Ipswich Classic Review
With over 180 cars and eight categories running, the Ipswich Classic was a massive weekend in October for Queensland Raceway. With ever explosive categories like the Keema Excel Cup, Queensland Touring Car Championship and Trans Am, it was sure to be an exciting weekend. And some categories couldn’t resist joining in the biff and barge fun, with TA2, Group N, Classic Sports and Sedans, HQ Holdens and Production Sports all putting on an incredible show.
Saturday began with Classic Sports Sedans qualifying, with Michael Kulig, Geoff Taunton locking out the front row. All eight categories followed with qualifying and Production Sports had an extra session for B drivers, who were sharing cars with their A drivers in the one hour race on Sunday.
Incidents marred the Trans Am, Excel Cup and TA2 races, early on the Saturday. In TA2, previous round winner Chad Cotton and Scott Textor came together heavily on the first lap, causing a clampdown and eventually a restart of the race. Due to the incidents, the Group N - Harvey Black Endurance Race started near dusk, the setting sun racing pack leader Bob Stewart to the line.
The endurance race, possibly proved a bit too long for a few of the historic Group N competitors, with just under half the field completing the 20 lap race. Andrew Hinz, in car 47 went straight on into the tyre wall at turn three, and highlighted that overheating brakes were definitely a concern in the latter stages of the endurance race. As Hinz pulled the car out of the barrier to roll back around into the pits, flames were very visible from the back right. Hinz was able to pick up a bit of speed and put out the small fire, but his race was definitely over.
The sun rose over the circuit on Sunday and signalled the final day of racing for the Ipswich Classic. Classic Sports Sedans, were again off the mark first to begin an action filled and championship deciding day of racing.
After lunch Production Sports took off for the one hour race, which wasn an exciting affair. Grant Sparks led from the get go, and held onto the lead for the majority of the race. Only faltering on lap 26, of the 30 lap race to the advances of Jeff Hume. Sparks regained control and crossed the line in first position, followed by Wayne Hennig and Russell Schloss.
The Ipswich Classic saw the final round of the QTCC and a tightly fought battle for top honours in the championship. Coming into the final round, Justin Anthony and Steve Hay were hot favourites with only a few points separating the pair. Anthony had the momentum, but Hay has the experience and it all came down to their last race on sunday. It was a suspenseful few moments before the final race of the season, but it all came to an unfortunate end on lap three when Anthony was forced to retire, handing Hay the championship. Interestingly, it was Hay’s first time leading the championship on points in 2016, but he was there when it counted.
Regular competitor and fan favourite Trans Am racer, Charlie O’Brien announced earlier in the year he would be leaving the series to pursue other opportunities, and as such the Ipswich Classic would be his final race in Trans Am. It turned out to be a shocker of a weekend for O’Brien who initially qualified fourth on the Sunday morning but who was then unable to get out for the first race, and eventually had to pull out of the rest of the weekend. O’Brien was able to walk away with the championship in the Trophy Class in his farewell to Australian Trans Am.
The rest of the sunday ran cleanly without any major incident and Trans Am and QTCC were able to finish their seasons on a high.
The Ipswich Classic was a big weekend, start to finish, and while there may have be 180 cars entered on the Saturday morning there were a few less running on the Sunday afternoon. Some may be coming away from the weekend with a few headaches but it’s celebration and elation for others, overall it was a great couple of days of hard and fast racing.
If you missed any of the racing from the Ipswich Classic, you can check it all out on https://livestream.com/qldraceways any time you like.