Herne, Kelly Take Trans Am 100 1-2
November 17, 2022
Nathan Herne and Owen Kelly’s 1-2 in the Trans Am 100 proved the highlight at the final round of competition for TCR and Trans Am, at the Bathurst International.
Both categories contested longer than normal races, with TCR running three 130-kilometre races and Trans Am hosting a 100-kilometre final race. As seems to be the running theme for the end of 2022, there was also rain in the area to add another dynamic to the weekend.
In Trans Am Herne looked unstoppable all weekend, earning pole position and setting the fastest lap in each race. The clean sweep marks two in a row for Herne after his performance on the Gold Coast in S5000. Kelly and Lochie Dalton had more adventurous weekends as they got their elbows out in the battle for the podium places.
Kelly locked out the front row for race one with Dalton in fourth, which is where they finished as the Fujitsu racer fended off the attacks from behind and Dalton fought hard to hold fourth. In race two Kelly dropped to third before final lap contact dropped him to seventh and promoted Dalton, who kept his nose clean all race, up to third.
The final race, 100 kilometres in length, was full of drama. Early on in the race Kelly and Dalton fought aggressively for the final podium spot while Herne sprint away. Unfortunately, braking issues for Dalton saw him beached in the gravel at ‘the chase’. The subsequent Safety Car brough a restart that allowed Kelly to apply the pressure for second. On the final lap of the race Kelly moved up to second after contact, initially earning him a penalty which was them rescinded, giving GRM a 1-2 to end the year.
It was a bruising end to our TCR campaign for 2022, after Jordan Cox entered the round in title contention. The weekend only featured two races after the second race was cancelled with inclement weather around, denying Teddy Clairet the opportunity to start from third and robbing Cox of valuable points.
The action started with third on the grid for Dylan O’Keeffe, with Aaron Cameron and Ben Bargwanna also getting inside the top 10.
The opening race played out well with three cars inside the top five. O’Keeffe finished in second, ahead of Cameron in fourth and Bargwanna in fifth. Behind them, Clairet moved forward from 14th on the grid to finish in eighth, giving him third on the grid for the reverse grid race two. Cox had also recovered from an accident in qualifying to finish ninth, but a post-race penalty bumped him back down the order.
Race two was a non-event, with an initial delay for rain, then fog over the top of the mountain and eventually the time certain clock that ended the race.
Race three’s starting grid therefore reverted to the race one results, putting Cox on the extreme back foot, needing to essentially win from the back of the grid. It gave O’Keeffe the opportunity to finally snag a win in 2022, but after taking the lead on lap one he skated into the barrier on cold tyres. Bargwanna and James Moffat also suffered DNF’s with mechanical drama, while Cox had moved inside the top 10 before a broken front splitter ended his run. Clairet moved forward again to finish in seventh place, offering a good glimpse into the competitiveness of TCR Australia. Cameron was the highlight, leading early on from fourth on the grid. Contact saw the Valvoline racer pick up some damage, dropping him down the order and missing out on the podium on the final lap.
The final event for GRM in 2022 will be the S5000 Tasman Series at the Adelaide 500.