Upcoming Round

NEXT RACE – Round 3 – May 14 – 15, 2022

Round 3
Track: Wakefield Park
Date: May 14 – 15, 2022
Length 2.2KM
Turns: 9
F3 Lap Record: 53″

2022 Motorsport Australia AGI NSW Formula Race Cars Championship

Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2022 AGI NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1 
26th – 27th February, 2022
Wakefield Park


The 2022 season opened with a clean sweep to Nathan Gotch in the AGI Sport Dallara F307 Renault, taking victory with a faultless performance in tricky conditions.  The AGI team backed that up with Adam Gotch (Mygale F4 EcoBoost) taking second on the podium after a race-long battle with defending champion Greg Muddle (Dallara F399 Opel Spiess). 

Nathan Gotch out in front – all weekend.


As usual, time was the enemy and a few cars we had hoped to see on the grid for the opener will now make their debut in subsequent rounds.  Nevertheless there was a solid field if 14 cars entered.

On paper three-time champion Nathan Gotch looked to be the driver to beat.  He was heading up a four-car entry from AGI who were also fielding three Mygale F4 cars for Adam Gotch, Tim Boydle and series debutant Mark Wilson, with the promise of another F4 car later in the season.  Phil Morrow rounded out the F4 ranks for their first outing as a championship class.

Defending champion Greg Muddle was again fielding the two black & white FRCA Dallara F301 Opel Spiess cars, Rod Baker hoping the second car has caught some reliability from its stablemate in the off-season. 

2021 runner-up Doug Barry was once again flying the flag as the sole Formula Holden – the Reynard 92D just keeps getting quicker and hopefully will be joined by a couple more of the big cars as the season progresses. 

Rob Rowe (Genesis Offices Dallara F310 Toyota) finished fourth in our last two championships and was looking for a flying start to the 2022 season to improve on that. Rounding out the Open Class was a trio of Dallara F304s:  Lawrence Katsidis in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Renault-powered car and Jeff Senior in his Dontae Life Toyota-powered car both had successful shake-downs in December and were joined by Rob Sviderskas making a return in his Opel Spiess powered car.

In the Cup Class the ever-reliable Glenn Lynch lined-up in his Dallara F397 Fiat that has been the mainstay of the category since its inception and he was joined by Shane Morrow with his JPM Plastering Dallara F397 VW.

F4 in formation –  Tim Boydle ahead of Phil Morrow and Adam Gotch during qualifying.

Qualifying –  Pole time: 1:00.448

1.Rob Rowe
2.Nathan Gotch
3. Adam Gotch                                   

The field made its way onto the circuit in cold and damp conditions, which were only made more difficult when Rod Baker’s car popped an oil-filter seal and laid a trail of oil around the circuit as a result of which the session was red-flagged. 

At that point most cars had completed only one flying lap, at best, and it would have been a lottery for grid spots if the session had been time-certain.  Fortunately, the officials allowed a full 15 minutes of track time, and it took most drivers the full session to get on top of the conditions, the top 6 all completing their fastest lap as they were greeted by the chequered flag.

Making the most of the improving conditions it was Rob Rowe who won pole position beating out Nathan Gotch by 0.5 seconds in the first session of the championship.  Tricky conditions are a great leveller, and it was good to see Rob fire the opening shots of the campaign.

Adam Gotch was third quickest and fastest of the F4’s, ahead of Glenn Lynch in fourth, a great effort to out-qualify a number of the open class cars. 

Qualifying on the third row were last season’s champion and runner-up, Muddle and Barry, both spent most of the session trying to come to grips with grip, or the lack thereof, but both were well placed to pressure the front-runners when racing started.  Of the remaining Open Class cars, Jeff Senior was the best of the rest in 7th, with Lawrence Katsidis 9th, Rob Sviderskas 10th and Rod Baker’s one lap earning him 13th. 

In Formula B Tim Boydle was the next best to Adam Gotch with a very credible 8th ahead of Mark Wilson in 11th and Phil Morrow in 12th.

Shayne Morrow had starter motor issues that kept him off the circuit for this session but were sorted before racing commenced.

Rob Rowe (Genesis Offices) topped qualifying.

Race 1 – Fastest Lap: Nathan Gotch 1:02.229

1: Nathan Gotch
2. Adam Gotch
3. Greg Muddle                

Conditions were still cold and slippery but dry enough for slicks.  There was little grip to be had in the warm-up and one driver found the grass, resulting in a delayed start and extra warm-up lap – everyone appreciated the chance of a practice start and extra warm-up, so thanks to driver X (we’ll keep him nameless to save embarrassment) for taking one for the team.

When the lights finally went out for the start the two AGI cars got the jump on Rowe, with Doug Barry firing into 4th ahead of Lynch, Muddle and Boydle getting into the mix. 

The early laps saw Nathan Gotch establish a good lead over his brother Adam who had his hands full defending his position from Rowe. This continued into the 5th lap when Rowe made a move around the outside on the approach to Turn 2 but there was contact which left him stranded on the outside of the circuit. 

The early racing behind the leaders saw Barry holding 4th position comfortably.  Behind him, Muddle had made an early move on Lynch, and eventually shaken off Boydle.  Katsidis was on a charge up from 9th to 6th, placing him ahead of Boydle, Baker, having a good run from the rear of the grid, Senior and Lynch who had been jostled back through the field.

With Shayne Morrow spinning at the top of the circuit and Rowe stranded at the bottom the safety car was called out, and everyone was given a breather as Rowe’s car was towed in. Morrow got himself out of the bog but was lapped and sitting behind the leader as the cars circulated. 

A long recovery process meant that at the restart we had a 3 lap sprint and the two AGI cars jumped away quickly from Barry, the big car suffering more than the others from tyres cooling off, leaving him vulnerable to Muddle who was able to pass as they ran up the hill on the second last lap.  Barry’s tyres eventually came back on, but Muddle drove a defensive last lap to keep both Barry and Katsidis at bay. 

Contact in Race 1

The safety car had left Boydle vulnerable to Baker, the F3 able to account for the F4 on the second last lap to give him 6th position ahead of Boydle, Lynch, Sviderskas and Phil Morrow, although Lynch was subsequently given a 30 second penalty for passing under yellows and was relegated to 10th in the standings. 

Mark Wilson was also up with this pack and looking to make a move late in the race but had a last lap ‘moment’ pushing hard on the downhill run and had to settle for 11th.  Shayne Morrow was the last of the finishers, with Jeff Senior retiring with a misfire and Rowe having been towed back to the pits.


Race 2 – Fastest Lap: Nathan Gotch 1:01.748

1: Nathan Gotch
2. Greg Muddle
3. Adam Gotch                  

Wet enough for umbrellas here, but dry enough for slicks when the cars rolled out.

Sunday morning was again damp and cold and looked considerably worse than Saturday, a misty sort of drizzle convincing most people to go with wets.  Even sitting in the dummy grid that seemed the right call, but once on the track it was basically dry – but at least it was a level playing field with everyone making the same call.  13 cars rolled out with only Jeff Senior absent, the misfire diagnosed as a bent valve.

Nathan Gotch again got the jump from brother Adam, Barry, Muddle, Baker and Katsidis.  Muddle pulled back places from Barry and Gotch on consecutive laps passing under brakes at Turn 11 entering the main straight, but by that stage the lead car had skipped away to a significant lead.  Baker challenged Barry at the Turn 8 hairpin but ran wide, conceding a spot to Katsidis and doing some front wing damage in the process.

Behind the lead pack Sviderskas had made a great start to move into 7th, holding out Boydle until he took the place back on lap 3.  Boydle kept that position until a spin at the hairpin on lap 7, which unfortunately also tangled up Sviderskas and eventually brought out the safety car.

Raining at the other end of the dummy grid too, but real men don’t need umbrellas.

Behind these two there was an epic battle developing between the Morrow brothers and Glenn Lynch.  In the early stages it was Phil Morrow in front, but by the time the safety car emerged it was Lynch from Rob Rowe, nursing some front wing damage that was inhibiting his charge through the field, Phil Morrow, and Shayne Morrow.  Mark Wilson was struggling with a car that wasn’t quite firing and found himself a lap down and sitting between the front two cars under safety car conditions.

When racing resumed Nathan Gotch got a good jump as Muddle sat behind Wilson until the control line.  Muddle in turn opened a comfortable margin to the chasing pack of Adam Gotch, Barry and Katsidis.  Although they closed in the last lap the jostling for third prevented any real attack on second. Katsidis was all over Barry but unable to do anything about it.  Baker trailed off with a collapsed rear wing but was able to hold off the fast-closing Rowe who was lapping considerably quicker once he had cleared Lynch.

The battle for minor places continued after the re-start, both Phil Morrow and Shayne Morrow managing to pass Lynch early on, but Lynch regained both places with a late lunge as the two Morrow cars fought for place.  At the end there was less than a second separating Lynch, Phill Morrow and Shayne Morrow as they crossed the line for 8th 9th and 10th respectively. Sviderskas continued on a lap down after briefly pitting to assess damage, and Wilson followed home in 12th position.  Boydle circulated for a couple of laps after the recovery but had extensive front wing damage and retired.

Nathan Gotch leads the cars up the hill at the start of Race 3.

Race 3 – Fastest Lap: Nathan Gotch 58.586

1: Nathan Gotch
2. Adam Gotch
3. Greg Muddle                     

For the first time in the weekend truly dry conditions greeted the drivers for the Trophy Race, which saw 12 cars start, Shayne Morrow once again unable to leave the dummy grid due to starter motor problems.

Muddle got the best jump and then missed a gear-change, allowing the two AGI cars, Barry and Baker to lead the charge up the hill on lap one.  Baker had been the 2nd quickest car on track in the morning despite his mis-adventures but was a bit too enthusiastic on the opening lap, running wide at Turn 4 and allowing Muddle, Katsidis and Rowe to take back positions.  Lynch, Phil Morrow and Sviderskas followed, ahead of the two F4’s of Boydle and Wilson.

In the early stages Adam Gotch was doing a reasonable job of hanging on to brother Nathan, and they opened a gap to Barry and Muddle who were engaged in a close battle for third.  Muddle eventually made a late braking move on Barry into Turn 11 and was surprised not to see the Reynard filling his mirrors on the exit, but Barry had broken a gear selector on the downshift and cruised into pit lane to retire.  Katsidis was next, engaged in what was to be a race-long battle with Rowe, the two cars slowly pulling a gap on Baker and Lynch.

Tim Boydle was on the move, accounting for Morrow on lap 3 and then chasing down Sviderskas to move into 8th on lap 6. That decided the order at the back of the field, with Boydle, Sviderskas and Morrow holding position 8 to 10 for the remainder of the race and Wilson retiring early with a recurrence of the power issues experienced earlier.

While Nathan Gotch had established a comfortable lead Adam Gotch had his margin over Muddle reduced over several laps.  Gotch defended an attempt to pass into Turn 2, but eventually was out-braked into Turn 11. With only two laps to go that should have been over, but Gotch’s car was quicker out of the hairpin, and he made the most of that on the final lap to take second place back, the F4 having just enough grunt to hold Muddle out by 0.17 seconds on the sprint to the line.

Rowe had passed Katsidis mid-race for 4th but the contest for position was not over. Katsidis took 4th spot back on the penultimate lap but, like Muddle ahead, was unable to defend a last lap lead.  Lynch followed home in 6th, Baker was struggling with a flat-spotted tyre and had to settle for 7th, the last car on the lead lap.

That concluded a great weekend for the AGI Team and sees them sitting 1-2 in the Championship, with Nathan already building a clear points gap.  Greg Muddle had a solid start to his championship defence, in the top three all weekend.

Good consistent results for Lawrence Katsidis and Rodney Baker see them 4th and 5th respectively.  Both Rob Rowe and Doug Barry showed good speed but were frustrated by DNF’s – expect to see both well in the mix when we resume racing.

Next Round – Sydney Motorsport Park on 9 & 10 April

Short Bursts

Club Pointscore …This year have introduced a Club Pointscore that rewards drivers for effort and not just results, recognising that not everyone has the machinery to be at the pointy end and that putting together a great weekend is about more than standing on the podium – improving lap times, making up track position, keeping it on the black stuff are all part of the challenge.  The points system rewards all of these as well as class results. 
See the points table at the end of this report.

Rodney Baker scored heavily for driving from rear of grid to 6th in race 1 and for maintaining that throughout the weekend.  Perhaps that’s an overly generous reward for a failure in qualifying (should we dock points for dropping oil everywhere?) but it was a good performance to make up those places.  Tim Boydle improved his times in every session over the weekend and produced a ‘personal best’ lap time in the final race, as well as taking second-place in the F4 class in three out of 4 sessions.  Both really good efforts that aren’t rewarded in championship points but see them at the top of the Club Pointscore. 

Big Banana Pole Position…Excellent effort from Rob Rowe in taking pole, despite the car running a standard Camry engine (or some such, your correspondent wasn’t listening to the long tale of woe about the missing horsepower).  Rob of course was elated, and deservedly so.  His initial suggestion was that we should declare the Championship after that one session – s a compromise we agreed on a new award in his honour, The Big Banana Pole Position, each time a banana coloured car qualifies in the #1 position. 

Blast from the past …Good to see Glenn Lynch near the pointy end, qualifying in P4.  It’s been a while since he’s been up there (Round 4 2019, so not that long ago but that was a very small field of cars).  The last time Lynchy qualified in P4 at the opening round of the season he won the Championship! 2011, P4 at Wakefield Park behind Muddle, David Choon’s F396 (a car still wasting away in a Canberra garage, sadly) and Michelle Guyer’s ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ March (in its last recorded outing, another sad state of affairs). Glenn’s time that day was a 63.341, slower than this round’s 63.151 and in far more favourable conditions, so the car hasn’t lost any speed.  While two of those cars are lost both the Muddle and Lynch cars are still going around, more or less successfully. 

Clean sweep   Nathan Gotch’s three-victory weekend was the 9th time he’s achieved that feat over the 11 years of the championship.

Rubber hits the road… In good news for Doug Barry and bad news for everybody else, a brand new set of Avon tyres for the Formula Holden should arrive in time for the next round at Sydney Motorsport Park.  Doug has been waiting several months for the rears to be shipped and we should all be worried about how fast that car will be on new rubber. 

New members…  Good to see new member Nathan Beer sizing up the competition at Wakefield Park, although it would have been better to see him there with his car, a Tatuus Formula Renault, which will be a welcome addition to the field once it gets through the log-book process.  Just one of a bunch of new cars we hope to see over the course of the season. Going one better, Mark Wilson joined us on the black stuff and acquitted himself well in difficult conditions.  The Mygale was a bit temperamental over the course of the weekend, hopefully AGI can sort that out before the next outing.

Looking Back   Lynchy’s qualifying performance was a flashback to our debut round in 2011.  The more things change the more they stay the same – we almost had 20 cars that day (Ron Coath managed to slice his hand open and was a non-starter so only 19 made it on track) and we’re still hopeful of hitting that magic number again (we’ve haven’t managed it since 2013).  For the history buffs here’s the list of cars that competed that weekend:


Greg Muddle

Dallara F399


Denis Lesslie

Ralt RT34

David Choon

Dallara F395


Darren Choon

Dallara F397 FR

Michele Guyer

March 87B


Warwick Robertson

Dallara F396 FR

Glenn Lynch

Dallara F397


Terry Robertson

Dallara F395 FR

Edward Gavin

Cheetah Mk8


Rob Sviderskas

Reynard 923

Andrew Wlodek

Dallara F304


Bob Wootton

Reynard 913 FR

Kevin Lewis

Cheetah Mk8


Gordon Hardy

Reynard 923

Robert Choon

Dallara F301


Dave Morrow

Richards 201

Al Palmer

Cheetah Mk6


Oliver Parkinson

Dallara F301

Greg Hunter

Elfin 700




Only three of those drivers were on the grid this time around – Greg Muddle, Glenn Lynch and Rob Sviderskas – however a couple more will return at Sydney Motorsport Park.

In addition to the Muddle and Lynch cars, the Parkinson Dallara (Aaron McClintock) and the Darren Choon Dallara (Shayne Morrow) are still going about, Edward Gavin is planning to run the immaculate Cheetah Mk 8 at Sydney Motorsport Park but sadly many of the other cars are unlikely to ever see the light of day again.

Top Tens



Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2021 AGI NSW Motor Race Championship Round 3 
11th – 12th December, 2021
Wakefield Park

After a lengthy COVID interruption, the AGI Formula Cars Championship completed its shortened season with a final round in challenging conditions at Wakefield Park. Torrential rain in the preceding days had an impact across the whole weekend, with the cars not venturing out on slicks until the Sunday, and even then there was still water across sections of the track. The honours for the weekend went to a non-championship invitee, Trent Grubel, having his first shake-down in the newly landed Dallara F312 that he intends to campaign in the National series in 2022. While Trent set the pace the battle for the championship played out behind him, with the AGI Sport cars to the fore – triple champion Nathan Gotch was back in the Dallara F307 Renault and at the pointy end as expected, but his efforts were upstaged by the impressive Gianmarco Pradel, having his first competitive outing in the Mygale F4 and ultimately taking the round win. Behind the AGI cars, Greg Muddle in his Dallara F399 Opel Spiess brought a healthy points lead and was able to do enough with minor placings to secure the 2021 Championship.

2021 Champion Greg Muddle coming down the hill
(nose first, we won’t mention his attempt to come down the hill tail first in the trophy race…)


With two rounds cancelled due to COVID and another taken over by the V8 Supercars month-long circus at Sydney Motorsport Park, the hastily put together final round for the season saw Formula Race Cars down on numbers, but nevertheless there were 13 cars entered and quite a bit to generate interest. Phil Morrow was making his debut in the Mygale F4 and had with AGI support for the weekend. The technical assistance was no doubt helpful, but the chief advantage was being parked in style on pitlane while those in the cheap seats had to deal with water inundation.

Adam Gotch was due to appear in the AGI Mygale F4, but at the last moment the seat was given to Gianmarco Pradel, a youngster with some karting experience but still green in wings and slicks cars. The SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 Renault of Lawrence Katsidis was back after much holmes-work had been done, as was Jeff Senior’s DONATE LIFE Dallara F304 Toyota with the addition of a Motec ECU. All the championship contenders were present, Muddle holding a healthy lead after two rounds leading the consistent Rob Rowe’s Genesis Offices Dallara F308 Toyota and Doug Barry (Doug Barry Specials Reynard 92D F4000). There was also the threat of Nathan Gotch, back in the AGI Sport Dallara F307 and on paper most likely to take a maximum points yield from the weekend, so the other contenders couldn’t afford any slip-ups. 


The rain had stopped overnight, but despite what was basically a ‘dry’ track for much of the lap there was still plenty of water on the main straight and rivers across the track at turns 1, 2, 5 and 8. All competitors were out on wets and the conditions were best described as ‘tricky’. There were a couple of spins, including Glenn Lynch turning the Dallara F397 Fiat around at Turn 2 in a very awkward moment for Nathan Gotch, but everyone managed to complete the session, with the exception of Rod Baker (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) who failed to make the black stuff due to a starter motor failure.

It may have been dry elsewhere, but at this part of the track it was decidedly wet.

Grubel didn’t manage to break the minute which gives an indication of how tricky the conditions were, and there were no surprises that he and Gotch shared the front row. The big surprise was Pradel in third, with series leader Muddle just edging out challenger Rowe for the other second row spot. Katsidis headed off Barry for the third row, the big F4000 unsurprisingly being bit of a handful in the conditions. Jeff Senior completed a trouble-free run in 8th which was a relief after all the dramas over the last two years. Shayne Morrow (Dallara F397 VW) was able to hold out Phil Morrow for 9th in the family duel. Phil in turn was able to take the honours as leading Mygale gentleman-driver ahead of Tim Boydle, and Glenn Lynch was uncharacteristically at the back of the field, struggling with a set of wets that Muddle may (or not) have sold to him a decade or so ago, so why wouldn’t they still be fresh?

Race 1

By the afternoon the track had dried out considerably, but the conventional wisdom was that the water across the circuit still made wets the best bet. All competitors started on wets except Baker, who had nothing to lose off the back of the grid and had managed, temporarily as it turned out, to resolve the starter motor problem.

Gotch made the most of a difficult situation, the pole box being perhaps the wettest part of the grid (for the rest of the day the first two rows were left vacant), but his experience saw him get the better of Grubel. Likewise, Muddle was able to get the jump on Pradel, and those four were able to gap the rest of the field in the early stages of the race. Phil Morrow was quick off the line and able to capitalise by slotting into 6th behind Rowe in the early stages, but Barry duffed it completely and was relegated to the back of the pack. Grubel was pushing hard but Gotch was able to keep him at bay for the first three laps, with Muddle and Pradel holding on in the initial stages. Grubel was able to find a way though on the fourth lap and opened up a comfortable gap by about a second a lap from thereon. Gotch picked up the pace and was also able to open a gap to Muddle, who had his mirrors full of Pradel and eventually ceded the place on lap 5.

Behind the leading cars Rowe had his hands full with Katsidis, who had recovered from a poor start and was able to displace Phil Morrow for 6th by the third lap. Despite hounding Rowe all the way to the flag Katsidis was unable to make any further progress, although both of them closed the gap considerably to Muddle. Barry had given himself a tall order by failing to get off the line, but he had accounted for Boydle and Shane Morrow by the end of lap 2 and then Lynch, Senior and Phil Morrow on each of the following laps. By this time he was in 7th behind Katsidis, but the F3 cars ahead were less of a handful in the conditions and that was as far as he was likely to progress, leading home Senior who had a quiet second half of the race following Barry after getting past Phil Morrow mid-race.

By this stage Phil Morrow had fallen from 6th to 9th and had some eager drivers behind him, but he was not going to concede any further places, and had elbows out to hold Shayne Morrow and Glenn Lynch at bay for several laps, the three cars separated by less than half a second at the finish. Boydle completed the finishers a lonely last having managed to rotate the car mid-race and lose contact with Morrow. Baker’s car pulled out with two laps to go, in the rush to get the starter motor working re-fuelling had been overlooked and he was left a couple of litres short.

Turn 2 on the first lap of Race 1 – Gotch leads the field away.

Race 2

Warm conditions on Sunday morning, but again the water at Turns 1, 2 and 8 were the focus. Conditions had improved significantly so it was always going to be slicks, however with water at the fastest point of the circuit the officials generously gave the drivers an extra warm-up lap to assess conditions – massively improved but still somewhat slippery at 190kmh though the water at Turn 1.

Gotch once again had a good start, but Pradel’s Mygale had better grip in the initial stages and out-manoeuvred the senior AGI car to take the lead on the first lap. Grubel had stalled, so that left Muddle in 3rd ahead of Rowe, Katsidis and Barry, with Phil Morrow again making a good jump to put himself ahead of Senior. The two AGI cars put on a brilliant display out front, Pradel using the conditions and his race craft well to keep the quicker car behind for the first 11 of the scheduled 14 laps.

Meanwhile Rowe was giving Muddle a hard time, eventually finding a way past under brakes at turn 10, and thereafter managing to pull out a good gap over his championship rival. That left Muddle ahead of Katsidis, who looked well capable of closing the gap and challenging for position until he had a spin at one of the water hazards. This did minor front wing damage but did not stop him recovering and resuming the race. He wasn’t the only one caught out in the water at Turn 8, Shayne Morrow was also caught out a couple of laps later and had an infield excursion, but fortunately was able to recover to complete the race.

By this stage Grubel had recovered several place so the running order was Pradel, Gotch, Rowe, Grubel, Muddle, with the leading 4 cars all down in sub-60 second times. Rowe was pushing particularly hard and unfortunately managed to turn his car around coming onto the main straight, eventually parked up at a difficult angle a couple of metres down the pit entrance road and unable to restart. With Lynch also in difficulty and cars unlikely to be recovered quickly the officials put out the chequered flag early at lap 11, allowing Pradel to hold out for his first win, leading home gotch by less than a second and indeed it may have been closer as the Dallara engine gave out in the effort to the line.

With Rowe gone Grubel was elevated to 3rd, ahead of Muddle, Barry, with Senior showing good pace and hounding him to the line to claim 6th ahead of the fast finishing Katsidis. Phil Morrow led home Boydle and a muddy Shayne Morrow. Lynch was a DNF, having pitted midway through the race, clearly unhappy with the pre-race preparation that the FRCA emergency-relief team had done in his absence (the cars for the race ahead are in the dummy grid, and still no Lynchy! I think we may have chosen the wrong tyre option – there was a choice of used and useder and in the end we chose the ones that best matched the livery of the car. He was quicker on the other set in the later race).

Trent Grubel getting some good racing miles under his belt ahead of a National series tilt in 2022.

Race 3

Several casualties from Race 2 meant just 10 cars lining up for the Trophy Race. The AGI Dallara had a hole in the side of the block, and Shayne Morrow’s car while still running was also losing considerable amounts of oil after his rallycross excursion. Tim Boydle also had parked his Mygale as a precaution, also with oil presenting in places it was not wanted. The water situation had improved, with only a thin (but slippery!) covering as the cars accelerated out of the Fish Hook.

Muddle had the best jump of the lead cars but Pradel was able to hold him out into turn 2, and then Grubel was able to get a better run up the hill but the front three looked racy as they came back down, only to be greeted by safety car flags. Baker’s car was stranded on the grid, having been baulked by Rowe stalling in front of him and the fickle starter motor not dealing sympathetically with the situation. Senior had got the best start of the rest and found himself in 4th, ahead of Barry and Phil Morrow, with Katsidis getting a poor start again, albeit better than Rowe’s (and Baker’s). Racing resumed, and Pradel held briefly but the F312 had too much mumbo in the improved conditions.

Pradel ran wide at turn 2 which gave muddle some hope but again, just as things were looking interesting the safety car flags were out again, with Katsidis having a frustrating day and turning the car around. When racing resumed Grubel pulled away but Pradel had his mirrors full of Muddle, who was looking strong until he looped the car at the start of the run down the hill and threw away his opportunity. That left the front two cars with a relatively easy run to the line. Senior had held 4th for the first half of the race but eventually conceded spots to both Barry and Rowe, with Barry holding onto 3rd by the smallest of margins.

Muddle had eventually recovered and looked to be cruising to 6th, but Lynch was not going to let the opportunity go and pulled a move on the last corner to take the place. Muddle was the last car over the line, with Morrow having pitted a couple of laps before the end.

