National Series Hits Tasmania this Weekend
Jan 17, 2012
History will be created this weekend when, for the first time in its seven year history, the Carline Mufflers National Super Sedan Series invades Tasmania.
The first NSSS foray into the Apple Isle will bring 15 drivers from the mainland to take on Tasmania’s best Super Sedan drivers over three nights of competition in the Tasmanian Triple Challenge, the first round of which is scheduled for Cranes Combine Carrick Speedway on Friday night (January 20).
Whilst Tasmania has long been regarded as one Australia’s strongest Super Sedan regions and Tasmanian drivers have supported the series from the outset – Brad Smith finished third last season and is one of only two drivers to have contested every round since it began – this will be the first time the Tassie contingent will enjoy the benefit of taking on their series rivals on home soil. With four Tasmanian drivers sitting inside the top ten in the championship standings after five completed rounds, the local support and track knowledge may just prove the difference in their chase for the championship.
Queensland-based drivers have won the championship every year since its inception and it is two-time and defending champion Darren Kane who currently leads the series by a mere 37 points over Australian champion Steve Jordan. South Australia’s Dave Gartner took out round four of the series in Mildura and sits third overall ahead of another two-time champion in Wayne Randall, who is driving for Tasmanian-based car owner Steve Jessup. Not surprisingly given his experience on this tour, Brad Smith is the best of the locals in fifth spot, having achieved a rare perfect score during round three in Sydney, winning all three of his heats and the feature race in a dominant display.
Opening round winner Lachlan Onley from New South Wales sits sixth overall ahead of the Tassie triumvirate of Jarrod Harper, Sam Hughes and five-times Tasmanian champion David Nichols, who is in the midst of his rookie season of National Series competition. Three-time national champion Michael Nicola from Victoria and South Australian veteran Bill Miller, both of whom are familiar faces to Tassie fans, are next best at the moment ahead of another series rookie in former Tasmanian champ Steve Latham, who qualified on the front row in his second ever NSSS start but hasn’t found the consistency needed to be placed higher in the series standings.
Other drivers heading across Bass Strait for the Tasmanian Triple Challenge include four-time and current Victorian Super Sedan champion Lucas Roberts, fellow Victorian David Mackenzie, South Australia’s Shane Best and a quartet of Queenslanders comprising Des Korn, Graeme Elliott, former series champ Michael Doblo and Townsville’s Trent Wilson, who finished runner-up behind Kane last season.
Whilst the championship won’t be decided until March following a three-round swing through Western Australia, the Triple Challenge has the potential to make or break the chances of series contenders, so the intensity of the competition will be unprecedented. Of course, there will also be plenty of local challengers looking to upstage the series regulars, with the likes of Adam Beechey, Leon Nichols, Grant Hopkins, Jamie Williams and third-generation racer Callum Harper amongst those chasing a $500 bonus on offer for the overall winner of the Triple Challenge.
The opening round of the Tasmanian Triple Challenge, which doubles as round six of the Carline Mufflers National Super Sedan Series, will be at Cranes Combined Carrick Speedway on Friday night, with round two to be decided just 24 hours later at Latrobe’s Bendigo Bank Arena on Saturday evening (January 21). The final round of the Triple Challenge will see teams return to Carrick next Wednesday night (January 25), the first time a venue has hosted multiple NSSS events in a season.
For those wanting to check out some of the cars and stars competing in the Triple Challenge, David Nichols will have his Fairbrother Ford Mustang on display and Centro Meadow Mews shopping centre in Kings Meadow tomorrow (Wednesday), while Steve Jordan’s Australian Championship-winning Dodge will be in Launceston’s Brisbane St Mall on Thursday.
Racing at Carrick gets underway at 6:00pm on Friday night, with a big support program featuring Modified Productions, Junior Sedans and the Titch Jordan Memorial for Formula 500’s.
2011/2012 Carline Mufflers National Super Sedan Series progressive pointscore (after 5 of 11 rounds): Darren Kane 2462, Steve Jordan 2425, Dave Gartner 2172, Wayne Randall 2152, Brad Smith 2115, Lachlan Onley 2113, Jarrod Harper 1996, Sam Hughes 1873, David Nichols 1746, Michael Nicola 1665, Bill Miller 1606, Steve Latham 1533, Shane Best 1503, Lucas Roberts 1462, Graeme Elliott 1439, Des Korn 1423, David Mackenzie 1327, Mark Pagel 1283, Tania Smith 1018, Trent Wilson 1003.
The National Super Sedan Series is proudly supported by:
- Speedway Australia
- Speedway Sedans Australia
- Speedway Racing News (www.speedway.com.au)
- American Racer
- Super Charge Batteries
- Shock Doctor
- JD Couriers
- Hoosier Tires
- Queensland Saloon Car Association