The #AMRC (awesome MR crew) had tested at SMP last month and were keen to get the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Championship underway. There is a great field of cars with 9 Pros, 13 Pro-Ams and 4 B-class cars. We have two new Pro drivers Lockie Bloxsom and Aron Shields with Richard Cowen and Brett Boulton returning in the Pro-Am class. SMP is always a challenging circuit and qualifying on the Friday night under lights was a great way to kick off the year.
Richard did very well to qualify 6th in a big Pro-Am field. In the first enduro race he had done a terrific job to move forward from 19th on the grid to 11th outright, before a minor mishap at turn 2 sent him to the back of the field a few laps from the end.
In race 2 he had great start but moved forward passing 8 cars to finish 8th in Pro-Am. In race 3 he had a great start and had made his way forward until an exciting moment at turn 1, which he rectified nicely before the chequered flag.
Lockie qualified 5th. He had a great start and was running a very solid 3rd until an off at turn 3 which cost him a couple of laps. In race 2 he got off the line well and made 3 places then once clear, found himself too far from the leaders, so gained valuable experience as he cruised to finish 6th. In race 3 he drove a great race under intense pressure from behind and kept his cool to take a well deserved 5th.
Brett did a ripper job to qualify 2nd in Pro-Am. In race 1 he got off the line well and as usual was putting plenty of pressure on the tail end Pro drivers but couldn't get close enough to the leader. In race 2 he got a blinder of a start to take the Pro-Am lead, which he held to the end despite intense pressure from behind. In race 3 Brett got another good start and was holding his nemesis at bay until a moment coming on the front straight cost him the win.
Aron did an exceptional job to qualify 3rd in Pro class in his first ever car race. In the 27 lap race 1 enduro, he didn't get away well and lost 2 places but settled into the rhythm of the race and made up a spot to take 4th. In race 2 he made a better start and had a quiet race running 5th from start to finish. In race 3 Aron was having a great dice with Shannon until running wide at turn 1 and dropping a few spots.
Massive congrats to Brett on his 2nd in Pro-Am and we have no doubt he will take the Pro-Am championship all the way to the wire and follow in the footsteps of fellow MR Pro-Am Champs, Tim Miles and Anthony Gilbertson.
Lockie and Aron exceeded our expectations on their respective debuts and no doubt learned plenty, which they will apply to their next few race weekends. Richard had a great weekend and without a couple of minor blips, would have been a podium contender.
Many thanks to the whole MR crew and our drivers, their families and sponsors. We can't wait for the next round at Phillip Island next month!