Despite the less than stellar last result Muddle had done enough in the earlier races to claim the 2021 Championship, ahead of Doug Barry and Nathan Gotch. The short season has been interesting, and in just 9 races we’ve seen 6 different race winners (Muddle-2, Gotch-2, Pradel-2, Aaron McClintock, Noel McDermott, Graeme Holmes), impressive debuts from McDermott and Pradel, and ominously Barry’s big Reynard just keeps getting faster and faster. The 2022 Season promises to be big – a number of new cars are in the wings, perhaps this could be the season where we consistently put 20 cars on the grid, which would be great. And we don’t have long to wait.

The new season kicks of on the weekend of 26-27 February at Wakefield Park, we look forward to a great year ahead and a full year of racing.


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2021 AGI NSW Motor Race Championship Round 2 
10th -11th April, 2021
Sydney Motorsport Park

The 2021 AGI NSW Formula Cars Championship once again delivered close and exciting racing, Round 2 continuing the trend of three drivers sharing the honours across the weekend.  Debutant Noel McDermott (Anglo Motorsport Dallara F304 Opel Spiess) stormed to a fine first-up victory, and Greg Muddle (Dallara F399 Opel Spiess) squared the ledger by winning the second race. But when it mattered it was the experience and guile of Graeme Holmes (Dallara F304 Opel Spiess) that won-out in emphatic style, taking home the David Choon Memorial Trophy just as he did when it was last run in 2019.

With Round 1 winner Aaron McClintock sidelined with a broken engine, Muddle’s consistency over the weekend saw him take the championship lead, but this round saw strong challengers emerge that will make the rest of the season a gripping battle.

Muddle was in the mix all weekend and a consistent points haul sees him at the top
of the Championship.  But from the top there is only one direction……


Another solid entry list of 16 cars presented for this round.  We were glad to welcome back familiar old faces from ‘south of the border’ in Graeme Holmes and Rod Anderson (Reynard 893) and to have Phil Morrow back in a car (Reynard 923 VW) rather than wasting his talent spectating. Three was also a sense of excitement with Noel McDermott and the Anglo Motorsport team making their first appearance.

The AGI Team was back to 3 cars – Nathan parking the F307 Dallara and resuming a seat in the Mygale F4 that Nick Filipetto had driven in round 1.

Friday saw a few drivers have dramas:  the Rods – Anderson and Baker (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) – battling cranky engines, Phil Morrow finding a few gremlins with the Reynard after a long lay-off, and Shayne Morrow having to replace a broken axle. Aaron McClintock heard a bit of a knock… which unfortunately turned terminal and ended his weekend early. 


Perfect sunny conditions welcomed competitors as the rolled out late in the morning for qualifying.

As McDermott was on debut most people figured there would be a settling-in period to get familiar with the car, so he did not figure heavily in predictions for qualifying. However, he made a major statement with a 1:29 lap midway through the session, the only person to go sub 1:30 all weekend, and then put it back in the garage, leaving the rest of the field to work out the minor placings. Muddle had second until Holmes pulled out a last lap special, and the front three looked to have a bit of a gap over the rest of the field. 

Doug Barry (Reynard 92D Formula Holden) was the next best, the Big Dog once again showing its huge potential. Rob Rowe (Dallara F308 Toyota) was building consistent laps and finished 5th, and Rod Baker’s pushed into 6th with his car somewhat unexpectedly running problem-free for the whole session!

Positions 3 to 7 were close and that was promising for some good racing, the car in seventh being Adam Gotch, who won the honours for quickest Mygale from brother Nathan, the two F4s separated on the grid by Glenn Lynch (Dallara F397 Fiat) and Ron Coath (Dallara F307 Mercedes).

Behind these four Tim Boydle was the best of the rest, slightly disappointed at not getting down to his target time (although he did manage to knock that off later in the weekend).  Shayne Morrow was slightly off his Wakefield pace in 12th ahead of Rob Sviderskas.

Rod Anderson’s car had continuing mis-fire issues that, unlike Baker ‘s car, had not miraculously cured itself with a good night’s rest, and called it quits after qualifying.  Phil Morrow was unable to get the car out for qualifying but, after a return trip north for parts and a protracted negotiation with the officials, was permitted to start in the race.

Race 1

McDermott acquitted himself well with his first race start but had to concede the first lap lead to the fast-starting Holmes, with Barry 3rd and Muddle 4th and having to aggressively fend off Adam Gotch off the line. To compensate (yet another) poor start Muddle had a big lunge at Turn 2 with little effect – in the course of one corner he was 4th on entry, 2nd at apex and 4th on exit.  Behind Muddle, Rowe was trying something similar, which resulted in contact with Adam Gotch but fortunately both were able to continue, although Gotch stopped the following lap with an unrelated issue.

McDermott did not waste long in challenging Holmes, managing to pass boldly into Turn 6 on the second lap.  From that point he opened up a comfortable lead which he carried the full distance and earn his first race win with FRCA.  Pole. Win. Too easy this wings ‘n’ slicks thing!!

Muddle had a good look at Barry’s rear wing for a couple of laps before venturing another move at Turn 2, this time more successfully.  He managed to close the gap slightly to Holmes, but despite a 5 second penalty for a start infringement Holmes was just able to hold 2nd place.

Rowe re-gained his 5th place by passing Nathan Gotch on the main straight at the start of lap 2, but by that time the front 4 had gapped him and he spent his race chasing down a gap that wouldn’t quite close.

Baker passed Nathan Gotch for 6th into Turn 1 on the second lap only to concede the place by running wide. Gotch continued to have Lynch, Baker and Coath in close pursuit, Lynch making a couple of attempts to pass at Turn 1 before finally making it stick.  Lynch then steadily opened a gap over Gotch, Coath and Baker who was suffering from the return of his engine misfire at the back end of the race.

Tim Boydle had a steady race to complete the top 10 and be the last car on the lead lap.

BLENDLINE TV Race 1 (click here):
(Formula Cars are at about the 50 minute mark)

Turn 2 on the first lap of Race 1 – it all looks so spread out and under control from this angle.

Race 2

Warm and sunny conditions again for Sunday. 

The start was untidy, Coath and Boydle finding themselves in the wrong places on the grid and then getting the launch wrong – Coath going early and Boydle not at all.  At the front McDermott had a bit of a roller that earned him a 5 second penalty and Rowe also stalled.  Barry had another good start, so away from the line it was McDermott, Barry, and Holmes.  Muddle made a move on Holmes at turn 2 but it was Nathan Gotch who went big under brakes, taking them both and going from 5th to 3rd. Lynch was in the mix and Adam Gotch was the big mover in the field, into 7thfrom the back of the grid.

The late starting Boydle was trying too hard to make up space, looping the car in Turn 2 and getting beached on the ripple strip. This brought out the safety car, although Muddle was able to just sneak in a move on Gotch at Turn 15 before the flags came out.

Two laps behind the safety car and then McDermott led the field away in what was a 4 lap sprint race. Holmes had been buried in 5th but quickly pulled ahead of Nathan Gotch.  Muddle responded to the threat by passing Barry through Turn 1 the following lap to put a car between himself and Holmes.  Muddle was closing the gap to McDermott, but even though the race ended before they could sort the issue on the road the 5 second penalty gifted the race win to Muddle.  Holmes had passed Barry and was also within the 5 second range elevating him to second ahead of McDermott with Barry in fourth.

Adam Gotch was continuing to progress through the field the field. Working his way past Lynch on lap 3 and then following Holmes past brother Nathan on the following lap to finish in 5th

The big winner from the safety car was Rob Rowe.  Although he was in 13th place after stalling on the line the bunched up field gave him plenty of opportunity to progress, jumping to 8th on the first lap after the re-start, and then chasing down Lynch with a nice move around the outside at Turn 5 on the penultimate lap and finally rounding up Nathan Gotch on the final lap to claim 6th.  Nathan Gotch was relegated to 7th, a poor reward after pulling the best move of the weekend earlier in the race, ahead of Lynch in 8th.

Coath and Shayne Morrow were next on the road, but both copped penalties – Coath for the jumped start and Morrow for failing to notice a black flag.  That elevated Baker to 9th, having had mis-fire issues again but nevertheless enjoying good tussles with Rob Sviderskas and Shayne Morrow during the race.  Coath was classified 10th ahead of Sviderskas and Shayne Morrow with a 30 second time penalty. Phil Morrow suffered further gearbox issues and failed to finish.

Post-race there was drama for the Anglo Motorsport team, the scrutineers deeming the driver to not be safely under the line of the roll-over protection.  So, two major issues were emerging – Noel is too tall as well as being too quick, on both counts nothing a few inches off at the ankles wouldn’t solve.  But some determined work re-fitting the seat would see McDermott back in action for the feature race.

It is hard to keep a low profile when you’re out in front.  Noel McDermott riding high after his race win,
unfortunately a little too high for the Scrutineers

The other driver in trouble with the officials was Shayne Morrow who had been black-flagged for passing too early on the re-start, and then compounded the issue by failing to see the black flag.  The stewards took a dim view of this and produced a big fine.  For all of us it’s a reminder to check for flags (start line and Turn 15 exit) as part of our race routine. 

Just in case you haven’t seen one before, that’s what a black flag looks like.
That’s about a grand’s worth of flag, so its worth looking out for it.

BLENDLINE TV Race 2 (click here):
(Formula Cars are at about the 35 minute mark)

Race 3

The Trophy Race saw Doug Barry make another sensational launch and leading the field away ahead of Holmes, pole-sitter Muddle having to be content with third, ahead of the fast-starting Mygale of Adam Gotch, McDermott, Rowe, Nathan Gotch and Baker, with the car finally sounding like it was firing on all cylinders.

Holmes made a move on Barry on the back straight between Turns 15 and 16 to take the lead and stayed in that position until he received the chequered flag.

Muddle was looking to do the same, but the big Reynard was proving harder to pass.  He then had a further problem in the form of McDermott on his tail.  Some defensive lines held McDermott at bay for a couple of laps before he made his way into 3rd and then 2nd on lap 5.

Rowe was also progressing well and looking to challenge Muddle, but spun at Turn 6, falling to 9th place.  It was a precursor to a major turning point in the race.  McDermott had looked to be a potential challenger to Holmes, but he too had a spin at Turn 6, re-joining behind Rowe and ultimately only able to recover to 8th place.

That’s all anyone saw of Graeme Holmes
 as he completed a clinical defence of the David Choon Memorial Trophy.

By this stage Barry had opened up a handy gap on Muddle, and although that may have closed marginally late in the race, there was still a safe margin as he drove to his best placing with FRCA and crossed the line in second.

The midfield battle was keenly contested, and with the demise of McDermott and Rowe fourth place was at stake. Adam Gotch looked the most likely, having challenged Rowe early in the race, but Baker was in the mix and pulled a big move under brakes into Turn 2 on lap 8 to put himself into 4th.  He was able to hold that all the way to the line, ahead of the two Gotch Mygales and Glenn Lynch, having a typically strong run in the world’s highest mileage Dallara Fiat.

McDermott and Rowe followed, with Shayne rounding out the top 10.  Tim Boydle had a strong run in the Mygale, getting into the 1:36’s and having a race-long contest with Morrow and Rob Sviderskas.  Ron Coath spent the whole race chasing the field after stalling at the start and was only a lap away from picking off both Boydle and Morrow when the flag came out.

NATSOFT full results Race 3 (click here):

(Formula Cars are at about the 28 minute mark)

With his victory in the trophy race Holmes also pulled the most points for the weekend, ahead of Muddle, Barry, and McDermott.

The Championship standings after 2 rounds:

With several drivers expecting to be back in action for the next round at Sydney Motorsport Park, July 31 – August 1, we are looking forward to our biggest even in a number of years, there’s plenty of time to get cars ready and join the fun. 

Doug Barry cruising down the main straight.  Wrong gears, bad fuel pressure, old tyres….
Doug: enough with stories about how much faster the Big Dog could be,
please – you’re scaring the rest of us who are struggling to keep up already!


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2021 AGI NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1 
27th -28th February, 2021
Wakefield Park

The season opener lived up to all the pre-season hype – great racing for our first live-streamed event on Blendline TV, three different race winners, and great battles all the way down the field.  Nathan Gotch (AGI Dallara F307 Renault) took home the trophy with a solid win in the feature race, but over the weekend it was the reigning champion Aaron McClintock (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) who got the job done consistently and he leads the championship from two other consistent performers in Rob Rowe (Dallara F308 Toyota) and Adam Gotch (AGI Mygale F4).

Victory for Nathan Gotch in the opening round of the season.


A solid entry list of 16 cars was promising, but unfortunately we were down to 14 after Friday mishaps when Lawrence Katsidis (SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 Renault) shredded another timing belt and Jeff Senior (Donate Life Dallara F304 Toyota) kicked another cat – we must be getting close to the point where there’s nothing on the car he hasn’t rebuilt.

There were plenty of regular faces in the field, including Aaron McClintock, having his first run in the Dallara since his championship winning drive in 2019, and Denis Lesslie (Tru-Blue Trailers Dallara F304 Renault) making his first appearance in a couple of years.

The AGI Team had expanded its stable to 4 – Nathan Gotch ‘upgrading’ to the F3 Dallara, Adam Gotch switching to the ex-Luis Leeds Mygale F4 and two other drivers coming on board:  former bike racer Tim Boydle making his debut on 4 wheels and former FRCA Champion Nick Fillpetto making a welcome return to racing, both in the beautifully turned out AGA Mygale F4s.

Elsewhere Greg Muddle and Rod Baker fronted with a pair of freshly liveried ’01 Dallaras courtesy of Jeremy and the guys at ProWraps and Graphics.  They certainly looked fast but there are no points for looking sharp on Friday.


A brief 10-minute free practice before qualifying certainly helped blow out any cobwebs, but despite near-perfect weather it still wasn’t easy to get the feel of the track in qualifying – as attested by the fact 11 of the 14 drivers set their fastest time on their last or second-last lap.

Nathan Gotch unsurprisingly topped the time-sheets, but the margin to the two 2019 championship rivals – McClintock and Muddle – was smaller than expected.  McClintock held 2nd for most of the session, before Muddle stole the front-row spot in the closing laps. 

Adam Gotch was unable to replicate the pace that saw him take pole at our last outing, but he had the F4 punching above its weight in 4th, narrowly ahead of Rob Row in the Dallara F308 Toyota and Nick Filipetto, with Doug Barry looming large in the big Doug Barry Specials Formula Holden in 7th.  Baker Baker, Coath and Lynch completed the Top 10.




Nathan Gotch

Dallara F307




Greg Muddle

Dallara F399




Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301




Adam Gotch

Mygale F4




Robert Rowe

Dallara F308




Nick Filipetto

Mygale F4




Doug Barry

Reynard 92D




Rodney Baker

Dallara F301




Ron Coath

Dallara F307




Glenn Lynch

Dallara 397




Tim Boydle

Mygale F4




Shayne Morrow

Dallara F397




Denis Lesslie

Dallara F304




Robert Sviderskas

Dallara F304





Race 1

Nathan Gotch led the field away, with Muddle dropping to 4th behind McClintock and Adam Gotch, but racing was briefly curtailed when a safety car appeared to deal with the cars of Ron Coath and Glenn Lynch that both failed to leave the line. 

When racing recommenced, Muddle quickly passed Adam Gotch and the front three settled into a rhythm, with a small but seemingly unbreachable gap between each of them.  Most of the interest focussed on the battle behind them, Rowe sandwiched between the two F4s of Adam Gotch and Filipetto, with Baker trying to keep on the pace.

Nathan Gotch seemed destined for a comfortable win until an electrical problem ended his race on lap 8, handing the lead to McClintock who at that stage still had a comfortable gap over Muddle.  Things got interesting when the last lap board came out and the leaders came across lapped traffic.  Muddle had a big dive on back markers at the Fishhook and then another at Turn 10, while McClintock found it harder to find a way through, and in the end Muddle stole a surprise victory to kick off the championship.

In the other main battle Adam Gotch held off Rowe for third, and Barry found good pace mid-race to dispose of Baker and Filipetto, to be challenging Rowe at the chequered flag. 

Muddle on his way to an opportunistic win in the opener.

RACE 1 – 10 LAPS



Greg Muddle

Dallara F399



Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301



Adam Gotch

Mygale F4



Robert Rowe

Dallara F308



Doug Barry

Reynard 92D



Nick Filipetto

Mygale F4



Rodney Baker

Dallara F301



Shayne Morrow

Dallara F397




Race 2

Warm and sunny conditions for greeted the drivers on Sunday morning and a full field of 14 fronted the starter, although Lynch had retired the usually reliable Dallara F397 Fiat and brought out ‘Goldfinger’, his spare car, for its first appearance in a couple of years. 

McClintock got the job done off the line to lead Muddle, Rowe and Adam Gotch.  There was plenty of early action: Doug Barry passing Gotch for 4th before having to retire the big Reynard; Baker passing Filipetto and chasing down Gotch; and Rob Sviderskas, who had a great jump from the start into 7th and making it as high as 6th when Fillipetto pitted with clutch issues.

Nathan Gotch was the big mover in the field, getting to second by mid-race and then closing significantly on McClintock when he came into lapped traffic.  Gotch was closing quickly, but McClintock responded with his fastest laps in the closing stages of the race and was able to hold on for the win.

Muddle pulled a small gap to Rowe and Adam Gotch.  Baker had been chasing down Gotch but his engine developed a misfire and he cruised into 6th.  Coath had the better of a race-long battle with Shayne Morrow, and Tim Boydle managed to make good progress from the back of the field to eventually chase down Rob Sviderskas to claim 9th place.

Baker and Morrow both made big improvements in their lap times in Race 2

RACE 2 – 12 LAPS


Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301



Nathan Gotch

Dallara F307



Greg Muddle

Dallara F399



Robert Rowe

Dallara F308



Adam Gotch

Mygale F4



Rodney Baker

Dallara F301



Ron Coath

Dallara F307



Shayne Morrow

Dallara F397




Race 3

McClintock got the jump off the line, but Nathan Gotch won the drag up the hill on the first lap, taking the lead into Turn 3.  Behind these two Rowe jumped into 3rd, but Muddle pulled the place back under brakes at the end of the back straight on the first lap.

Adam Gotch had the fast-starting Nick Filipetto on his tail, with Coath and Doug Barry settling into a good battle for 7thafter Shayne Morrow retired his car with oil pressure issues. 

The race settled into good battles in these pairs, with the only change being Doug Barry managing to pass Ron Coath mid-race

McClintock leads the field away in the Trophy Race

RACE 3 – 14 LAPS


Nathan Gotch

Dallara F307



Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301



Robert Rowe

Dallara F310



Adam Gotch

Mygale F4



Nicholas Filipetto

Mygale F4



Douglas Barry

Reynard 92D



Ron Coath

Dallara F307



Glenn Lynch

Dallara 397




McClintock finished the weekend with a win and two seconds, to take an early lead in the Championship, ahead of the consistent accumulators Rowe and Adam Gotch.







Aaron McClintock

Dallara F301



Robert Rowe

Dallara F308



Adam Gotch

Mygale F4



Greg Muddle

Dallara F399



Nathan Gotch

Mygale F4



Doug Barry

Reynard 92D



Nick Filipetto

Mygale F4



Rodney Baker

Dallara F301



Ron Coath

Dallara F307



Rob Sviderskas

Dallara F304



Shayne Morrow

Dallara F397



Denis Lesslie

Dallara F304



Tim Boydle

Mygale F4



Glenn Lynch

Dallara F397



Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2020 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 5 
12th -13th December, 2020
Wakefield Park

The 2020 season finished with an unusually late round mid-December at Wakefield Park.  Despite a small field FRCA again managed to turn on action-packed racing, which is a good portent for 2021: how exciting will it be with twice as many cars?  With several drivers keen to get back into action in 2021 it’s looking tantalising.

2020 closed out with Greg Muddle taking the honours, but with three different drivers topping the results in four sessions, and another taking fastest lap honours: it was a close-run thing all weekend.  The brace of AGI Mygales had everybody talking about their Friday pace, and that form carried-on into the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately neither AGI Mygales quite got it over the line for a win but it was very close.  Both F4’s took it to the F3 cars all weekend, with the tight and twisty Wakefield Park layout playing the their strengths.

But without doubt the highlight of the weekend was a special comeback win for Lawrence Katsidis, who took a fine win with a cool drive on Saturday afternoon.

Greg Muddle on the way to the round win.


We are all familiar with the freezing cold of Wakefield park, but it was surprising to find it that way in mid-December, overcast and a biting wind.  9 cars rolled out for qualifying, we would have had double figures except Glenn Lynch was unfortunately a late withdrawal – not quite as late as some of his late arrivals on race days!

We did however have three drivers returning to the fray – Jeff Senior had the Donate Life Dallara F304 Toyota primed for a proper run after a long series of false starts; Shayne Morrow had the JSM Plastering Dallara F397 VW back in action; and Katsidis with a clean bill of health in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 Renault.

Muddle (Dallara F399 Opel Spiess) had the quickest time deep into the session with a 58.9 second lap, but two quick laps at the end by Adam Gotch (AGI Sport Mygale F4 EcoBoost) saw him go half a second quicker to grab pole for both preliminary races.

Behind Muddle there was a blanket covering the next three cars – Katsidis ahead of Nathan Gotch in the second of the AGI Sport Mygales and Rob Rowe (Genesis Offices Dallara F308 Toyota). All the top five looked like they could be in the mix for race wins on the weekend.

Doug Barry (Reynard 92D F4000) had no issues apart from warming up huge tyres on a huge car (he uses F3 rear tyres on the front of his car) but managed to edge out Ron Coath (Dallara F307 Mercedes) and Jeff Senior in another closely matched set of cars in 6th to 8th.  Shayne Morrow rounded out the field, and nobody reported any problems:  we were good to go racing.

Adam Gotch put the AGI Sport Mygale F4 on pole and had a chance at a win in all three races.

Saturday Racing

The temperature had improved marginally but the wind had been replaced with misting showers, although they had all cleared by the time, we took to a cold but dry circuit for the 12 laps of Race 1.

Adam G got the jump on Muddle to take the early lead, with Katsidis, Nathan G and Rowe in tow.  Senior made an impressive first up start to get the Dallara off the line in fine style and then used his Formula Ford nous at turn 2 (F/Ford lesson #1: be on the inside because the damage radiates out) his inside line proving quicker than Barry’s outside line. Coath stalled on the line and settled into a race of chasing the cars in front.

Muddle dogged Gotch for two laps before out-braking him into the last turn onto pit straight.  A small gap opened, with a further gap to Katsidis and Nathan G as they fought over third.  But Muddle was unable to press home the advantage, and from mid-race Adam G started to slowly and surely put the pressure on.  On lap 9 he was able to close considerably as Muddle made slow work of lapping Morrow, and this set him up for some pay-back late braking into the last corner. 

Muddle was not easily dropped, and two laps later was able to edge past Adam on the main straight.  However, the duelling between the two lead cars had allowed Katsidis and Nathan G to close in, so there was now an almighty scrap going on with four cars in the action.  Katsidis put the pressure on and grabbed second with two laps to go, after Adam had some hang-time off the kerb at turn 2 while looking for a way past Muddle’s car.

WINNER! Lawrence Katsidis pushing hard through Turn 2 during morning practice.

Once again Muddle failed to seize the advantage and drive away, and Katsidis put in a huge last lap, to take a maiden victory.  Behind this pair Adam held advantage over Nathan in the F4 battle, but only marginally ahead of the fast-charging Rob Rowe, who had been within sight of the front cars for most of the race without managing to get fully in the thick of it, but then set the fastest lap of the race when he was within sight of a podium.

Barry came home in 6th ahead of Senior, having reclaimed the spot on the third lap but by that time unable to close the gap to the car in front, and Coath also chased hard for most of the race without being able to close the gap.  Morrow had a solid mistake-free run despite being a lap down.

Katsidis was elated with the win – the stress of racing and the excitement of winning proving less hazardous to his health than the simple act of getting out of the car… and going base over apex onto the tarmac after tripping on the cockpit shroud. Good thing drivers wear helmets, or we could have had an injury.


Sunday Racing

Conditions were overcast and cool for the Sunday morning race, again over 12 laps.

This time it was Muddle who got the jump, or at least got the best of 4 poor starts from the cars on the front 2 rows, so that he led the field up the hill for the first time.  Adam G slotted into second, with Nathan and Rowe contesting wheel-to-wheel into turn 3, with the Mygale winning out. This relegated first race winner Katsidis to 5th, ahead of Coath, Senior and Morrow, with Barry at the rear having bogged down at the start.

Muddle leads the field away on the first lap of Race 2.

Like the first encounter, Muddle was able to make the most of early grip and opened a small gap; and like the first encounter Adam G started to close the gap steadily mid-race.  However, there were a couple of little missteps in Gotch’s chase, culminating in some off-road work at the top of the circuit on lap 9, which gave Muddle a comfortable 2 second gap over the chasing pack and relegated Adam G to 5th.

Muddle was able to drive away from Nathan G for the race win as Gotch was fully occupied with Katsidis and Rowe filling his mirrors.  Adam G had fallen back to within striking distance of Coath and Barry, who had had a race-long tussle.  Coath made the most of Mercedes power on the short run from the last corner to the flag to take fifth place from Gotch, with Barry trailing in 7th.  Senior and Morrow both completed the distance, Morrow managing to take 3 seconds off his times in another good drive.

Things had warmed up for the afternoon feature race that was run over 13 laps. Based on results from the two preliminary races Muddle and Katsidis shared the front row in front of the two Mygales.

Muddle got the jump and things were looking sweet from the cockpit of the Dallara – a job well done for someone who is starting is often variable at best – until the grey flashing by signalled Adam G’s takeover of the lead.  Game on!  Gotch had got a blinder of a start and was racy from the outset.

If you leave a gap, I’ll just drive right through it – Adam Gotch jumps to the lead in the Trophy race.

Muddle chased hard over the first two laps to close the gap and was all over Gotch when the safety car flags came out on lap 3, Rowe having spun at turn two and beached the car on the inside of the circuit.  Katsidis held third from Nathan G, Barry, Coath, Senior and Morrow.  Barry was finally in a good place to take it to the smaller cars but struggling with gearing in the low-speed corners that was negating his power advantage.

Gotch brings the field down inti the Fishhook corner.

Adam G made a good tactical move on the re-start and gapped Muddle, but a couple of laps later it was nose to gearbox again, Muddle finally making a move under brakes into the ‘Fishhook’.  Gotch was looking for a quick counterpunch but got out of shape at the kink onto the back straight, running off the road and allowing Katsidis through into second.

