It was quality over quantity for round 4 of the 2018 MG Road Racing Championship as we headed to the picturesque Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
It was a case of quality over quantity with 5 outright V8’s that bolstered the competition and a championship that is coming to its head between two V8’s and a four cylinder.
Early pace setter in qualifying was Vince Gucciardo with a 1:49.4 before overheating issues put him back in the garage, while Rodney Gibb set a 1:53.9 to place second early one before Phil Chester pumped out a 1:43.07 before putting the car back in the garage. Richard Milligan set a 1:46.8 to bump Gucciardo to 3rd as Jason Holmes bumped himself to 4th as a gaggle of late flyers came through, Ben Muller in his GT V8, Ed Ferguson in his TR7 and Chris Gidney in his ZR all jumped Gibb before St John Cox, Andrew Watson, Trevor Dunford and Keith Ondarchie rounded it out.
Race 1 and Chester got the jump from Milligan, Holmes, Muller and Ferguson. Chester pulling a 1.5 second lead on the opening lap before Milligan came to a halt trackside with tail shaft issues and Muller passed Holmes for second place while Rodney Gibb moved up to 5th place ahead of Gidney and St John Cox. Gibb and Muller both pushing set 1:53 second laps as Gibb got by Ferguson for 4th and set his sights on Holmes. Passing Holmes Gibb and Muller were close together before Gibb made a move on Muller with a lap to go and the pair crossed the line just .4 of a second apart while Chester comfortably took a 10 second lead. Holmes dropped from 3rd to 6th in the closing stages as Ferguson and Gidney moved to 4th and 5th respectively.
Race 1 would prove to be a significant game changer for Richard Milligan’s championship tilt with the DNF costing him for the round points against Chester.
Race 2 on Sunday morning and Chester again lept away early on from Ferguson, Gibb, Muller, Gidney and Holmes as Muller got back up to second place ahead of Gibb and Ferguson while Gidney and Holmes ran line astern Muller got under the 1:50 barrier and set a fastest lap of 1:48.34 and Gibb a 1:52.5. Gidney and Holmes battled for 4th and 5th as Ed Ferguson retired from the race.
Richard Milligan returned in his four cylinder MG B and ran 7th from the back of the field behind St John Cox and set a 1:58.5 on his way. Chester took the win from Ben Muller and Rodney Gibb making it a V8 1-2-3 with Gidney and Holmes in the ZR’s 4th and 5th. Trevor Dunford and Andrew Watson battled away for 8th and 9th and had a great battle crossing the line just a second apart.
Race 3 and it was Chester and Muller who got the jump, Chester gapped the field by 4 seconds on lap two and drove away from the field. Gidney slotted into 3rd place with the absents of Gibb and Holmes who did not start the final race. St John Cox and Dunford ran 4th and 5th ahead of Watson and Ferguson. Ferguson again dropped off on lap 5 and did not finish while Watson got lapped on the final lap. Chester streaked to a 8 second win from Muller, Gidney was a distant 20 seconds back in third.