Ross Takes Tasman Cup Revival Championship at Phillip Island Classic
Steve Ross has returned from the Phillip Island Classic with three wins from four races and a fastest lap – plenty to secure victory in the Formula 5000 Tasman Cup Revival Championship.
The Formula 5000s were, as always, a spectacular addition to an action-packed weekend of historic motorsport. They took to the track for four races including Sunday’s feature and produced some close and quick racing throughout a bumper field.
Read on for the official word from the New Zealand Formula 5000 Association.
ROSS WRAPS UP TITLE WITH FEATURE WIN IN AUSTRALIA
Kiwi Steve Ross (McRae GM1) wrapped up the 2011/12 MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series title in style with a win in the feature eight lap final at the Phillip Island Classic motor racing meeting in Australia on Sunday.
The series win is the Dunedin contractor’s first in three year’s contesting the MSC series and comes after early career success at home in the Pre 65 and OSCA classes.
Heading into the weekend it looked like 25-year-old US-based professional James Davison (Lola T332) would have the upper hand, but though the third-generation Australian racer claimed pole position with a time a second-and-a-half quicker than Ross, it was Ross who won three of the four races and set the fastest race lap in the feature final.
With two laps to go it looked like the Kiwi would finish second in the other race, too, until he mistook the final lap flag for the chequered one and slowed down, allowing Andrew Robson (Lola T332) to demote him to third before he realised his mistake.
Robson, driving the Lola T332 originally owned and raced in the 1970s with much success by three-time MSC F5000 series champion Ken Smith, ended up best of the rest of the bumper MSC F5000 field, splitting race winner Steve Ross and third placeman David Abbott (Lola T430) in the first race of the weekend on Saturday morning then finishing second to either Ross or Davison in the other races.
Abbott, in turn, was the best of the other New Zealand-based MSC series regulars, qualifying fourth then finishing third in the first race, fifth in the second and fourth in each Sunday race.
Sunday’s races were not just close run affairs up front either, Abbott leading home a tightly-bunched freight train of cars in the 6 lap morning outing with UK-based MSC series regular Greg Thornton (Chevron B24) fifth, eventual series runner-up Aaron Burson (McRae GM1) sixth and former series champion Ian Clements (Lola T332) from Christchurch sixth.
A little further back Kiwi Russell Greer and Australian Darcy Russell circulated nose-to-tail in their similar Lolas (Greer’s the ex Graeme Lawrence T332, Russell’s the ex Max Stewart/Kevin Bartlett T330) with series newcomer David Arrowsmith again the first of the Class A (for earlier cars) runners in his recently acquired Ford-powered Lotus 70.
For 2011/12 series runner-up Aaron Burson the fourth and final race was his best, the Aucklander crossing the line four seconds behind Abbott in fifth with Brian Sala (Matich A50) and Ian Clements (Lola T332) on his tail.
Greg Thornton separated Abbott and Burson for much of the race, but ran low on fuel in the final lap, slipping back to eighth place and crossing the finish line just in front of Sefton Gibb (Lola T332). Paul Zazryn (Lola T332) and the trans-Tasman duo of Russell Greer and Darcy Russell.
That’s it for the MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series for another year but the success of that series has spawned a new one in Australia, the Australian F5000 Cup for which the Phillip Island Classic meeting was the opening round.
Subsequent rounds of that series will be held at major historic motor racing meetings in Australia during the year with the final at one of the early rounds of the 2012/13 MSC F5000 (New Zealand) series meaning both series compliment rather than compete against each other.
The MSC F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney’s Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Smith & Davies, Avon Tyres and Exide.