QUEENSLAND HQ Holden convert John Carter secured a round victory on his 2016 Queensland Saloon Car Series debut at the QRDA CAMS State Championship meeting at Morgan Park Raceway on May 28 and 29.
This round was the first of three that fall part of the 2016 CAMS Saloon Cars State Championship and with the start of the new championship, there was plenty of action-packed racing around the tight 2.96 kilometre circuit on the Southern Downs.
Joining Carter (Ford Falcon AU) on debut was Paul Jarvis (Ford Falcon AU), who is the father of series regulars Ashley, Dion and Brody Jarvis.
Hometown hero Beggs (Holden Commodore VT ) set the pace early to claim pole position (1:28.1), a tenth and a half of a second ahead of three-time Queensland Saloon Car Champion Lindsay Kearns Ford Falcon AU and defending champion Coleby Cowham (Ford Falcon AU) starting from third on the grid. Both Kearns and Cowham managed to post respectable times, despite having off-track excursions during the 20 minute session.
The pole sitter pulled into pit lane at the end of the formation lap with a power steering pump failure, subsequently causing oil to leak onto the track, leaving Kearns to lead the field for Race 1. Despite Kearns starting almost a car-length in front, it was Cowham who the lead after turn one. Cowham held the lead for a number of laps, before Kearns passed him under brakes at turn one. The pair battled it out for the remainder of the 8 lap encounter with Kearns taking out the chequered flag, followed by Cowham and Carter, who impressed with a third place finish in his first race in the series. Shayne Hine (Ford Falcon AU) trailed the podium finishers in what was a four-car battle at the front of the field, followed by John McCleverty (Ford Falcon AU), Tony Shanks (Ford Falcon AU), Bradley Carr (Ford Falcon AU) and Paul Jarvis (Ford Falcon AU).
Carter secured his maiden race win in the series in a closely fought race two, coming home ahead of Hine and Beggs. Cowham, starting from second on the grid, managed a great start to challenge Kearns for the lead, however spun after hitting the brakes at turn one. Beggs charged from the rear of the field to lead the race, before running into the turf at the last corner with Carter capitalizing on the incident to take the chequered flag.
After experiencing technical issues in two races, Beggs sought redemption with a win in race three beating Cowham and Hine in what punters described as one of the best races in recent years. Hine lead the race at the end of the first lap with Carter making his way off the track at the penultimate corner. Hine held the lead for a lap before Cowham passed him as he moved his way to the front of the field after starting from fourth on the grid. Cowham relinquished his lead to Beggs at the final chicane, with Kearns making his way to second as Cowham returned to the tarmac. Shortly afterwards Kearns hit the inside wall at the bridge, with a wild off track excursion causing him to finish down the order in sixth.
Carter (72 points), who leads the CAMS Saloon Cars State Championship ahead of Cowham (70 points) and Hine (67 points), said he was surprised to take the round victory in his debut outing with the series.
“It was nice to get my first race win ‘Steven Bradbury’ style and to have a consistent run in all the races, I was also really happy with the times I was setting,” said Carter.
The third round of the 2016 Queensland Saloon Cars Series will be held at Queensland Raceway on June 11 and 12.