As the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship made its first of two appearances at The Bend Motorsport Park on the weekend, there were two other categories who enjoyed some solid track time.
For the second time this year, the Aussie Tin Tops got to play a role as a support category to the main game as 33 entries across eight classes took part, while another mixed field of Combined Sedans also took to the track with 35 entrants getting three races each.
Both categories had their fair share of Australian stars on the entry list, as well as an eclectic mix of vehicles to appeal to motorsport fans of different eras. While the competition saw two dominant performers, it proved to be an entertaining weekend for all those involved.
Taking out maximum points in the Aussie Tin Tops was Dunlop Super2 Series leader Thomas Randle with the Victorian grabbing three wins from three races.
Behind the wheel of the Rusty French-owned Bentley Continental GT3, Randle qualified on pole and comfortably won all three races with his biggest challenges coming through Yasser Shahin in the Porsche GT3 and MARC 11 V8 driver Geoffrey Taunton, with the latter just four seconds behind the last race.
Young Porsche talent Ryan Suhle and 2019 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia winner Harri Jones also put on a show with three top-five finishes, as well as claiming victory in their respective classes.
For Randle though, it was just nice to get back on the circuit for some much needed track time ahead of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, where he will be racing as a co-driver for Nick Percat and looking to win the outright Dunlop Super2 Series title.
“When the opportunity came up, I couldn’t turn it down. So a big thanks to Rusty for lending me his car. It was really good to get racing again,” Randle said.
“I hadn’t driven a car since July at Sydney Motorsport Park, so it was really good to get the racing miles up. Motorsport isn’t like any other sport where you can practice every day, so I was very fortunate to get behind the wheel.
“Over my racing career, I have been able to drive in a variety of different cars and categories and this weekend was no different and I was able to add another type of race to the list.
“I would have liked to be doing more Dunlop Super2 Series event this year but under the circumstances, it’s almost impossible. Supercars and Motorsport Australia have done a brilliant job this year to try and get a calendar up and going and the fact that Super2 will be at Bathurst is amazing.”
For the South Australian Combined Sedans, it was Adam Poole who took out overall victory after steering his Holden Monaro to two outright wins.
After losing out to Hagen Zerk by just two seconds in the opening race, Poole went into a league of his own on Sunday with both of his wins over Matt Wright stretching out to more than 20 seconds.
Zerk couldn’t repeat his efforts from the opening race but still managed to finish the weekend as runner-up thanks to his third and fourth place on Sunday.
“It was certainly a pleasure to compete when the national show is in town and that is always a little bit of a thrill for everyone,” Poole said.
“We had a reasonably large field and it was pretty diverse, so it was good fun and I’ll take a win any day. I am really happy with my performance.
“It was nice to be on the national broadcast too. I’ve watched it back a couple of times if I am honest. It was also enjoyable for my family and friends to get to see what I am talking about all the time. That was a real treat.
“A big shoutout to the family for all the support as well as Coltek who prepared for the car for me.”
Aussie Tin Top Class Winners
Trans Am - Jason Gomersall
Super Cup - Harri Jones
Super GTA - Thomas Randle
Super GTB - Anthony Giustozzi
Super 3 - Gomersall
Super Touring - Bayley Hall
Super Challenge - Ryan Suhle
Super Saloon - Steve Hay
Combined Sports Sedans Class Winners
Group 1 - Adam Poole
Group 2 - Bradley Vaughan
Group 3 - Phillip Mere
Group 4 - Bruce Heinrich