Power Rankings Team TRT June 3, 2024 (Comments off) (241)

Power Rankings: The Bend

The Shannons SpeedSeries rolled into Shell V-Power Motorsport Park at The Bend, providing us with plenty of talking points.

So here goes…


ABOUT THE RANKINGS: The TRT Power Rankings are compiled by your nominations from social media and edited by the TRT editorial team. They’re designed to give a balanced, as fair as possible critical overview of those things that excelled and those things that struggled, at each event. It’s (mostly) a democracy, and what you nominate generates the order, so have your say next event via our social media channels, @theracetorque on Facebook, Twitter and Insta. Look for the call out each evening and get commenting!


HOT

1. Jordan Cox being Jordan Cox

While not having this moment would have definitely helped him get a result, it would have denied us all the majesty of another piece of Jordan Cox ridiculousness, so for that, we are thankful. This should not have been savable, and yet, here we are.


2. Five Wide

Nuts.


3. The Saab

Sports Sedans are simply better when more of the big dogs come out to play. The Saab is A-grade kit, and Thomas Randle is an A-grader operator. More like this, and Sports Sedans would be the smash hit of the Winter…


4. The (Short) West Circuit

While the grand sweeps over the back part of Shell V-Power Motorsport Park are fantastic from behind the wheel of a racecar, and look ace on TV, running on the shorter variation definitely had its pluses. While the GT set were particularly outspoken, it would be fair to say that the on-track racing product was absolutely improved by the move. Firstly, the long track doesn’t really add much to the racing equation – there aren’t many genuine overtaking spots bypassed. It keeps the racing far more accessible to the fans trackside, who either have the cars come by more often, or if you are lucky enough to be in the hotel, you can see practically everything. Also, it is a significant cost saving in terms of TV production and the manpower required to run the event. Finally, having some variety in your life is a good thing. Embrace it.


5. Trans Am

A statement round for Todd Hazelwood, whose side hustle has become his main gig, and it is making his presence felt. After being demoted to second in the opener, Todd made amends in the next two outings, smashing home two big wins. James Moffat won the opener before a trio of second-place finishes gave him the round win and slightly extended his championship advantage. Jordan Boys came through in the finale to add another winner to the record book after skipping clear after a hectic start to the race. Nathan Herne also looked particularly sporty at stages. We always knew this was going to be a tight title tussle, with Moffat on top after four rounds on 518, then James Golding next on 477, equal with Hazelwood and Boys on 471. With Elliot Barbour, Elliot Cleary, Herne, Tim Slade, Nash Morris and Ben Grice waiting in the wings, expect spice at the upcoming events.


6. GT World Challenge Australia

In the opener, Declan Fraser and Peter Hackett struck first for Triple Eight AMG, followed home by Chaz Mostert/Liam Talbot and Jaxon Evans/Elliot Schutte in the Arise Racing Ferraris. In the second race, Brad Schumacher claimed his maiden outright race win in the series, with teammate Will Brown using the race as one final warm-up before heading to Sonoma next weekend for his NASCAR Cup Series debut. The battle for the minors was epic, with Talbot and Schutte both getting the better of Tim Miles in the sprint home. At the end of the weekend, Brown/Schumacher scored the overall chocolates over Mostert/Talbot. Elsewhere, the AM battle was thoroughly unhinged, with last-lap dramas in both heats.


7. Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge

FYI: In our TRT board meeting to decide these Power Rankings, we wound up in a complete stalemate, with the Junior Porsches subsequently finding themselves in HOT, NOT and WHAT. Firstly, the class had a massive grid, which must be congratulated. The HOT facet of proceedings was extensive – Oscar Targett topped the overall points from Brock Gilchrist, Aron Shields, Hamish Fitzsimmons and Clay Osborne, with Osborne, Gilchrist and Targett claiming the three race wins, which reading between the lines absolutely tells everything: the racing was super competitive, with anyone capable of winning. This is a blockbuster championship in 2024.


8. TCR

Jordan Cox came through for the win in the opener from Tony D’Alberto, with the action cranked up in race two with the top ten inverted for the start. Zac Soutar took advantage of a front-row start to claim his second career win as everyone else clattered into each other at every available opportunity. Cox added another clip to his viral YouTube playlist with a massive off coming onto the pit straight in the finale while leading. Using the “if in doubt, power out” theorem, he somehow salvaged his car from right angles to the track, although he free-fell down the order. Soutar held on by less than half a second to win from Josh Buchan, who claimed overall honours. In the ultimate sign that Soutar’s luck may have turned the corner, his Audi failed AFTER the finish of the last race…


9. GT4

The second outing for the class was another cracker, with some staunch battles throughout the pair of hour-long races. Once again, the Mustang of George Miedeceke and Rylan Gray proved to be the class of the field, although they lost their opening encounter victory when they went 2kg underweight post-race. The Pony made amends on Sunday with a convincing victory. By virtue of the DSQ, the Chaz Mostert-owned McLaren of Marcos Flack and Tom Hayman claimed the first race and the round overall.


