On Sunday, Swifts Raceway held the final round of the Autumn Shoot Out Series. With over 60 drivers in attendance, the season finale was going to be an exciting one. Once again the Swifts team had gone to great lengths to providing a top quality event, drivers turned up to the track and pit area already prepared for racing. The track layout was fast and flowing with a lot of great areas for overtaking. The team had also managed to schedule in a structured practise making a perfect event to use as a practise before the Nationals. All the championship titles were still available going into the final round with the GT12 title the closest.
The LMP support class saw a new leader in qualifying. Rounds 2 and 3 winner Andy Murray set the early pace but it was GT12 National champion Adam Catchpole who had the final say to take TQ. The WGT class was also providing a good TQ battle with Jamie Paton holding on to it for the first 3 rounds before David Underwood stole the position with a flying final run. Formula 1 FTQ was once again controlled by Swifts Raceway team driver James Wright, he was closely followed by newcomer to the class Craig Mawson. The championship battle was really heating up with Matt Howard showing a strong pace for most of the rounds before Stephen Baggley pushed past him to 5th on the final run.
In GT12 Mark Jewitt and Andy Murray were giving it everything for this final battle. For the last few rounds it was Jewitt who was just able to keep ahead and take TQ. The pair were divided by literally nothing, only a 0.52 second difference over 6 minutes!! It was going to be another titanic final. Craig Mawson and Stephen Lander were also locked in a qualifying battle and finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
As expected the LMP final was a great battle to watch between Murray and Catchpole. Murray had the better start and got away with a 1 second lead. But Catchpole progressively hunted him down to lay on the pressure. On lap 14 Catchpole forced his way past, the pair continued to battle until a mistake on lap 20 left Murray with a 4 second lead. From there the 2 times race winner was able to control the race to the finish.
1st Andy Murray – 2nd Adam Catchpole – 3rd Kellyann Bligh
The WGT10 battle was even more exciting to watch with the lead changing hands 3 times. Underwood got a great start but Paton held tight to his rear bumper. On lap 4 he was able to sneak past the Swifts Raceway driver and become the hunted. Underwood counter attacked to get back the lead on lap 9. The pressure continued from there until it appeared to get to Paton as he took Underwood out. Waiting for him to return to the track the incident seemed to have a bigger affect on Underwood as the following lap he made just a small mistake to allow Paton back past. Paton held onto to the hold the lead all the way to the flag.
1st Jamie Paton – 2nd David Underwood – 3rd Bob Hill
In Formula 1 the fight for the win couldn’t have been any more action packed. After a good start for the front runners it was Wright who was leading ahead of a determined Mawson. On lap 5 Mawson pulled off a great pass in the infield to sneak pass. Wright challenged back trying to pressure Mawson into a mistake, but it was car setup that would let Mawson down. On lap 15 he hit grip roll allowing Wright to move into the lead and take the victory. Greener followed the pair with an impressive 3rd racing his new Exotek. In the championship battle Baggley had a magical start and moved into 4th while Howard got tangled up in the back of the pack. 8 laps into the final and Baggley got pressured in to a mistake which cost him a lot of places, Howard progressively pushed on up the order. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be enough and although he managed an impressive 4th, it wasn’t enough to steal the title.
1st James Wright XRAY – 2nd Craig Mawson XRAY – 3rd James Greener EXOTEK
GT12 – For the grand finale all eyes were on the Jewitt and Murray battle. Both would get a great start quickly pulling away from the pack. On lap 7 Murray got caught up with a back marker which cost him over 2 seconds and nearly his position. He quickly recovered and with the help of a little red mist he chased down the lead. It took 13 laps to catch Jewitt back up and although he got very close, Jewitt completed another perfect final to take both race and championship victories. Lander completed the podium with an impressive run for the new Mardave GTS.
1st Mark Jewitt ZEN RACING – 2nd Andy Murray SCHUMACHER – 3rd Stephen Lander MARDAVE
The final event had run like clockwork by the Swifts Team and it had been made memorable by the atmosphere from all the great competitors who entered. The championship as a whole couldn’t have gone any better, every round had nail biting finals created by some of the best racers in the country. Before the last round had begun we already had requests to arrange another championship, it was also great to read rewarding comments even from racers who had suffered a bad final round. From both Swifts Raceway and CARS we would like to thank everyone that has taken part in the championship. Also congratulations to our series champions Mark Jewitt, David Underwood and Stephen Baggley.