Cody and Cody Breakthrough for Maiden Pro Tour Round Wins
Cody Gillis and Cody Brewczysnki delivered the headline performances in an action packed finals day at the first round of the 2016 Rotax Pro Tour National Series at Todd Road. For Gillis, the success came in Rotax Light and for Brewczysnki it was Junior Max, with the pair claiming their maiden round wins to kick off their season’s in the best way possible.
Following on from his pole position in qualifying and a mixed run of heat races, Harry Arnett managed his best result of the weekend in the pre-final, picking up second behind Sebastian Ruiz who delivered another impressive performance to take the win. Emerson Vincent was third from Xavier Renshaw and Macka Hazard.
The battle between Sebastian Ruiz and Emerson Vincent returned in the final in the early stages, however in second half of the longest race of the weekend, Ruiz managed to open up a significant lead, crossing the line to take the win by over five seconds with Vincent in second. A post-race weight penalty however saw Sebastian disqualified, with Emerson being promoted to the win ahead of Xavier Renshaw and Harry Arnett.
The ongoing on-track rivalry between James Wharton and Kai Allen continued into the pre-final with the pair again being the two dicing for the lead throughout the first of the day’s two longer races. Wharton managed to step up and take the win after finishing second in all three heat races with Allen finishing second and Angus Giffin third. Following a season of success in Micro Max in 2015, Jack Westbury showed he will be a contender in Mini Max, picking up fourth with Jonathon Marcusson and Bayley Douglas completing the top six.
After settling for second on the back of an impressive run with a clean sweep in the heat races, Kai Allen stepped up to take a narrow win in the Mini Max final ahead of Bayley Douglas who returned to the class in 2016 after becoming the first ever Rotax Max Australian Challenge Champion for Mini Max last year. Douglas made good progress in the longer races after a mixed day on Saturday, managing to get by James Wharton who finished third. Sean Larkin and Angus Giffin continued their consistent performance picking up the final two podium places.
Junior Max Trophy
Setting his personal best time on the final lap was enough to help New Zealand’s Jaden Ransley to the win in the pre-final for Junior Max Trophy by 1.8 seconds. Ransley’s success came ahead of his nearest rival on the track for much of the race, Tasmanian and Mini Max graduate, Callum Bishop. Taylor Hazard, Brodie Whitmore and Jarrod Costello were all within less than 0.3 seconds of each other across the line to round out the top five with Aron Shields finishing a narrow sixth ahead of a second Kiwi, Samuel Wright in seventh.
Callum Bishop and Jaden Ransley returned to the battle that was seen in the pre-final with the pair being the fastest drivers on the track along with eventual second place sitter, Brodie Whitmore. While Bishop eventually took the win, a post-race penalty relegated him to seventh, subsequently seeing Ransley take victory, becoming the second Kiwi to gain round success for the event. The penalty promoted Whitmore to second with Jaiden Pope leading home the next battle pack in third for his first event in the class since stepping up from Mini Max. Samuel Wright finished fourth with Jac Preston in fifth.
The experience of Dylan Hollis and Cody Brewczynski continued to show through into the pre-final with the pair being the main challengers for the win in the 18 lap event, with Hollis taking victory, fighting back from a DNF in the third heat on Saturday due to a mechanical drama. Brewczynski finished second with his team mate, Jordan Pike, taking third. Lucas Lichtenberger’s switch to the open Junior Max category from the Trophy Class proved fruitful early on, taking fourth from Nathan Hadlow in fifth and West Australian Aaron Love in sixth.
The Junior Max final delivered a mirror of the top three from the pre-final, though in the longer of the two events it was Cody Brewczynski who broke his way through to the lead, opening up a margin of 1.2 seconds to take the win and to start his year in fine style. Much of the race was nose to tail through the first half of the field with very little separating the top five. Jordan Pike pick up second with it being less than a second that separated third fourth and fifth. Dylan Hollis led that train across the line with Tomas Gasperak finishing fourth and Aaron Love fifth while Jaylyn Robotham took sixth. A post-race two place penalty to Gasperak elevated Robotham into the final podium placing.
