Beechey and Crosswell: Back to Back CCUP Enduro Champions
Adam Beechey and Dean Crosswell have taken out the fourth-annual Commodore Cup Endurance Challenge meeting at Winton Raceway on the weekend, and claimed the prestigious Ashley Cooper Memorial Trophy for the second-consecutive year.
After qualifying in third position, Beechey and Crosswell finished second in Race 1 and first in Race 2. The event was momentous for both drivers; reigning champion Adam Beechey has now scored nine consecutive podium finishes in the Commodore Cup national series and has taken the series lead, while Dean Crosswell has won three out of the four Endurance Challenge events since the format was introduced to Commodore Cup in 2008. Interestingly, Crosswell has also moved into the top-10 in the outright Commodore Cup standings despite only competing in the two twin-driver meetings.
The event was not without some controversy for the team, with Beechey spinning off the circuit after a tap from two-time Fujitsu V8 Supercar champion Steve Owen on the final lap of Race 2, while the two drivers were battling for the lead. While Owen crossed the finish line first, he was penalised for the incident, elevating Beechey and Crosswell to the race win.
“Overall, I’m just stoked to come away with another round win,” Beechey said. “The calibre of the drivers in the field this weekend was extremely high; there were drivers with lots of experience in both the Fujitsu Series and the main game V8 Supercar Championship, so to beat them all is extremely satisfying.”
Beechey started the weekend’s first race out of third position, before taking advantage of an early safety-car to pit for a wheel change on Lap 4. He rejoined in the effective race lead, and handed the Donut King Commodore over to Dean Crosswell for the run home on Lap 9.
Once the pit-stop shuffle was complete, Crosswell held second position behind the entry of Matt Hayes and Christian D’Agostin. However, he was then forced to defend his position from a hard-charging Drew Russell. Eventually Russell found his way past, and Crosswell was relegated to third, but he was elevated to second when Matt Hayes and Christian D’Agostin were penalised for performing their driver change too early.
“That was a really good, fair battle with Drew,” Crosswell said. “At one stage, he gave me a bump and overtook me, but then readdressed and let me back through. I was quite happy to be beaten by someone who raced so fairly.”
Crosswell was installed in the Donut King Commodore for the opening stint, and made a great start, taking the lead from Ross McGregor into Turn 1. He then pulled away from the field, establishing quite a healthy margin by the time he pitted for the compulsory wheel change on Lap 7. He stayed in the car for a further six laps, giving the car back to Beechey on Lap 13.
By the time all pit-stops were complete, Beechey was in the lead, albeit with Steve Owen not too far behind.
“When I took over the car, it felt strong and I was happy with my lap times,” Beechey said. “Unfortunately, I lost some time negotiating a few lapped cars, and towards the end of the stint, my tyres started to lose their performance. Steve Owen had much fresher tyres than I did, because he didn’t finish the first race, so he really started to catch up to me in the last couple of laps.
“On the very last lap, I was just holding my line, as I was entitled to do, and unfortunately Owen hit my car in the left-rear quarter panel between Turn 8 and 9, spinning me off the track.
“I really thought a driver of his pedigree would have known that you can’t really overtake in that part of the circuit, and it was lucky that I was far enough ahead of all the other cars to come back onto the circuit and still finish second. Fortunately, the stewards had some clear footage of the incident on which to make their decision, and they penalised Owen for the incident, which elevated us to the race win.
“I can’t thank Dean Crosswell and Kenton Ferguson enough. Dean is the ideal co-driver; fast, consistent and always brings the car home in one piece, while Kenton always prepares cars that are strong and reliable, which is why I’m able to keep finishing on the podium. Jeff Watters also lent us an oil pump for Race 2, which was appreciated.
“Pit stops were obviously very important this weekend, and the crew did an awesome job. Our wheel changes were some of the fastest of the weekend.
“Thanks also to my sponsors, especially Donut King, Achilles Tyres and Octane Alley Race Engines, for their support, without which I couldn’t go motor-racing.
“The series lead is exactly where I wanted to be heading into the final three rounds of the year. I’m looking forward to the next round at Eastern Creek,” Beechey concluded.