Round 3 Review

Racing returned to Mallala for Round 3 of the CAMS SA State Championships. Adam Newton and Frank Chessell entered the halfway point of the championship leading their respective classes and looked to extend their lead. Cold but dry conditions greeted the drivers, while they were happy not to be getting soaked in the pits many struggled for grip early with the low temperatures.

Adam Newton took yet another pole position in the 1600cc class, followed by Joel Oliver and Peter Hood. Rob Surman was fastest 1200 ahead of Rod Kowald and Matthew Bialek. Qualifying also marked the debut of young racer Rhys Bartlett in the 1600cc Bee Cee whose speed steadily increased as he gained confidence in the challenging conditions.

Rhys Bartlett in his first Formula Vee weekend – Photo Krystle Newton

Race 1 was dominated by Adam Newton in the Adelaide Auto Air entry but he wasn’t going to have things go all his way this weekend. In race 2, Joel Oliver increased the pressure on Newton leading to a mistake at the Southern Hairpin which left Adam with a lot of work ahead of him to make his way back through the field. It took the remaining 8 laps, the fastest of which a 1:21.6 to catch Oliver, with the race coming down to the final few corners where Newton took the lead to win by less than a second. The fastest lap of the race was also the 2nd fastest time set by anyone on the Yokohama control tyre at Mallala.

Adam Newton chasing Joel Oliver – Photo Krystle Newton

Rob Surman was the top 1200 driver on Saturday, winning both races and finishing ahead of two 1600s. Frank Chessell and Matthew Bialek would finish on the podium for race 1, keeping Frank’s championship lead intact, while Rod Kowald and Matthew Bialek finished 2nd and 3rd for race 2.

Sunday’s weather was somehow even colder than Saturday, but thankfully still dry. Adam Newton won race 3 by less than a second ahead of the Jacer of Joel Oliver. While Peter Hood drove a consistent and clean race to remain on the podium. Rhys Bartlett was unfortunate to miss the start of Race 3 after the O ring on his oil filter failed due the cold temperatures and high oil pressure. Rod Kowald won the 1200cc race ahead of Surman and Bialek.

Surman and Lesnikowski raced closely but cleanly all weekend – Photo Krystle Newton

Rhys’s team worked hard between races to have him back on the grid for race 4 with a field of 1200s between him and his other 1600 competitors. He made his way through the pack to finish 6th on the road, just behind Greg Lesnikowski and Rob Surman who continued their close racing throughout the weekend. Adam Newton won race 4 ahead of Oliver and Hood. Rob Surman finished ahead of Matthew Bialek and Rod Kowald in a very competitive 1200 race.

Although the 1600cc round results almost certain there were still championship points to be earned and a race victory to be decided and it was another close race, this time as the cars went side by side through the final turn it was Joel Oliver who took a determined and well deserved race win. The 1200cc round was still undecided and with Rob Surman, Matthew Bialek, Rod Kowald and Jay Thompson all setting fastest laps within one tenth of each other it came down to the final lap, where Rob Surman prevailed to take the round victory and the lead of the state championship.

The 1200cc drivers battle each other through the final corner – Photo Krystle Newton

The 1600cc class had a new race winner for 2019 and the championship lead changed hands in the 1200cc class at Mallala, now all the drivers have their sights set on The Bend Motorsport Park for Round 4 on the 14th and 15th of September.

1600cc Class

  1. Adam Newton – Adelaide Auto Air – Saber 02
  2. Joel Oliver – Phoenix Lining Services – Jacer V2K
  3. Peter Hood – Direct Tyre & Auto Service – Jacer V2K

1200cc Class

  1. Rob Surman – Surman Metals – Stag
  2. Rod Kowald – Elfin NG
  3. Matthew Bialek – Spectre