Katsidis chased Muddle hard all the way to the line as they traded fastest laps, but Muddle was able to hold a short gap all the way to the chequered flag.  Adam G had his hands full battling Nathan in the second AGI car, and both were shadowed all the way to the line by Barry in the Reynard, but they retained that order to the finish.  Coath trailed off late in the race after having set his best lap times of the weekend, with Senior not too far behind and Morrow rounding out the finishers.

All cars came home in one piece, several drivers scored PB’s across the weekend, and little more than a second covered 8 of the 9 cars.  And there was some really close racing.  While we will all be glad to see the back of 2020 at least we closed off that chapter with some encouraging signs for the season ahead. 

A happy Christmas to all, and we look forward to seeing you back at Wakefield Park on February 27 to kick off the 2021 Championship.


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2020 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 4 
15th November, 2020
Sydney Motor Sport Park

Our unusual season continued with its second one-day round conducted at Sydney Motorsport Park in November.  This time Rodney Brincat, who chased hard to no avail in the previous round, was rewarded for his efforts with three wins from three starts.  Once again, we had a small but eclectic mix of cars, and once again this produced some exciting racing.

3 wins from 3 starts, Rod Brincat was untouchable


With COVID-19 risk slightly more manageable we had a few more starters for this round, although with the one-day format being unfriendly to out-of-towners and making for quite a hectic day we were still not at normal capacity.

In warm and sunny conditions Greg Muddle (Dallara F399 Opel Spiess) and Rod Brincat (Dallara F304 Opel Spiess) were ready to resume their epic battle from round 1.  Brincat led the timesheets from early, and eventually finished with a 1:32.6 to take pole.  Muddle was working his way slowly into the session and had moved into 4th when an input shaft failure on lap 4 halted any further progress for the weekend.

Behind Brincat the battle for qualifying places was intense, with a second covering the next 7 cars.  Our F4 field had doubled – Nathan Gotch joining brother Adam in the boosted cars that are proving to be fast and reliable – and it was Adam that had the better of Nathan by 0.2 seconds late in the session to grab the other front row spot.

Behind Muddle, Rob Rowe (Dallara F308 Toyota) was consistently working his times down and just pipped Rod Baker (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) for 5th, Baker pitting early to sort out some problems in the cockpit. Before he did, he managed a respectable time to be ahead of the big noise of the field, Doug Barry’s Reynard F4000, and also Ron Coath, having his first outing of the season in the Dallara F307 Mercedes.

A brace of F3’s qualified on the 5th row – Glenn Lynch in the well-travelled Dallara F397 Fiat qualifying ahead of Phil Morrow’s Dallara F304 Opel Spiess, last year’s title contender being a little off his usual pace.

The field was completed by the ‘historic section’, or the ‘red brigade’, triple-champion Aaron McClintock having his first FRCA outing in the Richards VW AF2 car and Rob Sviderskas choosing the Elfin 622 Toyota from his fleet for this round.

Looking good, but still a couple of gremlins to sort out, Aaron McClintock
in the Richards AF2. 
It’d be great to have a few more AF2 cars back on the track.


Race 1 saw Brincat make a perfect getaway to set up a lights-to-flag win, comfortably setting the fastest lap along the way and clear of all the action.  The two Gotch Mygales got away nicely, but behind them there was a bit of a mess, Coath stalling and Baker grabbing an incorrect gear, which allowed Morrow in particular to capitalise.  Baker recovered a place with a nice move on Lynch at Turn 15. So, behind Brincat at the end of the first lap it was Adam Gotch over Nathan, Phil Morrow charging through to 4th ahead of Rowe, Barry and Baker and Lynch defending 8thfrom McClintock.

Despite the first lap charge Morrow had to bide his time behind the duelling Mygales. Nathan put a nice move on Adam at Turn 15 on lap 2 to take 2nd, but wasn’t able to draw away, despite Adam having to contend with Morrow hot on his tail.  Adam managed to hold out for 7 laps, with Nathan ceding 2nd to Morrow a lap later.  By this time the gap to Brincat was too large to close, and Morrow settled for a comfortable 2nd.

Behind this group there was an epic battle building between Rowe, Barry, and Baker.  Rowe conceded places to both either side of the start line on lap 3 but settled in behind them, biding his time. Barry was using the strengths of the F4000 – big brakes into corners and big squirt out of them – which was sufficient to frustrate baker in the F3 which was nimbler in the twisty bits.  After several laps chasing, a failed attempt to try his luck under brakes at Turn 2 saw Baker back on track some distance behind Rowe.

Further back Lynch was trying hard, but unsuccessfully to shake of McClintock.  With Baker’s ‘moment’ they were closer to the action in front and that seemed to inspire a bit of an increase in tempo.

Glenn Lynch chased hard all day, and had an inspired run in the feature race.

Baker managed to close within striking distance of Rowe, which was now a contest for 5th with Barry having retired on lap 8.  Baker successfully made his move on lap 10 in the run to turn 6.  Rowe wasn’t ready to let that go and continued on the tail of Baker into the final lap, looking for a chance.  That came when Baker ran wide on the approach to Turn 15 – Baker managed to gather it up amid a cloud of dust, but it left him exposed.  Unfortunately for Rowe he got on the juice too early on the exit trying to capitalise and looped it, leaving Baker clear into 5th

That left Rowe exposed to the cars behind him – Coath, who had been fired up by his mistake on the line and was the second quickest car on the track at this stage; and Lynch who was still charging hard.  Coath pipped Rowe in the charge to the line but had copped a start infringement penalty so the final order was Rowe 6th, followed by Lynch, Coath and Sviderskas rounding out the finishers, with McClintock having retired the Richards with a broken header pipe. 

Race 2

Brincat was quick away from the line and cleared out for another lights-to-flag victory. Morrow was again spectacular from the back of the grid, slicing through to 3rd at the completion of the first lap and he had made that 2nd by the turn in to turn 1, with a nice move on Adam Gotch, who led brother Nathan, Coath, Baker Lynch, Rowe and Sviderskas as the cars completed lap 1.  Baker had the rear of the car let go in turn 1 for another moment of off-track excitement, and although he was able to continue undertray damage hindered his progress.

Although Morrow had shown great pace to get into second, pulling away was much harder prospect and the race settled into an interesting tussle between the F3’s of Morrow, Rowe and Coath and the two Gotch F4’s.

Adam held doggedly to 3rd, firstly fending off his brother and subsequently Coath, and he ultimately was rewarded for his efforts with an elevation to 2nd following a Morrow spin late in the race, courtesy of oil from Baker’s car. Coath was able to hold off Nathan Gotch to claim 3rd.  Rowe was disqualified after a late exit from the dummy grid transgressed the starter’s orders, and so Lynch finished 5th ahead of Morrow, Baker and Sviderskas.

Race 3

With both Coath and Baker added to the list of non-starters it was a small field of cars that rolled out in late afternoon for the feature race.  On form this should have been an easy assignment for Brincat, but when the lights went out the pole-sitter went nowhere, opening up the prospect of a win for everyone else.

Phil Morrow cuts under Adam Gotch into Turn 2

Morrow had another lightening start, but the two Mygales did enough to hold him out, and when the cars came back into view at Turn 3 it was Adam in the lead from Nathan, Morrow, a charged-up Lynch fending off Rowe. Brincat was off the line 17 seconds in arrears. These five were in a conga line for the first three laps until Morrow retired.  That elevated Lynch to third behind the Mygales, who weren’t pulling away, and although Rowe looked fast in the newer car Lynch was not ready to concede a place.

The middle of the race Rowe starts to make his move, passing Lynch on Lap 5 and then getting both the Mygales on lap 7.  The question was whether he’d made his move early enough, because Brincat had been closing at the rate of a couple of seconds a lap, and at the same time Rowe found clear air Brincat was sizing up Lynch at the other end of the pack.

The answer was ‘no’: Brincat was in the lead by lap 8, and although Rowe kept good pace to follow him across the line once Brincat saw the front he was never going to let it go.  These two were followed home by Nathan Gotch, Adam Gotch , Lynch and Sviderskas rounding out the finishers, in a race that had four separate leaders and Adam Gotch, who held the lead for more than half the race ending up outside the top 3.


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2020 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 3 
2nd August, 2020
Sydney Motor Sport Park

Well its been a crazy coronavirus year so far. Finally, so late in the year, Formula Race Cars looked to be getting back to business in a curtailed season, but in the last week before the event it mostly went to custard and a small bunch of guys who were mostly only there to make up the numbers found themselves as the central players in one of the oddest rounds in our championship history (which is incidentally in its 10th year this year), and certainly the most unusual mess of a qualifying session.  In the end it was Greg Muddle (Dallara F399 Opel Spiess) who bagged three wins, hounded all the way to the line by Rod Brincat (Dallara F304 Opel Spiess) making a successful return to the track.

Greg Muddle having a good weekend


A week or so out from racing things were looking very positive – 15 entries, which would have been 16 if Rod Anderson were able to escape quarantine in Lockdown Victoria; and an eclectic mix of cars – F2, F4, F4000 and an a whole bunch of F3’s impersonating bad FM radio (“All the hits from the eighties, nineties and noughties”), almost all eras covered.  The FRCA dream of wings ‘n’ slicks of every type.

But then the meeting was turned into a one-day event to ensure we didn’t breach the Public Health Order limiting the permitted number of people on site – and a couple of our longer-distance travellers understandably pulled the plug, so we were down to 13.  And then as more and more coronavirus hotspots emerged in Sydney a number of competitors made the call that there was too much health risk and we were down to 8.

If you think it looks menacing here you should see it in your mirrors.
Doug Barry starting to get some mumbo out of the Big Reynard.


Fortunately all cars made it through Friday unscathed, mostly by staying under covers in their respective garages. Jeff Senior, who has had a wretched run with the immaculate but cantankerous Dallara F304 Toyota, had struggles with issues again but optimistically was there as we rolled out pitlane in clear but cold conditions.

Rolling out was something we would get a lot of practice doing.  Before any of us had put in a hot lap – something that’s not easy to do at 8.15am in the middle of winter – Doug Barry managed to loop the big Reynard F4000 and turn 2, despite the most careful application of minimal throttle.  The red flags came out and we all came back into pitlane.

When Doug was back in motion we were allowed back out on track, but on the first return lap Jeff Senior’s Dallara decided it was over being friendly and went back to being the b*tch-that-won’t-run, stopping completely at Turn 2 and bringing out the red flags for a second time.

With Jeff’s car recovered we rolled out for a third time. Most of us managed to be on what was if not a hot lap then at least a nervous, skatey, luke-warm sort of lap, when Adam Gotch in the Mygale F4 gave it a little more throttle than the conditions allowed out of turn 5 and found the inside wall between 5 and 6 with both ends of the car.  So then the red flags came out again.

By that stage it was all over red rover, and everyone was curious as to what the timesheets would look like with so little running. 

As it turned out slow-conditions specialist Lawrence Katsidis in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 Renault prevailed to take the first pole of the season, with an amazing 3:18.9047 lap (average speed 71 kmh per Natsoft), with only Rod Brincat and Adam Gotch inside the 130% rule (Ed: well it is 2020!).  Lawrence’s lap did include nearly 90 seconds stationery in pitlane, but let’s not get too fussy with the facts. Baker out-qualified team boss Muddle, Barry followed and Rob Sviderskas didn’t get a time in.

Purple in sector 2 – ‘Lightening’ Lawrence Katsidis attacks his pole lap

For the second race, it was first-timer Adam Gotch taking pole honours under the new format (2nd race grid based on 2nd fastets qualifying time) ahead of Katsidis and Brincat, the only three drives to record 2 complete laps.


With the sort of professionalism you expect from AGI, despite the quick turnaround and the skeleton staff the Mygale made it to the grid for the first race, but sadly Jeff Senior’s car was out for the duration.  

Race 1 saw Muddle lead Brincat and Katsidis home. Baker ran third early on but let that slip to Katsidis on the 4th lap, and Adam Gotch brought the Mygale home in 5th ahead of Rob Sviderskas in the Dallara F304 Opel Spiess.  Doug Barry retired Reynard in the early stages with clutch issues.

Rob Sviderskas (L) and Rod Brincat (R)

Rod Baker was making good progress before the stater motor failed

Race 2 saw further depletion of the field, with both Baker (starter motor) and Katsidis (sinuses) out for the remainder of the day.  Muddle repeated the approach in the earlier race, opening a comfortable gap to Brincat and easing home, with Doug Barry having successfully fixed his earlier issues coming home in third ahead of Gotch and Sviderskas.

Pole first time out – too easy! Well, at least easier than getting off the line, Adam Gotch picked up a brace of false start penalties.  So few cars, so little for the grid marshalls to do…

The final race saw Muddle and Brincat evenly matched off the line but Brincat prevailing and a cheeky Rob Sviderskas sticking his nose in for a 3-way run to turn 2.  Doug Barry had the Reynard on song and was soon up to 3rd, with his sights firmly on the two F3’s in front, and looming large in their mirrors he was giving them cause for concern, but once again too much boot out of 2 turned the big beast around, although this time he recovered to finish 3rd.

The small field took the gloss off what was a genuinely good race.  Muddle passed Brincat with an audacious outside move at turn 1 but was never able to shake Brincat in a dice that lasted 9 laps and saw the cars finish three-tenths of a second apart.  While Muddle had the chequered flag it was Brincat  who recorded the fastest lap of the weekend – something that’s not usually done on the 2nd last lap of the Sunday afternoon race – almost a full 3 thousandths of a second quicker than Muddle.  Gotch ended on top in a see-sawing battle with Sviderskas for 4th. Positions changing several times over the course of the race.

Brincat leads Muddle, soon to be the other way around

So where to from here?

It’s all a bit difficult to predict corona-wise but hopefully we will see the situation improving by the time of our next race meeting at Wakefield Park in just under 2 months’ time on the 26th & 27th of September.

We’re not likely to see entries open for another few weeks so nobody needs to make decisions any time soon.  We will need to have at least 12 cars enter to keep the promoters happy, and after a couple of embarrassing fields we’ll need a reasonably firm commitment prior to entries opening to get our block-booking for the carports.

There is no doubt that with racing taking a back seat for many people at the moment, and rightly so, this will continue to be an odd season (although hopefully not so odd that we see another sub-80kmh pole lap at Wakefield), we look forward to improved conditions and a few more familiar faces joining us as the season progresses.   



Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2019 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 5 
26th-27th October, 2019
Sydney Motor Sport Park

Aaron McClintock (Dallara Opel Spiess F301) clinched his third NSW State title with three flawlessly consistent drives, staving off the challenges from Greg Muddle (Dallara Opel Spiess F399) and Phil Morrow (Dallara Opel Spiess F304) in the finale to a season that gave us plenty of close racing, multiple winners and the closest title contest in years.  McClintock was able to diffuse the title threat behind him, but was unable to do anything about the driver ahead on the road – Garnet Patterson (Dallara Honda F308) making his return to F3 in style and claiming a clean sweep for the weekend.

2019 Champion Aaron McClintock


1. Garnet Patterson, Dallara Honda F308, 1:25.91
2. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Speiss F399, 1:28.42
3. Greg Muddle, Dallara Opel Speiss F399, 1:29.34
4. Rob Rowe, Dallara Toyota F308, 1:30.21

Formula Race Cars were the second category onto the circuit on Saturday morning, but already the air temp was in the high twenties on a sunny but windy morning.  15 cars rolled out for qualifying, an improvement on previous rounds, and that included two drivers making their long-awaited first appearance of the season:  Doug Barry in the big Reynard 92D Formula Holden, and Rodney Baker in the world’s-longest-engine-rebuild Dallara Opel Spiess F301. 

Patterson banked a quick lap early in the session before the heat and traffic were an issue, and although he could probably have gone even faster it was easily enough to put him on pole with a sizzling time two seconds better than his nearest rival. 

McClintock and Muddle both settled into solid times after scrubbing in their tyres, both probably a little disappointed that conditions were against a quicker lap but from positions 2 and 3 on the grid the championship battle was on track.  Rob Rowe continued his strong recent form and put the Toyota-powered car onto the second row.

Glenn Lynch (Eagle Transportation Dallara F397) was the cat among the pigeons, the Classic Class car which won Lynchy the inaugural FCA championship in 2011 bettering a number of later model cars to claim 5th place on the grid.  He headed up a group of 5 cars that were separated by less than a second, including round 1 winner Graeme ‘Captain Underpants’ Holmes (GKH Powdercoating Dallara Opel Spiess F304) and championship contender Phil Morrow (Dallara Opel Spiess F304) in 6th and 7th respectively.  Rodney Baker slotted into a respectable 8th – having battled with oil leaks all Friday the session proved they weren’t fixed but it didn’t prevent him from setting a competitive time in his first outing for 2 years.

Ron Coath (Dallara Mercedes F307) qualified 9th ahead of Lawrence Katsidis (Sydney Photo Booths Dallara Renault F304), both drivers a bit off their best times but finishing the session without any significant problems.  Rod Anderson (Reynard VW 893) had the honours of being the quickest Reynard ahead of Doug Barry, who was taking things easy in his first championship race meeting and was quite a bit slower than what the car promised from his times at the previous week’s Supersprint.  Rob Sviderskas (Dallara Opel Spiess F304) slotted in between the two Reynards in 12th.

Shayne Morrow (Dallara VW F398) and Denis Lesslie (True Blue Trailers Dallara Renault F304) had both had heavy workloads on the Friday chasing car set-up, but both managed to complete qualifying without any problems, Shayne pipping Denis for 14th by a couple of tenths of a second.

After a frustrating wait, Rod Baker made a good showing in qualifying.

Race 1
1: Garnet Patterson
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Greg Muddle

Hot early afternoon conditions greeted the 14 cars that rolled out for Race 1, Rodney Baker unable to complete further work on his car’s oil leaks in time to make the start.

At lights out Patterson was away cleanly ahead of McClintock, but Muddle was under threat from both Morrow and Holmes through Turn 1, with Holmes eventually claiming 3rd and Muddle not settling the dispute with Morrow until they emerged from Turn 3.  Rowe pounced to claim 5th, relegating Morrow to 6th, the normally fast-jumping Lynch dropped two spots to 7th and the big mover was Sviderskas who climbed 4 spots into 8th.

Muddle passed Holmes with the benefit of a tow down the front straight first time around, getting the job done through Turn 1 despite a little bit of an anxious moment when the back stepped out.  Once again, Rowe took advantage of the action in front, making a move on Holmes to claim 4th.  Further back there was plenty of interest behind Sviderskas, with Coath making his move on lap 2 and Katsidis doing the same on lap 3.  This left Sviderskas under threat from Barry in the Formula Holden, and with everyone still trying to work out the places of comparative advantage and disadvantage for the big car compared to the F3’s there was contact in Turn 2, which resulted in a parked Formula Holden and a Safety Car coming out mid-race.

Not for the first time, the appearance of the ‘SC’ sign caught a couple of drivers unawares, with the result that Messrs Coath, Katsidis, Anderson and Lynch were asked to appear before the Clerk of Course for afternoon tea, and when the officials had done their business Lynchy emerged with a 30 second penalty.

Barry was fortunately able to get his car going again, so the safety car period was brief, and it saw championship contenders McClintock and Muddle line astern behind the lapped car of Denis Lesslie.  With Patterson driving away at the restart and increasing his lead all the way to the chequered flag the interest was going to be in the battle for second, but McClintock was about half a second a lap quicker and had the better run with lapped cars to easily hold out.

Behind the front three, Morrow was able to capitalise at the restart to jump both Rowe and Holmes into 4th, and defended that position all the way to the flag, keeping his championship hopes alive.  Rowe was comfortably in 5th but then had issues with the rear of his car, giving away places to Holmes, Coath, Lynch, Katsidis and Anderson.  Coath held on for 6th place vigorously defending Lynch, (not that it mattered, because of the subsequent penalty) ahead of Katsidis. Rowe re-passed Anderson for 8th, with Lynch relegated to 10th ahead of Doug Barry, who improved his times by a few seconds per lap late in the race, and Denis Lesslie, the last of the cars to finish.

Shayne Morrow had a try-too-hard moment coming out of Turn 2 late in the race and finished parked on the outside of turn 2, and Rob Sviderskas, although not sustaining any damage in the earlier contact, parked the car late in the race with fuel issues.

The only view anyone had of Garnet Patterson in Race 1…and 2, and 3…

Race 2
1: Garnet Patterson
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Greg Muddle

Sunday morning was a few degrees cooler, but track temperatures were still hot. Once again 14 cars rolled out, Rowe having been able to repair his car, the only car missing was Baker, this time making it to the dummy grid only for the starter motor to go on strike. 

The start was nearly identical to Race 1 at the front, with Patterson leading McClintock, then Holmes taking a place from Muddle.  The normally lightning Morrow had an axle failure on the line, ending his chances in the championship.  Behind the lead cars Katsidis was able to get the jump on Coath, and the fast-starting Rowe was able to make up places ahead of Lynch, Barry, Anderson and Sviderskas.

It gets busy on Lap 1… Coath (48) defends into Turn 5 but Katsidis (5) is preparing to pounce

Muddle was desperate to get on the back of McClintock and tried a late move on Holmes into the Turn 9 hairpin – it didn’t work for Muddle and it didn’t really work for Holmes either, as he’d had a fairly major brake lock-up in the process and badly flat-spotted his front right tyre.  Muddle got the main straight tow again from Holmes and pulled 3rdplace on lap 2, and the front three cars settled into a race order that was to hold all the way to the chequered flag:  Patterson with a comfortable and widening lead over McClintock; and McClintock with an enticing but unbridgeable gap to Muddle, all but sealing the championship in the process.

Behind the front four Katsidis had the advantage, and Lynch capitalised on a Coath error on lap 2 to move ahead of both Coath and Rowe into 6th. With Coath trailing off, these three drivers set their sights on the ailing car of Holmes.  Katsidis was first to arrive, but was unable to challenge as his car ran out of fuel.  Rowe got past Holmes, but on the last lap suffered the same fate!  Lynch’s car – whether out of respect for its previous owner or fear of suffering the same fate – settled in behind Holmes for a very respectable 5th position, ahead of the fast-closing Doug Barry, who had again managed to drop his lap times significantly.

… and it doesn’t get any easier, Doug Barry lets Ron Coath know he’s there,
while Rod Anderson and Rob Sviderskas scramble to join in the action

Coath had dropped into the clutches of Anderson early in the race, and together with Rob Sviderskas the three drivers staged a race-long battle.  Anderson kept his position on the road but lost both spots on account of a jump-start penalty, lifting Coath to 7th and Sviderskas to 8th, having pushed out close to personal best lap times along the way.

Lesslie had a better run and, despite also incurring a jump-start penalty, held out Shayne Morrow for 10th place.

Doug Barry lets Ron Coath know he’s there, while Rod Anderson and Rob Sviderskas
 scramble to join in the action

Race 3
1: Garnet Patterson
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Greg Muddle

With McClintock only needing to start to win the Championship he effectively sealed the deal as the cars rolled out of the dummy grid for the last race.  We were down to 13 starters – Coath had been nursing a shoulder injury all weekend and elected not to further aggravate it and Katsidis parked his car with a suspect timing belt.  Baker finally made it to the start, albeit electing to start from pit lane just to avoid any issues if his car failed to get off the line.

At the start a familiar pattern emerged – Patterson, McClintock, Holmes and Muddle, with Muddle having to wait until the first tow down the main straight to reclaim third.  Patterson drove away to victory, Muddle was closer to McClintock but was unable to do anything about the gap and had to settle for third behind our new Champion.

Holmes held 4th and settled into a fairly lonely drive for the length of the race.  The main action was behind, with Lynch having to deal with several threats: from Doug Barry in the early stages, ceding his spot on lap 2 before Barry dropped off the time sheets; and then from the rear-of-grid starters Phil Morrow and Rob Rowe.  Morrow had carved his way through the field to be on Lynch’s tail by lap 3, but once he passed Lynch was unable to open a significant gap.  Rowe had a harder time getting by Sviderskas and Anderson and didn’t get through to 7th place until lap 6, and while he was closing rapidly on Lynch the race was perhaps a lap or so short for him to mount a serious challenge.

Baker had started from the pit lane and set about picking off cars, passing Morrow and Lesslie on lap 2, and then passing both Sviderskas and Anderson and settling into 8th place by lap 8.

Shayne Morrow had another ‘off’ at Turn 2, this time choosing to check the view from the inside of the circuit, and Anderson, Sviderskas and Lesslie all retired their cars in the latter stages of the race. 

So with the season completed we congratulate Aaron McClintock on a splendid Championship victory.

Close, but no cigar: Muddle was able to fly past Captain Underpants but wasn’t able to catch Superman.

The full points score can be found here.

The new year will come around quickly, we’re hoping to have some regulars return to our ranks next year as well as some new drivers joining, it will be difficult to beat this season for on-track action but with a big field of Formula Cars in 2020 we’re certainly hoping that we can match it. 



Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2019 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 4 
7th-8th September, 2019
Wakefield Park

A Saturday set-back for series leader Aaron McClintock was just the opening his rivals needed to
set-up the series for a gripping finale at Sydney Motorsport Park in October, with Greg Muddle claiming three victories, and Phil Morrow banking a solid haul of points to narrow the gap to McClintock in the championship chase.

Those who chose to practice on the Friday had the best of the weather for the weekend, doing their laps in perfect conditions (bar the odd Radical doing what Radicals do). Lawrence Katsidis (Sydney Photo Booths Dallara Renault F304) was beset by fuel issues caused by deteriorating foam, but having cleaned that out by gate-close time 10 F3’s were tucked away neatly ready fire up in anger the following day.

When the following day rolled around it wasn’t all that pleasant to say the least – temperature barely in positive territory and wind gust of up to 50 kmh, and most of the cars weren’t that keen to fire up (they knew it wasn’t going to be any warmer on the track!).  The biggest issue was with Aaron McClintock’s championship-leading Dallara Opel Spiess F301, which ate a second starter-motor in two race meetings.  A spare was available – in Sydney – which meant McClintock would be missing from the grid for qualifying and race 1.

