Shannons mid-season report card: National Trans Am Series

With plenty to race for in the remaining months of 2021, take a look at how the seasons of our regular Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships categories are shaping up.

National Trans Am Series

The National Trans Am Series has delivered one of the closest title fights in any national series or championship across all disciplines this year.

The competition between Aaron Seton and Nathan Herne has been the major narrative throughout the year and while the likes of Owen Kelly, who won the remaining two races, Tim Brook, Edan Thornburrow, Nash Morris and Ben Grice have enjoyed moments, it’s been all about Seton and Herne.

The series has been lucky enough to not only have four rounds in 2021, but to have another visit to Mount Panorama as part of the biggest race in the country on the schedule, which will most likely act as the final round of the year.

Rounds so far

Race Tasmania– Symmons Plains
– Race one: Nathan Herne
– Race two: Aaron Seton
– Race three: Nathan Herne

Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships – Phillip Island
– Race one: Owen Kelly
– Race two: Nathan Herne
– Race three: Aaron Seton

Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships – Bathurst 6 Hour – Mount Panorama
– Race one: Aaron Seton
– Race two: Aaron Seton
– Race three: Nathan Herne

Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships – Sydney Motorsport Park
– Race one: Owen Kelly
– Race two: Nathan Herne
– Race three: Aaron Seton

Rounds remaining
Repco Bathurst 1000 – 30 November – 6 December

Photos: Speed Shots Photography

The Leader – Aaron Seton

It would be hard to find any fault in Seton’s form this year with the Queenslander having done very little wrong throughout the 12 races, four qualifying sessions and eight practice sessions.

He has made very little mistakes and has only been beaten by a fellow future star in Nathan Herne or has come up just short of Owen Kelly’s win – only one tenth of a second separated the two at Phillip Island.

The racing between the top two has been hugely entertaining all year, but Seton will have that little bit of extra confidence knowing that he had the edge over Herne the last time they were at Bathurst.

Seton ended the third round of the season with the fastest time in both practice sessions, secured pole, won twice and was just two and a half tenths away from a third win and a perfect weekend – so it’s safe to say the 23-year-old knows Bathurst well.

On paper, Seton’s first round has been his worst but this only due to his title rival getting more wins, however Seton still got pole and was just a half a second off in the first race win.

Seton can also take great satisfaction knowing he has the edge over Herne when it comes to qualifying after poles in Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park have given the series leader a perfect qualifying record in 2021.

“It’s been a very cool battle with Nathan. The two of us have been racing together in the series for a few years now and we’ve both come a long way,” Seton said.

“To be up against him in every race has been really good for my development because I feel I have improved as a driver as we are constantly pushing each other.

“I really do love the series and for me it’s one of the best out there because it’s cost effective, the competition is great and they are just great cars to race.

“I definitely think we’ll push each other to the end. We have finished every race on the podium, so it’s just a matter of continuing to have consistent and clean weekends and it should be a good climax.

Top 10

Aaron Seton – 722 points
Nathan Herne – 718
Edan Thornburrow – 601
Tim Brook – 584
Hugh McAlister – 535
Owen Kelly – 510
Hadrian Morrall –507
Mark Crutcher – 469
Kyle Gurton – 445
Aaron Tebb – 426

Just four points separates the top two drivers after four rounds and with only one round remaining at the spiritual home of motorsport in Australia, title fights don’t get much better than this.

Both Seton and Herne have five wins apiece and both individuals have finished second every time the other one has won – the only factor proving to be the difference is that Seton has finished ahead of Herne in both of Kelly’s victories.

Although he is the only other race winner this season, Kelly has had an unfortunate season of consistency with three DNFs overshadowing his two wins, three podiums and three top five finishes.

Sadly, all of Kelly’s DNFs have come in the race that follows a podium placing, two of which were his race wins.

So, while Kelly has been unable to capitalise on good results and will be fighting it out with Hugh McAlister for fifth place, young Edan Thornburrow sits third on the standings in his stead despite not having stood on the podium once this year.

The teenager has a decent record, finishing inside the top 10 in all but two races, with his best round coming at Bathurst when he finished all three races in the top five and a season-high P4 in the final outing.

Tim Brook is the most likely to challenge for third place and with a handful of top fives to his name for this year, in addition to a few podiums, would be fancying his chances to sneak past the driver on top of him.

Adding to the excitement is that at Bathurst earlier this year, Brook finished one place ahead of Thornburrow in all three races.