30/12/13…Pam Franz…courtesy of NSSS/SSA Media
Defending champion Darren Kane enjoyed a perfect start to his title defence with victory in the opening round of the 2013/2014 National Super Sedan Series at Toowoomba Speedbowl on Sunday night (December 29). Kane started on the outside front row and bided his time behind polesitter Michael Doblo before surging clear in the latter stages to score an emphatic win.
Doblo remained in second spot to the chequer, despite the best efforts of Australian Champion Matt Pascoe, who advanced from position nine on the grid to finish a fine third. However, Mark Pagel’s surge into fourth earned him the Supercharge Hard Charger Award, having started from position 13. Michael Nicola was the first of the interstaters in fifth, with Peter Nicola trailing his brother home in sixth. Brett Randall enjoyed a very solid series debut to annexe seventh overall, with Sean Black, Ian Brims and Bill Miller rounding out the top ten in advance of Jason Campbell, who was very strongly inside the top five until a clash with Dave Gartner saw him banished to the rear.
Although the 35-lap affair was interrupted by several restarts, the battles at the front of the field was of a very high quality on a multi-groove racetrack that facilitated plenty of passing and two-wide racing. The attrition rate was high with Gartner joined on the infield by Lachlan Onley, Steve Latham, Wayne Brims, Tony Barklimore, Matt Williams, Jack Childs, Graeme Elliott, Steve Pearce and Gary Pagel, who extracted plenty of pace from his turbocharged 6-cylinder powerplant and deserved a much better result for his efforts.
Doblo was the standout in qualifying, two heat wins good enough to secure pole position despite a collision with the concrete in his final heat that prompted a race against the clock to effect repairs and make the feature race grid. Other heat winners included Kane, Gartner, Campbell, Brims, Onley, Peter Nicola and Gary Pagel.
The B Main saw Bill Miller outpace Latham, Pearce and Black to the chequer, with Randall, Elliott, Childs and Mark O’Brien making the transfer, although the latter was unable to take his place in the field.
When the feature got underway, Doblo shot to the front ahead of Kane, with Brims and Mick Nicola in close pursuit. As the race progressed, the lead trio established a small margin to their pursuers, a Nicola quickly found himself under pressure from Gary Pagel, Campbell and Gartner. When Brims exited on lap 10, Nicola moved to third as Pascoe entered the equation, making good use of the high side of the track. When Campbell and Gartner tangled on lap 13, Pascoe found himself fourth for the restart and looking strong. On lap 18, Pascoe moved ahead of Nicola, with Kane relegating Doblo from the lead three laps later. Meanwhile, Mark Pagel was quietly going about his business further back, advancing to sixth on lap 26, moving ahead of Pter Nicola for fifth on lap 31 and then before deposing Nicola Snr from fourth on the final lap in a frantic finish.
Taking full advantage of the high attrition rate, Randall’s seventh place finish puts him as the best of the non-contracted drivers and the leader in the Queensland Cup heading into round two at Gympie on Tuesday night (December 31). Of the rest, Black struggled in qualifying but found some pace in the feature, while Ian Brims was destined for a better result until a spin sent him rearward.
2013/2014 National Super Sedan Series Round 1: 1 Darren Kane, 2. Michael Doblo, 3. Matt Pascoe, 4. Mark Pagel, 5. Michael Nicola, 6. Peter Nicola, 7. Brett Randall, 8. Sean Black, 9. Ian Brims, 10. Bill Miller, 11. Jason Campbell, 12. Matt Williams, 13. Jack Childs, 14. Steve Pearce, 15. Graeme Elliott, 16. Dave Gartner, 17. Wayne Brims 18. Gary Pagel, 19. Lachlan Onley 20. Tony Barklimore, 21. Steve Latham (6). DNS: Q99 Mark O’Brien.
2013/2014 National Super Sedan Series progressive pointscore: Darren Kane 566, Michael Doblo 512, Matt Pascoe 456, Mark Pagel 403, Michael Nicola 374, Peter Nicola 339, Brett Randall 288, Sean Black 271, Ian Brims 255, Jason Campbell 246, Bill Miller 240, Matt Williams 233, Wayne Brims 221, Dave Gartner 219, Steve Pearce 216, Gary Pagel 213, Jack Childs 213, Graeme Elliott 211, Lachlan Onley 208, Tony Barklimore 192, Steve Latham 179, Mark O’Brien 170, Shayne Lau 151, Dempsie Pails 33, Tania Smith 25
The 2013/2014 National Super Sedan Series is proudly supported by:
Speedway Sedans Australia
Super Charge Batteries
Queensland Saloon Car Association