Wollongong’s Cody Gillis stepped up to the plate at the business end of the weekend, picking up the win in the Rotax Light pre-final. A change in chassis and the determination to return to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals for a second year in a row proved to be two of the many motivations that helped to see Gillis take a 4.5 second win. Paul Rodgers managed a narrow second place finish by 0.3 seconds over Gillis’ team mate, Joshua Fife while Brad Jenner worked his way back into a more familiar position, taking fourth after an unfortunate start to the weekend on Saturday with a flat tyre in qualifying. Kody Garland and Troy Alger continued their impressive beginning to the season picking up fifth and sixth respectively.
On the back of his win in the pre-final, Cody Gillis continued with good momentum to take the glory in the 22 lap final, handing him his first ever round win at the Pro Tour in Rotax Light. Taking maximum points from the weekend, Gillis finished ahead of team mate and Canberran Joshua Fife on debut in the class. Brad Jenner managed to take third, his best result of the weekend, earning a good bank of points as he starts his quest to make it three years in a row at the Rotax World Finals. Kody Garland earnt his first podium in the category, finishing fourth with Paul Rodgers fifth.
In the wet conditions of Sunday morning, Ben Ritchie made a solid start, breaking away to the lead ahead of Lane Moore who started from pole position. Ritchie progressively extended his lead throughout the race to eventually take the win by 3.9 seconds over Shay Mayes who backed up his impressive form from Saturday. Clem O’Mara took third ahead of Moore who slipped back to finish fourth with Gaven Whitmore completing the top five.
With the sun returning for the final, it also saw a return of the from the heat races of Lane Moore who capitalised in the better conditions to pick his way up to second, engaging in a battle with Shay Mayes. The pair remained within half a second of each for much of the race however it was Mayes who held out to take the win over Moore with Ben Ritchie taking a comfortable third on the back of his pre-final win. Clem O’Mara finished fourth with Marcus La Delle fifth after a DNF in the earlier race.
On the back of his win in the first of three heat races on Saturday and a consistent front running performance in the other two sprint events, Daniel Rochford showed he has adapted quickly to the DD2 category, picking up the win in the pre-final, narrowly taking the victory by just 0.1 seconds over Lee Mitchener. Troy Woolston showed good pace to pick up third and setup a second row start for the final alongside fellow Victorian and current Rotax Max Australian Challenge Champion, Jason Pringle. Adam Lindstrom continued the Victorian domination, taking fifth with Ryan Kennedy breaking the run as the Queenslander finished sixth.
A race filled with blistering pace helped to ensure Troy Woolston would take maximum points form the DD2 final, leaving it until lap 20 of 22 to set his quickest time, a 40.119 on his way to a 3.4 second victory over Jason Pringle. The key challengers for the podium were a mirror of those from the pre-final as Adam Lindstrom took third from Joel Smith in fourth and Daniel Rochford fifth. The overall results also saw the class be the only one of the weekend to have an all Victorian podium, reflecting their expertise on the Todd Road circuit.
An enthusiastic Steven Ellery drove away to a comfortable victory in the DD2 Masters pre-final by 2.7 seconds, making the most of the damp and greasy conditions, ones that the former V8 Supercar driver personally admitted he thrives in. Ellery finished ahead of fellow Queenslander Regan Payne who continued to show good form on debut in the category. Daniel Richert was third with Danny Wright in fourth, setting themselves up alongside each other on the second row for the final. Klinton Hancey continued his movement up the order to take fifth with Trevor Whitby recording his best result of the weekend in sixth.
Starting from 12th, it may have appeared a near impossible challenge but for Kris Walton, it came almost easy taking the win by 1.4 seconds in his first event in the Masters category after stepping across from DD2. Walton earnt himself the fastest lap of the race by almost 0.3 seconds on his way to the win, finishing ahead of the experienced Daniel Richert. Lee Mitchener showed good composure competing in two classes to take third, less than 0.2 seconds ahead of Scott Howard while Regan Payne continued his impressive beginnings in the two-speed gearbox category to complete the podium in fifth.
Round two of the 2016 Rotax Pro Tour National Series takes place at the Sandy Creek Raceway, Warwick, Queensland from 26-28 February.