Queensland Endurance Championship Winners Announced
The Queensland Endurance Championship in it’s second year of running the Willowbank 300 and Lakeside 300, has found its winners!
As the fateful flag fell on the Lakeside 300, Gerry Murphy and Jim Pollicina sealed their championship, with a win at Lakeside and an eighth earlier in the year at the Willowbank 300. Third place finishers of the Willowbank 300, Matt Mobsby and Brett Boulton came home in the Lakeside 300 with fourth and with that second spot in the championship. Third goes to Robert Gooley and Wade Scott, whose meticulous planning and practice was undone on the saturday of the Lakeside 300, but battled against the circumstances and were able to back up their Willowbank 300 second place with a 13th and second place in their division.
The Lakeside 300 was a race all involved with certainly never forget, there was just 12 seconds covering the top four and it really could have been anybody’s race in the last few laps. It wasn’t until lap 80 that the number 35, BMW E92 of Gerry Murphy and Jim Pollicina were able to get out ahead, but as soon as they took the lead they were able to stretch their legs a little. They eventually crossed the finish line with 10 seconds in hand over the second place Holden VZ Commodore of Daniel Clift and Ashley Heffernan. The Commodore had an up and down race but were never really out of contention, in the last leg of the race they put their effort into hunting down the BMW but it proved too strong when the checkered flag finally dropped on lap 124.
There were just tenths between third (Lisa Montgomerie and Daniel Jilesen) and fourth (Matt Mobsby and Brett Boulton). An intense battle between the two saw the Mazda MX5 dice it out with the BMW E30 over the last 30 laps, the cars traded places three times before the number 13 MX5 finally came out on top and on the last step of the podium. Lisa Montgomerie’s outright podium appearance is also the first time a women has appeared on the 300 podium! Montgomerie has put a lot of time and hard work into her driving training and has been a regular out at Lakeside and Queensland Raceway, her podium is a real testament to her determination.
The race was just as hard fought for division titles down the list, with just seconds between the Division 6 first and second placers - the Targa Racing Mazda 2 of Adam Giltrow and Chris Quinn were able to just get ahead of Noel Otto’s and David Brown’s Excel. The curse of Division 1 struck the Motorsport Life entry of Justin Anthony and Karl Begg, as they failed to finish the Lakeside 300. Anthony was a division winner in the Willowbank 300, and Begg the outright winner at Willowbank was unable to add to his score tally for the championship. However the reverse luck struck Division 1 winners, Benjamin Croft and Ashley Jarvis whose PBR Clubman struck issues earlier in the year, and were unable to take further part at Willowbank, but it was a splendid run for the team at Lakeside. The team were unsure up until the friday whether the Clubman would be ready to contest the 300, with the car owner Croft having to put in some late nights to get it in racing shape. It was time well spent however, as they were able to take home that trophy.
Everyone was at the fence come the last lap just to cheer on and to make sure that their car came around the last corner where they wanted it to be. The 300km were fraught with trouble for some, but it was a dream day for Gerry Murphy, who has proved to be the perennial bridesmaid of 300 km endurance racing - always second, never first. That moniker is certainly not true anymore with his emphatic Lakeside 300 win; the champagne would have never tasted so good for Murphy. It is of course now a double celebration with his and Jim Pollicina’s Endurance Championship win.
With 2017 done and dusted 2018 is now racing up fast. Entries for the 2018 Queensland Endurance Championship will be open in the next two months, so it’s time for competitors to put together next year’s action plan. When the flag drops for the Willowbank 300 on April 22nd, we all start again!