FORMER series champion Gary Beggs rocketed back into championship contention with two race wins and a second at the penultimate round of the Queensland Saloon Cars series, as part of the CAMS State Championship, at Morgan Park Raceway.
Heading into the round a number of drivers in the 10-car-grid remaining in contention for the CAMS State Championship title, including the Ford Falcon AU trio of defending series champion Coleby Cowham, round one winner John Carter and Shayne Hine.
An incredibly competitive qualifying session was held in drying conditions on Saturday morning with less than a tenth between the top three. Cowham set a personal best time of 1:28.28 to claim pole position in his Ford Falcon AU, ahead of championship contenders Gary Beggs (1:28.33), in a Holden Commodore VT, and Lindsay Kearns (1:28.36) in his Ford Falcon AU. Despite missing the previous round at Queensland Raceway, CAMS State Championship leader John Carter maintained his pace from his previous outing to record a 1:28.69 in his Ford Falcon AU, while Leon Fletcher also recorded a personal best time of 1:29.65 in his Ford Falcon AU.
Championship contenders Beggs and Cowham had an enthralling Ford versus Holden battle in race one with the Warwick local finishing ahead of the defending champion with Hine coming home third in his Ford Falcon AU. Kearns, who started third on the grid, failed to finish after having his oil cooler line come off.
Beggs, who went close to breaking the lap record with a 1.27.66, went back-to-back with a win in race three, overtaking Cowham, who led the race for seven out of the eight laps, on the final lap after the T Junction. Kearns completed the podium, ahead of Hine and Carter, who entertained the crowd with their closely fought dice. Tony Shanks held off Brody Jarvis, with Brad Carr coming home ahead of Leon Fletcher and Paul Jarvis.
Cowham picked up a win in an action-packed race three, besting Gary Beggs and John Carter to the chequered flag. In a battle for the lead, Beggs cut it a little fine under the bridge, with his side mirror making contact with the wall and smashing into the passenger-side window of his VT Commodore. Tony Shanks impressed with his fourth place finish, finishing ahead of Lindsay Kearns and Brad Carr, who recorded his best finish to date, in sixth. Shayne Hine and Brody Jarvis also experienced off-track excursions, but managed to avoid causing damage to their vehicles.
Reflecting on his performance, Beggs said it was good to have a strong showing, after a horror outing at the first round of the CAMS State Championship, in May.
“There was a lot of very fast, close racing and I was glad to pick up two wins to remain in the hunt for the title at the final round,” said Beggs.
Cowham (123 points) leads the CAMS Saloon Cars State Championship ahead of Beggs (113 points) and Carter (108 points) heading into the final round of the series at Morgan Park Raceway on November 19 and 20.