Muddle leading Morrow (6) and Rowe (4) at the start of the Trophy Race


1. Greg Muddle, Dallara Dallara Opel Spiess F399, 1:00.80
2. Phil Morrow, Dallara Ope Speiss F304, 1:01.50
3.Rob Rowe, Dallara Toyota F308, 1:02.50
4. Glenn Lynch, Eagle TRansport Dallara Fiat F397, 1:04.65

Occasional showers in the morning did nothing to improve conditions, but although there were plenty of wets brought out for an airing they were not required for this session.  The cold conditions meant grip was difficult to come by, and the wind played havoc at various points of the circuit, particularly braking into turn 2. 

For Muddle the upside of flat-spotting tyres at the previous round was new rubber for this session, and although they took most of the session to warm-up it did help him to his second pole position for the year, albeit not breaking the 60-second mark, the slowest qualifying session for several years.  Morrow and Muddle swapped quickest laps throughout the session, which put both the championship rivals on the front row.

Rob Rowe wasn’t far behind continuing his run of improving qualifying performances, but not quite enough to get on the front row.  Glenn Lynch’s F397 is impervious to conditions, and it saw the F397 elevated to 4th in qualifying. 

Behind the front 4 Ron Coath – back in the Dallara Mercedes F307 after a gearbox reconstruction – struggled to get any heat into his new rubber and had to settle for 5th, ahead of Katsidis who was having residual fuel problems which was easily repaired for Race 1.  Rob Sviderskas (Dallara Opel Spiess F304) and Denis Lesslie (Dallara Renault F304) completing the qualifiers, and Shane Morrow (Dallara VW F397) missing qualifying through an administrative error.

Shayne Morrow drove well all weekend, once he got his paperwork in order

Race 1
1:Greg Muddle
2: Phil Morrow
3: Rob Rowe

The conditions hadn’t really improved after lunch, perhaps it was slightly warmer, and so the drivers were granted an extra warm-up lap to try and find some grip.  Eight cars rolled out, with McClintock still retrieving the spare starter and Lesslie failing to leave the dummy grid due to a cantankerous car that didn’t want to fire. Katsidis was caught off-guard by a properly powering engine and spun the car at turn 4, doing some wing damage that forced him to retire early in the race.

At lights out Morrow got the jump on Muddle and led to Turn 2 where he made sure of it by closing the gate quite clearly.  Muddle had to settle in behind for the run up the hill, fending off Rowe and Lynch.  Morrow held the lead until Muddle passed under brakes at the end of the back straight (Turn 10). 

Muddle crossed the start line at lap 1 in the lead, and it stayed that way for the rest of the race, opening up a 5 second gap to Morrow which closed slightly in the middle of the race but was out to that by the end, with Muddle becoming the 5th race winner of the season.

There were two big battles going on behind the leader.  Morrow and Rowe were at it for all 16 laps, Rowe charging hard enough to set the fastest lap of the race – indeed the only car to break the minute – but Morrow with holding him at bay with race craft and a wide set of elbows.  At the chequered flag after 16 circuits there was only two-tenths of a second separating them.

Rob Sviderskas pressed on in the Dallara, with times improving from the morning and holding out Shayne Morrow, by a very narrow margin, to claim 6th place.

Race 2
1:Greg Muddle
2:Phil Morrow
3: Rob Rowe

Conditions improved overnight as the temperature threatened 6°C, but at least the wind died down.  With McClintock (Dallara Opel Spiess F301) and Lesslie both repaired the full field rolled out for the second race on Sunday morning.

Eventually the results would record the finishing order unchanged from Race 1 and Rowe again the fastest car on the circuit, but Race 2 was far from a carbon copy.  When the lights went out pole-sitter Muddle lurched then stalled, requiring some quick reaction from Rowe to avoid him.  Morrow led the field away, with Coath and Rowe jostling for second ahead of Lynch and Sviderskas, with a recovering Muddle making a lunge from far back to claim 5th place into Turn 2, aided by the fact Sviderskas had to content with a fogged up visor. 

The start of Race 2, Morrow gets the jump and Muddle goes…nowhere

Out the other side of the corner Rowe spun, leaving Morrow ahead of Coath and Lynch. Muddle was looking to make up lost ground and dived under Lynch into ‘the fish-hook’, only to notice yellow-flags on the way out, courtesy of a safety car that had been deployed when Lesslie’s car failed to get away from the line.  This also allowed Rowe to catch up to the back of the train for the re-start.

At the restart, Coath read Morrow’s start well and was looking to challenge early up the hill out of Turn 2, but he was a little bit too eager on the loud pedal and for the second time in the race we had a spinner at that corner, to be followed almost immediately by Lynch doing the same thing.  Coath’s spin gave Muddle a clear run at Morrow, and on lap 3 he was again able to execute an inside pass at Turn 10 to take the lead. 

Lynchy was briefly in 3rd after the restart, before spinning

Morrow was followed closely by Katsidis, with Sviderskas sitting in 4th ached of a cautious McClintock who was still feeling coming to grips (or should that be no grips?) with the conditions, not having had been out on Saturday.  Rowe was quickly back to 6th, courtesy of the two spinners, and continued his charge through the field passing Sviderskas and McClintock on consecutive laps to and then setting off after Katsidis. 

While Muddle was opening a comfortable gap Rowe was charging, passing Katsidis on lap 8 and setting up another duel with Morrow, which culminated in an unsuccessful last lap lunge into Turn 10, a bit of a tap, and another 0.2 second margin in Morrow’s favour.

Behind the front 3 Katsidis held 4th position for a well-deserved finish, ahead of a fast-closing McClintock. Lynch was the better of the recovering spinners in 6th, heading off Coath, Sviderskas and a fast-finishing Shayne Morrow, who came within a couple of seconds of catching the car ahead.

Rowe followed at some distance, ahead of Lynch, Mansell, Anderson and Coath the last of the finishers.

Race 3
1: Greg Muddle
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Rob Rowe

For Sunday afternoon’s Trophy Race it was still cold enough to demand the second warm-up lap but clear and sunny, the best conditions all weekend.

Muddle got the jump, finally, and led the field from lights to flag, able to open up a comfortable gap courtesy of the jockeying for position going on behind him, and getting the times down to a respectable 58.3 along the way, with grip levels significantly improved from the previous outings.

Morrow also got a good start, but was immediately under pressure from McClintock, with Rowe and slotting in behind.  Katsidis followed at a small gap, mirrors full of Lynch and Coath.

Lap 3 saw two key moves – McClintock displacing Morrow for 2nd, giving him the opportunity to chase Muddle; and Coath moving past Lynch to put pressure on Katsidis.  At the same time Lesslie retired his car, which was still running rough.

Muddle had the bit between his teeth and by mid-race was safe from McClintock.  McClintock also had a comfortable margin, but had a quick Row behind him, having finally managed to pass Morrow after 2-and-a-half races of trying to figure out a way around the red car.  Morrow had a lonely second half of the race but had a secure grip on 4th, and solid points in the championship.

Coath passed Katsidis for 5th, and then on lap 10 Katsidis spectacularly planted his car in the kitty litter at the end of the main straight courtesy of a brake failure.  This unexpectedly brought out the chequered flags 2 laps early, a victory for Muddle ahead of McClintock, Rowe, Morrow and Coath, with Lynch off the pace in 6th, Sviderskas a lap down having done his best times early in the race, and Shayne Morrow having had a couple of off-tar excursions trying to get the Dallara to go harder.

McClintock retains a lead in the Championship going into the final round to be held at Sydney Motorsport Park on the 26th and 27th of October, but it’s nowhere near as comfortable as it was, with Muddle and Morrow closing in and Rowe still a mathematical chance:

In the Class-based Championship it’s even closer, with 6 drivers in contention:

“With great power comes great responsibility”.  Spiderman or Voltaire?  Discuss.
Loz Katsidis finds his braking system unable to cope with the great amounts of power now being produced by the Renault.


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2019 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 3 
3rd-4th August, 2019
Sydney Motorsport Park

Formula Race Cars put on another spectacular display in their third outing of the season at Sydney Motorsport Park.  Queenslander Shane Wilson, having his first run of the season in the immaculate Wiltec Dallara VW F310, took the honours on the Sunday, but behind him a number of other drivers signalled that they were ready to take the battle up to series leader Aaron McClintock.

An improved field of 13 cars took to the circuit, with the only casualty from Friday practice being Lawrence Katsidis in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara Renault F304, attacked by electrical gremlins. 

In the Classic Class, Rod Anderson (Reynard 893 Toyota) was having his first run of the season and newcomer Shayne Morrow was making his debut in the Dallara VW F397 Formula R car (old school, with carbies). 

Of the regulars, Rob Sviderskas parked the Elfin 622 in favour of the Dallara Opel Spiess F304 after a long engine rebuild; but Ron Coath was again in the old Dallara Toyota F396, the gearbox rebuild on the F307 not completed in time.  

In amongst all the F3 cars was youngster Christian Mansell in the AGI Sport prepared Mygale F4. The F4, powered by a 1600 cc Ford EcoBoost turbo engine, was a great addition to the field, giving up a bit in outright speed to the F3 cars but Christian was right in the thick of things all weekend.


1. Shane Wilson, Dallara VW F310, 1:26.17
2. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 1:27.70
3. Graeme Holmes, Dallara Opel Spiess F304, 1:28.88
4. Rob Rowe, Dallara Toyota F308, 1:30.24

Racing was delayed by 45 minutes as we waited for the fog to lift, but by the time the Formula Race Cars took to the circuit it was in near perfect conditions on a sunny winter day. Shane Wilson was expected to head the timesheet, and so it was, getting down to a very respectable time in the 1:26’s, a clear second and a half ahead of the rest of the field.

Championship leader Aaron McClintock was pushing close to his best times in putting the F301 on the front of row of the grid again – 3 from 3 – and getting the better of Round 1 winner Graeme Holmes.  Greg Muddle’s Dallara Opel Spiess F399 was slightly off the pace battling with front suspension issues, but he looked to have a spot on the second row of the grid locked up until Rob Rowe pulled out a flyer on the last lap of the session.  Phil Morrow completed the top 6 in his Dallara Opel Spiess F304, with Rowe, Muddle and Morrow covered by less than half a second.

Christian Mansell in the Mygale F4 had the better of the rest of the field, with a clear gap to the Classic Class cars, headed as usual by Glenn Lynch in the Eagle Transport Dallara Fiat F397.  Lynch headed Anderson, Coath and Shayne Morrow, ahead of Rob Sviderskas completing a successful first run in the Dallara Opel Spiess F304.

Ross McAlpine again had a difficult time with the tempestuous Mygale Mercedes M10, parking it for the weekend with an incurable engine miss.

Race 1

1: Phil Morrow
2: Graeme Holmes
3: Greg Muddle

A shortened race program on Saturday afternoon due to the morning’s fog delay saw the field set for a short sprint as they lined up for Race 1 in sunny but cooling conditions in the late afternoon.

At lights out Wilson stalled and Muddle missed the start completely, but McClintock got away well from 3rdto take the lead ahead of Morrow, who got an absolute flyer from 6thto run past Rowe and Holmes to claim 2ndposition. Wilson recovered quickly enough to take 4thback by turn 2, heading Rowe and Mansell, with Muddle recovering a place from Lynch.  Muddle passed Mansell into turn 6, but then the Safety Car was deployed as two cars – Andeson and Shayne Morrow, had failed to get away from the line.

With two more circuits behind the safety car this turned the race into a three lap screamer, and it was an action packed three laps. McClintock lead the pack away, but with Wilson eager to make places he tried a tight line out of turn 2 only to spin and relegate himself to the back of the field.  McClintock headed Morrow and Holmes through lap 4 and half of lap 5, but then dropped a wheel off the circuit coming into the braking area for turn 9, resulting in some air time and a big spin, in what is thankfully an area with generous run-off.  This elevated Morrow to the lead, ahead of Holmes and Muddle.

With President McAlpine sidelined, McClintock kindly took over his grass mowing contract.

The last lap and a half Morrow’s defence was a measure for everything Holmes threw at him, a lunge on the line leaving Holmes about a tenth of a second shy and giving Morrow a well-deserved first race win in the series.  Muddle followed in third, with insufficient time to bridge the gap to the front two, ahead of Rowe, arriving at the finish line with McClintock right up his exhaust.

Mansell finished 7thahead of Lynch, with a small gap to a strong battle for 9thfalling in favour of Sviderskas ahead of Coath.

Race 2

1: Shane Wilson
2: Graeme Holmes
Aaron McClintock

A busy night for competitors repairing some significant damage Phil Morrow and Rowe’s cars as well as repairs to the Anderson Reynard (axle) meant that we had a full field of cars front for race 2 on Sunday.

Holmes got away quickly, and Muddle made a better effort than in the previous race, able to pass Phil Morrow in the run into Turn 2.  McClintock was also able to make up places into 3rd, and by the end of the lap Wilson had also managed to makes his way from 10thto 4th, putting our newest race winner Morrow back to 5th.

Wilson was able to take 3rdfrom McClintock on lap 2 and 2ndfrom Muddle on lap 3, but Holmes proved to be a more difficult proposition, and the two settled into a battle for the lead over several laps.

Behind these two Muddle was suffering with more front end balance issues, and after the first couple of laps a series of lock-ups and a badly flat-spotted front left tyre left him vulnerable to McClintock and Morrow.

Behind the front 5 cars Glenn Lynch was able to keep Rob Rowe at bay for the first half of the race before conceding 6th, and he had built sufficient gap to hold off Mansell in the F4.  A good scrap was developing between Sviderskas, Anderson and Coath, with Sviderskas holding the advantage early before giving up the place to Anderson and then pitting mid-race with an engine miss. Shayne Morrow was making progress with his new car until clutch problems forced him to park it mid-race.

At the front, Wilson was still harassing Holmes but needed to get past as McClintock was closing the gap rapidly, and after a little ‘love tap’ into Turn 2 finally managed to force the issue into Turn 4 on lap 8 of the 9 lap race, opening up a small but safe gap to Holmes, who held off McClintock by a few tenths at the chequered flag. Morrow, Muddle (with the front right now down to the canvas) and Rowe followed at some distance, ahead of Lynch, Mansell, Anderson and Coath the last of the finishers.

Race 3

1: Shane Wilson
2: Aron McClintock
Graeme Holmes

Sunday afternoon’s Trophy Race was a 12 lapper and this time it was Wilson who got the best of the start, with Morrow again getting a flyer from the second row, to head McClintock, a slow to get away Holmes and Muddle into Turn 2. Rowe managed to pass the fast starting F4 of Mansell as the 6 F3’s settled into a familiar pattern.

McClintock was keen to get onto the back of Wilson and managed to pass Morrow on lap 2, but Morrow had other ideas about Holmes and Muddle joining him, holding them both out until lap 4. Muddle and Holmes were hard at it (there were plenty of lock-ups) with Muddle somehow passing Holmes around the outside at Turn 2 only to give up the hard fought place by Turn 4 on the same lap. 

Wilson had opened up a small gap on McClintock, but the F301 driver wasn’t giving up much to the newer cars. Holmes was hot in pursuit but there was a fairly stable gap of a few car lengths, and the two of them were slowly pulling away from Muddle lap by lap.

Morrow had lost ground with the lead cars and soon found himself under attack from Rowe, who managed to pull himself up into 5thon lap 7.  Morrow was able to return the favour the following lap, and set out after Muddle, closing the gap to only a few seconds by the chequered flag.

Row may have lost the place, but he didn’t lose interest and laid down a number of personal best laps in the closing stages of the race, times that were more than competitive with the lead cars which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Mansell had the better of Lynch this time, and Coath and Anderson were at it again, this time Coath having the better of the battle early, before Anderson passed on lap 5 and Coath parked the car after a spin on lap 8.

A recurrence of the engine issue saw Sviderskas miss the race, and the earlier clutch issue meant that Shayne Morrow was also a non-starter.

 A gripping round meant that none of the championship contenders – which at this stage looks like McClintock, Morrow, Muddle and Holmes – were able to press an advantage, but McClintock retains a handy lead in the Championship going into round 3, which will be held at Wakefield Parkon the 7rdand 8thof September.

For all the 2019 Championship points tables click here.

After detailed investigations, the FRCA Technical Committee reported no irregularities for the weekend.


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2019 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 2 
25-26th May, 2019
Wakefield Park

Formula Race Cars had their second outing of the 2019 NSW State Championship at Wakefield Park, as the Goulburn circuit celebrated 25 years of racing, and it proved to be a perfect weekend for Aaron McClintock, scoring three wins from three starts and surging to the lead in the Championship.

With Round 1 winner Graeme Holmes sitting this one out we were deprived a reprise of the intense battle we saw at Eastern Creek, but McClintock put on a faultless display all weekend and capped it off with a flag to flag victory in the Trophy Race.

Out in front – like he was all weekend. Round winner Aaron McClintock in his Dallara F301.


1. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 57.34
2. Greg Muddle, Dallara Opel Spiess F399, 58.15
3. Lawrence Katsidis, Dallara Renault F304, 59.12
4 Rob Rowe, Dallara Toyota F308, 1:00.71

Saturday saw sunshine, but not a great deal of heat in the track, as a small field of 7 cars took to the circuit for qualifying.  Disappointingly Jeff Senior had pulled the plug on his Dallara-debut earlier in the week due to mechanical problems, and Rob Sviderkas had packed away the Elfin on Friday with water issues.  Ross McAlpine’s Mygale Mercedes M11 was parked, Ross and Paul Nagle continuing what was a marathon effort to get the Mygale to drink its fuel properly, still hopeful of hitting the track but as the other cars rolled out most of the Mygale was up on stands.

On the track it was Aaron McClintock who set the pace, some AGI Sport magic with the set-up clearly doing the trick, and a pole position never looking in doubt, Aaron eventually getting down to a very impressive 57.3 second lap time.  That was enough to see him clear of Greg Muddle by 0.8 seconds, the reverse of round 1 where Muddle had a 0.8 second gap on McClintock.  For the second round in a row it was an ’01 front row lock-out.

Behind the two ‘old school’ cars Lawrence Katsidis was shaping up as a threat in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304, bringing the times down steadily throughout the session and looking capable of dipping into the 58’s.  Rob Rowe was building on his solid debut at the previous round and had the Genesis Offices Dallara F308 Toyota much closer to the action, joining Katsidis on the second row.

Phil Morrow’s Dallara Opel Spiess F304 qualified 5th.  Having made a late gear ratio change before qualifying Phil seemed to have found the right set-up.  He needed to, because the two ‘Classic Class’ cars of Glenn Lynch and Ron Coath were both pushing hard and ended up within a couple of tenths of Morrow’s times. Lynch, in the Eagle Transport Dallara Fiat F397, managed 6thahead of Coath, who was running the Dallara Toyota F396 for the first time in several years while his F307 underwent repairs, “just to make up the numbers” but looking pretty competitive regardless.

The local fun police snuck in cows fitted with noise meters.  Muddle quietly ascends to Turn 3.

Race 1
1. Aaron McClintock, 2. Greg Muddle, 3. Lawrence Katsidis

With the afternoon warming up fractionally, conditions for race 1 were probably the best our cars saw all weekend.  Seven cars fronted for the 12-lapper, McAlpine’s Mygale still stranded as repairs continued.

The cars gridded with Muddle incorrectly on the inside, a gift from McClintock that he was not able to take advantage of as McClintock got a perfect start and led the field away. Katsidis pulled a great ‘dive-bomb’ into turn 2 to briefly steal 2ndfrom Muddle, but was unable to hold the position in the run up the hill and settled into 3rdahead of Rowe, Morrow and Coath. Coming back down the hill the cars were greeted with the ‘SC’ board designating a safety car, as Lynch was still stranded on the grid, with what turned out to be broken axle bolts.

Lynch’s car was cleared quickly, and at the restart McClintock got a good jump only to be baulked by a re-appearance of the ‘SC’ board at the start line, which momentarily caused some confusion for the front cars about they were meant to be racing or not. That was quickly sorted, and McClintock got back on the gas, steadily opening the gap to Muddle by a half a second a lap.  Katsidis continued to give Muddle some hurry-up, but that gap also started to open up mid race.

No wonder he can’t see out if his right mirror, there are two fingers in the way. 
Rob Rowe is quickly getting the hang of the Genesis Offices F308 Dallara.

Behind Katsidis, both Rowe and Morrow were pushing each other, and by mid-race both had managed to dip their times into the low 59-second mark.  This saw them close the gap to Katsidis quite rapidly, and by the time the flag appear the three cars were covered by only half a second, Katsidis leading Rowe and then Morrow across the line, but with Morrow the quickest of the three.  Coath completed the race as last car home in 6th.


Race 2
1. Aaron McClintock, 2. Greg Muddle, 3. Lawrence Katsidis

Sunday morning brought a dip in temperature and although the sun was out it wasn’t doing much by way of heat.  Conditions would prove slippery for the first couple of laps in the 14 lap race.  Eight cars rolled onto the circuit for the first time in the weekend McAlpine’s Mygale having been pieced back together and the broken bits on Lynch’s car easily repaired.

McClintock took advantage of starting on the correct side of the grid this time, and led again toward turn 2, with Muddle careful to block any inside dive from Katsidis.  Morrow had started well and had an inside run, but found himself running out of room as Rowe turned in – unable to avoid a light contact, both cars were turned around.  So at this stage of the race there were 2 separate incidents for the officials to deal with: two cars turned around at turn two, and McAlpine’s Mygale on the main straight having stalled.

Somewhat surprisingly both incidents cleared without needing a safety car, although as the leader came down the back straight the safety car (which is positioned on the back straight during race starts) was still clearing the circuit.  McClintock was somewhat distracted by this, leaving an opportunity for Muddle to pass into turn 10 and take the lead.  Across the line for the first time it was Muddle, McClintock, Katsidis, Lynch and Coath, with a large gap back to Morrow and a further gap to Rowe, both of them recovering from their earlier mishap.

Muddle led for a couple of laps before out-braking himself into the ‘Fishhook’ trying too hard to pull an early gap on McClintock.  He recovered quickly enough to hold second place, but had lost touch with McClintock who, as he had in race one, maintained and then opened a comfortable gap.

Gate wide shut.  Morrow worked hard to find a way past Coath in Race 2.

While Muddle and Katsidis followed in a somewhat processional manner, the battle was heating up behind them. Lynch was under threat from Coath, and both were being steadily hunted down by the two quicker cars of Morrow and Rowe behind them. Morrow was first to arrive, but Coath adopted an ‘elbow’s out’ approach that kept Morrow at bay. Morrow eventually got through at turn 10 on lap 11, then repeated the same move on Lynch the following lap.  But far from having an easy time of it, both Coath and Lynch hung onto his tail as Rowe also joined to make it a 4-car train. 

It looked as if this would be the finishing order until Lynch had a gear selection problem on the last lap, giving away the two hard-fought spots to Coath (5th) and Rowe (6th) on the final corner.

Rowe stalking Coath to the finish line, with race winner McClintock watching the fun in the background.

Race 3
1. Aaron McClintock, 2. Greg Muddle, 3. Phil Morrow

With two relatively comfortable wins for McClintock in the preliminaries the result in the Trophy Race looked rather predictable, and although the result turned out that way Muddle was determined to make him earn it.  For the first 13 laps the two cars were never more than a half second apart. The two drivers swapping quickest lap repeatedly and were still pushing hard deep into the race, Muddle setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 12 and McClintock responding with his own quickest time on lap 13. It looked set to go down to the wire until McClintock had a better run with lapped cars on the final lap to record the win.

The final podium spot was also tightly contested, Morrow had opened a seven second gap on Rowe over the first 4 laps, Rowe still coming to terms with what a Dallara can do on cold tyres. From there Rowe steadily closed the gap, to the point where there was a very close last lap and Morrow took the podium place by two-tenths of a second.

McAlpine finished in 5th, having had no track time all weekend the car was nowhere near where Ross would have wanted it but the times came down steadily across the course of the race, finishing ahead of Lynch who was the last car still running.

Katsidis retired early in the race with a ‘fluffy’ engine, which had first materialised toward the end of race 2 and was no better at the start of race 3.  Coath had a large ‘lose’ on cold tyres coming down the hill on lap 1 and also retired.

A late but welcome arrival, McAlpine was finally on the track in Race 3.

So with a clean sweep of round 2 Aaron McClintock moves into the Championship lead going into round 3, which will be held at Sydney Motorsport Parkon the 3rdand 4thof August.

For a full list fo the 2019 Championship standings go to: http://frca.net.au/standings/

A moment of quiet reflection: Glenn Lynch thinks about adding a set of CV bolts to his 20,000km warranty claim.

Special thanks (as always) for the fantastic images to Riccardo Benvenuti at www.pricelessimages.ifp3.com


Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2019 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1 
6 – 7th April, 2019
Sydney Motorsport Park

The 2019 NSW State Championship kicked off at Sydney Motorsport Park with the inaugural running of the David Choon Memorial Trophy, in honour of our late friend.  David won the first ever state series event under the FRCA banner, and the trophy race is a fitting memorial to a keen competitor.

With a valued prize, perfect conditions, and a new season ahead of us, it was disappointing that there wasn’t a larger field of cars, but what the grid lacked in quantity was well made up with quality.  Class certainly won through: Graeme Holmes made a welcome return to the winners circle with three race victories; but he had to work hard most of the weekend.  In what augurs well for the 2019 season there were several drivers in the mix, making for close and exciting racing. With 2018 Champion Nathan Gotch, and the might of the AGI Sport team, not competing the full season in 2019 it presents a golden opportunity for a number of drivers to challenge for the championship.

Round 1 winner: Graeme Holmes


1: Greg Muddle, Dallara Opel Spiess F399, 1:29.06
2. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 1:29.90
3. Graeme Holmes, Dallara Opel Spiess F304, 1:30.25
4 Ross McAlpine, Mygale Mercedes M11, 1:30.77

Warm and sunny conditions greeted the drivers, however the newly re-surfaced Sydney Motorsport Park had all the rubber washed away with a wet Friday and overnight storms, so the track produced some relatively slow times.

Greg Muddle made the best of the session by putting the old F399 on pole – a nice symmetry in a meeting where we were celebrating our maiden round winner that our maiden pole-sitter returned to the top of the timesheets, with what proved to be the fastest time of the weekend.  It should also be noted that this was Greg’s 100th race start with FRCA – his pole position a fitting way to celebrate this significant milestone.

Aaron McClintock made it an ‘All-01’ front row, proving that you don’t always need the latest kit to be competitive (note to those thinking about going wings ‘n’ slicks racing – there are some cheap 01’s for sale at the moment, so this could be you).

