Gilchrist takes first win – championship goes down to final race
CareVets racer Brock Gilchrist took his first win in the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship today after on the road winner Justin Allen was penalised for a jump start.
Allen seemed to deliver the perfect race at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park to secure his first win in the series, holding off Gilchrist, but a five second penalty for a jumped start dropped him to fourth place.
Gilchrist challenged throughout and was very satisfied with his race. "I was pushing pretty hard, trying to keep the pressure on him but I just couldn’t find a way past,” he said. The win would ultimately come his way once post-race penalties were applied.
Simon Evans finished second and Rowan Shepherd third, giving them a good haul of points but a dramatic race for championship leader Ryan Wood means he’ll start the final race of the championship behind Shepherd on points.
Wood had to fight back after contact between himself and Marco Giltrap sent both almost to the back of the field. Wood’s recovery drive was superb, but at the flag he was only seventh and stayed in that position after Allen’s penalty was applied.
Shepherd will now head into the final race of the championship with a small lead over Wood who is just ahead of Evans.
The race itself proved to be another absolute epic, with Allen and Gilchrist making the early break leaving a frenetic battle behind them. Once Evans had emerged from this to establish himself in third the attention turned to Shepherd and Woods progress through a pack that included Ronan Murphy, Christina Orr-West, John Penny, Hugo Allan and Giltrap.
The changes were too frequent to call in an extraordinary race long battle, but all attention was on the progress of Shepherd and Wood through the reverse grid. Shepherd got himself ahead of Murphy and Giltrap early and Wood, who started a row behind, was doing the same.
It all went wrong for the championship leader at the start of lap four when he and Giltrap made contact at turn one, bringing both to a standstill. Both got going again quickly, but the damage had been done for Wood and he had to focus on recovery.
It was an extraordinary effort to get back up to seventh, passing Mark Mallard, Tayler Bryant, Allan and Orr-West and keeping his championship hopes alive.
After the post-race investigations, it was Gilchrist from Evans and Shepherd completing the podium. Allen dropped to fourth with Murphy fifth after another solid performance. Penny was classified sixth ahead of Wood, Orr-West and Bryant, with Hugo Allan completing the top ten finishers.
Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship – Round 5 Taupo- Race 2
1 Brock Gilchrist
2 Simon Evans
3 Rowan Shepherd
4 Justin Allen
5 Ronan Murphy
6 John Penny
7 Ryan Wood
8 Christina Orr-West
9 Tayler Bryant
10 Mark Mallard
11 Hugo Allan
12 Marco Giltrap
DNF Todd Foster
DNF Alexandra Whitley