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Back to Back Beechey and Croswell Win in Dramatic Finish at Winton
Date : 26th June 2011 Comments : 0 Author : Octane Alley Category : Octane Alley

Back to Back Beechey and Croswell Win in Dramatic Finish at Winton

ADAM BEECHEY AND DEAN CROSWELL have combined to win back-to-back Ashley Cooper Memorial Trophies at Winton Raceway in dramatic fashion today.

After finishing second in yesterday’s first race, the pair won today’s 45-minute enduro despite a last-lap incident with Steve Owen that saw Beechey spun around with just three corners to go after an intense, door-to-door battle for the race win.

The pair emerged nose-to-tail after the two compulsory pit stops had been completed and, with ten minutes to go in the race, engaged in a mighty fight for the lead. 

The par ran side-by-side on the final lap and traded paint through the sequence of tight corners around Winton’s famous Gum Tree, but it was contact from Owen into turn nine that sent Beechey spinning off.

Owen was later penalised the equivalent of a drive-through penalty for the contact that, with Beechey recovering to cross the line second, dropped he and Geoff Emery to fourth place despite taking the flag first.

Tony Bates and David Russell finished a strong second, rebounding from their earlier difficulties and damage in race one – and having to nurse the car through with a suspect gearbox and fourth-gear selection issues. Matt Hayes and Christian D’Agostin finished today’s race third after Hayes chased Russell hard in the closing stages in the podium battle.

Chris Stevenson and Brett Holdsworth finished a solid sixth, ahead of Price / Buzadzic, Chick / Andrews, Preece / Tancredi and the Russell / McGregor car.

The race result ensured the Donut King Racing combo of Beechey and Croswell won their second consecutive Winton enduro event, co-driver Croswell taking his third crown from four starts after winning in 2010, and 2008, respectively.

It also rockets Beechey, the defending champion, to the top of the standings after three of the scheduled six rounds this year.

“We’re looking at nine podiums in a row now, and back to back Ashley Cooper Trophies so it’s just awesome,” Beechey enthused.

“Dean (Croswell) did an amazing job and Kenton (Ferguson, team manager) works so hard on the car and it was just faultless all weekend.

“A big thinks to Achilles, Octane Alley and Donut King, and also to Jeff Watters for the loan of his oil pump which was a big help.”

Beechey said his title defence started now that the two-driver races were done for the year.

“We’ve had a bit of speed this year from the first round at Wakefield and we progressed at Bathurst,” he explained.

“From here its single driver races and it comes down to me so the battle is on. I wasn’t lucky enough to know Ashley but from what I have heard he was an amazing guy. It’s fantastic to have two of them (the trophies) now.”

Croswell, who anchored the weekend with his fighting second yesterday, said he was thrilled with the result.

“I just hope someone asks me to come back next year!” the former series champion said.

“I really enjoy it. It’s a great series and these races are great fun - it’s good to come back out every year and do it. I’ve run this race with Kenton every time and we’ve had a lot of success!”

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After their disappointment in race one, Matt Hayes and Christian D’Agostin rebounded brilliantly in the second race to score second overall for the weekend in their San Marco Italian restaurant VS Commodore.

Round two winners Drew Russell and Ross McGregor finished the round third overall despite mechanical dramas dropping them down the order in today’s race.

A consistent performance from Marcus Zukanovic and Gerard McLeod kept the Action Racing Commodore in the title fight, Zukanovic holding third in an ever-tightening championship battle.

At the half way point of the series, the top four drivers in the championship are covered by less than 40 points with Beechey now heading McGregor by 12 points, Zukanovic by 14 and Matt Hayes by 33.

The next round of the championship will revert to the single-driver format at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway in July.

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CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS – after 3 of 6 rounds.

1. Adam Beechey 377

2. Ross McGregor 364

3. Marcus Zukanovic 363

4. Matthew Hayes 344

5. Tony Bates 320

6. Geoff Emery 303

7. Chris Stevenson 290

8. Matt Chick 281

9. Danny Buzadzic 272

10. Dean Croswell 262