Graeme Holmes wasn’t far behind, making it a 1-2-3 for cars with Opel ‘Holmes-power’ – certainly the best engine around.  He was joined on the second-row by Ross McAlpine having a nudie run in the Mygale – an un-liveried car that is, not an un-apparelled driver.  At this stage of the weekend Ross was looking a threat.

Third row was fought out between the two Dallara ‘04s of Phil Morrow and Lawrence Katsidis, with Phil’s Opel powered car shading the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Renault powered car by the slightest of margins.  They were well clear of a slightly disappointed Ron Coath in the Dallara Mercedes F307. Ron having struggled throughout Friday practice with gearbox issues – being unable to get down to the sort of times which he and his car are capable of during this session.  Ron was joined on the 4throw by Glenn Lynch in the Dallara Fiat F397.

The field was rounded out by our newest competitor, Rob Rowe in the Genesis Offices Dallara Toyota F310. Rob was well short of valuable seat-time but had a respectable first outing and looked good in the car.  He was joined at the back of the field by Rob Sviderskas, exercising amazing patience in the wait for new pistons for his Dallara and in the meantime running the Elfin 622 Toyota – which makes very nice noise but it old enough to be a grand-father to some of the other cars in the field.

Race 1

1: Graeme Holmes,
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Phil Morrow

A late afternoon start but still in warm and sunny conditions which were perfect for the spectators. And good for racing too… except for the major engine detonation in the previous race that saw an oil trail from half way down the main straight through to the braking zone for turn 2!

When the lights went out Holmes got the jump from the second row, and although Muddle gave up position to McClintock off the line he was able to hold the line into turn 2 to retain second place. From there the three drivers put on 8 laps of pure entertainment, rarely being gapped by more than a few car lengths.  Muddle was under serious threat from McClintock, and they changes places several times.  Holmes wasn’t getting much respite from this – when Muddle was in second he was challenging down the front straight; when it was McClintock’s turn he was asking questions up the back straight.  But Holmes had all the answers.

Muddle had the best pace at that stage, but unfortunately the spectacle was interrupted on lap 8 when Muddle was pushing a little hard through turn 5 and ran out of talent – looping the car in front of McClintock who was able to take avoiding action but it cost him a bit of time on Holmes.  McClintock managed to narrow the gap lap by lap, but the race was perhaps a lap too short – Holmes holding a winning margin at the flag of less than a tenth of a second.

Behind the front cars Morrow made a good start to head McAlpine with Katsidis in close quarters for the first section of the race.  McAlpine was expecting the car to ‘come on’ after the first few laps, but unfortunately that never eventuated, later discovering some set-up issues with the rear ride-height which were something of a handicap to performance. So while Morrow pumped out consistent laps a gap opened to McAlpine, who fell into the clutches of Katsidis, the later making his move into 4thplace on lap 10.

Coath had a consistent but lonely run in 6thplace, with Rowe not far behind until he had a spin at turn 6 late in the race, eventually finishing a lap down.

Sviderskas parked the Elfin early, having issues with getting the car to rev to the required rate; and Lynch failed to get the car off the line (it’s difficult in 3rdgear) and parked himself in the grandstand receiving refreshments from the crowd.

Race 2

1: Graeme Holmes,
2: Aaron McClintock
3: Greg Muddle

Sunday morning saw very similar conditions and we were ready for a repeat of the previous day’s spectacle, albeit with Muddle having to come through the pack to do so.

Holmes had the best of the early stages, establishing a lead from McClintock, Katsidis (later penalised for a jump start) and Morrow.  The joker in the pack was Rowe who was up to 5th, with Coath following and Lynch giving up a place to Muddle mid-way through the lap.  McAlpine had experienced difficulties getting the car away from the dummy grid and consequently was forced to start rear of grid.

With Holmes opening a small gap on McClintock the action was further back.  Muddle and Coath swapped places twice between turns 14 and 15 on the first lap, before Muddle finally made the move stick on the entry to turn 1.  He then rounded up Rowe; followed by was a series of similar turn 1 moves to pass Katsidis and Morrow on the subsequent laps.  Coath was not being left behind however – it took a couple of laps but he too passed Rowe, and then Katsidis, before running down Morrow on lap 8.

What a difference a day makes – Ron Coath in fine form on Sunday

At the front Holmes held a small but comfortable gap on McClintock all the way to the finish, with Muddle unable to make any headway in 3rd. Coath finished strongly in 4th, finding 3 seconds improvement in lap times over Saturday. Morrow was having clutch difficulties and slipped back, allowing Katsidis to move up to 5thin the closing stages. Lynch followed behind Morrow, benefitting from Rowe having had another mishap at turn 6.

Sviderskas finished a lap down, still struggling with the Elfin’s rev-range, and McAlpine parked the non-performing Mygale in frustration half-way through the race.

Race 3

1: Graeme Holmes,
2: Ron Coath
3:Aaron McClintock

Rob Rowe being stalked by Lawrence Katsidis (Race 3)

Having won the first two races, Holmes was looking for a trifecta in the Trophy Race but McClintock and Muddle again loomed as serious threats.

Unfortunately that only lasted as far as the second corner:  McClintock having a spin mid-corner and Muddle, already with his hands full down the inside of the corner trying to regain position from Coath, looping his car in avoidance. By the time both of them re-joined their chances were gone. McClintock was able to recover to charge through the field to 3rd but Muddle unfortunately succumbed to a broken rear wing, which was pretty unlucky given there was no contact whatsoever in the incident.

While Holmes pedalled away somewhat surprised at his good fortune, there was plenty of action behind him. Coath had the best run though the turn 2 parking lot and established himself ahead of the fast-starting Rowe, with Morrow, Katsidis and Lynch following, and Muddle and McClintock tailing the field at the end of lap 1.

Rowe held Katsidis at bay for 5 laps, with Morrow in attendance but increasingly struggling with to get power down due to the continuing clutch issue. On lap 6 Katsidis passed Rowe, and McCintock also started his assault on the mid-field pack, passing Morrow.  He gained a further place on the following lap with Rowe having his now customary ‘off’ at turn 6.

Holmes cruised to the win with a big margin, with Coath holding onto 2ndby a couple of tenths over the fast finishing McClintock, who had rounded up Katsidis on the final lap. The consistent Lynch finished in 5th, ahead of Rowe and Morrow, who nursed his car to the line.  Muddle finished a weekend that had started with some promised with a black flag one lap from home having pitted earlier in the race.

So at the conclusion of round 1 Graeme Holmesis the inaugural winner of the David Choon Memorial Trophy, and holds the series lead going into round 2, which will be held at Wakefield Parkon the
25thand 26thof May– celebrating 25 years of racing at Wakefield Park.

For all the 2019 Championship points tables click here.

In memory of David Choon.



Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2018 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 2 
26 – 27th May, 2018
Wakefield Park

Wakefield Park was the venue for Formula Race Cars’ second appearance of the season in the 2018 NSW State Championship, and Nathan Gotch in the AGI Sport Dallara Renault F307 was able to master the cool conditions to produce another maximum points performance and extend his championship lead. While Gotch was a class above the rest of the Championship field, it was his battle with the non-championship Dallara Honda F311 of Spike Goddard that put some heat in the weekend – a cracker of a race on Saturday afternoon going to Gotch, before Goddard cleaned up on Sunday, with the two trading quickest laps across the weekend.

Goddard leading the pack in the Trophy Race


1: Nathan Gotch, Dallara Renault F307, 55.77
2: Spike Goddard, Dallara Honda F308, 58.04
3: Ross McAlpine, Mygale Mercedes M-11, 58.71; 4

Shane Wilson, Dallara Opel Spiess F305, 58.91 The mid-morning qualifying allowed the temperatures to creep up to around 12 degrees, but with the sun out and the track clean the conditions were right for some quick times provided you could find some grip. Gotch had the best of the early part of the session, from Goddard, Shane Wilson
(Wiltec Dallara Opel Spiess F305), Greg Muddle (Dallara Opel Spiess F399) and Ross McAlpine debuting his new ride, the ex-Harvest Mygale Mercedes M-11. Ten minutes in, and we all got the chance to cool down again courtesy of a red flag when Graeme Holmes (GKH Powdercoating Dallara Opel Spiess F304) found the Turn 2 sand trap, a result of continued brake problems.

With some confusing signals in pit-lane leading several competitors back to their carports and quitting the session at that point, those who were actually paying attention had an ideal opportunity to put in three quick laps after the re-start. Gotch’s existing time was already good enough for pole, but he managed to lower that by a further 2 seconds, getting down to the 55.7’s. McAlpine also benefited, diving down into the 58’s and leap-frogging Wilson into third.

Behind Wilson, Muddle headed up Andrew Wlodek (Dallara Honda F307) and Lawrence Katsidis (SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara Renault F304) who, having put his troubles of the last round behind him, was looking quick. Ron Coath (Dallara Mercedes F307), had brake troubles in the first part of the session, but managed to drive around that and pull out a respectable time in the closing part of the session, which put him ahead of Holmes on the grid.

Coath and Holmes just shaded the time of Phil Morrow (Dallara Opel Spiess F303), rounding out the Top 10 but looking quite capable of competing with the cars a couple of rows ahead as they were in a closely bunched group. Glenn Lynch (Eagle Transport Dallara F397 Fiat) was again doing a stellar job in the oldest Dallara in the field, qualifying ahead of Denis Lesslie (Tru Blue Trailers Dallara F302 Renault), who was still coming to terms with the new car, and Rob Sviderskas (Elfin 622) rounding out the field.

The lovely Elfin hadn’t been on track for quite some time, and gave away quite a bit in sophistication and speed to the F3 cars, but it was great to have Rob there boosting the numbers – just a great pity that there weren’t a few other older cars out there running around with the Elfin.

Simple, elegant, and those pipes are a work of art – Rob Sviderskas in the Elfin 623

Race 1

1: Nathan Gotch,
2: Spike Goddard
3: Shane Wilson
4: Ross McAlpine
5: Lawrence Katsidis

When the lights went out Goddard got the jump on Gotch and led the field away, with plenty of jockeying for position into Turn 2. Katsidis had a blinder and had his car into 5th outside Muddle as they exited the turn together, which saw Muddle getting on the throttle a little bit earlier than the cold tyres liked, with the result that he turned the car around in the middle of the following pack. Fortunately everyone managed to scatter.

Behind Goddard, Gotch was pressing hard, and they were both gapping the following pack of McAlpine, Wilson, Katsidis and Wlodek. Holmes’ woes continued, dropping to the back of the pack, but Morrow’s fortunes were better, and after a steady start he gained a place passing Coath on the second lap. Out front of the pack Goddard and Gotch were steadily dropping their times, into the low 57’s by lap three and into the 56’s a couple of laps later, but they were never more than a few tenths apart. Unfortunately those times put them behind lapped traffic, and at the end of lap 8 Gotch made the most of Goddard’s misfortune, as Goddard was baulked in his run onto the main straight it allowed Gotch to run past into the lead, a position he was able to defend for the final lap to take victory.

Although the front two had sprinted away from the pack there was plenty of interest for 3rd, and while McAlpine was able to establish a bit of a gap early on Wilson was strong at the back end of the race, making the most of his opportunities to pass McAlpine on the last lap. Katsidis had chased the pair hard for most of the race, and was only a couple of seconds behind in 5th at the chequered flag. Wlodek had a fairly solitary race in 6th, but behind him Morrow, Coath and Lynch put on a good battle for the minor placings. Holmes couldn’t recover to anything better than 10th. 

Millimetre perfect – no wonder he’s quick! Nathan Gotch shows us how it’s supposed to be done.

Race 2

1: Spike Goddard
2: Nathan Gotch
3: Shane Wilson
4: Andrew Wlodek
5: Greg Muddle

Sunday morning’s conditions were again cool but clear, and all 13 cars lined up again for the second race. The first two rows were away clearly, with Goddard to the lead again ahead of Gotch, McAlpine and Wilson. Katsidis was away poorly, courtesy of a misfire that was to persist throughout the race, allowing the fast starting Coath to slingshot into 5th, ahead of Wlodek and Morrow. This trio were soon joined by two cars coming from further back – Holmes and Muddle, both eager to get somewhere nearer the back of Wilson’s car.

However it was Wlodek that made the first move, getting ahead of Coath on lap 2, leaving Coath to defend against Holmes, with Muddle closing on Morrow. That move was made easier when Morrow looped it in turn 2 on lap three. Half a lap later the field was under safety car condition courtesy of McAlpine slowing to a halt – very unfortunate for him as the he was showing impressive cold-tyre pace. Not everyone saw the safety car sign, and there was a little bit of mayhem in the process, Holmes managing to make up a place unnoticed and Lynch managing to avoid the wrath of the officials by not quite completing a passing manoeuvre (even though it was recorded that way on the lap chart).

At the restart it was Goddard Gotch and Wilson out in front, with Wlodek defending doggedly against Holmes, Coath holding position in front of Muddle and Lynch defending against Katsidis still firing on three cylinders. Lesslie, Morrow and Sviderskas were somewhere else, not quite on the back of the safety car train at the restart. Goddard managed the race well leading all the way to the flag, but the eventual gap was less than half a second, and Gotch again managed to get down into the 55’s to set the fastest lap. Wlodek managed to hold Holmes at bay for 5 laps, but was finally out-braked on the 11th of 12 laps to concede 4th place.

This should have seen Holmes comfortably home, except that on the final lap the car inexplicably drove off into the sand trap at the final corner on the last lap. Outside the car that might have looked like Graeme once again testing the limits of physics with his braking, but inside the cockpit it seemed more like a jammed throttle. Either way, Wlodek was gifted 4th place. Muddle crossed the line a second behind him, having passed Coath but not without some effort. A good braking duel into the Fish-hook gave Muddle the place, but Coath made a strong attempt to regain the place under brakes At Turn 10. His challenge persisted all the way through Turn 2 and on the run back up the hill before the position was truly decided.

This left Coath defending 6th from Lynch, which he managed to do, crossing the line a few tenths ahead. Katsidis held 8th from Morrow, recovering from his spin to finish 9th and the last car on the lead lap, with Lesslie improving his times by a few tenths in 10th and Sviderskas also making minor improvements in 11th.  

Race 3

1. Spike Goddard
2. Nathan Gotch
3. Shane Wilson
4. Greg Muddle
5. Graeme Holmes

The trophy race over 14 laps was in cooling conditions on Sunday afternoon with all 13 cars again lining up for the start. The early order was Goddard from Gotch, Wlodek jostling with Wilson for 3rd ahead of Muddle, with both Coath and Lynch – noted good starters – looking for an opportunity. Wilson settled the battle for 3rd early in the opening lap, before Muddle also seized the opportunity late under brakes at the end of the back straight moving into 4th. At the end of the first lap Goddard and Gotch had once again opened a sizeable lead, from Wilson, with a gap to Muddle, and a further gap to Wlodek, with Lynch on his tail.

Holmes was the best of the two rear-of-grid starters ahead of McAlpine, but no further progressed than 10h. While the front 4 cars were running steadily but with increasing gaps, there was plenty of action for 5th. Coath managed to take the place from Wlodek on lap 2, but Katsidis and Morrow were on a charge – both passing Lynch on lap 2, then both passing Wlodek on lap 3, before Katsidis took Coath for 5th on lap 4 with a deep dive under brakes at Turn 2. All this was frustrating the progress of Holmes and McAlpine who were still in 10th and 11th on lap 3, albeit having switched places.

McAlpine disposed of Lynch and Wlodek on the following lap with before and after moves at the Fish-hook, but Holmes wasn’t quite as successful found the back of Wlodek’s car on the next pass lap at Turn 2, leaving Wlodek with a damaged rear wing and Holmes in the gravel, eventually leading to the deployment of the safety car.  

Lawrence Katsidis and a slight trace of tyre smoke got past Ron Coath in Race 3.

When the safety car departed there was a 6 lap sprint to the chequered flag, with Goddard and Gotch going all out as they had all weekend. Goddard opened up a secure margin – a second – but they were both charging hard to the flag, setting their fastest times on the last lap and Gotch setting a PB and the quickest time of the race. Wilson and Muddle were close for most of the remainder, but each time Muddle closed the gap Wilson found something a little bit extra, and he pulled a comfortable gap over the last two laps to finish a well-deserved 3rd.

Behind Muddle, McAlpine had found speed after the restart and steadily worked his way into 5th, courtesy of a series of late-braking moves at Turn 10, to finish ahead of Katsidis, with Coath holding out for 7th from the closely pursuing Morrow, and Lynch trailing in 9th. Lesslie finished two laps down but ahead of Wlodek, who despite a very non-aerodynamic set-up at the back of his car managed to circulate for points. Sviderskas unfortunately parked the Elfin with some (hopefully) precautionary concerns about the motor.

With Goddard not racing for points, Gotch was able to secure full points for the second round in a row.

Outright Points:
Nathan Gotch 75
Shane Wilson 63
Lawrence Katsidis 44
Andrew Wlodek 43
Ross McAlpine 41
Greg Muddle 41
Ron Coath 40
Phil Morrow 36
Glenn Lynch 35
Denis Lesslie 29;
Rob Sviderskas 21
Graeme Holmes 20

Class Based Points
Nathan Gotch 75
Lawrence Katsidis 44
Shane Wilson 63
Glenn Lynch 63
Phil Morrow 59
Greg Muddle 55
Andrew Wlodek 51
Denis Lesslie 51
Ron Coath 49
Ross McAlpine 43 
Rob Sviderskas 19
Graeme Holmes 29

Full points details here.

Short Circuit

– A stellar debut for Ross McAlpine in ‘that French car’ (is it even a real F3 if it’s not a Dallara?Surely it can’t be), and the decision not to buy the mowing attachment with the rest of the spares was a good one.  Ross was really quick, really smooth and really, really happy!  About the only false move was inadvertently hitting the pit-lane speed limiter during Race 2, which brought that race to an early end, but everything else went smoothly.

Of course ‘new car, new tricks’, and it an attempt to keep prying eyes away from all the aero Ross was parked up on pit lane instead of roughing it with the uncouth masses in the carports.  A touch of l’arrogant frog? Certainly the injunction against any pictures of the car in this race report seems a step too far! (Actually we’d love to have some pictures of Ross’ car but our photographer has decided he only likes Dallaras – when your photographer is named Riccardo Benvenuti you can see how that might happen).
– He may be the principal of Team Mr Knuckle Head – although he claims that someone
“changed his entry” – but take a look at the table above: Phil Morrow is looking strong in the race for the Class Championship – six starts, six finishes, nothing to do between races but contemplate how quick he might be if only his crew remembered to bring the computer cable and he could access the data.
– Wakefield Park: some people love it, some people hate it. And then there’s a small group of people that the track seems to hate back. Which brings us to Graeme Holmes’ disappointing weekend. Holmesy and helpers had a miserable time of it on Friday, having to replace a broken input shaft (the bumps on the back straight at Wakey can’t help), but by Saturday morning the car was ready to go racing. At which point the mystery brake problem that has plagued the car in recent times put an early end to the qualifying session. Race 1 provided no solutions but at least the car made it all the way to the chequered flag, but not at the speed to which it is accustomed.
Several platefuls of very ordinary Chinese food and a troubled nights’ sleep is not usually a great cure-all, but Sunday morning arrived fresh with promise. Graeme was quick to carve a way through the field before arriving at the rear of Andrew Wlodek’s wide-track F307, but after a few laps even the riddle of how to pass this car was solved. It all looked to be going to plan until the car screamed past the braking markers at Turn 10 – courtesy of a small tool that had been left in the cockpit jamming the throttle. Several kilos of gravel later, Graeme was again ready to do battle with the track in the trophy race, only this time the solution to the riddle was not there, the door was not unlocked with a gentle tap, and the fairy tale ending vanished in a cloud of dust. The track has done this to Graeme before, but it may have finally broken him: 
In the cockpit, no one can hear you scream.

Flashback 2013

Sadly, only 4 of the cars in picture are still running with FRCA, a number of the drivers have upgraded to new equipment which is great, but what a pity we don’t have some of these cars still going around. Near the back (obscured) is Lynchy, and 2013 is probably the last time he was not the leading Pre-99 car in a pack (I think he was a rear-of-grid starter that day, he may have been unusually late to the circuit, there’s no other way he would be that far back). Garnet Patterson having set a sizzling pace in qualifying (56.14) cleared out that weekend to win the Trophy from the Darren Choon and Graeme Holmes (when the track loved him).

Actually written by Greg Muddle.

2018 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1
17 & 18 March 2018
Sydney Motorsport Park

The 2018 NSW State Championship kicked off at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend with F3 Premier Series contender Cameron Shields putting on a master class in the Gilmour Racing Dallara Mercedes F311.  While the conditions were hotter than hot, Cameron barely raised a sweat in winning all three races, despite doubling up in the Formula Ford Championship (which he also won!).

However with Cameron not contesting the State Championship, the winner over the weekend was returning 2016 Champion Nathan Gotch in the AGI Sport Dallara Renault F307, who picked up where he left off and completed the weekend with a maximum points haul.

Nathan Gotch


1: Cameron Shields, Dallara Mercedes F311, 1:23.28
2. Nathan Gotch, Dallara Renault F307, 1:27.04
3. Spike Goddard, Dallara Honda F308, 1:27.39
4 Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 1:27.41

The mid-morning qualifying session saw temperatures already in the mid-30’s, and it was no surprise that most competitors produced their best times early in the session before engines and tyres got too hot.  In less than ideal conditions Cameron Shields was within 0.3 seconds of Calan Williams ‘lap record’ (for State events) in the same car last July.  Not only was it impressive, it was good enough by more than three seconds over his rivals.

Nathan Gotch managed to secure a front row spot, narrowly ahead of Spike Goddard who was back in Australia from his international exploits and having his first run in a F3 car for several years, but clearly settling into the groove despite a lack of testing.  Close on his heels the 2017 Champion Aaron McClintock was also in hot form, also qualifying in the 1:27’s but with much older machinery.  Having seen the hot lap come up on the dash, Aaron parked the car knowing there was not too much more to be achieved.

The third row spots on the grid were filled by the usual suspects – Graeme Holmes (GKH Powdercoating Dallara Opel Spiess F304) and Greg Muddle (Dallara Opel Spiess F399) – who qualified ahead of a trio of F307’s:  Shane Wilson (Wiltec Dallara Opel Spiess F307), Andrew Wlodek (Dallara Honda F307) and Ron Coath (Dallara Mercedes F307).  Shane Wilson’s weekend appeared to be over on Friday afternoon when he was bumped off the circuit by a sports car in practice and the right rear of the car was heavily damaged, but an overnight delivery of parts from Queensland and a massive effort by his support crew saw the car repaired in time for qualifying.

Tenth place on the grid was the very familiar Eagle Transport Dallara Fiat F397 of Glenn Lynch, still motoring along rapidly with the longest continuous service engine in F3 history.

The remainder of the grid was made up of a cluster of Dallara F304’s:  Phil Morrow having his first outing in the ex-Gilmour Spiess powered car and Denis Lesslie having his first outing in the True Blue Trailers ex-McAlpine Renault powered car, both using this meeting to get familiar with the extra potential of their new kit; ahead of Lawrence Katsidis in the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara Renault F304 having its first outing back from an engine rebuild, and Rob Sviderskas in the Opel Spiess powered car, both of whom had problems in qualifying that kept them from their best.

Race 1

1:Cameron Shields,
2: Spike Goddard,
3: Nathan Gotch,
4: Shane Wilson
5: Greg Muddle

Brake issues saw Graeme Holmes pull out on the dummy grid and left us with 13 cars lining up in hot conditions – 60+ degrees on the asphalt.

When the lights went out both Shields and Goddard got good jumps but Gotch bogged down slightly giving up 2ndplace.  Muddle also got a good jump (something that couldn’t be said in any race report from 2017), keeping him in 4thwith Holmes missing and McClintock pulling off the track with what was to be a weekend-ending diff failure.  McClintock’s departure was extremely disappointing as his practice times showed he was capable of mixing it with the later model cars ahead.

Shields had already opened a sizeable gap on the first lap, a pattern that was to continue throughout the whole race.  Likewise Goddard had a small gap on Gotch which he continued to stretch.  Muddle led Wilson, Wlodek and Lynch, and behind them the order followed the fortunes of the start:  Katsidis, who had repaired the problem in the gearbox that had relegated him to the back of the grid in qualifying made a good start, ahead of Morrow (who had jumped), Sviderskas, then Coath and Lesslie who had both stalled when the lights went out.

Goddard ahead of the pack into turn 2, Shields has already cleared out

Unfortunately, not much was happening in terms of racing – people were chasing hard but unable to close gaps.  Morrow was the exception, taking a place from Katsidis on lap 2 and reeling in Lynch on lap 4.  Coath had also made up some ground and passed Sviderskas on the same lap, but by that stage he had lost contact with the cars further up the field.  Katsidis, after a slow start, was putting in some quick times and making up ground on Morrow, only to have the car stop on lap 7 as it ran out of fuel.  Morrow was running strongly but was being haunted by Lynch, who wouldn’t let him go.

Further up the field Muddle seemed to have a comfortable gap on Wilson, matching times lap after lap, but gave the spot away when he slowed with what was eventually found to be a loose air filter tube.

When the chequered flag came out on lap 13 there were large gaps between almost all car – Shields taking the flag ahead of Goddard, Gotch, Wilson, Muddle, Wlodek, Morrow (although with a 5 second penalty he was subsequently relegated a place), Lynch, Coath and a fast closing Sviderskas in 10th, with Lesslie rounding out the field.

Race 2

1:Cameron Shields
2: Spike Goddard
3: Nathan Gotch
4: Shane Wilson
5: Greg Muddle

Sunday morning saw no relief from the heat, if anything it was hotter, and 12 cars lined up for the first race.  Holmes had managed to sort his brake issue, but we were without McClintock (diff) and Sviderskas (oil seal).  Katsidis made a heroic effort to get to the dummy grid after replacing a flywheel, the second ‘car apart’ exercise of the weekend for the team.

The first two rows made good starts Wilson shading Gotch but settling into a familiar order of Shields, Goddard, Gotch, Wilson as they completed the first lap, a pattern that was to stay in place for the remainder of the race.

Muddle bogged down allowing the fast starting pair of Wlodek and Lynch to get ahead, and it wasn’t until he slipstreamed past Wlodek into turn 2 on lap 2 that he managed to get back to his starting position. Behind Lynch, Morrow settled into 8th, ahead of Holmes who was still checking out his brakes, then Coath ,who was again, uncharacteristically, slow away from the line and Lesslie. Unfortunately Katsidis pulled out early with clutch issues.

