Lister Bros Racing delivered a strong and consistent performance over the weekend at round one of the NSW Formula Vee Championship held at Wakefield Park Raceway. After facing some challenges on Friday practice with broken suspension and failed axel seal Paul, with the assistance of others, made the necessary repairs to ensure the car was ready for qualifying and three races held on Saturday and Sunday.
LBR were also able to identify and rectify the cause of a braking problem with the help of Formula Vee expert Gary Hook which translated into a much more stable car under brakes and faster lap times.
After qualifying 13th in a field of 19 cars, Paul was able to pick up one position in the opening race on Saturday afternoon to cross the finish line in 12th position. Race 1 was uneventful with only the front three runners changing positions multiple times while the rest of the field remained static.
Sunday proved to be the more exciting of the two-day race meet and the 12 lap race two commenced at 9.20am in what was fine but cool conditions. This time starting from P12, Paul had an excellent start and was able to take one position on the opening lap before moving into 10th position on lap 4. Racing in the midfield was close and fierce with Leigh Porter and debutant Matthew Harriot both pressuring Paul where the group would continue to gain positions that saw the LBR Team Dockmate Polar lapping in 8th position.
Leigh Porters persistence paid off after he took Paul on turn 10 however Paul and Matthew remained on Leighs exhaust pipe for the remainder of the race before being overtaken by front runner Darren Williams after he came to grief earlier in the race.
Paul set a personal best time of 1m11s and secured a top 10 finish in what was an exciting and competitive outing.
Race 3 kicked off at midday on a much warmer track and after starting from P10 on the grid Paul slipped to 11th on the opening lap and remained in this position for the remainder of the race, but this was not without excitement and hard racing.
Paul was under constant pressure from the #16 Polar driven by Matthew Harriot with close quarters racing and with an occasional over take and re-take but it was on lap 7 of the 14 lap race that the two Polars came together at the end of the main straight and in the braking zone to turn 2. The LBR Polar was being overtaken on the outside when the two cars marginally clipped wheels which was enough to lift Harriott’s car into the air and launch him into the gravel trap.
Both drivers were ok and both cars sustained minimal damage, but it was an eye opener for both about the dangers of open wheel racing. Paul continued in 11th position until the finish, while Matthew Harriott rejoined the race and also finished.
The weekend delivered a solid opening round for LBR’s #18 Polar driven by Paul with a top 10 finish and personal best lap times. It is fair to say that Ben Lister, driving the #17 Lowes Petroleum Service Jacer will have his work cut out for him if he is to regain ground in the intra-team LBR Cup challenge.
Thanks to Paul Cochrane, Wayne Hamilton, Gary Hook, Matthew & John Harriott, Leigh Porter and John McDonald for your help and assistance over the weekend.
The next round of the NSW Formula Vee Championship will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 April.