Adam Beechey has stamped his authority on the final round of the 2011 Commodore Cup national series at Phillip Island to win back-to-back national titles.
Beechey entered the weekend just one point ahead of his series rival, Matt Hayes, and the scores were levelled when Hayes collected a bonus championship point for qualifying on pole position.
However, Beechey turned it all around in the races, finishing ahead of Hayes in Race 1 and Race 2, and one spot behind Hayes in the final, to comfortably claim the title.
Adam Beechey becomes the first driver to win consecutive Commodore Cup series since Geoff Emery in 2004-05, while team owner Kenton Ferguson’s record now stands at three national titles from the last four seasons.
“To be honest, I came into the weekend a bit down in the dumps after the drive-through penalty in the last round at Sandown,” Beechey said.
“We raced in the Victorian Sports Sedan Championship here last weekend, and (former Commodore Cup and current Formula Ford front-runner) Scott Andrews and his engineer Sean Scott went through my in-car footage and helped me find a lot of time, which was really valuable.”
Beechey topped both practice sessions despite some setup challenges with the Donut King Commodore.
“The car was a bit slippery in the rear, especially exiting the low-speed corners,” he said.
Despite Hayes qualifying on pole position, Beechey still scored a front-row start, ruing an incident with Graeme Meer during the session.
“With the warm track conditions and the new, softer-compound control tyres, you really only had one chance to set a quick lap, and unfortunately I was balked by Graeme Meer in the final corner, which cost me about 0.8 of a second,” he said.
Adam made a great start in Race 1, beating Matt Hayes off the line and leading into the first corner. He led the opening laps of the race, before Marcus Zukanovic squeezed past. Beechey and Zukanovic swapped positions on a number of occasions before Zukanovic finally pulled away.
“Marcus was a lot faster than I was when he was behind me, but then once he got past me he seemed to slow down, which was a bit strange,” Beechey said. “I was able to get past him, but then the car started getting warm and the engine lost power. There was no point in fighting too hard with Marcus so I settled for second.”
The start of Race 2 proved to be one of the defining moments in the series. The top-10 reverse-grid format placed Beechey in ninth position on the grid, behind Matt Hayes who started seventh as a result of his fourth-place finish in Race 1.
At the start, Beechey used his experience and race-craft to execute a brilliant manoeuvre around a battling pack of cars at Turn 2, and moved up to third position, before overtaking Danny Buzadzic at Turn 4 to move up to second. He then drew level with Jordan Symes at the Hayshed when the safety-car was deployed for a crash involving Anthony Tancredi.
“I think I managed to overtake Symes before the safety-car was deployed, but I let him in front just to be on the safe side because I didn’t want to cop a penalty,” Adam said.
Beechey was able to overtake Symes just after the race restarted, and from there he claimed victory ahead of Hayes and extended his series lead to 12 points. With one race remaining, he needed a top-3 finish to secure the title.
After starting on pole position for the final, Adam led initially but was overtaken by Matt Hayes. He maintained his second position behind Hayes for the remainder of the race to secure the title.
“I knew I just needed to bring the car home in second to wrap up the championship,” an overjoyed Adam Beechey said after the race.
“It is very satisfying to win back to back Commodore Cup titles, especially against Matt Hayes who was great competition all season. Kenton Ferguson did a great job of preparing the car as he did last year, and the fact that I have finished every single race over the last two seasons shows just how reliable Kenton’s car is.
“I would also like to thank Donut King and Achilles Tyres for their support throughout the season, without which we would not have been able to achieve this result,” Beechey concluded.
Round Results Summary, Commodore Cup Round 6, Phillip Island
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 2nd
Overall: 1st (140 points)
Commodore Cup – Top 10 Pointscore (Final Results for 2011)
1. Adam Beechey – 769
2. Matt Hayes – 762
3. Marcus Zukanovic – 696
4. Ross McGregor – 662
5. Chris Stevenson – 623
6. Matt Chick – 604
7. Danny Buzadzic – 573
8. Tony Bates – 542
9. Geoff Emery – 483
10. Graeme Meer – 357