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More than 150 racers descended on South Coast Raceway for the first Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series outing of 2019, which was held under beautiful blue skies.

This weekend’s South Coast 660 event marks round six of the 18/19 Summit Racing Equipment Sportsman Series and with qualifying now wrapped up, the field is gearing up for an exciting race day tomorrow (Sunday 13 January).

Topping the qualifying sheets for their brackets were Charlie Saraceno (Super Gas), Amber Young (Summit Racing Equipment Junior Dragster), Gordon Crawford (Modified Bike), Malcolm Todd (Super Street), Rob Camilleri (Super Sedan), Adam Mundy (Modified), Paul Stephen (Supercharged Outlaws), Darren Saliba (Top Sportsman) and Rob Cassar (Competition Bike) while Craig Geddes (SuperComp) was the Sunoco 260GT Plus Top Qualifier.

All of the Top Qualifiers will receive a Top Qualifier’s Medallion thanks to TileCo-TheShowerPeople and KC Tools at Sunday afternoon’s presentations, as well as a Summit Racing Equipment pack.

For Charlie Saraceno, the day’s result marks a highlight in the ongoing development of his Chevrolet Vega which he purchased from fellow Super Gas competitor Michael DeRose two years ago.

“It is definitely a big surprise (to top qualify), especially as we were having issues in the first two runs,” said the Adelaide racer who is supported on-track by Salisbury South Mechanical, Distinctive Homes, Marusic Inductions and Arbonne by Julie.

“Having top qualified, that means I have a first round bye tomorrow so I am going to use that to my advantage and try and sort the car given my first two qualifiers weren’t the best today – hopefully we can fine tune it and run as close as I can to the ‘6.30’ and also get it running consistently as we go through the rounds; my aim is to go all the way to the end if I can!

“I would really like to thank Michael DeRose as he has been a major help to me throughout the whole process to get it to where it is today, and also my crew and my son as well as all of our sponsors – without their help we wouldn’t be where we are today.

“Today’s result is a big success for me to get it going as good as we did, especially given that what we were doing earlier in the day was just a disaster! This is my first top qualifier result, so I am very, very happy and I am really looking forward to tomorrow.”

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In the Modified Bike ranks, Gordon Crawford is also celebrating after taking out his first ever Top Qualifying result.

“I knew that we were doing well and were putting down some good numbers today but it was still a nice surprise; this is the first time in 14 or so years of racing that I have ever top qualified in any bracket I have raced in,” the racer from Western Australia explained while thanking sponsors The Moving Man and West Coast Fasteners.

“(Before Mildura) I sold the Destroyer that I was riding after two and a half very successful seasons with five trees won and bought my Suzuki which used to be owned by Ryan Learmonth. It has taken me a while to get used to the tune and the idiosyncrasies of the bike – at Mildura I couldn’t even get the thing down the track with clutch issues, air issues, electrical issues…they were all coming together.

“Since then we have done some work and run a couple of meetings at the Motorplex to get it all ironed out, and now we have come here and got lucky!” he laughed. “There wasn’t much in it – in the first pass I had to adjust it a bit as we were running a little lean, but then in that last one we were able to put down a nice pass and it was just enough to top qualify, but not by much!

“It is always great to race here, people were popping personal bests everywhere this afternoon and that is great to see. Hopefully the air stays good as it usually does and the racers and the spectators will be in for some great racing tomorrow.”

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Modified racer Adam Mundy is another racer reflecting on a time-sheet topping performance.

“The first qualifying run for us was a 4.638 with a 0.02 reaction time. We thought we would stiffen the shocks a little bit as the track was so sticky, and then we did another pretty much perfect run of 4.635 with a 0.01 reaction,” explained the Port Lincoln racer.

“We didn’t worry about the third qualifier after those two perfect runs! The weather is looking good for tomorrow, so we are not going to touch the car, we will just leave it as it is. It has been an absolutely perfect event so far, qualifying ran on schedule and the organisers and volunteers all did a great job – the South Coast 660 is a great event and I love racing here.

“A big thanks goes to my crew chief Des Mundy and also John Boundey, as well as Steve and Leanne Braggs for the absolutely perfect car – I bought it from them around 18 months ago and they have helped me out a lot along the way.”

For event results as the event continues to unfold, visit https://southcoastraceway.com.au/index.php/the-venue/race-day-information

The South Coast 660 action at South Coast Raceway will continue with racing from 10.00am Sunday 13 January. For further information, visit www.southcoastraceway.com.au or www.andra.com.au

Images by Automotive Event Images

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