February 21 2022
After a nervous week of watching the weather forecasts, there was a relief when decent conditions greeted the field last weekend for the start of the 2022 season.
James Burge returned to the series after almost two years away and it didn’t take long for the driver of the #11 to get right back to topping the time sheets by posting fast times throughout Practice and then eventually taking Pole Position.
The #97 team’s run of bad luck continued with the Pontiac being rubbed out for the weekend after an incident in practice.
The #41 with Mick Heppleston behind the wheel made its debut in Practice but the car wasn’t on song and was retired.
Pole winner James Burge in the #11 (formerly #711) was a non starter due to gearbox problems making Stephen Chilby the driver at the head of the field and he stayed there without serious challenge.
Brett Mitchell was fairly secure in second though Danny Burgess was just over 1.3 seconds away in the #7.
Scott Nind in the #16 Ford Mustang came home in fourth position just over a second behind Danny Burgess.
Robert Marchese was fifth a couple of seconds behind fourth but Robert did have Corey Gurney just over .3 of a second behind in sixth position.
Zac O’Hara finished in seventh and had Aaron Hills less than a second behind the #27 in eighth position.
Rod Gurney was two and a half seconds ahead of Laurence Mckinnon in the battle of the Fords in Muscle Division.
George Kulig would of had a great finish but was penalized 30 seconds dropping him from third all the way down to eleventh.
Peter Byrnes debut lasted only five laps before the #63 was retired for the day though we hope to see the #63 GTA back in action real soon.
Stephen Chilby had an easier time as he won the race by over eight seconds.
The field was much more spread out though there was changes as Danny Burgess finished in second, Brett Mitchell in third and Robert Marchese finished in fourth.
Scott Nind dropped down to fifth followed by George Kulig in sixth, Corey Gurney in seventh with Aaron Hills in eighth.
Laurence Mckinnon was the lead Muscle Division driver in ninth with Rod Gurney the last of the finishers in tenth position.
Zac O’Hara’s #27 Chevrolet Monte Carlo retired after four laps but the day wasn’t over for the leader of Stock Cars Australia as Zac would be back for Race 3.
AMRS broadcasted on Facebook the second half of the day at Sydney Motorsport Park which allowed us previously unlucky folk to catch the third and last race of the day.
James Burge, Danny Burgess, Peter Byrnes, Greg Morris, Rod Gurney, Aaron Hills and Mick Heppleston were unable to participate in the race for various reasons leaving eight runners to contest the race.
Stephen Chilby was going for three wins in a row whilst Brett Mitchell and Thunder Sports Cup race winner George Kulig were hoping to crash the party with all three being Thunder Sports Cup races winners during the day.
George Kulig picked through the upper half of the field and was soon in the lead ahead of Brett Mitchell with Stephen Chilby in third, the modified GTA was soon after on the afterburners and soon the leader was way off in the distance.
Robert Marchese caught up to and passed Stephen Chilby and set his sights on the #8 but Brett managed to gain some distance on the second to last lap to ensure that the #8 would finish second by just over half a second.
George Kulig won by just over 30 seconds and became the first non OzTruck to win a race in many years so those 150 people who watched online and those at SMP got to see an historic moment.
Stephen Chilby finished in fourth place whilst Scott Nind picked up another fifth placing in the Mustang, Corey Gurney picked up another sixth position and was basically snubbed by the AMRS coverage while Zac O’Hara picked up another seventh for the #27 team.
Laurence Mckinnon rounded out the field in eighth but got lots of camera time in the process for all the right reasons (e.g. staying on the track, good looking car etc.).
Stephen Chilby – 1st 1st 4th
Brett Mitchell – 2nd 3rd 2nd
Danny Burgess – 3rd 2nd DNS
Robert Marchese – 5th, 4th, 3rd
Scott Nind – 4th, 5th, 4th
George Kulig – 11th, 6th 1st
Corey Gurney – 6th, 7th, 6th
Zac O’Hara – 7th, DNF, 7th
Aaron Hills, 8th, 8th, DNS
Laurence Mckinnon – 10th, 9th, 8th
Rod Gurney – 9th, 10th, DNS
Peter Byrnes – DNF, DNS, DNS, DNS
James Burge – DNS DNS DNS
Greg Morris – DNS DNS DNS
Mick Heppleston – DNS DNS DNS
James Burge has lost none of his abilities behind the wheel and would of been a contender if the gearbox didn’t let him down.
Stephen Chilby almost had the perfect day but it was still pretty good with wins in both Stock Cars and Thunder Sport Cup.
Brett Mitchell stayed in the Top 3 all day and also bagged a win in the Thunder Sports Cup too.
George Kulig’s Modified GTA was quite interesting to watch, it taken a while but it did slice and dice up the field in both Stock Cars and Thunder Sports Cup, no doubt it was worth the trip from Queensland.
Scott Nind has the fastest Stock Car in Australia and his Top 5 finishes show that the #16 can be a contender in the future for overall wins, a great improvement on the #16’s debut appearance last season.
Danny Burgess run of great form continued and it will be interesting to watch in Round 2.
Robert Marchese would of had the strongest OzTruck in Race 3 had the race lasted one or two more laps.
Corey Gurney had a quiet weekend in the midfield but kept out of trouble and will be right for Round 2.
Peter Byrnes’ debut was a short one but hopefully it has given the #63 team the appetite to keep on going.
Aaron Hills had a solid debut and hopefully the #75 team will be back for more in Round 2.
Greg Morris has had some awful luck in the #97 but it will turn around over the course of the year., the #97 team just got to stay the course.
Mick Heppleston will probably be annoyed with the #41 having issues after so much preparation went into the Ford Thunderbird but Round 1 always have some bugs to iron out and things will be better next time around.
Zac O’Hara had an up and down weekend on the track with two sevenths and a retirement but is really happy with how the series is progressing
Rod Gurney had two solid races and brought home a Muscle Division win in the Ford Falcon.
Laurence Mckinnon got plenty of attention with his Falcon and gone home with two Muscle Division wins