Holmes was providing most of the entertainment as he progressed through the field, accounting for Morrow and Lynch on lap 2, Wlodek on lap 3, and then passing Muddle on lap 5. At that point there was still some hope of chasing down Wilson, but a spin at turn 2 on lap 8 put paid to that and gifted 5thplace back to Muddle.  Wlodek, Lynch and Coath followed, with Morrow dropping a place due to fatigue (and having to deal with an unstrapped helmet!) and Lesslie completing the field.

Where did all these cars come from? Race 3 and Shields finally sees some other cars.

Race 3

1: Cameron Shields
2: Spike Goddard
3: Nathan Gotch
4: Shane Wilson
5: Graeme Holmes

Having won the first two races by a convincing margin expectations were that Shields would do the same again in the final race.  Eventually he did, but he made it slightly more difficult by stalling when the lights went out and falling to the back of the field.  Despite this, he’d made it back to 5thby mid-way through lap 1, driving around the battling pair of Wlodek and Muddle between turns 4 and 5, and had found his way to the front by the end of lap 3, before driving to a 15 second win.

With Goddard jumping to the early lead, Gotch edged ahead of Wilson and the fast starting Holmes, but Muddle again gave up places to Wlodek and Lynch off the line. He managed to reclaim these after passing Wlodek under brakes into Turn 15, enabling him to set out after Holmes.

Lynch was close behind, having also managed to find a way past Wlodek on lap 2. Behind them Lesslie had made the best of the starts, to be ahead of Morrow, Coath and Katsidis, who unfortunately had no reward for all the effort on the clutch between races and eventually withdrew after 2 laps.

With Shields clearing out there were several battles emerging:  Gotch was unable to shake Wilson; Muddle was closing on Holmes; Lynch and Wlodek were inseparable; and Coath was chasing down Morrow and Lesslie, who traded places several times in the early laps.

Behind Shields, Goddard had a relatively easy race to claim second.  Gotch held out Wilson to claim third, but there was only a couple of seconds in it at the flag.  Muddle was taking a few tenths a lap from Holmes until he tried to go a little bit too deep into Turn 2 and took an excursion onto the grass, after which he had to settle for a comfortable 6th.  Lynch held Wlodek all the way to the flag, but there was only 7 hundredths of a second in it.  Coath claimed 9th, and Morrow held on to 10thahead of Lesslie by just over a tenth of a second.

Muddle used Race 3 to check out the sign the ARDC installed for Holmes at Turn 2

With the two young guns Shields and Goddard not racing for points, Gotch was left our clear winner for the weekend:

Outright points: 

Nathan Gotch  75
Shane Wilson  63
Greg Muddle  55
Andrew Wlodek  45
Glenn Lynch  43
Graeme Holmes  36
Ron Coath 36
Phil Morrow  35
Denis Lesslie  30
Rob Sviderskas  11 
Lawrence Katsidis  10
McClintock  5

Class Based points:

Nathan Gotch  75
Greg Muddle  71
Shane Wilson  63
Glenn Lynch  63
Phil Morrow  59
Andrew Wlodek  57
Ron Coath  51
Denis Lesslie  51
Graeme Holmes  46
Rob Sviderskas  19
Lawrence Katsidis  10
McClintock  5

Short Bursts:

  • “If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have had any luck”. A deeply philosophical Loz Katsidis contemplates the combined effects of clutch, flywheel, gearbox pinion, frustrating fuel and 12 months out of the seat, and looks forward to burning some hot laps at Wakefield next round, with some luck.
  • Despite all the conspiracy theories, 5 competitors survived targeted scrutineering without having their fuel bladders checked, and while the issue continues to hang there as a possible issue the early signs are encouraging: state scrutineers don’t appear to have had any instruction to enforce the rule.
  • Greg Muddle spent a fair amount of time in the Clerk of Course office for having the loudest car in the category. Having tried the crossed wires at the end of the exhaust (they make 0.6 dB difference at Eastern Creek on a hot and humid day, for those who are interested) more radical surgery was required on Saturday evening. A large amount of stainless steel wool and some Kevin Lewis supervised re-engineering saw the car quietened sufficiently to compete on Sunday.
  • As usual there were plenty of instances of FRCA members helping out their fellow competitors in their hour of need, but for simple brilliance in the “see problem, solve problem” department it is impossible to go past the appearance of Icy Poles after the first race on Sunday morning. Thanks Katrina, that was soooo good!
  • As usual, there was plenty of talk about potential new cars – from Asia, from Italy, even from Victoria – and hopefully we’ll see at least one of these emerge in the near future. If you’re aware of anyone looking for a car then the ex-Robert Choon 01 is back on the market again in SA at a sensible price; and President Ross is aware of most of the other possibilities and might give you the tip (at least for the ones he’s not contemplating for himself).
  • A big ‘Thank You’ from the Category Rep to all those competitors who booked garages as soon as entries opened, it was great having that settled so far in advance of the race meeting and not having anyone miss out.

    A successful first outing for Denis Lesslie, and putting it away in one piece is always good too.

Round 2: Sydney Motorsport Park

(Actually) written by Greg Muddle.

2017 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 2
27 & 28 May 2017
Sydney Motorsport Park

Aaron McClinktock has shot to the top of the ladder after the second round of the 2017 NSW Motor Race Championship for Formula Cars, with two wins and a second place on a weekend where he showed consistent pace and was able to keep the ever-present Graeme Holmes at bay. With series leader not contesting this round, and a number of drivers unable to repair damage from round 1 within the tight turnaround, we were reduced to just 11 entries, our smallest field in a number of years. While the small field was disappointing, it didn’t stop the FRCA guys putting on some cracking racing across the weekend.


1. Graeme Holmes, Dallara Opel Spiess 1:30.99; 2. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 1:31.26;
3. Greg Muddle, Dallara Opel Spiess F399, 1:31.69

An early red flag for two stopped cars meant there was a shortened session in which to establish a qualifying lap, and it was McClintock who set the early pace with a series of laps in the 1:31’s. Holmes managed to better this only on the final lap of the session, and dragged Muddle along in his wake for a top 3 qualifying for the three Holmes powered cars. Fuel issues had put Andrew Wlodek (Dallara F307 Honda) out of contention, so it wasn’t any surprise to see Glenn Lynch (Dallara F397 Fiat) take advantage and slot into the remaining second row spot, the first of the Class B cars. Ron Bennet (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) and Kevin Lewis (Dallara F396 Toyota) followed, only just shading Edward Gavin in the beautiful Cheetah Mk.8, the AF2 giving away plenty of horsepower to the F3 cars (a couple more AF2’s to play with would be nice!).

Phil Morrow (Reynard 923 VW) was the last of the qualifiers, with both Wlodek and Denis Lesslie (Ralt RT34 Honda) having troubles – in Denis’ case terminal engine problems that ended his weekend prematurely. Rod Anderson (Reynard 893 VW) was unable to compete having broken an upright during Friday practice.

Race 1

1. Graeme Holmes, 2. Aaron McClintock, 3. Andrew Wlodek.

Race 1 on Saturday afternoon was a 9 lap race run in clear and sunny conditions, and the two cars on the front row got away to a good start, opening up a 3 second gap to the rest of the field on the opening lap and stretching that every lap thereafter. McClintock had to deal with the flying start of Bennet, who held second at the entry of turn 2, before McClintock muscled past. The large distance they put on the rest of the field was not reflected in the tussle between the two leaders, only separated by a few car-lengths throughout the journey and by a couple of tenths when they eventually crossed the line.  McClintock was able to challenge several times, but unable to pass.

Behind the leaders, Bennet had the running from Lynch and Wlodek, charging through from the rear of the grid. Bennet was able to maintain third until lap 3, when Wlodek was able to get ahead with a fairly assertive move at turn 3 and open up a small gap. This left Bennet to in a race with Lynch for fourth, and the two drivers were at close quarters for the whole race. Muddle had stalled on the line, again, much to the consternation of his crew who were vocal in their criticism, and when he managed to get moving the rest of the field had long gone.

It was lap 4 before he managed to catch Gavin and Lewis, who were locked in a close battle, and soon after passing Lewis Gavin was also able to take advantage and move into 7th. It wasn’t until lap 6 that he was able to get on the tail of Lynch and Bennet, and by that stage any chance of bridging the gap to Wlodek was gone. Bennet followed home in 5th, ahead of Lynch, Gavin and Morrow, who completed the field, Lewis having retired on the last lap with ‘fuel management issues’ i.e. Management had not put enough fuel in the car.

Race 2

1. Aaron McClintock, 2. Graeme Holmes, 3. Andrew Wlodek.

On Sunday conditions were again perfect for the morning’s 10 lap race. Unfortunately the event before was red-flagged with a serious incident that took quite some time to clear, and the initial “short delay, about 10 minutes” stretched to almost an hour in the cockpit before the cars rolled out of the dummy grid. When the lights finally went out the drivers were understandably eager to get away, but the cars on the front two rows suffered a lot of wheelspin.

Wlodek was the first to get traction, McClintock followed, Muddle was passed by Lynch and Holmes was nowhere by the time they reached turn 2. Wlodek, McClintock and eventually Muddle formed a 3 car train at the front, with Holmes 4 seconds behind at the end of the first lap. The front three put on a spectacular show for the first three laps, Wlodek defending impressively with McClintock keen to get past, aware that Muddle was right up his exhaust. That threat was realised into turn 9 on lap 3, when Muddle dive-bombed in an audacious move that he was able to make stick.

McClintock returned the favour at turn 1 on the following, then after several attempts was able to force his way alongside Wlodek into turn 3 on lap 5, giving him the inside line into turn 4. With Holmes closing Muddle needed to move quickly on Wlodek, and the following lap he successfully pulled off a late dive into turn 4, only to throw it away by out-braking himself into turn 6. By the time he rally-crossed back onto the black stuff Wlodek and Holmes were 200 metres down the road and weren’t going to be caught, so he backed off and settled for 4th place. Holmes passed Wlodek on the following lap, but was unable to bridge the gap to McClintock who won by about 3 seconds after allowing for a jump start penalty, with Wlodek chasing Holmes all the way to the line. Behind Muddle, Lynch ended what was a fairly lonely race with a late surge when he thought Muddle was catchable, and Morrow was the last of the finishers a lap down, but completing a second consecutive race with no major dramas even apart from needing a few more horsepower.

There were 3 DNF’s – Lewis’ race was finished early when the car refused to run cleanly, a rag subsequently being discovered in the air intake; Bennet had terminal engine issues; and Ed Gavin had sat in the cockpit so long that he had problems using his legs properly.

Race 3

1. Aaron McClintock, 2. Graeme Holmes, 3. Greg Muddle.

The Trophy Race was reduced to 6 laps because of the delays earlier in the day, and perhaps just as well with only 7 cars making the grid. McClintock and Holmes got away from the line clearly and cleared away from the rest of the field. In what was almost the mirror image of race 1, McClintock led from start to finish, with Holmes harrying him all the way but unable to do anything to get ahead. On the second row we had synchronised stalling with Wlodek and Muddle both making a mess of the start, Muddle getting away slightly ahead of Wlodek in the end and Wlodek parking his car very early in the race.

Lewis passed both of them at the start, but he too was soon retired with a loose rear wheel. While the leaders put on a show the rest of the interest was in Muddle chasing down Lynch for third, a position he did not surrender without some Formula Ford style blocking moves down the main straight, which was entertaining for drivers and crowd alike. Lynch had to settle for 4th and Class B honours, ahead of Morrow who made it 3 finished from 3 starts, perhaps not at the pace he’d like but with thankfully a weekend without major headaches.

The points table can be found here.

Short Circuit

SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH had successfully trialled the live streaming of images from the cars this round, enabling the crews to follow the racing from an in-car view. This will be helpful provided we don’t have too many “look mum, no hands!!” moments. Thankfully there is no audio being proposed at the moment.

Very rarely do we have anything to thank V8 SuperTaxis for, but we did have sector splits on our Natsoft timing this weekend, and it makes interesting reading. Our two standout drivers, Aaron McClintock and Graeme Holmes shared the quickest laps 2-2 over our four sessions, but all 4 sessions were split 2-1 in terms of quickest sectors (points decisions, no knockouts: 2 x 2-1 to Aaron, and 2 x 2-1 to Graeme). In terms of individual sectors, Holmes was quickest in the first sector in all 4 sessions, the second sector was shared 2 apiece, and McClintock was the quickest in the 3rd sector in all 4 sessions.

2017: Round 1 Report – Wakefield Park

Written by Greg Muddles.

Race Report 2016 NSW Motor Race Championship
Round 1, Sydney Motorsport Park
1 & 2 April, 2017

The first round of the championship ended with the familiar sight of Graeme Holmes holding the trophy, but he got there via a long and eventful path on a weekend that saw Dennie Rumble take the points and Aaron McClintock keep him honest all the way. 


1. Dennie Rumble, Dallara Mercedes F307 58.39; 2. Aaron McClintock, Dallara Opel Spiess F301, 59.51; 3. Greg Muddle, Dallara Opel Spiess F399, 1:01.01.

An early altercation between Graeme Holmes (Dallara Opel Spiess F304) and John Boothman (Dallara Fiat F301) saw the session red-flagged and drivers cooling their heels in pit lane while the cars were cleared away. When the car returned to the circuit the Alpine Motorsports car of Dennie Rumble set the pace as expected, the National Series driver claiming a well-deserved pole despite limited miles under his belt in recent times and no set up laps. Aaron McClintock was not too far behind and looked to be Rumble’s major threat, with Muddle struggling to find last year’s pace but ending up a respectable third. Rodney Brincat in the Glass Benders Dallara Opel Spiess F304 was hampered by an incorrect selection of gear ratios, but was still able to put the car on the second row of the grid.

Glenn Lynch, having made a late decision to run the Dallara Fiat F396 Class B car, managed to out-qualify a number of later model cars to end the session in 5th, ahead of the two Dallara F307’s of Canberran drivers Andrew Wlodek (Honda) and Ron Coath (Mercedes). Ron Bennet (lately of Bundaberg, now resident of Greater Western Sydney – not so attractive but a lot closer to race meetings) managed well from a last-minute preparation to put his Dallara F301 Opel Spiess on 8th, with the Class B cars of Kevin Lewis (Dallara F396 Toyota) and Rod Anderson (Reynard 893 VW) rounding out the top 10.

Of the 17 car entered we lost the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH’s Dallara F304 Renault of Lawrence Katsidis on Friday with air issues (i.e. the piston decided it would aid circulation by punching a hole in the block); Rodney Baker’s debut in the Dallara F301 Opel Spiess ended with a broken clutch (despite the extraordinary efforts of Messrs Gardiner, Sparkes, Boothman and Holmes the car was beyond redemption, but nothing that some time and effort can’t fix for next round); and Phil Morrow successfully completed qualifying (Look! No oil leaks!!) only to have the ring-gear fail when starting the car for the first race. But there were 14 starters when the serious stuff got underway on Saturday afternoon.

Race 1

1. Dennie Rumble, 2. Aaron McClintock, 3. Rodney Brincat.

Race 1 on Saturday afternoon was a 15 lap race run in clear and sunny conditions, and at the front Rumble led McClintock, with Muddle and Brincat struggling for 3rd all the way to turn 4 before the deal was settled in Brincat’s favour. Muddle was struggling in the cockpit with a displaced dash, and in pressing it back into place managed to flick off the ignition and coast to a halt (the car clearly got the irrits with the driver for this, because it didn’t want to start again all weekend!). Behind the leaders Holmes was making his way through the field, but on lap 2 attempted what could be best described as an ‘ambitious’ move on Glenn Lynch, leaving the two cars in Team Holmes colours in the kitty litter, resulting in a safety car being deployed for 4 laps.

On the restart, Rumble and McClintock took off and opened a big gap on the field. The two drivers put on an epic battle, with McClintock challenging on several occasions and having his nose in front as they crossed the stripe on lap 12 only for Rumble to regain the spot under brakes into turn 2. Despite being the quicker car, with a sizzling 57.96 lap, McClintock couldn’t manage to get past, and Rumble took the victory.

While Brincat had a lonely race in 3rd there was plenty of action behind him. Wlodek held 4th for a substantial part of the race until he retired with fuel issues. This elevated the other F307 of Ron Coath, who having lost a spot to Ron Bennet early in proceedings battled hard to get the spot back mid race and opened up a comfortable gap. Behind them, Rod Anderson held onto 6th ahead of a group of cars that included Rob Sviderskas  (Dallara Opel Spiess F301), Kevin Lewis and Glenn Lynch – several laps down but still keen to enjoy a good dice nonetheless. Lynch worked hard to get ahead of Lewis and then had several attempts at Sviderskas, but all to no avail.

Anderson was given a couple of laps reprieve while all this was going on behind, but in the closing laps he was increasingly under pressure from Sviderskas and another lap might have seen a change of position. Denis Lesslie (Ralt RT34 Honda) finished behind them a lap down, with Lynch in 10th the last of the classified finishers.

Race 2

1. Dennie Rumble, 2. Rodney Brincat, 3. Aaron McClintock.

On Sunday conditions were again perfect for the morning’s 12 lap race. Unfortunately McClintock did not get away cleanly from the line, and as a result there was a shake-up in the order. Brincat was able to slot into 2nd and Coath 3rd, with Rod Anderson and Rob Sviderskas moving up the order, but with Ron Bennet missing out and dropping several spots. Holmes was on the charge again, moving to 6th on the opening lap and making up a further position on lap 2; and McClintock was following him through the field to be 6th by lap 2 directly behind Holmes.

The 3rd lap saw Coath pressing hard to challenge Brincat, perhaps too hard, because he looped the car at the ‘Fishhook’ and, unable to get the car re-started, the safety car was deployed. The safety car, being deployed mid-field caused some confusion amongst the drivers and it took several laps to rectify the situation. As a result at the re-start there was a large gap between some of the cars, robbing spectators of the chance to see Holmes (now 3rd) and McClintock (now 5th) challenge the lead cars. It didn’t trouble Rumble, and at the re-start he moved clear to comfortably complete his second win of the weekend. Brincat was never seriously challenged for 2nd, although McClintock managed to close within a few seconds, recording the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Holmes brought his car home in 4th, ahead of fellow rear-of-grid starter Wlodek, who was still struggling with heat stress from the previous evening (see Short Bursts below). Anderson, Lynch and Bennet were in close pursuit, but it was Bennet who got the better of the other two on the penultimate lap. Sviderskas followed in 9th and Lewis, struggling with an electrical miss rounded out the top 10. Denis Lesslie was the only other finisher after Muddle’s car failed to start in the dummy grid.

Race 3

1. Graeme Holmes, 2. Dennie Rumble, 3. Andrew Wlodek.

The 15 lap Trophy Race saw pole-sitter Rumble start favourite due to his two earlier victories, but McClintock’s race pace and Holmes’ record meant their chances could not be discounted. Of the cars on the front two rows Brincat might have been the outsider, but in the end he was the one who got the jump and led through the first lap – at least until turn 10 where he looped it in front of Rumble and brought both cars to a halt – undamaged but stopped in the middle of the track.

Add to this McClintock running off the road out of the Fishhook and it was Holmes who was left in front of the field as the safety car was deployed for the third time on the weekend (unfortunately that’s a FRCA record). As the cars circulated the order was Holmes, Wlodek, Lynch, having jumped 4 spots on the opening lap, Bennet and Sviderskas, with the two quickest cars of McClintock and Rumble in 9th and 11th respectively, and the early race leader Brincat out of contention having lost several laps in the proceedings.

At the restart the main interest was in the progress of McClintock and Rumble through the field: by lap 5 they were in 8th and 9th respectively, battling to get past Coath; on lap 7 they passed Coath and Rumble moved ahead of McClintock; on lap 8 Rumble was up to 5th but McClintock was back in 8th again behind Coath.

Holmes and Wlodek were opening up a gap, but Lynch was doing a good job hanging onto 3rd, with Bennet and Sviderskas close behind. Rumble passed Sviderskas on lap 8 to move into 5th, then passed Bennet on lap 9 to move into 4th, and passed Lynch on lap 11 to move into 3rd. At this stage the gap to Holmes was about 8 seconds, and on lap 12 Rumble set the fastest time of the weekend and that reduced it by half.

However between the two of them was Wlodek, and he wasn’t going to give up second lightly, making Rumble work hard for the spot. Another quick lap from Rumble on lap 15 closed the gap to Holmes considerably, but the veteran held on for what on Saturday, with a DNQ and a DNF, seemed like an unlikely conclusion to the weekend. Wlodek finished in a well-deserved 3rd, ahead of the fast closing McClintock ,and Lynch once again did an impressive job in an older car leading Class B in 5th outright. Bennet finished ahead of Coath with Anderson following closely behind. Sviderskas once again had little to show for his strong early lap efforts, eventually finishing in 9th, ahead of Lesslie in 10th. Lewis retired early with a recurrence of the electrical problems, Brincat completed only 8 laps and Muddle’s car once again failed to fire on all cylinders.

The points table can be found here.

Short Circuit

Too Hot to Handle!

Saturday evening saw FRCA competitors dining at the Hibernian, home of The Hibo Hero Hot Burger Challenge. Enter the intrepid Andrew Wlodek, eager to take on the challenge, equipped with the standard precautions issued by the Hibernian (latex gloves and a tall glass of milk) but without the aid of a FIA approved on-board extinguisher.  Technically Andrew did win the challenge, outside medical assistance only being required after he had left the hotel, but most spectators awarded a points decision to the burger.

Circuit Breaker!

A red flag in Qualifying and safety cars in all three races – for those of us who have raced Formula Ford is a case of ‘Been there, done that’ and as much as a mid-race break to get your breath back can be rather helpful it would be good if we can improve on this next round.  Holmesy was involved in two of those incidents, and he was definitely not impressed. You can
check out the video at:

(Go straight to the 4 minute 30 second mark).
And we offer this picture for anyone who has an entry in our caption competition:



2016: Round 5 Report – Sydney Motorsport Park

Race Report 2016 NSW Motor Race Championship
Round 5, Sydney Motorsport Park
17 & 18 September, 2016

The final round of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championships for Formula Race Cars saw Graeme Holmes give a masterclass in how to drive a F3 in the rain. With the GKH Powdercoating Dallara F304 Opel Spiess untouchable in the wet condition he put 3 race wins on the board to finish the season in style and clinch 3rd place in the Outright Championship in the process.


Thirteen cars lined up on Saturday morning after Peter Warren’s beautiful March 82A BDA withdrew, having been rammed by a Radical on Saturday. 2016 Champion elect Nathan Gotch was an absentee and that opened-up the contest considerably, however it soon became apparent that pole would be a contest between Holmes and Rodney Brincat in the Glass Benders Dallara F304 Opel Spiess.

Holmes had the early running, and both cars steadily improved their times throughout the session until Brincat posted a 1:31.45 on his second last lap, a time that Holmes was unable to better, although the margin was only a tenth of a second. Behind these two, Andrew Wlodek (Dallara F307 Honda) got the better of Ron Coath (Dallara F307 Mercedes) in the battle for Class D honours, with Coath in turn holding off Ron Bennett in the ARB Bundaberg Dallara F301 Spiess by a very thin margin. The “Two Ronnies” put on an epic battle last time out at SMSP and it looked set to continue. Completing the 3rd row was Kevin Lewis in the ‘FOR SALE’ Dallara F395 Toyota. Given that he was just going to run in the motor this was a fairly pleasing effort and the car looked promisingly quick.

Lawrence Katsidis qualified the SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH F304 Renault in a ‘safe seventh’ focussing his weekend on the points finishes required to clinch the All Classes championship. He was joined on the 4th row by a surprised Ross McAlpine in the Power Plus Fuels Dallara F397 Toyota – surprised because he fully expected to be a DNQ as a late arrival, only to find as he drove into the pit area that our session had been delayed and the rest of the cars were still sitting in the dummy grid. After a quick ‘Clark Kent’ into his driving suit, he was strapped in and drove out for 4 laps, and did enough to advance 3 rows on where he had expected start the race, and lead Class B into the bargain.

Behind McAlpine was Rod Anderson (Reynard 893 VW), who was slightly off his normal pace but quick enough to qualify ahead of John English (Van Diemen FR97 FF2000) in the first of the Class A cars.  Both the cars on the 6th row were struggling for pace, with Dave Morrow (Richards 201 VW AF2) edging out Phil Morrow in the Reynard 923 VW, who was hopeful the oil leaks that had plagued him in the previous round had been fixed, but Katrina had plenty of degreaser on hand just in case… and just as well. Rounding out the field for the weekend was Rob Sviderskas, who spent the session trying (in vain) to get his Dallara F304 Spiess to fire, and subsequently was forced to start from the rear of the grid. 

Race 1

Race 1 on Saturday afternoon was run in clear sunny conditions and produced some excellent close racing. At the start Brincat had the better of Holmes off the line, but Bennet had the best of the start and made a strong surge around the outside as they headed through Turn 1, bettering both Coath and Wlodek. Katsidis was slow away from the line but made up spots in the Turn 2 scuffle, only to lose 6th place to Lewis with a ‘moment’ at Turn 5.

As the started lap 2 it was Brincat leading with Holmes right up his exhaust, opening a gap to Coath, who had taken the spot from Bennet, who was pre-occupied with both Wlodek and Lewis up his pipes. Katsidis led Anderson, McAlpine and English to complete the top 10. Sviderskas was pressing hard and made it to 9th before retiring with what seemed like ‘death rattles’ in the motor but was later found to be a rather less costly exhaust issue. Holmes continued to hound Brincat and on lap 3 he managed to throw it down the inside at turn 2 as most people, including Brincat, expected – Holmes’ braking at that corner being both late and legendary.

Brincat was not easily shaken however, and remained within striking distance for the remainder of the race. He quickly enough to set the fastest lap, and almost profited from a small mistake and lapped traffic to close within a car length on the last lap, but Holmes had enough in store to take the chequered flag. Coath lapped consistently in 3rd building up a gap on the three cars behind who were locked in an epic battle before coasting through the last couple of laps. Behind Bennet and Wlodek, Lewis was fighting hard to stay with the later model cars, and doing a good job of pestering them until he threw it into the gravel at turn 2 on lap 8.

