Evans takes first victory with masterful display
National and international racing champ Simon Evans opened his winner's account in the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship with a masterful display in changeable conditions at Hampton Downs this morning.
“I was pretty comfortable. I’m getting my head around the set up and in the end it all worked out well. It’s great to be here and it’s always good to win,” said Evans afterwards.
It was another experienced racer John Penny who took the lead on the reverse top ten grid format and led the first lap of his return to the championship heading front row starters Mark Mallard and Christina Orr-West.
Mallard threatened early for the lead but it was Evans who moved through to second and then took the lead at the start of lap two, as a fierce battle raged behind. Further back Saturday winner Ryan Wood and second place finisher Rowan Shepherd were also making their mark on the race as they moved through the field.
Up front it was all eyes on Brock Gilchrist who moved past Penny and into second at the start of the third lap, leaving Penny with his mirrors full of Justin Allen and a small group which included Shepherd. Wood and Shepherd were next to make a move on Penny before Shepherd found a way by Wood and set about the race leaders.
With six laps gone, another significant rain shower arrived and cost both Shepherd and Allen plenty of time with a couple of wild moments. Shepherd survived and maintained his third position with Marco Giltrap and Ronan Murphy moving up after Allen's moment.
Saturday winner Ryan Wood fell away slightly from the battle and as the race closed out after an exciting final few laps of slipping and sliding in the challenging conditions it was the vastly experienced Evans showing his class and taking his first win in only his second Toyota 86 sprint race, followed by Brock Gilchrist who equalled his best result in the series and Rowan Shepherd a fighting third after a great drive.
Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship Round 1 Race 1
- Simon Evans - Giltrap Racing
- Brock Gilchrist - CareVets
- Rowan Shepherd - Rowan Shepherd Racing
- Ryan Wood - Ryan Wood Motorsport
- Marco Giltrap - Giltrap Racing
- John Penny - John Penny Homes
- Ronan Murphy - Dayle ITM Racing
- Mark Mallard - Creme Insurance
- Christina Orr-West - Dayle ITM Racing
- Alexandra Whitley - Tony Richards Toyota
- Justin Allen - Allen Racing Team
- Todd Foster - International Motorsport
- Tony Austin - Genweld NZ Ltd
- Tayler Bryant - MTF Finance
- Brian Scott - Giltrap Racing