Race Tasmania enjoys welcome return to racing

The first official race day of the Boost Mobile Race Tasmania has wrapped up with plenty of action taking place at Symmons Plains Raceway.

From the exciting national competitions such as the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series and the Australian S5000 Drivers’ Championship to the state level categories of the Hyundai Excels and Holden HQs, it was non-stop racing all day.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series
The headline act for the first major event for the year saw some drama unfold even before its first race of the weekend could get underway, as Michael Caruso had car troubles on the grid ahead of the formation lap.

Outside of that little mishap, it was a brilliant showing from the popular category with former Repco Supercars Championship driver Lee Holdsworth claiming pole position in a entertaining two-stage qualifying before converting it to the win in his debut race.

While he managed to grab the victory, it was no easy feat for the seasoned racer as he had to regain the lead from teammate Jordan Cox, who battled hard all day.

One of the standout performances of the races though went to the young gun Jay Hanson who finished in third place after enjoying a brilliant tussle with current Supercars star, Chaz Mostert.

Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters
It was a dramatic day for TCM as history was almost made and the emergence of a future star occurred as the category was the only one to enjoy two races across the day.

Starting off with the TCM Trophy race in the early afternoon, Marcus Zukanovic nabbed his first ever win in the series after comfortably seeing off the battle for second behind him between Gerard McLeod, Ryan Hansford and Adam Garwood.

While he may be 40-years-old, Zukanovic certainly has a bright future ahead of him after winning the trophy race, despite being unable to secure a victory in the next where he steered his Ford Falcon XD to fifth.

And it was in the category’s official race of the day where Australian motorsport veteran John Bowe came to within half a second of securing his 100th win in the category.

Having started on pole, Bowe was on track to become just the fourth driver in Australian history to win more than 100 career races in a specific series, but lost his place to Adam Garwood.

Unfortunately the Holden Torana driver couldn’t break past the leading Chevrolet Camaro despite the two cars battling out the whole race, forcing Bowe to postpone his record. Rounding out the podium was Ryan Hansford.

VHT Australian S5000 Drivers’ Championship

While Bowe came just short of making history in TCM, the record books were adjusted in the Australia S5000 Drivers’ Championship as three drivers managed to break the track’s 41-year-old lap record.

With the category having its first ever official race for points today, it was international debutante Joey Mawson who had a race to remember as he just managed to trump the feel-good story of Thomas Randle to the victory.

Both drivers started on the front row and it was Randle who was on pole, only for the Dunlop Super2 Series winner to lose his lead to the former FIA GP3 podium placer within the first lap.

Once Mawson got in front, he never looked back as the 24-year-old did a fantastic job to hold off a rampaging Randle. Finishing in third place, and joining Randle and Mawson as the lap record breakers, was former Supercars regular James Golding.

The competitors also made history by earning points towards the coveted Motorsport Australia Gold Star, which will be awarded to the Championship winner at the end of the season.

National Trans Am Series
It was a day of mixed emotions for Nathan Herne as the youngster failed to steer his S5000 entry to the finish line but he certainly made amends with a well deserved win in the National Trans Am Series.

It was a brilliant effort from the Queensland-based driver as he started the race behind Aaron Seton and local Tasmanian Owen Kelly, only to climb his way ahead of them throughout the 18-lap race.

Seton was the first to fall victim to the 18-year-old Dodge Challenger pilot with Herne overtaking him after seven laps, before ultimately taking the lead from Kelly with just four laps remaining.

Unfortunately for Kelly, it was a sour end to the day as he finished fifth behind Sam Walter and Brett Holdsworth – the latter finishing just two seconds behind Seton in third.

State categories
Making up the remaining three categories across the day were the Hyundai Excels, Improved Productions and HQ Holdens all having one race.

Doing double duties and enjoying a noteworthy set of results was Hanson with the TCR driver securing a memorable victory in the Hyundai Excels over category star Ben Grice, while Josh Webster finished third.

In the Improved Productions, Jarod House took out honours in the first race over Adam Williams and Jason House.

The final outing of the day saw the Holden HQs take centre stage as Phillip Ashlin ended up coming away with a solid three second win over Andrew Toth. The two drivers were a cut above the rest as the next best driver in Otis Cordwell was almost 10 seconds behind.

The action continues tomorrow with all categories to get two races throughout the day.

Australians can watch the action unfold via the Seven network from 11am AEDT or via the free 7plus app, while Kiwis and fans around the world can tune in via Sky Sports New Zealand and Motorsport.tv respectively.