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A wind swept Rd 6 provides plenty of action at The Bend

Round 6 of the Australian Formula Ford Series was run and won at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia. In conditions more fitting of a Polar Bear than Duratec and Kent cars, the young drivers of the category really showed they are adaptable to anything and any conditions thrown at them.

Wind and Rain was consistent throughout Friday Practice and that continued into Saturday’s qualifying and race sessions. Sonic Racing driver Winston Smith claimed Pole position on the final lap of the 15 minute session relegating CHE driver James Piszcyk to P2 for the first race. While in the Kent Class Angelo Motorsport driver Mitch Gatenby was the quickest of the 2 car field to take pole in his Spirit chassis. Mark Zellner in his Mygale started from P2 for Race 1.

While the rain threatened to fall for the 1st race of the weekend it stayed away leaving the wind to cause havoc with the field. James Piszcyk got away to a great start and moved ahead of Winston Smith by turn 1 and that’s where he stayed all race. Kye Cavendon had a broken steering arm which forced out the safety car for the first time of the weekend. On the restart both Sonic drivers in Valentino Astuti and Winston Smith gave themselves every chance of claiming the race but Piszcyk’s car had too much and held them off. The battle for 6th to 9th was just as hot with only 1.3 seconds separating Clay Richards, Zak Lobko, Jude Bargwanna and Thomas Davies. Cameron McLeod continued his good form with a solid 4th while New South Welshman Eddie Beswick was 5th. In the Kent class Mitch Gatenby was too quick for Mark Zellner winning the 1st race my just over 20 seconds.

Race two was run in the morning on the Sunday and while the rain stayed away the wind was blowing at around 75km/ph and made it extremely hard for the drivers to navigate the cross and head winds of the massive circuit at The Bend. A Sonic Motorsport one two was the result of Race 2 with one and a half seconds separating the top four for the majority of the race. Winston Smith added to his first Pole Position in the category by winning his first race in Formula Ford defeating team mate Valentino Astuti and Cameron McLeod in 3rd. Smith happy with the result. “ Finally got the first win on the board, and it was a good race. I made a move into 1 at the start then got Valentino, after the safety car I defended for a few laps, with Val fighting back, but got the win and it feels good". James Piszcyk received a penalty for overtaking under yellow pushing him to 14th in the finishing order and closing the championship gap between himself and Astuti. Mitch Gatenby was again too strong for Mark Zellner in the Kent Class. Gatenby with a solid 2.06 only 5 seconds slower than the Duratec’s around this massive circuit.

The round winner would be decided by the winner of Race 3 and it was a fantastic battle once again between Astuti and Smith, with the Sonic teammates taking it up to each other and not racing under team orders. Astuti would go on to take the win with 3 laps of the 10 raced under safety car. Ryder Quinn finishing 3rd ahead of Jude Bargwanna and Jordyn Sinni with a big run to finish 5th. Mitch Gatenby wrapping up the round in the Kent Class with a 3rd victory of the weekend to add to his pole. Congratulations to Mark Zellner who took the fight up to Gatenby the best he could.

So Valentino Astuti took out the round honours by 1 point ahead of Winston Smith and Cameron McLeod in third. And the Series lead for Cameron Hill Racing driver James Piszcyk is now down to 11 points ahead of Valentino Astuti in Second and Cameron McLeod third with one round remaining and 61 points up for grabs. The series moves to Sydney Motorsport Park for the exciting final round of 2022 on the 28th – 30th of September.

Duratec Class Round Points Top 5

Valentino Astuti Sonic Racing Mygale 52

Winston Smith Sonic Racing Mygale 51

Cameron McLeod Machinery Hill Racing Spectrum 35

Ryder Quinn BF Racing/Local Legends Mygale 31

Jude Bargwanna Jude Bargwanna Motorsport Spectrum 30

Kent Class Round Points Top 2

Mitch Gatenby Angelo Racing Spirit 61

Mark Zellner Mygale 48

Duratec Series Points Top 5 after Round 6

James Piszcik 237

Valentino Astuti 226

Cameron McLeod 198

Winston Smith 193

Ryder Quinn 169

Kent Class Series Points Top 3 after Round 2

Mitch Gatenby 122

Mark Zellner 88

Jason Liddell 48


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