10. Sports Sedans

While Thomas Randle ultimately dominated the results, it wasn’t as easy as his big SAAB took five laps to get the temperatures into its rubber, meaning he certainly had to work for his wins and that scenario offered up some outstanding results. Peter Ingram was once again in the mix in his Mazda RX7, ditto Steven Tamasi (Calibra) after some race one dramas, while the MARC Sports Sedans of Geoff Taunton and Steve Lacey were also in the mix.


FURTHER HOTS

Big Screens

There are four permanent ones at The Bend, which is HOT.


Max Papis

Cool news that MPI, or Max Papis Innovations, got behind the Trans Ams by backing the new Up on the Wheel Award, celebrating the driver who made the most positions in the races. Cool. If you don’t know who Max Papis is, please watch this YouTube clip. Also, any time in life we get to post a retro Champ Car clip, it’s HOT.


WHAT

Who is that guy? He is the most WHATed subject in the long history of Power Rankings…


Ouch


Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge


What. For all of the reasons, what.


NOT

1. Long Days

While Sandown at the start of the year was NOTted for a Sunday program that didn’t stretch four hours, the opposite is true at The Bend. Starting the largely headlight-less Sports Sedans pre-dawn on Saturday was interesting, and they were lucky that the fog wasn’t worse, but it was a necessary evil with such a jam-packed program.

The other issue was temperature. Sure, it’s winter – it’s going to be cold. But it was 2.3 degrees when the Sports Sedan race started on Sunday morning and just over three for the Porsche’s. Extra warm-up laps were given as a result, and sure, you have to drive to the conditions – but it’s not ideal to be racing when it’s literally freezing.


2. Sherrin’s Friday Shunt

Bad news for defending series champion Iain Sherrin, who aquaplaned and crashed out of the weekend during Friday’s practice downpour. The class was already short of numbers, and an additional frontrunner would have helped the cause significantly.


3. Friday Rain

Carrying over in the great tradition of the Shannons Nationals, the Shannons SpeedSeries is continuing to break droughts across this great nation of ours, one race meeting at a time.

On a serious note, it did mean for a lack of meaningful running on Friday for a lot of competitors, who elected to save rubber with the weekend forecast looking cool, but bone dry – as it turned out to be.


4. Jordan Caruso Fire

Fire is forever the enemy of Sports Sedans, so it was sad to see a blaze involve one of the best, with perennial frontrunner Jordan Caruso eliminated on Friday to a particularly nasty blaze. By all reports, he did a mega job trying to extinguish it himself.


5. No Mates?

Some fans reported to TRT that they were miffed by the lack of 7mate coverage for the weekend, with the action streamed exclusively (and for free) on 7+. Fair comment, though perhaps the expectations were built across the first three rounds which include the traditional broadcast format. Streaming, though, is the future so the time is now to join the (did we mention it’s free) streaming bandwagon.


6. TCR Qualifying Battles

Tenth for Ben Bargwanna wasn’t what we expected, while in the HMO stables, both cars received five grid place penalties for their intra-team car swaps. Josh Buchan moved back into the sedan he won the title with last year, while Tom Oliphant switched to Buchan’s previous hatchback – the swaps themselves were fine, but the penalties were for switching engines mid-year.


7. Skinny Mustang

Sadly, the GT4 Mustang was scrubbed from the Saturday race after being in the thick of the battle throughout, but was underweight post-race. Professionally handled by George Miedecke in broadcast, as you would expect – and the Sunday rebound was excellent.


8. Trans Am Race 1 Finish Drama

In a rapid escalation of hostilities, Todd Hazelwood clearly overtook James Moffat under the yellow flags and was subsequently penalised one position. He was unlucky to be caught out as he was committed to the move, and lucky on the other that it was only one spot. There were plenty of other dramas in the opener, with James Golding and Tim Slade coming together, then Nathan Hearne dropping it while battling Moffat for the lead.


9. Production Cars

Only 10 cars made the race weekend, which sadly isn’t enough for four hours of racing. This is the second round in a row that has attracted a tiny grid, while in between the Bathurst 6 Hour drew more than 60 cars. It’s far too removed from Bathurst to be blaming resources invested into the endurance classic for limited numbers in the series – so something else is awry. The series needs to be delivered at Queensland Raceway now, or surely questions must be asked about the series’ future – at least outside of Mount Panorama.


10. Various Bingles and Dramas


AN ADDITIONAL NOT

Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge

Seven drivers copped time penalties in Race 2 on Sunday and a further three in Race 3, making it nine of the 29 surviving cars penalized at some point across two races. That’s a third of the field, indicating there could be some work to be done to reign in some of the driving standards in this ultra-competitive, stacked championship this year.


SOCIALS

Well played Jude!


Inside GT4


Brodie on the tools


It’s good for the sport when Todd’s Mum is up and about


MEME

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