Sydney Motorsport Park recently hosted the final round of the 2016 Shannons Nationals, incorporating the Gold Start Australian Formula 3 championship. The event was well attended across all classes including the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, Australian Sports Racer Series, Australian Production Car Series, and the Australian Superkart Nationals. The drivers ran through practice, qualifying and a series of heat races across the 3 day event.
The Shannons Nationals, penned “Australia’s most prestigious racing championships and series” has long provided a great mix of a club-car atmosphere, combined with the professionalism of many of Australias most professionally run race teams. Having seen many of the races held over the previous rounds of this 7 race series, I knew that my trip out to the track was going to throw me with some sensational racing.
The Australian Production Car Series kicked the racing off on Sunday with their 4hr endurance race, eventually won by Bruce Lynton and Tim Lehay in their Lynton Prestige Automotive, BMW M1. A less-than-comfortable 10 second gap saw runners up Grant and Iain Sherrin come in second place in their Sherrin Hire BMW 135i.Next to hit the track were the Australia Sports Racers with the event taken out by Roger Ianson in his West WR1000 radical. Ianson was raced to the flag by second placed Mark Laucke.
The Kerrick Sports Sedans was a hotly contested event between series regular Tony Ricciardello, and V8 Supercars HRT Co-Driver Jack Perkins. Perkins eventually built a substantial gap after an initial challenge from Ricciardello, to take the chequered flag.
The Superkarts was another hotly contested race, with the pint sized racers competing over a 9 lap final. The race was eventually won by Russell Jamieson, just beating second place Ilya Harpas by less than 0.1 of a second.
The Formula 3 field saw stalwart Tim Macrow qualify on pole and take out Saturday’s races, whilst the McDonalds / Gilmour Racing team drivers, Jon Collins and Cameron Shields fought for the minor placings. A further win for Macrow in Sunday’s final event saw him secure the Australian F3 Drivers championship for a 3rd time. His result also saw a first championship title for the Alpine Motorsports operations, headed by ex-racer Dennie Rumble.
Runner up for the 2016 title was McDonalds / Gilmour Racing’s Chris Anthony, with R-Tek Motorsport driver Roland Legge finishing 3rd.
I always enjoy getting to see the varied classes and the teams and drives that compete as part of this series. From “up-and-commer” junior drivers, fresh out of karting, through to the stalwarts of Australian motor racing, the diversity across the event is great to witness.
We now look forward to the 2017 Series, kicking off in April and the new cars, teams and drivers that take on another season of great arcing!