GT Endurance and Sports Sedans return to The Bend

The last time the Shannons Nationals visited The Bend Motorsport Park, history was made as the event was the first official race meeting to take place on the newly built track.

While there was much to celebrate, extreme weather conditions made it difficult for drivers to compete as winds of up to 120kmph made their mark on the event.

Of the six categories featured last year, two return for the first of two rounds to be held in 2019 with the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship and the Nationals Sports Sedans Series taking centre stage in Tailem Bend this weekend, alongside new categories, including carsales TCR Australia Series.

Ahead of the Shannons Nationals’ third round for the 2019 season, speedseries.com.au looks back at the historic weekend in April last year.

CAMS Australian Endurance Championship
Winner: Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto
Runner-Up: Liam Talbot and John Martin
Third Place: Steven Richards and Michael Almond

Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto begun the race in second and dropped as low as fifth before getting their first taste of the lead on lap 20.

From that point onwards, they led the race for 43 laps out of a total 78, enjoying battles with Liam Talbot and John Martin, Scott Taylor and Craig Baird in the #222 Mercedes and the Fraser Ross/Duvashen Padayachee driven McLaren 650S.

With just over 20 laps to go, the Mercedes of Twigg and D’Alberto took the lead off the #59 McLaren and never relinquished it again as the duo picked up the first round win, eventually claiming the 2018 Championship.

“I think I drove well, I think Tony drove well, and that’s what happens. We stayed out of trouble, we qualified strongly, and we just put it together,” Twigg said.

“If you win any of these endurance races, it’s three times as good. It’s a major, it’s the one you want to win.”

National Sports Sedans Series
Winner: Tony Ricciardello
Runner-Up: Steven Tamasi
Third Place: Jake Camilleri

The weekend started off with a win to Jack Perkins with Steve Tamasi and Tony Ricciardello rounding out the top three for the race. However the Audi A4 faltered in the next race, crashing out a seeing his weekend over prematurely.

Tamasi then backed up his runner-up from the first race with a solid win in the second over Ricciardello as Queenslander Jake Camilleri finished ahead of Shane Woodman to slot into third outright.

The ten-time champion in Ricciardello got his first race win of the weekend in the race that matters with more points on offer. Unfortunately for Tamasi, a fourth place finish saw him end the week behind Ricciardello.

“It was good to a get a pleasing result for the team especially being out for a year and half.  The car was good, we made some small changes in the time that it wasn’t running and they seemed to have paid off,” Ricciardello said.

“It’s an unbelievable track. Its definitely a drivers’ track where its more so pushing the driver to the limit more so than the car.”

Other results from 2018:

Australian Prototype Series
Winner: Peter Paddon
Runner-Up: John-Paul Drake
Third Place: Philip Hughes

“It was brilliant, it was epic, it was one of the best races I’ve had. Clearly a very big difference between all three of the cars that were fighting it out there for a while but it was epic racing.”
Peter Paddon

Radical Australia Cup
Winner: Brad Neilson and Mitch Neilson
Runner-Up: Simon Haggarty
Third Place: Chris Medland

“Tailem Bend is an amazing circuit, it’s a high speed, high commitment track which suits the Radicals really well. For us it was fantastic to get our first race win and round win at The Bend’s first ever event, which makes it just that little bit more sweet.”
Mitchell Neilson

Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge
Winner: Max Vidau
Runner-Up: Cooper Murray
Third Place: Simon Fallon

“After Thursday’s test, I was nervous that I might not be quick enough, but I managed to pull it together on Saturday and Sunday and get the round win. Cooper and I know each other and we know how each other drive so it was great to have such close racing with him in the Porsche this weekend.”
Max Vidau