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It’s not often you see the mound or grandstands at Mallala Motorsport Park packed with people but last weekend was an exciting exception with the Sporting Car Club of SA holding a successful first round of the SA State Motor Racing Championship Series.  

Competitors and crew were thankful to be back at the racetrack and the racing did not disappoint with tight-knit battles and skilful driving on display throughout the categories. 

In Circuit Excel, over 40 competitors, including the 9 debutants relished at the opportunity to race against new rivals through heat races and a last-chance (bottom 20) battle that set the grid for the 15-lap Ryan Pannowitch Memorial Trophy finale. It was another dominant performance from reining SA Racing Driver of the Year, Asher Johnston, who clean swept the weekend taking pole, wins in his individual heat races and the finale that finished under safety car. Joining him on the podium was Danny Errigo who pushed Johnston all weekend and James Benford who hadn’t driven since Excel Nationals late 2019.

Podium with Asher Johnston, Danny Errigo and James Benford – Photo: supplied

Further down the field, there were standout performances from young guns Jayden Wanzek, Shayne Nowickj and Aaron Oliver having all finished inside the top 10. All three competitors are prominent competitors in the virtual world with Oliver finishing 2nd in the iRacing Circuit Excel Eseries earlier in the year. Hayden Jericho in the Castrol backed Excel was an unfortunate non-finisher having run as high as 4th but was forced to retire due to a clutch failure. Congratulations to Zeb Lowe who finished as the highest placed rookie in a respectable 18th.  

Rookie Champion, Zeb Lowe – Photo: supplied

Female debutants, Helen Stephenson and Cass Hoare gained confidence in their driving and cars throughout the weekend as their lap times dropped and they fought for positions in the respective heat races. Stephenson was running as high as 26th until an unlucky spin at turn 1 subsequently neutralised the race. Hoare was the real winner off track having collected a pair of Federal RSR tyres and wheel alignment setup bars in a random draw.

Improved production (IPRA) fielded 20+ starters for the round with Chris Brown (Toyota Sprinter) took the round win with a clean sweep of all the races across the weekend, including the Michael Rooke memorial race.

Andrew Maros was back in the ever-popular Valiant Pacer and had consistent finishes across all 5 races to come home second for the round, ahead of Scott Cook in his S13 Silvia. In the under 2 litre class, Adam Trimmer was the victor in all 5 races. He also took home the Perpetual Award for the under 2L winner of the Michael Rooke memorial.

Competitors now look forward to Round 2 of the State Championships that is scheduled to run 31st October – 1st November at The Bend.

A big thank you to Lisa Totani for this racing report.



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