Sweeny reflects on TCR title defeat

Bailey Sweeny has come to terms with narrowly missing out on the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series title earlier this month to teammate Josh Buchan.

Entering the round with the series lead, Sweeny was forced to watch his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai teammate lift the trophy following a series of unfortunate mechanical issues – resulting in a DNF and a disqualification in the final two races of the season.

Not only did that mean the 20-year-old missed out on the title, but he was also jumped by Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto for second in the standings, following an incredible round for the 2022 champion at Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.

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Now, almost two weeks on from the unfortunate series of events, Sweeny remained disappointed but was happy to see Buchan achieve success.

“We were looking strong all year, we had a strong result at the majority of the rounds and a little bit of a lead in hand heading towards one of my best tracks, where I was quietly confident, but that didn’t quite go to plan,” Sweeny said.

“It’s obviously disappointing that we should’ve, could’ve, would’ve won it – we were so close to that title, but we fell short and it felt like nothing was going our way, it was one thing after another.

“We had a turbo letting go on Friday afternoon, so after a pre-cautionary change we didn’t have a chance to test it until we went out there, where we were then 25 kilometres slower down the straights.

“Race one we tweaked it but were still slow, then race two when we finally felt like we got it right an intercooler part came off, we pit and fixed it and then it half came off again so by then we were just trying to classify.

“We had to be 75 per cent of the race to classify, we got to 72.5 per cent.

“I got lapped with one and a half laps to go due to the lack of straight-line speed, which ended up being the difference.

“It would have given me 30 or 35 points, so if we had that and didn’t get disqualified in the final race we would have won comfortably enough.

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“It didn’t make me any less happy for Josh, being my teammate, we get along well and I’m happy for him to win a title – but it’s hard to see it when you think it should have been you.

“We have been through the whole year together, we know what each other has gone through. You feel bad for yourself, but still happy for Josh, it’s a two-way street.”

Despite the end result, Sweeny had a season to remember after claiming round victories at AWC Race Tasmania, Hi-Tec Oils Race Winton and Sandown Raceway – picking up a season-high five race wins along the way.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series will return on the Shannons SpeedSeries bill in 2024, with the first round of the season at Sandown Raceway on 9-11 February.

Tickets for the opening round at Sandown are now on sale.