The great thing about the Shannon’s Motorsport Championships is the wide range of categories. No two racing series are the same. In particular, the Trans-Am series brings American muscle to Aussie racetracks in the form of high horsepower pack racing with plenty of action.
These cars are animals to drive over a single lap, so there’s no doubt coming into a race weekend that with the packed grids, the racing will be just as exciting.
And that’s exactly what we got during Round 2 of this year's Trans Am Series at the tricky Phillip Island Circuit.
After a frantic opening round at Symmons Plains, Tim Brook lead the championship by only two points ahead of reigning champion Nathan Herne.
In Practice 1, Trans Am frontrunner Ben Grice would go fastest with a 1:34.3, with Nathan Herne half a second behind and racing veteran Owen Kelly only two tenths behind Herne.
Second practice would see the top two reversed as Nathan Herne headed Ben Grice by only three hundredths of a second as the clouds parted and track temperatures rose. Nic Carroll in one of the only Dodge Challengers in the field would show his pace grabbing third, only three tenths behind the top two.
However disaster would strike for Adam Hargreaves and his team, as in the early stages of qualifying, he would crash into the Turn 1 tyre wall, almost totaling his car. Qualifying would therefore be declared as repairs were made to the damaged safety barriers.
At the start of Race 1, GRM driver Nathan Herne would go from fifth to third in the opening corner as Ben Grice grew a steady lead. There would be plenty of biff and barge throughout the field, as Mark Crutcher and Edan Thournburrow would both have separate off track excursions.
However it would be Dalton Ellery that would bring out the Safety Car when he got stuck in the kitty litter. This would diminish Ben Grice's lead, allowing both Nathan Herne and Owen Kelly to overtake in the final laps. However, Herne would be penalised post race for contact with Owen Kelly, dropping him to fourth, giving Owen Kelly the win, Tim Brook second and Ben Grice third.
Race 2 would feature one of the craziest moments of the entire weekend. Nathan Herne and Ben Grice would make contact going towards Turn 2. Grice would slide across back onto the track in front of the pack, somehow saving it and avoiding what could have been a very large crash.
Second generation racer Nash Morris would lose power steering off the top of Lukey Heights laps later, but would masterfully get it back to the pits.
In an amazing effort by T2 Racing, Adam Hargraves Chevrolet Camaro was repaired and back racing on Sunday, however Hargraves had nowhere to go when Mark Crutcher spun on his own, giving the no. 20 a front right puncture.
Owen Kelly would lead from start to finish to grab his second race win in a row. Tim Brook would grab second off of Nathan Herne in a last corner pass before the chequered flag.
The final race of the weekend for Trans Am would no doubt be the most action packed. Ben Grice would have more bad luck, as he would be pushed wide, causing him to do pirouettes on the grass. He would then be called into pit lane as his team was worried of engine failure. Brock Boley would have an engine failure late in the race, whilst John Holinger would lose the rear all on his own, causing Mark Crutcher and Adam Hargraves again to run into each other. Nic Carroll would also spin whilst coming onto the back of the slow Jackson Rice.
At the front however, Nathan Herne would muscle past teammate Owen Kelly to grab redemption from his penalty in Race 1, and his second win of the season.
As the Trans Am series heads to Bathurst, Nathan Herne leads Tim Brook by a slim margin of just seven points. The only certainty then, is that wherever this championship races, there will be plenty of door-to-door action and close racing.