An Action-Packed Weekend for Tickford’s Trip Across the Bass Strait
Round wrap-up for the 2021 Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint
The third round of the 2021 Supercars Championship brought us across the Bass Strait for the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint. Taking place at Launceston’s Symmons Plains Raceway, the 2.4km long track was host to Race 6, 7, and 8 of the 2021 Championship. Fairly simple in its layout with only seven corners to worry about, Symmons Plains Raceway always makes for an action-packed race weekend thanks to its high speed sections that culminate into the sharp Brambles Hairpin. Accounting for three races of the championship, the drivers of the Ryco-backed Tickford Racing fleet had a lot of work ahead of them for their big Tasmanian weekend. Jack Le Broq in the the No. 5 Truck Assist Ford Mustang, Cam Waters piloting the No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Mustang, and James Courtney behind the wheel of the No.44 Boost Mobile Ford Mustang all gave us their thoughts before the big weekend. Jack Le Broq: “Tassie, it’s an awesome little circuit there. It’s always short, sharp, and produces some good racing, so I’m looking forward to getting back down there again. It’s always been nice to me in the past, I had a really good result there back in my first year in Supercars, so it’s a bit of a happy hunting ground. Hopefully we can go down there this time and have a good time. We were up and down a bit, pace-wise, over the first couple rounds, but some big positives came out of Sandown, so fingers crossed we can keep progressing on that and keep building on that speed, and some nice dry running to start building that progress throughout the weekend. Fingers crossed we have a really solid event, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Cam Waters: “We’ve had a pretty solid start to the year, a few seconds now, still hunting that first win, I got very close at Sandown, but I’m excited to get to Tassie. Obviously we haven’t been there for a while, and recently it hasn’t been the strongest track for us but the car is very different since then as well. I’m pumped to get to Tassie and see what we can do.”
James Courtney: “I’ve had some good results at Tassie over the years, scored a fair few podiums there and there’s always great racing, it’s just a fun little track to race on so I’m looking forward to the weekend. We’ve had an okay start to the year, we just haven’t gotten the race results to show it this early in the season. But when we’ve had clean races we’ve been solidly in the top 10 so we know we’re close to having the car where we need it. Brad (Wischusen, engineer) and the boys have been working hard to find a little bit more speed in the Boost Mobile Mustang, so hopefully we get off to a good start on Saturday and set up our weekend well.”
The race weekend kicked off on the Saturday with Cam Waters absolutely blitzing the pack, placing 1st in both Practice 1 and Practice 2, ending the practice sessions with a best time of 50.724 seconds around Symmons Plains Raceway. Jack Le Broq wasn’t too far behind his stablemate, finishing both practice sessions at 4th place with a best time of 50.786 seconds. Meanwhile, James Courtney struggled to find pace, finding himself finishing Practice 1 at 18th place and Practice 2 at 22nd place, ultimately lapping the 2.4km track at a best tie of 51.251 seconds.
Cam Waters outstanding pace also translated to excellent results for Saturday’s Race 6 Qualifying Round, ultimately bagging 2nd place on the grid for the first race of the weekend with a best lap of 50.825 seconds, 0.3325 seconds behind pack-leader, Shane Van Gisbergen. Unfortunately, Jack Le Broq’s practice results didn’t quite translate into his qualifying results, finding himself at 16th in the pack to kick off Race 6 with a quickest lap of 51.277 seconds. James Courtney on the other hand, managed to improve his standing from practice to the first qualifying round, lapping Symmons Plains with a best lap of 51.107 seconds to a 13th place on the grid for Race 6.
As is standard fair for Symmons Plains, Saturday afternoon saw some action-heavy racing to round out the first half of the Tasmania SuperSprint. A hard fought race saw Cam Waters ultimately cross the line at 6th place after 44 gruelling laps of intense racing action. James Courtney and Jack Le Broq both managed to improve their standings by the end of the race, with Courtney moving one place up the grid, finishing at 11th place, and Le Broq fighting his way four places up the pack and crossing the line at 12th place.
As Sunday rolled over, the boys had a lot of ground to cover, kicking off the second half of the weekend with qualifying for Race 7 and Race 8. Cam Waters was at the top of his game for both qualifying sessions, bagging pole position to kick off both Race 7 and Race 8, setting a blistering 50.562 second best time to round off the Race 8 Qualifying session. Cam Waters had this to say about Sunday’s qualifying results: "The first session, I probably didn't get everything out of it, but I did a much better job in the second one."
"I'm a little surprised to get both poles, to be honest.”
"A bit of tyre life [in the races] would be awesome; we're really good over one lap, we have been all year.”
"As soon as we get in the races, the other cars look after their tyres a lot better than what ours can.”
"It's not through a lack of trying... hopefully we've gone in the right direction."
Meanwhile, Sunday’s qualifying sessions saw Jack Le Broq find himself at 8th of the grid to kick off Race 7 and 14th for Race 8. James Courtney’s standings improved between Race 7 and Race 8 qualifying, finding kicking off Race 7 towards the back of the pack at 19th and 11th place on the grid for the start of Race 8.
A running theme from Saturday, Cam Waters saw his pole position start drop to a fourth place finish after leading the early laps of the race. Race 7 saw no shortage of the action, most notably a head to head between Cam Waters and Jamie Whincup which saw both drivers battle it out side by side down the long sweeping section of Symmons Plains Raceway. Six laps later, Shane Van Gisbergen got past Cam Waters through the infamous Brambles Hairpin following an aggressive overtaking manoeuvre that saw Waters drop to his race-finishing 4th place standing. Cam Waters had the following to say about Van Gisbergen’s Race 7 antics: "It was an aggressive move but if I was in his position, I would have done the same thing.”
"I think he went pretty hot and didn’t leave me much room,"
"But it is what it is; he was quicker than me.”
Further down the pack, we saw the Tickford stablemates round out Race 7 with a 21st place finish for the Jack Le Broq and 22nd place for James Courtney. Race 8 saw the similar results Cam Waters, starting from pole position before crossing the chequered flag. Thankfully, both Le Broq and Courtney managed to pick themselves up from Race 7’s finish at the back of the pack, finishing Race 8 at 19th place and 9th place respectively. It’s safe to say that the 2021 Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint delivered the kind of intense racing action that it’s been known for.
With the Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint in the books, Cam Waters stays put on the Driver’s Championship ladder at 4th place with 663 points. Jack Le Broq on the other hand, found himself moving four rungs down the championship ladder at 15th place with 392 points. James Courtney also managed to stay on the ladder, retaining his 16th placing on the ladder with 380 points. As for the Dunlop Team Championship, Tickford Racing dropped down the ladder to 4th place with 1043 points, with the Tickford-backed Truck Assist Racing keeping their 12th placing with 392 points.
The third round of the 2021 Supercars Championship calendar heads to Tailem Bend, South Australia for the OTR SuperSprint at The Bend Motorsport Park, running on the 8th and 9th of May.
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