THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF MOUNT PANORAMA


It was a mixed bag of highs and lows at Australian motorsport’s Holy Grail, Mount Panorama, for rising Supercar racer Thomas Randle on the weekend.

He won the second Super2 race of the weekend to take the round honours and extend his lead in the championship, but had a torrid Sunday in the Bathurst 1000 – dealing with multiple mechanical gremlins which effectively ruined the race before it had begun.

“The Super2 results were fantastic – to finish second and first in the two races to take the round was exactly what we wanted, even though we could have won on Friday if it weren’t for an electrical gremlin – now we are just waiting to see if that’s the end of the season.”

As things stand, Randle currently leads the Super2 series and it’s unknown if there will be any further rounds in this COVID shortened three round season.

Its left Randle and his Matthew White Motorsport team in limbo.

“It is frustrating, I won’t lie. And to be honest it’s pretty disappointing that we still don’t have any clarity on what’s happening next,” Randle said.

“If the weekend was to be the final round, ideally the sport should have announced that by Saturday at the latest so we all knew what we were racing for, and we could have at least been able to be acknowledged as the champion.”

“It would have been a nice platform and a chance to show off our sponsors and to celebrate Matt and his team at Mount Panorama – I mean I just don’t know how they acknowledge it going forward – it surely requires more than just a press release.”

Then came Randle’s second attempt at the Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 – which had been highly anticipated by the 24-year old as he joined former winner Nick Percat at Brad Jones Racing.

But after qualifying for the Top Ten Shootout on Friday, not much went right for the promising duo for the remainder of their weekend.

Percat lost his stunning lap time which qualified the #8 Commodore on the second row of the grid – after a technical breach relegated them from fourth to tenth.

“Unfortunately, our car was found to be 2 kilograms underweight,” Randle said.

“And then things didn’t get much better in Sunday morning warm up when a power steering pump failed.”

The power steering failure ruined the team’s warm-up, which then had his BJR crew scrambling just to have the car ready for the start of the biggest race of the year.

“I’m so glad we made it to the grid, it’s a credit to the whole team at BJR, and for everything that happened that was bad on Sunday – to get to start on the grid in the Bathurst 1000 was the highlight of the weekend, I loved it!” Randle said.

“But from then on it was a grind – we had another power steering pump fail, and then we had coil and injector failures in the engine – it was just a tsunami of dramas for everyone.”

Eventually the pairing of Randle and Percat limped to the finish line, 28 laps off the lead, to cap off a brutal day for Brad Jones Racing.

Thankfully Randle was able to return home on Monday to Victoria, after three months spent living in Queensland preparing for the Supercar enduro.

“It was great to see mum and dad after so long apart – we took the punt to steer clear of being home with the COVID issues in Melbourne – and base myself in Queensland to give us the best Bathurst preparation,” Randle said.

“But to get home to see my folks, get some of mum’s home cooking, talk racing with dad, and get in my own bed after so long away was a relief – although Melbourne is a different place with everyone wearing face masks.”

“I’d just like to thank Matt White and his loyal crew – who had to quarantine just to be allowed into New South Wales – and I’ll never forget their commitment to allow us to go racing on the mountain.”

“And I’d also like to mention my great friends and supporters from Skye Sands, ACT Fence Hire, DeVilbiss, Herzog Steel, Tileflair, Weber Stores Canberra and Harvey Norman Commercial - they’ve been able to help me chase my dreams and I’ll be forever thankful to them.”

© 2020 by Thomas Randle

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