Lap after lap Bennet had his mirrors full of Wlodek, and when he wasn’t in the mirrors it was because he was alongside. On lap 6 the two cars were side by side through Turn 1 with Bennet holding the inside, and when they re-appeared in view through Turn 3 they were still side-by-side, a station they held all the way until they disappeared from view in the run up to Turn 6. Bennet held Wlodek for another 2 laps, but on lap 9 Wlodek again attempted a passing move at Turn 1 – this time on the inside.

Once again the cars were still side by side all the way to turn 4, and Bennet looked to have again held off the challenge until he ran wide at Turn 9, conceding the position to Wlodek. While Wlodek pushed hard chasing Coath he had to settle for 4th, some distance ahead of Rod Anderson, who had spent a good deal of the race chasing down Katsidis in a battle for 7th and making spots late in the race with Lewis’ spin and Bennet also throwing it around at Turn 6 on the last lap, eventually recovering to finish 7th ahead of McAlpine English and Dave Morrow rounding out the top 10. Phil Morrow brought the Reynard home to finish but it wasn’t operating at its optimum.

Race 2

On Sunday morning the rain settled in quite decidedly, and the drivers prepared themselves for wet conditions. The field was reduced to 11 cars with Sviderskas’ car not repairable and Dave Morrow not having wets available. With all the ‘pit pundits’ in a upbeat mood (and why not? We didn’t have to go out in those conditions!!) the talk was the chance of an upset – the less power the better in these conditions and the two Reynards of Anderson and Morrow were highly fancied, along with the FF2000 of English on what looked like the newest and softest rubber in the field.

At the start Wlodek got a great jump from the second row as Brincat and Holmes struggled to get away. He led the field through the first turn with Holmes chasing and a magnificent start by Phil Morrow saw him surging around a large number of cars on the outside. As they came back into sight at turn 3 it was Holmes, Bennet, Wlodek, and Morrow, up from 11th. Morrow rounded up Wlodek through turn 4 and would have quickly accounted for Bennet if he hadn’t thrown it away at turn 9, sending him all the way back to the rear of the field again.

Over the line at the end of the first lap it was Holmes, already with a commanding lead, ahead of Bennet, Brincat and Wlodek, and then the not-at-all surprising pair of English and Anderson giving a good account of themselves in the wet. McAlpine led Coath, Katsidis and the recovering Morrow and Lewis pitted the F395 Dallara having decided his old tyres were not going to provide enough grip to keep it pointing in the right direction. With Holmes surging into the distance all the interest was in the minor places. Brincat followed Bennet around for a couple of laps before making his move, and after finding clear air he steadily opened a gap as he got familiar with how the F304 worked in the wet.

Behind Bennet, Anderson managed to move up into 4th and looked quick enough to challenge Bennet only to have a lose at the right-hander at the top of the circuit on. By this time Morrow was on a charge again, despite some hairy moments off the track at Turn 1, and was entertaining the crowd with a superb drive. Having moved back into 6th with a bold Turn 1 pass on Wlodek on lap 5 he chased down English on the following lap to claim 4th the final car on the lead lap at the end of the race. English finished 5th ahead of Wlodek, who was clearly finding the F307 a bit of a handful in the wet, ahead of McAlpine and Coath.

Katsidis was fighting the urge to go faster in the knowledge that he needed a mistake free outing to bank precious championship points, and drove into the pits with a finish that saw him just one point short of the championship. So he’d have to do it all over again later in the afternoon… 

Race 3

Rain again, and in fact more of it. By the end there were streams across the track so it clearly wasn’t great weather for racing and only half the field managed to get to the finish. Off the start Wlodek again got away well, as did Ron Bennet, and had brief claims to second place before Holmes got going, but it was Phil Morrow who once again looked quick and jumped to the lead. Brincat bogged down on the line and fell to the back, with all cars passing him except McAlpine who also failed to get away with the car suffering electrical problems.

In normal circumstances McAlpine’s effort in rolling the car to the safety of the tyre barriers at the turn 1 run-off would have been laudable, however in these conditions it might have been a favour to everyone had he parked the car on the start finish line and brought out the safety car. At the front it briefly looked like we might have a race, with Morrow looking very quick, albeit behind Holmes at the end of the first lap, but unfortunately the Reynard aqua-planed off the circuit in the run-up to Turn 6, knocking the nose off the car and ending a season that was beset with problems, but sprinkled with glimpses of what Phil can do.

With Morrow off, Holmes was left to an easy victory, completing a clean sweep for the weekend. Coath parked his car at the end of lap 1 with nothing to be gained in the conditions, and Anderson did likewise at the end of lap 3, having had a large lose in the same vicinity as Morrow’s car. Brincat made his way steadily through the field, eventually passing Bennet to move into 2nd on lap 5. The other mover was English, who was doing a splendid job in the less powerful Van Diemen and had passed Wlodek before moving into 3rd place when Bennet spun on the last lap. Completing the finishers in a slow and lonely run was Lawrence Katsidis, who did everything that he needed to do to secure the All Classes Championship for 2016. Congratulations Lawrence!

Outright points:

Graeme Holmes 60
Rodney Brincat 48
Andrew Wlodek 36
Lawrence Katsidis 26
Ron Coath 22

Class Based points:

Graeme Holmes 60
Rodney Brincat 48
Andrew Wlodek 41
Lawrence Katsidis 40
Ron Bennet 26

Outright Championship for the year:

Nathan Gotch 220 (champion)
Andrew Wlodek 178
Graeme Holmes 138
Lawrence Katsidis 129
Rodney Brincat 102
Ron Bennet 94
Greg Muddle 92
Ron Coath 85
Glenn Lynch 67
Ross McAlpine 66

Class Championship for the year:

Lawrence Katsidis 185 (champion)
Nathan Gotch 171
Andrew Wlodek 166
Graeme Holmes 160
Ross McAlpine 131
Ron Bennet 130
Al Palmer 127
Greg Muddle 118
Glenn Lynch 116
Rodney Brincat 112
Ross McAlpine 109

Class D Winner: Nathan Gotch;

Class C Winner: Lawrence Katsidis

Class B Winner: Ross McAlpine

For the full tables see the website: www.frca.org.au


Short Circuit

With 5 kills required to be an ‘Ace’ there must be a few new names going up on the Radical Roll of Honour this year. FRCA will be working closely in the off season with Ron Bennet to test the ARB Bundaberg prototype F3 bull bar kit to put us on a more level playing field, but until we can roll that out the best way to avoid Radicals is to make sure we put MORE CARS ON THE GRID each race meeting so that we don’t get lumped in with them in the future.

That might require some people to show a bit more commitment, like not going skiing in the middle of motor race season if you can’t manage to do it without breaking a leg. Lynchy was there on Sunday to drum up some sympathy but after his brilliant wet quali on slicks at Goulburn it would have been better to see him on the right side of the pit wall.

We need also need him back next year as our sole remaining active ’97 Dallara (plural, if he’d put Chris back in the other one) since the McAlpine car was sold not long after its Class B winning performance. Unfortunately it was sold interstate – unlike most recent departures its heading south rather than north but we’re unlikely to see it in our ranks any time soon.

We are however expecting to see at least one new car next year, with a certain successful driver likely to appear in a Dallara F3 two-seater. The ‘Driving Miss Daisy F3 Champion Experience’ will be taking passengers on ‘hot’ laps laps at each of our rounds next year with a faithful replication of the 2:56.000 lap that sealed the deal. Just jealous, well done mate!

2016: Round 4 Report – Wakefield Park

Race Report 2016 NSW Motor Race Championship
Round 4, Wakefield Park
27 & 28 August 2016

Wakefield Park The fourth round of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championships for Formula Race Cars saw the cars back at Wakefield Park, where Nathan Gotch wrapped up this year’s championship and won the prestigious City of Goulburn Cup in the process.

The Cup, inaugurated by F3 Management in 2015 when it was fought out in an intense battle between Ricky Capo and Jon Collins, was run in 2016 under the FRCA banner as Wakefield Park was not on the National Series calendar. Despite the small field – the result of a large number of regulars nursing broken cars, broken bodies, or both! – the racing was as exciting as always and Goulburn turned on its winter best to spice things up on the Saturday. Tim Berryman in the Dallara F308 Qualifying Saturday morning’s weather cycled repeatedly through the two available options: ‘cold’; or ‘cold and wet’.

An early morning free practice session in the ‘cold and wet’ part of the cycle saw Tim Berryman (Ellery Motorsport Dallara F308 Mercedes) post the best time. The F308 was competing as an invited car for the Cup, but ineligible for championship points. Championship leader Nathan Gotch (AGI Sport Dallara F307 Renault) managed to park the car in the kitty litter before posting a competitive time, and that opened the opportunity for Phil Morrow (Reynard 923 VW) to show his credentials as best-of-the-rest in the rain and post the 2nd fastest time of the morning. When qualifying came around later in the day the weather looked to be clearing, before producing another shower as the cars sat up in the dummy grid.

The two professional teams were always going to be well placed to make a last minute change but the rest of the field needed to make a call. So at the start of the session it was 50/50: Berryman, Gotch, Morrow, Shane Wilson (Wiltec Industries Dallara F304 Opel) and Rodney Baker, on debut in a Ralt RT30 VW AF2 car, all on the ‘option’ (i.e. wets); and the rest of the field on the ‘prime’, or in some cases on the ‘no option’ (i.e. slicks) as the cars sat on the dummy grid.

As it turned out the session ended up having three red flags, so several competitors were able to arrange a mid-session change of tyres, but it was a session where almost everyone had an off, somewhere, with Lawrence Katsidis (Sydney Photo Booths Dallara F304 Renault) opening the proceedings on slicks spinning out of the fish hook and partly contributing to the first red flag; Berryman looping it an the top of the hill, ultimately bump-starting it in reverse but not before the second red flag; and Phil Morrow looping it at the final turn and parking it oh-so-close to the Berryman (again!) who had done the same thing moments earlier. At the end of a very entertaining session (if you were on the other side of the pit wall), Berryman had done enough between spins to edge out Gotch to claim pole by a tenth of a second. There was a fair gap to the rest of the field, with Wilson claiming third marginally ahead of Morrow. There was another sizeable gap back to Glenn Lynch (Eagle transport Dallara F397 Fiat), who had incredibly done the whole session on slicks, ahead of Baker, the under-powered Ralt seemingly more driveable in the wet than many of the F3’s. He may even have achieved 5th if the gaps between red flags had been a bit kinder. Katsidis, Ross McAlpine (Dallara F397 Toyota) and Ron Coath (Dallara F307 Mercedes) all changed to wets to at least post some sort of time and Andrew Wlodek (Dallara F307 Honda) battled through the session on slicks to round out the field.

Race 1

Although the rain had stopped the circuit was cold and slow to dry and this was reflected in the lap times, nobody finding any confidence-inspiring grip and only Gotch’s lap times breaking the minute. But although Gotch had the pace it was Berryman who had the better of the race, jumping to the lead and taking advantage of a poor-starting Gotch, with Wilson, Morrow and Lynch all passing him as the cars left the line. Baker held 6th briefly before McAlpine and Katsidis both fired down the inside into turn 2. By the end of the first lap Gotch had made his way back to 3rd behind Wilson, with Morrow, taking the strategic approach and starting on wets, being shuffled back behind Katsidis and Wlodek.

By this time both McAlpine and Coath had spun, and the safety car was deployed. When things got underway again it was Berryman getting a jump on the field while Gotch took a lap to pass Wilson, and although Gotch closed the margin to under half a second in the closing stages Berryman looked in control for the win. Wilson led the rest of the pack for a couple of laps, with Lynch, Katsidis and Wlodek in a tight battle behind him and Morrow, who had managed to make a couple of places on the quiet at the deployment of the safety car, falling away on his wet tyres. Wilson looped it entering the main straight on lap 7, and that allowed several cars to move ahead of him, the Lynch-Katsidis-Wlodek battle as well as Morrow and Baker in the Ralt moving up to 7th. The battle for 3rd was the most interesting action on the track but Lynch had that in control to the flag ahead of Katsidis and Wlodek, with Morrow and Baker in the distance, the last car on the lead lap as both Wilson and McAlpine( with a late race spin) dropped a lap. Coath restarted but with only 6 completed laps was not classified.

Race 2 – 2016 City of Goulburn Cup

Better conditions greeted competitors in the middle of the day on Sunday, but it was still miserably cold for our feature race, the City of Goulburn Cup, over 18 laps. Somewhat controversially Berryman arrived at the dummy grid sporting ‘new boots’ and the Cup looked to be destined to continue its short but colourful history of litigation. Thankfully things were sorted out on the track.

Berryman made another great start and Gotch, battling clutch problems, was again slow away from the line, dropping spots to Wlodek, Lynch and Katsidis. Wilson jumped up to 6th, ahead of Morrow, McAlpine and Baker, with Coath also having clutch problems again having difficulty getting away despite being penalised for jumping the start. Gotch needed to move early to have any hope of catching Berryman but was not having an easy time with the cars ahead, managing only to pick them off at a rate of one place per lap into the braking zone at turn 10. By the time he moved into 2nd place on lap 3 he was ten seconds behind Berryman and he set out determinedly to reduce the gap. Behind these two, Wlodek was busy defending his 3rd place, with Lynch, Katsidis and an increasingly frustrated Wilson all looking for a way around. Further back, Coath was the third quickest car on the track and quickly made up places passing Baker, McAlpine and Morrow, but possibly trying a bit too hard to make up lost ground managed to spin the car coming down the hill on lap 5, which brought out the safety car.

The restart saw Berryman and Gotch closed up in the contest for the lead, and allowed the four cars battling for 3rd a bit of a breather.  Baker was in 7th thanks to some problems with the Morrow car and a spin from McAlpine, and Coath was restarted but two laps down.  When the safety car pulled away there was still 10 laps to go, and Berryman had the advantage of a lapped car between himself and Gotch. He used this, and some great defensive lines to hold out Gotch for four laps, before Gotch managed to go past the long way around on the outside at Turn 10. Gotch then proceeded to peel off a couple of 56 second laps to open a comfortable lead, before managing the traffic over the last couple of laps to take the flag with a margin of around a second.

The battle for third was equally absorbing, with Wilson inspired to action at the restart and picking up a place a lap to move into third, posting some quick laps and opening up a sizeable gap. With the last lap board shown and Wilson being the last unlapped car he looked to have the minor place all but in the bag, but a momentary lapse of concentration at the ‘fish hook’ saw him turn the car around and, unable to get it moving again, gave up the place. This was all to the benefit of Wlodek, who had used every bit of that very wide Dallara (if you’ve ever been behind it you’ll know how wide it is!) to his advantage, driving a strong race to leave Lynch nowhere to go. Katsidis didn’t seem to have the same pace in the second half of the race, and despite hanging in there for a while trailed off behind Lynch in the closing stages. He was followed home in a respectable 7th by Baker who seemed to be coming to grips with the Ralt and put in some consistent laps despite a lack of company in the closing stages.

Morrow had to pit when he was ‘meat-balled’ for some oil over-flow, having struggled with oil pressure issues most of the weekend, a disappointing result after a promising qualifying. McAlpine finished behind Baker a lap down as a result of his spin, and Coath retired before the completion with a slipping clutch. 

Race 3

The final race of the day was a 10-lapper, and this time Berryman led start to finish. Gotch was again slow off the line giving up 4 seconds on the first lap. Despite posting the fastest lap of the race and closing to within half a second pressing for the win was secondary – the main assignment for Gotch was finishing, needing only a finish to secure the Championship with a round in hand – and so it was a very satisfied Gotch who crossed in second and sealing the Championship.

Wilson again spent several laps trying to work out a way around Lynch and Wlodek, but had made his way through by mid race and opened up a sizeable gap. Lynch completed another 10 laps stuck to the exhaust of Wlodek’s car, but still could find no way around it and had to settle for 5th. Katsidis had an uncharacteristically poor start and after that couldn’t find the pace he’d had earlier in the weekend, eventually finishing 6th. McAlpine and Baker both had lonely races but Baker finished the weekend by improving lap times considerably.  Coath again retired with clutch problems and Morrow decided to park the car while the engine was still in a state from which it could be rebuilt. 

Outright points:

Nathan Gotch 60
Andrew Wlodek 42
Glenn Lynch 42
Lawrence Katsidis 36
Rodney Baker 25

Class Based points:

Nathan Gotch 45
Glenn Lynch 45
Rodney Baker 45
Lawrence Katsidis 41
Andrew Wlodek 33

Outright Championship after 4 Rounds:

Nathan Gotch 220 (champion)
Andrew Wlodek 142
Lawrence Katsidis 103
Greg Muddle 92
Graeme Holmes 78
Ron bennet 73
Glenn Lynch 67

Class Championship after 4 Rounds:
Nathan Gotch 171
Lawrence Katsidis 145
Al Palmer 127
Andrew Wlodek 125
Greg Muddle 118
Glenn Lynch 116
Ross McAlpine 109
Ron Bennet 104
Graeme Holmes 100

Short Circuit:

 Plenty of interest in wings and slicks from some of the Formula Ford boys over the weekend, expect to see some new faces in 2017.  One ‘Forder’ who stepped up was Rod Baker, doing pretty well in the under-powered, under-cooled and wrongly-geared Ralt. One thing it wasn’t was underweight, Rod having taken the precaution of loading up 25 kilos of kitty litter on Friday (and then topping it up on Saturday for good measure). Good thing Team Muddle knows a thing or two about cleaning.

With the Outright championship wrapped up, interest moves to the minor places. Andrew Wlodek has a tight grip on 2nd, and Lawrence Katsidis looks fairly comfortable for 3rd, although 3 wins for Holmes might make it interesting (that’s possible) as would another car magically appearing in Muddle’s garage (that’s unlikely).

In the Class Championship Lawrence has a strong chance of overhauling Gotch for the championship, but Gotch looks likely to hold at least second (unless there’s an influx of late model cars Andrew Wlodek is probably limited to a further 45 points, leaving him agonizingly short). Should anything untoward happen to Andrew there are several drivers with a mathematical chance of snatching 3rd place from Wlodek or Al Palmer.

2016: Round 3 Report – Sydney Motorsport Park

Race Report

2016 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 3
28 & 39 May 2016
Sydney Motor Sport Park

The third round of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championships saw Formula Race Cars return to the traditional Brabham Circuit layout of Sydney Motorsport Park, and across an eventful weekend, where drivers had to overcome poor weather and misadventure, Nathan Gotch in the AGI Sport Dallara F307 extended his series lead with a convincing victory in the trophy race after starting at the rear of the grid. 


A field of 15 cars were entered for the weekend, which included the return of Glenn Lynch after missing round 2 and the first appearance for some time of Peter Lucas (Ralt RT4 Formula Atlantic) and Edward Gavin (Cheetah Mk.8 AF2) both giving their cars a shakedown for the June historic meeting. 

After months of unseasonably warm and sunny weather Saturday morning cold temperatures and ominous clouds, which produced drizzle on cue as the first cars rolled out for the opening practice session.  By the time Formula Race Cars took to the track it was full wet conditions.

Gotch had taken pole with clear margins in both previous rounds but on this occasion he was soundly beaten for the honour by Lucas, using the big rubber and softer chassis of the Ralt to good effect, with a massive 8 second gap and the only driver to break the 2-minute mark.  Gotch had to settle for 2nd ahead of Graeme Holmes (GKH Powdercoating Dallara F304 Opel Spiess) and noted rain master Ron Bennet (ARB Bundaberg Dallara F301 Opel Spiess). 

Rod Anderson (Reynard 893 VW) was the first of the Cup Class drivers, with Rob Sviderskas, another driver who usually performs well in wet conditions completing the third row.

The remaining qualifiers in order were Glenn Lynch (Dallara F398 ‘the Gold Car’), Rodney Brincat (Glass Benders Dallara F304 Renault), Ross McAlpine (Power Plus Fuels Dallara F397 Toyota), Andrew Wlodek (Dallara F307 Honda) on borrowed rubber and Ron Coath (Dallara F307 Mercedes).

Lap times reflected a very tentative approach to difficult conditions, with only 11 cars qualifying, Greg Muddle (Dallara F301 Opel Spiess) having an altercation with the inside wall out of turn 18, Al Palmer (TOMS Toyota) and Edward Gavin choosing to sit the session out (is it a black car thing?) and Lawrence Katsidis (SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH Dallara F304 Renault) not having brought any wets to the circuit.

Race 1

Although the rain had stopped the circuit was slow to dry and the ‘slicks or wets?’ decision was resolved for most only a matter of minutes before cars proceeded to the dummy grid.  In the end everyone apart from Sviderskas and Katsidis elected to use slicks, and as the minutes passed on the dummy grid, under sunny skies, waiting for the previous race to be cleared, the dry tyre option seemed to be the right choice.  The long wait also gave AGI the chance to address a very three-cylinder sounding Dallara before the cars rolled out. 

The warm-up lap proved to be the most eventful of the race, with both F301’s not making it to the grid, and while it looked dry the conditions remained slippery. Muddle’s car, repaired from its morning misadventure, suffering electrical problems; and Bennet lighting up the rear tyres on a slippery track and finding the wall on the run out of turn 15.  Cars were delayed on the grid and when they moved away for a further warm-up lap Sviderskas also parked his car with electrical problems.

Eventually the race started, and although most observers expected Lucas to use his big rubber to full advantage he managed to put too much power down and consequently both Gotch and Holmes were able to jump ahead off the line.  Wlodek made a blinder of a start from the 5th row and as the lap unfolded found himself in 4th, ahead of Brincat, Anderson and Katsidis surging through from the rear of the grid, the soft tyres proving helpful at this stage.

Brincat passed Wlodek for 4th on lap 2, and from there the top 6 settled for the remainder of what was a shortened race – only 4 laps in total with the time lost recovering Bennet’s car. Gotch opened up a gap on Holmes, and the gaps between the following cars also extended across race distance.  There was more interest in the back half of the field, with Katsidis on the back of Anderson in the early part of the race before starting to struggle with tyres, and Coath making steady progress through the field to pass Katsidis for 7th on the final lap.  Lynch soldiered on to 9th with a car that was running on less than 4 cylinders at low revs, ahead of McAlpine and a very cautious Al Palmer who hadn’t had the opportunity to scrub in tyres earlier in the day.  Edward Gavin retired from 10th position earlier in the race with gear selection issues.


Race 2

All 15 cars left the dummy grid for race 2 on Sunday morning, in perfect conditions and, almost surprisingly given the previous days effort, all 15 made it to the start, although Katsidis and Lynch both tried hard with spins on the warm up lap.  Repairs to Bennet’s car and a change of car for Lynch to ‘Old Faithful’ (or ‘the Yellow Car’) were the main overnight developments.

At lights out it was Holmes getting the jump on Gotch and leading into turn 2 where, unfortunately, all hell broke loose.  Lucas in the RT4 was caught out by how early the cold-tyred Formula 3 cars were on the brakes, and ran into the back of Gotch, who in turn clipped the back of Holmes’ car. The big lose in all of this was Brincat, who had nowhere to go and launched off the wheel of Gotch’s car into the kitty litter.


While Holmes and Lucas were able to run their damaged cars back to the pit Gotch’s car was immobilised by the contact and Brincat’s had sustained heavy damage bringing out the safety car.

When the smoke cleared (and that wasn’t until most of the rest of the field were well past turn 2), it was Rod Anderson leading the pack, ahead of Coath, Bennet Palmer and Wlodek.

Racing recommenced on lap 5, and with Anderson baulked by the safety car he conceded places to Coath and Bennet.  Wlodek quickly rounded up Palmer, and then moved into 3rd when Anderson spun out at Turn 16.  Behind Palmer it was McAlpine running strongly in 5th until he experienced drive issues and parked the car.

At the front of the field the two Ronnies were engaged in an intense battle with Bennet gaining the lead at the end of lap 5 only to concede it on the following lap.  Coath was able to hold him out for the victory in a race shortened to 7 laps by the safety car period, and Bennet maintained second ahead of Wlodek, who was the fastest car on the circuit by some margin, and may have challenged for the lead had the race been a lap longer.  As it turned out the three cars were covered by three-quarters of a second as they crossed the line.

Behind the front runners, Muddle battled hard to find a way past Sviderskas and was finally able to do this on the last lap, before chasing down Palmer to claim 4th place. Palmer was able to hold out Sviderskas, Lynch, and Gavin in the Cheetah, all in close quarters.  Katsidis had trouble coming to grips with tyres and rounded out the finishers in 9th place.

Race 3

A reduced field took to the track for what promised to be an interesting feature race, with the two quickest cars starting at the rear of the grid.  Brincat, Lucas and McAlpine were all missing with unrepairable issues from the morning’s race.

The front three cars goat away from the line well, but Muddle struggled and was locked in a battle for 4th in the run down to turn 2.  Palmer made contact with the rear of Muddle’s car turning him around and parking him the wrong way around in the middle of the corner, which created difficulties for the rest of the pack and a disadvantage for those who had to go the long way around, including Sviderskas, who got a little bit of contact for his troubles.

The big winner in all of this was Gotch, who found a clear way through the melee and was up to 3rd by the end of the first lap, making it an all-07 top 3 for the first time:  Coath, Wlodek and Gotch as they went past the start/finish line for the first time.  Bennet followed, then Palmer, who managed not to drop a spot from the turn 2 incident, Lynch, Holmes, Katsidis, Gavin and Anderson, who had dropped places on the first lap.

Gotch was comfortably in the lead by the end of lap 2 and working on opening up a big margin on the rest of the field and earning an ‘R’ next to his name in Natsoft (although my records indicate that he has done a quicker lap that that in the old ’04).

Behind Gotch however there was plenty of battling over places, with Holmes being the big mover through the field, passing Palmer and Bennet on lap 2 and then chasing down Coath on lap 7, before setting out after Wlodek.  Wlodek and Coath had been locked in their own battle for 2nd for the first 5 laps, but once ahead Wlodek had set a strong pace and had opened up a sufficient margin to hold out Holmes at the finish, although at 0.3 seconds it was probably a good thing the race didn’t go a lap longer.

Coath finished in a lonely 4th, but behind him Bennet had his hands full defending 5th from Lynch.  Both of them had been backed up behind Palmer for most of the race, who had defended 5th for the better part of 8 laps.  At the end there was only half a second between Bennet and Lynch, and the gap had been barely more than a second for most of the race.

