s Tim Hamilton to emulate the amazing 2002 Winter Olympic achievement of the great Steven Bradbury, by going from several places back to winner in the dying seconds. But what may have been deserved celebration for the reliable Hamilton in the last corner wipeout was undeserved tragedy for the reigning NSW State Champion, Daniel Reynolds, and also the former Australian Series Champion, Ben Porter, when they were robbed of their podium places.
The Bathurst weekend started in unusual Vee fashion, with a clear first practice session on a hot Friday morning allowing all but two of the huge 45 Vee field finishing as they started, with only the beloved FVANSW President Dylan Thomas not recording a lap time. The session also ended early for Category Manager, Leigh Porter, following a stone perfectly penetrating a rocker cover. However, after seven laps, the FVANSW re-stamped its authority on national racing with the top four places; Ryan Simpson, Ben Porter, Daniel Reynolds, and the amazing Michael Kinsella in his completely self-built Jacer.
Qualifying took place during an even hotter late Friday morning, but the clean run of practice was not repeated when smeared oil caused cars to rest in the traps. But by the end of the session, Ryan Simpson and Michael Kinsella retained their front row for the upcoming racing, while Ben Porter swapped places for the second row. Dylan Thomas made a spectacular recovery to from dead last to take the eighth grid spot, one spot ahead of his NSW mentor, Stephen Butcher. For the FVANSW, Dean Cavanagh, Darren Williams, and Jayson Williamson then took the eleventh to thirteenth places for NSW, followed by Simon Pace, Mark Williams, Michael Cluderay, Garry Hook, Morgan Freemantle, Geoff Chappell, Corrine Black, Leigh Porter, Kent Shepherd, Bruce Pearce, Gary Ogden, Sean Birk, and Michael Gale, spread throughout the remainder of the grid.
Race 1, and the heat was stifling, but the end was cut short after another excursion into the sand trap, no doubt to the rejoicement of Daniel Reynolds, who took the early lead in the Clemenger International Freight Australian Formula Vee Series pointscore, followed by Ryan Simpson, Michael Kinsella, and Ben Porter, in a slightly rearranged top four.
Race 2 on Saturday morning proved to be the race of the weekend, with wheel-banging going on throughout the field lap by lap, corner by corner, and no Safety car to cut the laps short. The view of the fabulous mayhem at the head of the field from Tim Hamilton’s sixth place finishing Jacer can be seen on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGu5LMqQ70Q By the end, 2005 and 2006 Formula Vee Nationals winner, Ryan Simpson, made a triumphant return to Formula Vee racing by crossing the line ahead of Ben Porter and Daniel Reynolds. Another FVANSW podium lockout! Mick Kinsella, Tim Hamilton (a defacto FVANSW member), Dylan Thomas, Stephen Butcher, and Darren Williams, made it eight out of the top ten for the FVANSW, with Jayson Williamson, Gary Ogden, Leigh Porter, Michael Cluderay, Simon Pace, Corinne Black, Geoff Chappell, Kent Shepherd, Garry Hook, Bruce Pearce, Glenn Moulds, and Michael Gale, all finishing the race for the FVANSW. Unfortunately, the FVANSW’s Mark Williams, Dean Cavanagh, Morgan Freemantle, and Sean Birk, DNF’ed.
Race 3 spectacularly ran through to the end with no Safety Cars, but could not have ended more dramatically with the now forever famous last lap wipeout by the top five cars, allowing Tim Hamilton to deservedly passing the five stranded leading cars after the last corner. The wipeout, including another classic Mick Kinsella dive, can be seen from various on and off track angles on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J-z_C3Ep5U at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NMA17v1xnw and also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl6HsV0Lk68 Tim was joined on the podium in third place by Ryan Simpson, who fortunately recovered from the wipeout, then Dylan Thomas in fourth, Darren Williams, Jayson Williamson, and Simon Pace, to make it six out of the top ten for the FVANSW. Michael Cluderay, Leigh Porter, Corinne Black, and Mark Williams, finished in 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th, ahead of the tragic wipeout victim, Daniel Reynolds, who perhaps should have been the race winner, in 17th. Daniel was immediately followed by the FVANSW’s Garry Hook and Morgan Freemantle, with Bruce Pearce, Glenn Moulds, Kent Shepherd, and Michael Gale, not far behind.
The last finisher, of the race and for the FVANSW, was another of the wipeout victim’s, the great Ben Porter in the great Checkmate. Stephen Butcher (wipeout victim number 7), Geoff Chappell, (wipeout victim number 8), and finally Dean Cavanagh, all DNF’ed the race. Congratulations and thanks to all the competitors and administrators (Leigh and Liz Porter in particular) who allowed Formula Vee to race on the circuit following a two year break, including all those competitors who travelled thousands of kilometres to race with us. Commiserations to all those competitors who suffered bad luck during the weekend.
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