Season Four of the iRacing V8 Supercar Series by Bigpond Sport kicked off at Mosport, straight out of the starting gates the Down v McLeod show re-ignited. That said, there are some new-ish names looking awfully fast, and wanting a piece of the action.
Aussies love a punt, and Season Three nearly-man Mitch McLeod gambled on Tatts Corp sponsorship giving him a turn of luck for Season Four.
Season Three champ Madison Down was absent for the 7.45 race, so McLeod came out punching. Pole position was his from Richard Hamstead, Rens Broekman, Cal Whatmore and Scott U’Ren, also sporting Tatts colours. Newbie Michael Clark was in sixth from Beau Cubis, Lewis Dodimead, Stuart Wood and Richard Lock.
There were a few new faces in this top split, not surprising considering the record numbers.
McLeod took off with Hamstead in tow, showing impressive speed. Broekman set off third, but a “bump and run” tap from Whatmore put him back to fourth with the latter into the top three. Broekman was left to deal with U’Ren and Cubis. Clark, Wood, Dodimead and Lock were close behind in the top ten.
Cubis made a mistake at the double RH and Clark was through into 6th on lap 10.
Hamstead hung on to McLeod for grim death but the gap soon widened. NOt by much, but enough to give McLeod some breathing room.
With Samuel Collins, Colin Boyd and Bigpond’s Vern Norrgard relatively lonely in 11th, 12th and 13th, back in 14th, David Hingston, Mathew Probert, Trevor Forster and Kevin Duwel were battling like it was for the lead.
Meanwhile, by Lap 15, Broekman was thinking about getting his third place back from Whatmore. While he worked at this, U’Ren paid close attention to the pair. Behind them Clark, who had taken 6th from Cubis, gave it right back with a lost at the double RH.
McLeod’s lead was out to seven seconds by Lap 20, and he left everyone in little doubt as to the challenge thrown out to reigning champ Madison Down. On the penultimate lap, U’Ren got past Broekman after applying monumental pressure, Broekman sidestepping at Turn Three.
In the end it was McLeod from an impressive Hamstead, then Whatmore, U’Ren, Broekman, Cubis, Clark, Dodimead, Lock and Simon Black. Outside the top ten were Collins, Boyd, Forster, Hingston, Probert and Duwel after their epic fight. Then Matt Anderson, Andrew Wauchope, Jack Stoner and Norrgard in 20th.
For the higher SOF 9.45 race, Down came back signalling his own intentions, taking a flag to flag victory from pole. For the first half of the race, McLeod swapped second place with Hamstead but eventually prevailled, pulling out a nine-second gap, but 5 seconds behind Down. Hamstead fell into the clutches of Whatmore and U’Ren. Broekman had been running fourth but dropped back after contact when Hamstead, fumbling with steering wheel buttons, got into a tussle with the Nfinity car.
“I think Trans Tasman Racing will only be stronger in the coming rounds” – Madison Down
In the end it was Down, McLeod, U’Ren and Whatmore separated by mostly nothing, Hamstead, Cubis, Wood, Clark, Broekman, Lock, Norrgard, George Fullerton, Paul Larkin and the normally speedy Joshua Muggleton (“Muggles”) in 14th after a spin and smoky crash on the last lap. Winner Down:” It’s been great having some new blood in the team…I think Trans Tasman Racing will only be stronger in the coming rounds”. Ominous words…
The survivors of this race then paid tribute to the fallen MotoGP hero Marco Simoncelli with a lap of respect. It was a touching moment, yet again, from the V8 iRacers.
As for Season Four- it’s on.
OVERALL DIVISION STANDINGS
|28||Wayne G Hewitt||3||Australia/NZ||113||-121|