25 October 2011

Neale Muston has taken then honours at Round 8 of the Radical Clubman Cup at Eastern Creek.
The event featured the first-ever competition at the newly-formed "North Circuit".  The shortened 2.5km layout used a left-right combination of bends connecting the existing 3.9km layout between turns 4 and 9.  Whilst laptimes had shortened, the average lap speed was increased and the new bends certainly proved an exciting new challenge.

In qualifying on Saturday, most drivers had never seen the layout so it was a baptism of fire.  Pole honours went to title leader Michael Shaw with a 1:01:06.

Due to the abandonment of Race 3 of the Radical Clubman Cup round 5 in June, a "make-up" race was held as first event on Saturday afternoon.  Only those entitled to have gridded up for that June race were permitted to run, so nine Radicals in that prior race's grid positions lined up.  Shaw bolted from pole to take an uneventful win, over Peter Opie and Phil Anseline.  The start saw Nathan Brumby and Steve Shelley slightly touch when the former stalled.  Neale Muston, starting from rear-of-grid, clipped Brumby but forced his way through the pack to nab 4th spot, with Sue Hughes and George Davis filling the next places.

In Round 8's first race that afternoon, the field all got off to a clean start.  Shaw and Muston staged a good battle at the front, with Shaw taking line honours and Muston grabbing fastest lap.  Peter Opie had battled both during the early stages, but ran wide on lap 2 letting most of the field through.  Chris Medland had a solid run to finish 3rd, with rookie Peter White having a solid finish behind Opie and Anseline.

Race 2 on Sunday saw pandemonium off the start line.  Shaw inched forward under red lights, and Muston in pole next to him faltered and stalled.  When the lights went off, Shaw got hit with a drive-through for a jump start, effectively ending his chances.  Meantime, Muston's stall let Opie clear out to take an eventual win.  Muston re-started and recovered to take second, with Anseline nabbing a solid third.  Medland, White and Brumby were next home, ahead of Hughes, Shaw and Davis.  Muston's fastest lap of 1:00.83 ended up being the weekend's best.

In Race 3, Opie from pole got jumped by Muston, who grabbed the holeshot into turn 2.  Both drivers had a splendid battle for the entire race, with there never being more than 2 seconds separating them.  Muston's eventual victory meant he took out round honours.  Shaw battled admirably from second-last grid position to snare 3rd spot.  Medland was consistent again for his fourth, with a great drive from Sue Hughes resulting in 5th.  Anseline was next up, ahead of Davis, while a touch between Brumby and White saw them DNF.

1st place - Neale Muston
2nd place - Peter Opie
3rd place - Michael Shaw
Drivers Excellence Award - George Davis

Stay tuned for next and final Radical Clubman Cup Championship at Wakefield Park next month.
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