By Mike Garrison
Race Report from the Asian Nitro Championships:
1/8 GT Final
The mains were ready to start on the sunniest day of the weekend and first up were the big 1/8th GT class. At the tone, TQ Rick Seymonsbergen took full advantage of front spot and other than a couple small collisions, the main got off to a fairly clean start with Seymonsbergen leading the pack. It was only a couple minutes into the main when Ian Haley challenging Michael Turner in a shuffle dance for the second and third positions. With 27 long minutes to go, everyone started to settle into the long main. At the lap 15 mark, Haley was charging hard right behind Seymonsbergen challenging for the lead. As the cars were starting to come in for their first pit stops, disaster for Seymonsbergen as he flamed out exiting pit lane and would drop him back to the third position. Seymonsbergen would need to put his head down and try to claw his way back up to the front where Ian Haley had inherited the top spot. Haley wouldn’t look back and his lead would grow and was on a Sunday drive. With seven minutes to go in the main, Haley’s lead would grow to almost two full laps with the battle behind him for the two remaining podium spots was brewing between Michael Turner, Mathew Oxford and TQ Rick Seymonsbergen. Time was running out and Ian Haley, coming from the fifth position on the grid, had a flawless run and with perfect pit stops along with some luck, picked up the big win. During his post race interview, a modest Ian Haley was happy for the win and graciously thanked his wife and everyone who helped him.
1/10th 200mm Final
As the excitement from the first final was settling down, the 1/10th 200mm class made their way into pit lane and fired up their engines in preparation for the long 45-minute final. Infinity’s Jesse Davis dominated during qualifying and would be starting from the pole with his teammate and recently crowned World Champion in this very class, Naoto Matsukura; no pressure right?!? With a bit of bad luck in the first laps of the race, Davis would fall back to the middle of the pack, but Jesse didn’t waste anytime to climb his way back to the front. Both Davis and Matsukura were laying down blistering fast ultra low 17-second lap times, but it was another Infinity teammate, Andy Moore, that would throw down a 16.6-second lap time; the fastest of the race. Unfortunately for Moore, some racing incidents and bad luck would keep him in the back of the group with little hope of making it back to the front. With 11-minutes to go, Matsukura continued to fend off Davis and had built up more than a two lap lead over Davis. The closest racing happening with ten minutes to go was between Brayden Stanley and Chavit S running on the same lap within seconds of each other. As the pair clicked off laps on the computer, the numbers were showing Stanley running consistently 2-tenths of a second faster per lap and started to build a gap. Disaster for Matsukura, suffering a flame out in the switch backs section of the track. With his mechanic scrambling to collect the car to fire it back up, his two lap lead began to evaporate away as Jesse Davis close the gap. The gods were smiling on Matsukura as Davis would also suffer a flame out with a couple minutes ago. Matsukura would go on to collect the win with Jesse Davis finishing second and rounding out the top three, Steven Jovanovic.
1/8th Masters Final
Next up on the race schedule was the 1/8th Masters class. This group are of course friends off the driver’s stand, but as soon as they started to make their way to the driver’s stand you could noticeably see everyone getting in the mindset of one thing only, laying down fast laps and consistently. Wade Lobley would sit on the TQ spot and when the race began, Lobley, Richard Gun and Tak Woo formed a freight train and rocketed into the first lap with the rest of the field in tow. Positions would for the most part remain the same in the first few minutes of the race until a racing incident on lap 24 would damage Wade Lobley’s car beyond repair and would knock him out of the race indefinitely. With ten minutes to go, three cars in total would retire from the race, which unfortunately included England Park Raceway legend, Trevor Kerr who had to retire his car back on lap 43. Never count a legend out! Kerr’s mechanic managed repair his car and he was able to rejoin the race on lap 48. With the field spread out, spread out in the closing minutes of the race, fifth qualifier, Michael Turner was in the lead and ahead with a large 2-lap lead. Second qualifier Richard Chun was running in the second position with 4-minutes left in the race and was making a charge to the front with three minutes to go, but would it be enough time to catch the leader? Michael Turner had again built up his lead and would easily cruise across the finish line for the win. Richard Chun would collect the second spot with Tak Woo rounding out the top three.
1/8th Open Final
It was an amazing start for the last main of the day. Along with perfect weather, a perfect textbook start would begin this race. Looking down the leaderboard with three minutes down, absolutely no positions had exchanged with everyone remaining in the same position they started. Jeff Hamon lead the group and would actually pit the very next minute and would execute a perfect stop. After some pit stops midway though the race, things would shuffle Jesse Davis into the lead. Fate would have many things in store for a lot of the racers still on the track. With 21 minutes to go, Jeff Hamon would once again make his way the lead, but it was short lived as he would suffer mechanical problems that would drop him way to the back of the pack. Hamon would rejoin the race with 17-minutes to go, but again, mechanical problems would plague his car. This was good news for Jesse Davis, who would happily take the spot. He had Chavit S and Andy Moore in tow with about a lap separating each racer. Eight cars remained in the fight with six minutes to go and up front things got really close with Chavit S and Andy more as now they were only separated by a little more than 4-seconds. The seconds were ticking away and pushing his car to the absolute edge, Moore managed to get within striking distance of Chavit S and the pair had the crowd on their feet. Just as it looked like they were going to go one more lap, both threw down a 160 lap run and after 45-minutes, they crossed the line separated by only 2-tenths of a second! Jesse Davis would take the win with Chavit S finishing second and Andy Moore taking the last podium spot. What a great way to finish up the main events and an awesome way to wrap up the second round of the 2019 Asian Nitro Championships!
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