Behind Palmer, Katsidis rounded continued his disappointing form for the weekend but collected valuable points, and Sviderskas was unable to recover positions after the first lap incident.  Gavin retired early in the race; Anderson also retired with some strange noises at the rear of the car;  and Muddle, having chased down Sviderskas by mid-distance, retired soon after with a very cranky sounding Dallara that was tired of being treated so poorly.

DSC_0078 (2)

So, in a weekend of upset results and DNF’s what happened with the points?

Outright points: 

Nathan Gotch  40;  Andrew Wlodek  40;  Ron Coath  39;  Graeme Holmes  30;  Ron Bennet  26.

Class Based points:

Glenn Lynch  41;  Al Palmer  41;  Graeme Holmes  40;  Lawrence Katsidis  40,  Ron Bennet  36.

In terms of the Championship, Gotch has effectively extended his (unbeatable?) lead with Muddle having a poor round, and Wlodek has jumped up into 2nd place:

Outright Championship after 3 Rounds:

Nathan Gotch  160;  Andrew Wlodek  100;  Greg Muddle  92;  Graeme Holmes  78;  Ron Bennet  73.

And Al Palmer has nudged ahead of former leader Muddle in the Class-based championship: 

Class Championship after 3 Rounds:

Al Palmer 127;  Nathan Gotch  126;  Greg Muddle  118;  Ron Bennet 104;  Lawrence Katsidis  104.

For the full tables click here: www.frca.org.au

Short Circuit:

On Sunday it was more a case of short outbursts, with the Race 2 mayhem leaving a few people out of sorts. Unfortunately most of the damage centred on Rod Brincat’s car, but it’s not in Rod’s nature to make a song and dance about things and he handled the disappointment in a way that’s a credit to him and a lesson to the rest of us.  Hopefully it’s not too lengthy a stint on the sidelines and the FRCA competitors can lend assistance where able….

As they demonstrated across the weekend, with spare starter motors, suspension bits, tools, know-how, and magic bending skills shared freely across (cramped) garages in the interest of getting cars back on the track (where they could sustain even more damage… (sorry, that’s not the attitude!). Thanks to all who help out so regularly.

Re the reference in the above to cramped garages, it (sort of) worked out in the end, but it will be A WHOLE LOT EASIER if all drivers could put their entry in AS SOON AS ENTRIES OPEN to make sure we get the number of garages we need. The current approach to finding you all a space requires a master’s degree in logistics (or magic) and will not work if we get a proper-sized field of cars, and especially at the September SMSP round garages spaces will be at a premium. 

Friday practice saw a new development in the professional side of FRCA: test drivers.
AGI Sport rested their contracted lead driver in favour of giving their designated test driver a seat (although they skimped on the actual ‘seat’, Nick having to modify his F4 seat mid-way through the day) and the boy ‘done good’ (despite occasionally buzzing the engine J). Rumour has it we’ll see Nick again in a F307 soon…..

It would be good to see other teams following the AGI example and giving some potential talent some seat time. Team Muddle is looking at options (if there’s anything left to break on the Dallara the Fabulous Baker Boy may as well break it, since the team principal has done enough damage already);  Team Eagle Transportation probably needs some re-education (Testing:  that’s a 2nd drivers in the car, not a 2nd car for the one driver) but it seems like Chris has been benched since he set better times than the lead driver at the Summer Shakedown; at Power Plus Fuels Team McAlpine they have the capacity to run a second car, and a lighter driver in the F398 might fix that ride-height issue they seemed to be having; and at SYDNEY PHOTO BOOTH, we know they’ve been advertising for an interstate driver (hence Rick’s relocation to Melbourne).

Next Round is at Wakefield Park in August, we promised some big news about this race meeting and hope to announce it soon. Stay Tuned.

2016: Round 2 Report – Sydney Motorsport Park

Race Report
2016 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 2
9 & 10 April, 2016 Wakefield Park


The second round of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championships saw Formula Race Cars competing at Sydney Motorsport Park on the Gardner Circuit, and for the second successive round Nathan Gotch proved unbeatable in the AGI Sport Dallara F307 – taking pole position, scoring three race wins and setting a lap record – and in the process establishing a commanding lead in this year’s championship. Qualifying A field of 15 cars were entered for the weekend, including Rodney Brincat having his first championship run in the Glass Benders Dallara F304 and the Mexican Troika of Graeme Holmes, John Boothman and Rod Anderson making their first trip north for the year. From the previous round we were missing Glenn Lynch – can we have a FRCA round without Lynchy? I’ll have to check the constitution, it’s a totally unprecedented situation and frankly it unsettled the meeting and we hope the situation is restored to normal soon. Also missing was Richard Scarcella, still to complete the repairs on his F307, as well as Nick Fillipetto’s F304 which has been sold and will be travelling north to Queensland, hopefully not to a sunny retirement.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.49.34 PM


Qualifying was dominated by Gotch, who set a time of 1:47.75. That wasn’t to be bettered all weekend and was and almost a full 5 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Clearly we all have to lift our game to keep Nathan in sight! Behind Gotch things were more competitive, with Aaron McClintock setting a very respectable time in the 1:52’s to take the front row spot in his Dallara F301 ahead of some later model cars. Holmes and Brincat filled the second row in their F304’s setting times in the 1: 53’s and shading Greg Muddle (Dallara F301) and Andrew Wlodek (Dallara F307) who both had times in the low 1:54’s and filled 5th and 6th respectively. The 4th row was occupied by Boothman and Ron Bennet in a pair of red Dallara F301’s, ahead of the first of the Cup Class cars of Ross McAlpine (Dallara F307) and the slightly hot-under-the-collar Reynard 923 of Phil Morrow who started the weekend chasing water problems but managed to qualify 10th. Rod Anderson (Reynard 893) and Rob Sviderskas (Dallara F304) qualified 11th and 12th respectively, Sviderskas having to make the most of some inadequate gear ratios. Al Palmer had some rear wheel issues that hindered his qualifying efforts in the TOMS Toyota F036, whilst Ron Coath continued to endure the difficult task of coming to terms with his Dallara F307: immediately post qualifying you could have picked up a F307 quite cheaply, Ron having again battled gremlins on Thursday and Friday that robbed him of valuable seat-time.

Whilst the rest of the field was on track qualifying the Sydney Photo Booth Dallara F304 of Lawrence Katsidis sat forlornly in the garage with its gearbox strewn all over the floor with Rick performing major surgery and Lawrence undertaking the Herculean task of ensuring Rick put all the pieces back in the right order without getting distracted.


Race 1

Hot and sunny conditions for the drivers in what would eventually be an 11-lapper (time certain races always leave us guessing) for a full field of 15 cars. McClintock had the jump off the start and managed to hold that lead all the way to turn 2 when Gotch restored order. Wlodek briefly pushed his way into third ahead of Holmes with Muddle (bad start) Brincat (worse start) and Anderson (sideways!) being the big losers off the line. Boothman made the most of this to briefly claim 5th, whilst Sviderskas moved from 13th to 9th, a position he’d hold throughout the race. Once the early jostling was out of the way the order was Gotch, McClintock, Holmes, Wlodek, Muddle, Boothman, Brincat, Bennet, Sviderskas and McAplie in tenth, leading the Cup Class. Lap 2 saw McClintock retire with a loss of power, which proved to be a blown head gasket and would sideline the car for the rest of the meeting. The following cars all moved up a position but while Gotch and Holmes started to open up margins that would grow over the length of the race there was a good battle between Wlodek and Muddle for 3rd and Brincat putting pressure on Boothman for 5th.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.50.49 PM

Muddle had several attempts to pass Wlodek and eventually was successful into turn 4 on lap 4. By that stage Brincat had passed Boothman and had latched onto the back of Wlodek and was also able to make his way through later on the same lap. With Wlodek’s car cleared he set about chasing down Muddle, and was able to move into 3rd place with a tow down the straight on lap 8. Wlodek and Boothman meanwhile had maintained good pace, and the gap to Muddle closed over the remaining laps such that there was very little between all three cars as they crossed the finish line. Rod Anderson followed in 10th, the first of the Cup Class cars, having a busy race after his poor start dropped him to the rear of the field.

McAlpine had led the Cup Class in the early stages before being passed by Palmer and Morrow on lap 2, and then having a moment on lap 4 to put him out of contention. Anderson meanwhile plugged away with consistently quick times that enabled him to catch and pass Morrow on lap 7, and then chase down Palmer on the last lap to claim the honours. Morrow crossed the line in 12th behind Palmer nursing the overheating car home, and McAlpine followed with his car sounding like farm machinery. Coath completed the finishers, but with a significant improvement in lap times and a far happier driver than we’d seen earlier in the day.


Race 2

Sunday morning brought warm and sunny conditions again, and 14 cars lined with McClintock the only car missing from the field. Holmes got the initial drop on Gotch – that didn’t stop the officials giving Gotch a false start penalty of 5 seconds – but the order was soon restored and Gotch again drove away from the rest of the field, albeit in marginally slower that the day before. Wlodek made a good start from 5th to move into 3rd, ahead of Brincat, Katsidis, Bennet, Boothman and Sviderskas, with Muddle dropping from 4th to 9th with another poor start, and Coath making a promising jump to 10th.

With the front two cars again clearing out, the early interest centred on Brincat trying to find a way around Wlodek for 3rd place, and Muddle trying to work his way back through the field. Brincat eventually made his way through with a tow down the main straight on lap 4, and although by that stage the gap to Holmes was too big to bridge he did manage to pump out faster lap times in the closing stages. Muddle had managed to pass Sviderskas on the opening lap, and was up to 6th at the end of lap 2, but then had to work his way past Katsidis and Wlodek to get back to the position he started from. By the time he was there he needed a telescope to see Brincat at the other end of the main straight. The cars behind Muddle were in close proximity – Wlodek, Katsidis, Bennet – and Bennet was able to make the best of Muddle moving through the field, passing Katsidis and Wlodek on the following lap in each case. Only a brief excursion to the grass exiting the new section of the track stopped him putting more pressure on Muddle in the closing stages of the race.

Wlodek kept pressure on Bennet to the end ahead of Katsidis, Boothman and Sviderskas, with gaps between each of these cars opening consistently over the closing stages of the race, and Sviderskas in 9th being the last of the cars to complete the full number of laps. Coath followed in 10th – or in 1st as by some strange reckoning he was the first car to be shown the chequered flag, exploiting the tactical advantage of having a blue F307 (they all look the same) –having held position throughout the race and having dropped his lap times by some further margin. Clearly the light at the end of the tunnel was getting closer (and it no longer looked so much like a locomotive).

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.52.18 PM

Identical twins?

In the Cup class McAlpine had again made a promising start and again had a mid-race moment, the F397 not offering the arm-room, leg-room or aero that Ross has become accustomed to. Anderson had moved into the class lead on lap 3, ahead of Palmer, his car improving but still not handling to his liking and Morrow rounding out the field.


Race 3

The field was down to 11 cars for the Trophy Race, with McAlpine and Morrow both out with drive issues and Boothman jumping the start by so much that he was 100km down the Hume Highway by the time the cars rolled out (probably looking to get some secret test laps in at Wakefield Park while we were all otherwise ditracted). The race quickly settled into a familiar pattern – Gotch first daylight second; Holmes following; Wlodek getting out of the traps quickly (but not fast enough to jump Brincat this time); and the rest of the field engulfing a poor-starting Muddle.

By the end of the first lap the top 3 had settled with Brincat in 3rd and those three opend up consistent gaps for the remainder of the race, with only a brief moment for Brincat on the penultimate lap upsetting the pattern. Behind them, Wlodek led Bennet, Muddle and the fast-starting Coath ahead of Palmer, Katsidis and Sviderskas, with Anderson bringing up the rear. Muddle worked his way past bennet on lap 2 and then had a race-long struggle with Wlodek – which pretty much looked the same as the race-log struggles they had in the previous 4 races this season – with Wlodek able to hold out Muddle quite effectively to take 4th place. Bennet had good pace early in the race making this a three-way contest, but tailed off in the closing stages.

Coath had made a flying start off the line and was in 6th at one stage, but settled into a consistent run behind Bennet, but with sufficient pace to hold Katsidis behind him, the later having to spend the opening lap behind Palmer. Sviderskas also found himself back in the pack and under threat from Anderson who was able to take position on lap 2. The three cars – Palmer, Anderson and Sviderskas – provided the most interest in the race, never more than a second apart over the journey and only three tenths separating them as they crossed the line. The only car failing to finish was Katsidis, who managed to spin the Dallara coming out of the tight hairpin 2 laps from home and was beached on the ripple strip.


Outright points:
Nathan Gotch 60, Graeme Holmes 48, Rod Brincat 42, Greg Muddle 34, Andrew Wlodek 30.

Class Based points:
Graeme Holmes 60, Rod Brincat 48, Nathan Gotch 45, Al Palmer 43, Greg Muddle 42.

Outright Championship after 2 Rounds:
Nathan Gotch 120, Greg Muddle 80, Andrew Wlodek 60, Lawrence Katsidis 49
Graeme Holmes 48.

Class Championship after 2 Rounds:
Greg Muddle 102, Nathan Gotch 96, Al Plamer 86, Ron Bennet 68, Ross McAlpine 65.

Click here for points tables www.frca.org.au

2016: Round 1 Report – Wakefield Park

2016 NSW Motor Race Championship Round 1
5 & 6 March 2016
Wakefield Park


AGI Sport driver Nathan Gotch in his Dallara F307 Renault has won our opening round in hot conditions at Wakefield Park.  It was a dominant display: taking pole, all three race wins and setting a new championship lap record along the way with a hot lap of 56.33 seconds around the Goulburn circuit.  Whilst none of the other drivers could match his pace, there was certainly plenty of hard racing behind him, with second place decided by less than half a second in all three races and plenty of action throughout the field. 


Al checks his mirrors to see if Lynchy still has his race face on.


A field of 15 was boosted on Friday afternoon with news that reigning champion Nick Filipetto was making a late entry.  Unfortunately by the time cars rolled out for qualifying on Saturday morning we were down to 14 cars:  Nick’s effort being stymied by gearbox issues; and the eagerly awaited debut of Andrew Tendli in the ex- Andrew Wlodek Dallara F304 delayed due to other commitments.

Nevertheless there was plenty of interest in other ‘new’ entries – Ron Coath and Richie Scarcella both debuting F307 Dallaras, Rob Sviderskas having his first outing in the ex- Dennie Rumble F304, and Ron Bennet having his first drive in the ex- Garnet Patterson F301.  Add in Lawrence Katsidis, having his first championship race in his new F304 Dallara, after a successful debut at the Summer Shakedown a fortnight earlier, and you felt a little bit left out if you didn’t have a new car. 

Even something old was something new – Peter Warren’s March was the oldest car in the field, and he’s owned it for 35 years, but it was a welcome ‘new’ addition to the FRCA ranks. 

Once things were under way a sense of familiar replaced the new:  certainly there’s nothing new about AGI Sport heading the time sheet, and Nathan Gotch added to his long list of pole positions with a 57.19 second lap, almost as scorching as the track conditions.  Aaron McClintock, back in the Dallara F301 for the first time in nearly a year, had the front row wrapped up with an impressive 58.16 lap, until Greg Muddle bettered that with a 57.99 – in the 57’s by the barest of margins but a ‘57’ non the less – placing F301 Dallaras in 2nd and 3rd.  Lawrence Katsidis impressed by taking 4th position with a 59.05, ahead of Andrew Wlodek in the F307 Dallara also in the 59’s.

Ron Bennet qualified 6th with a 60.79 second lap, loving the new car and being the most impressive of the debutantes.  Ron edged out Glenn Lynch and Peter Warren, the later having a difficult session with a spin that briefly brought out the red flags and later some contact damage.  Still, the car looked and sounded great, and was quick enough to edge out Al Palmer in the TOMS Toyota and Ross McAlpine in his ‘spare car’, the F397, who completed the top 10.  Outside the top 10 Phil Morrow struggled with timing issues and was off his expected pace, while Ron Coath and Rob Sviderskas were both working times down consistently in their new cars.  Richie Scarcella failed to completed practice, the car coming to a halt with engine issues, which on closer inspection turned out to be a sheared flywheel bolt, which finished his weekend.


Race 1

Peter Warren withdrew when a cracked oil cooler was discovered in the dummy grid, and that left 13 cars to roll out for the 14-lap first race in 30+ temperatures on Saturday afternoon. 

When the lights went out Gotch led the field away, but on the other side of the grid Muddle stalled, causing some disruption to the cars behind.  Wlodek made the most of this and was able to jump into second, with McClintock, Katsidis, Bennet, Palmer and Lynch following in the race to the first corner.

Gotch quickly got down to 58 second laps and then into the 57’s, opening a gap on Wlodek and McClintock, who stayed engaged a close encounter for 8 laps, the two cars never more than a second apart until McClintock found a way through at Turn 10. 

Katsidis was desperately trying to hold onto this tussle, but by lap 5 had his mirrors full of Muddle, who had worked back through the field from 8th at the end of lap 1 to 5th on lap 3. Katsidis defended his position successfully, although Muddle was briefly through under brakes at the ‘Fish-hook’ on lap 7, but ran wide on the exit, returning the place.

A great dice was going on behind these cars with Bennet Palmer and Lynch separated by less than 2 seconds through to the 6th lap.  Lynch however was starting to experience brake issues, and on lap 7 he speared straight off at the end of the main straight, rears locked and fronts doing nothing, heading off towards the tyre barrier. Fortunately the gravel trap pulled him up a metre or so short.

Eventually this brought out the safety car and, not for the last time on the weekend, mayhem ensued.  There are three fundamental problems with safety cars:  deployment, restarts, and everything that happens in between. Other than that they might work well, but not this weekend.


Gringo and Ron searching for the ‘Go Faster’ button before Race 1.

Getting it out involves signalling to drivers that a safety car has been deployed, but unfortunately not all drivers saw the signal, Ron Bennet dropping from 6th to 8th on the road as a result.  Laps 9 to 12 were conducted under ‘safety car conditions’ which involved toddling around at what’s supposed to be 80 kmh but resembled Driving Miss Daisy through a School Zone.

Then when racing was re-started on lap 13 there was the problem of 4 cars all eager to contest 2nd place but stuck behind lapped traffic, and that lapped traffic. The lapped cars were quite quick in a straight line and involved in their own argument for place, which made for an interesting time:  McClintock struggled to find a way through to no avail; Katsidis lost a front wing plate in contact at Turn 1; at both Turn 2 and the ‘Fish-hook’ there were cars all over the place; and when an opportunity arose at Turn 10 McClintock got boxed out on the left and Wlodek, Katsidis and Muddle all made their way through.

In the battle behind, Morrow relinquished his place (to no avail, there is no recognition of ‘redressing’ and he still copped a 30 second penalty), while both Bennet and McAlpine bot managed to pass Palmer on the final lap.

Gotch was able to open a sizeable lead with the free-for-all going on behind, and he managed to win comfortably by 16 seconds from Wlodek.  Muddle made a deep dive in the Turn 10 braking area to steal 3rd from Katsidis, with McClintock, Bennet, McAlpine, close behind and Palmer and Morrow trailing. Coath had been slow away from the line but had caught Sviderskas by mid-race, only to lose 10th spot to him on the final lap.


Race 2

When the cars rolled out on Sunday morning it was “déjà vu all over again” – sunny and clear, hot track, Gotch eager to clear off and leave everyone else fighting over the minor placed.  12 cars rolled out for the 12 lap race, Peter Warren’s March unable to be repaired and Glenn Lynch running his ‘back-up car’ the newly painted gold Dallara F398.  McAlpine was a late arrival as he had to be tow-started due to a starter motor failure.

This time the front row got away cleanly, Gotch leading Wlodek into the first turn.  Muddle made much better start from third, followed by Bennet, who was the big mover jumping into 4th ahead of both McClintock and Katsidis who got a poor start.  Morrow also made a cracking start, but undid the good work with a spin at the end of the lap. Behind Katsidis at the end of lap 1 there was a gap opening up to Palmer, Sviderskas, McAlpine, Lynch and Coath, who again had difficulty getting away.

The race settled into a familiar pattern, with Gotch skipping away pumping out ever faster times, getting down to a new Formula Cars state record of 56.33 second by mid-race, before winding back in the final stages.

Behind him there was an huge struggle developing between Wlodek and Muddle, and they maintained a gap of less than half a second for the majority of the race – Wlodek opening a small gap on the uphill straight, Muddle closing it on the chase down, and all passing spots resolutely shut at Turn’s 2, 8 and 10 and the drag down the straight.  Wlodek’s efforts were nearly rewarded, but on the final lap his car was baulked by a back-marker and got loose on the exit which allowed Muddle to get through on the last turn and claim second.

McClintock had lost ground and position early in the race, and although in the closing stages he was dragging in Muddle and Wlodek at a rapid rate he ran out of laps and had to settle for 4th.

Katsidis, Bennet and Palmer had fairly lonely races in 5th to 7th respectively.  Behind them, McAlpine and Lynch had capitalised on a Sviderskas error on lap 4.  McAlpine held 8th place, but Lynch again suffered brake issues (despite the change of car) and trailed away in the later stages of the race.  Sviderskas was able to recover 9th, ahead of Morrow, who recovered from his earlier excursion to post some good lap times and finish 10th, ahead of Coath and Lynch.


Out on his own – Nathan Gotch on his way to victory in Race 1 on Saturday

Race 3

The same 12 cars lined up for the 16 lap Trophy Race (Lynchy not having a 3rd car to change into!) and once again the race was conducted in sunny conditions on a hot but clean track.

Gotch again got the start, but it was closely held lead from Muddle, with Wlodek thinking about an inside move for second on the run into Turn 2 but not being able to make it stick.  Bennet again made the most of the start jumping from 6th to 5th.  Behind him on the grid, Palmer dropped 4 places to 11th, but aside from that everyone held station on the first lap.

With Gotch setting the pace Muddle was able to open a bit of a gap on Wlodek and McClintock in the first couple of laps, but once the pattern of the race settled they slowly started to reel him in.  Behind the lead cars, Bennet undid his good work with an ‘off’ at the top of the circuit on lap 2 that dropped him from 5th to 10th, before having a further moment a couple of laps later that put him to the rear of the field.  This lifted Katsidis to 5th followed by McAlpine, Sviderskas and Morrow, with Morrow making up a further place on lap 6.  Lynch followed, being slowly reeled in by Palmer, who was up to 9th by lap 7, and gained a further place by passing Sviderskas on lap 8.

Further up the road, Wlodek and McClintock had caught on Muddle; the gap was never much more than a second and a half but had closed to nothing by lap 5, Wlodek doing a good job of chasing considering he was busy defending McClintock off at the same time.  Wlodek’s best opportunity was a good run through Turn 2 to use his advantage up the hill, but in the effort to achieve this he locked a brake and spun the car on the way into that corner on lap 9.  He resumed racing, but must have broken something in the process because the car subsequently spun at turn 5, beaching itself on the inside ripple strip and giving us another opportunity to get the safety car right. 

Unfortunately nobody made the most of the opportunity:  McClintock missed the signal and took the opportunity to pass Muddle for 2nd, which would subsequently cost him a 30 second penalty;  and the safety car initially deployed behind our race leader Gotch, necessitating some hasty re-organisation before the restart.  To this, we had the added benefit of an intense struggle for 5th to 9th queued up in front the battle for 2nd and 3rd, so when the lights went out and the safety car went off it was action stations for the following two laps. 

With Gotch again cruising to victory, Muddle passed McClintock in traffic at Turn 10 on the penultimate lap, but both drivers were still left with the McAlpine-Bennet-Palmer battle for 5th to negotiate on the last lap.  This afforded an opportunity to watch Bennet attempt to undercut Palmer at Turn 9 (the right-hander onto the back straight), where unfortunately the ripple-strip is not very forgiving and launched Bennet sideways (with goo hang-time). Ron managed to regain control, of sorts, but not before Palmer had taken cross-country avoiding action.  Muddle was defensive into Turn 10, allowing McClintock a traditional line to cut-back for a drag to the line, and there wasn’t a bee’s appendage in it, although it was rather academic once the officials added 30 seconds to McClintock’s time.

Katsidis followed in to claim 3rd, any chance of challenging Muddle and McClintock in the closing stages lost to a gearbox that was stuck in the one gear. A lap down McAlpine finished 5th and the leading ‘Cup Class’ car, ahead of Sviderskas and Coath who were beneficiaries of the Bennet-Palmer fracas.  Lynch trailed in 10th, and Phil Morrow retired with not healthy noises coming from the engine after challenging McAlpine strongly for position in the middle of the race.


Outright points: 

Nathan Gotch  60,  Greg Muddle  46,  Lawrence  Katsidis  36,  Aaron McClintock  34,
Andrew Wlodek  30,  Ross McAlpine  23,  Ron Bennet  22,  Al Palmer  18, Rob Sviderskas   17, 
Ron Coath  11,  Phil Morrow  9,  Glenn Lynch  6


Class Based points:

Greg Muddle  60,  Nathan Gotch  51,  Ross McAlpine  47,  Lawrence Katsidis  46,  Al Palmer  43,  Aaron McClintock  44,  Ron Coath  35,  Ron Bennet  34,  Rob Sviderskas  32,  Glenn Lynch  30,  Andrew Wlodek  26,  Phil Morrow  22


Short Bursts

  • Is there any truth in the rumour that Lynchy only retired his yellow car to have a better shot at winning the ‘Best Presented’ award in his newly painted gold F398? Expect to see more interesting tactics appear as the battle for this prestigious award heats up.
  • Seems that the thing to acquire in the off-season was a guru. While the Team Coath has set a consistently high benchmark by employing the invaluable services of Gringo, and both AGI and Team McAlpine have very professional looking team mangers to keep their drivers in check, for this round no fewer than three other competitors turned up with their ‘National Series’ mentors in tow.: Rob Sviderskas was sporting assistance from Alpine Motor Sports, in anything but alpine conditions;  Ron Bennet had the Garnet Pattersons (Snr & Jnr) on hand; and Lawrence had Paul Scott in his corner. 
  • With all the data analysis going on – guru’s deep in though and more computers than you could poke a stick at – it was good to see that some old fashioned calculus, on the back of an envelope, with the assistance of beer, can still solve how the question of how many degrees advance is represented by one tooth on a flywheel. Too easy!  Knowing which way is forward and which is back however….
  • 0467 seconds – usually not a critical amount of time over 16 laps, but if you have a Dallara F301 you can make that up simply by moving your Dorian from the back of the sidepod to the front, as Greg and Aaron found when they crossed the line together. You never know when that might come in handy.





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