Chester dominates 2021 opener

Round 1 – 2021 MG Racing & Invited British Sportscars

After a false start to 2020 it was a bit surreal as 12 months ago this was as far as our season went, the opening round at Sandown was run and won and then COVID-19 halted the world.

For 2021 we welcome expanded support from 2019 and 2020 partner Cranbourne MG whose owner has since opened Dandenong MG as well and now joined with the Booran Group umbrella as a partner for 2021. 

Booran also providing the course cars for the opening Sandown round to the MGCC with an all new MG HS and Hyundai safety car.  

In the off season Gary Bulmer purchased the Howell family build MG B Roadster that has been campaigned by Rhys Howell, Bulmer shaking the car down in preparation for a part season campaign during 2021.

A big innovation taken by the organising committee was to engage Blendline TV to live stream the event with each category contributing to the financial outlay, a very well received initiative that showcases what is in the motorsport world, the best kept secret of state racing.

28 entries rolled in for a huge weekend to kick start 2021 however we saw a few drop off before we even got there, Rodney Gibb got his MG ZT V8 ready but due to the late Victoria lockdown and uncertainty in the environment he withdrew but is planning on hitting round 2.  While Vincenzo Gucciardo was a late withdrawal due to family commitments and Robin Bailey found a late mechanical gremlin.

2020 is the first time in a very long time no champion was awarded, Philip Chester reverting back to his #72 although it didn’t stop him getting pole position from Ben Muller both in B GT V8’s.  Leading the Invited British Sportscars is Keith Ondarchie in 3rd in the Triumph Stag while Jim Robertson was 4th in the Midget Special.  The ever competitive historic and classic field was on fine form with Darren Souter placing 5th in qualifying and the first of the four cylinder MGB’s ahead of Richard Milligan, David Anderson, Gary Bulmer while Tony Vollebregt’s MG ZR mixed it up before Greg White, Peter Owen and then Alana Ondarchie in her Stag from Barry Pritchett, David Mottram, Richard Vollebregt rounded out the top 15 places.

Race 1

Muller bogged down off the line which saw Chester take the lead into turn 1 while Robertson and Keith Ondarchie battled for 3rd place, the big mover was Tony Vollebregt who went from 9th to 5th on the opening lap, finding four places by turn 4 with Milligan, Bulmer, Souter in chase. Peter Owen made a strong start moving up to 9th place by the end of the opening lap and Greg White was in 10th place. The following lap saw Peter Owen come to a halt while David Mottram found some speed on lap 2 and started progressing up the field, he qualified 14th and had now picked off Richard Vollebregt as lap 3 saw Gary Bulmer get by Milligan for 6th place only for him to come to a halt at the end of the backstraight with a gearbox issue.

Bruce Astbury in the MG TF LE 500 had moved from 16th up to be right behind David Mottram and both were knocking on the top 10 as Astbury got by on lap 4 for 11th place as both now had found themselves just on Alan Ondarchie in her Triumph Stag.  On lap 6 David Anderson came to a halt up the back straight, as the race was in it’s final stages we saw Astbury get by Ondarchie and apply pressure to Greg White who was running in 8th, on the final lap Astbury pulled off at turn 2 with a flat tyre while Alana Ondarchie now took up chase on Greg White, on the last lap she got by for 8th place as White would cross the line in 9th and Mottram in 10th just ahead of Richard Vollebregt.

Up front it was Chester who took the win from Muller, Keith Ondarchie, Jim Robretson and Tony Vollebregt for the top 5.  The final lap saw Rodger Chapman try a move on Jim Dodd but  couldn’t quite make it stick as Barry Pritchett had a fuel pressure issues on his TR6 which would see him drop off the weekend.

Race 2

Sunday morning and much cooler conditions greeted the grid as Chester once again got the jump as Keith Ondarchie made a play for second place in front of Muller and Jim Robertson off the start.  Tony Vollebregt cemented himself into 5th ahead of Alana Ondarchie and Richard Milligan off the start, by the time the field hit the end of lap 2 we saw Muller into second while Peter Owen got by Milligan for 7th place and David Mottram passed Gordon Bunyan for 12th as David Anderson came to a halt from just outside the top 10 places. 

Up front Chester had a clear gap from Muller as the field settled while Mottram took aim at Greg  White for 11th place and Jane Vollebregt was putting pressure on Jim Dodd for 16th place.  It didn’t take long before Mottram got by White and then took aim for Souter to break into the top 10, the MG B was on the move as on lap 4 Mottram got by Souter for 10th and then set his eyes on Richard Vollebregt as Bruce Astbury and Gordon Bunyan battled for 13th and on lap 5 Astbury made the move stick.

As we wound down to the final laps the big mover was Peter Owen who was on the back of Alana Ondarchie and moving forward, he found enough pace to make a move with just over a lap to go while further down Mottram got by Richard Vollebregt for 9th and Astbury on the run to the flag got by Greg White for 12th overall.

Race 3

The final race of the weekend and it was as expected a Chester show out front from Muller and Keith Ondarchie again as Andrew Watson got by Jane Vollebregt and Jim Dodd off the start who came from rear of grid.  Alana Ondarchie and Peter Owen  battled hard with Tony Vollebregt in chase, an Ondarchie in 3rd and 4th as Jim Robertson was also pushing forward from rear of grid.

David Mottram and Richard Milligan picked up battle at the back of the top 10 with Darren Souter, Richard Vollebregt and Greg White chasing hard.  Jim Robertson pushed by Tony Vollebregt into turn 2 on lap 3 and set off in chase of Peter Owen and it didn’t take long before he picked off Owen for 5th place and Tony Vollebregt following by making a move into turn 1 on lap 4.  Bruce Astbury found his way by Greg White and Richard Milligan although they continued to apply some pressure as back towards the front Alana Ondarchie now found herself under pressure for 4th from Jim Robertson.  Tony Vollebregt found his mojo to chase hard and then Tony found his way by into turn 1 and then Peter Owen made a dive into turn 2 on Alana Ondarchie who found herself under attack from all behind.

As the race moved into it’s late stages we saw Tony Vollebregt push hard on Jim Robertson as the pair went side by side into turn 1 and then into turn 2, Vollebregt making a move into turn 4 as Peter Owen slowed onto the back straight.  Keith Ondarchie came to a halt with a broken throttle cable, the big battle was Tony Vollebregt and Jim Robertson who battled very hard for the podium places which allowed Alana Ondarchie to stay in touch behind.

At the flag Chester took the lead ahead of Robertson and Tony Vollebregt on the podium as Alana Ondarchie stuck in 4th with Richard Milligan and David Mottram battled 5th and 6th, Astbury picked up 7th in a strong run from Souter, Richard Vollebregt and Greg White for the top 10.

A big thank you to Blendline TV for putting together a great live stream you can find on Blend Line TV Youtube channel, Sean Herlihy for jumping in the commentary box all weekend, Booran Motors for their support and supply of the safety and course cars and finally our round trophy sponsor Splatts.

Round 2 is not far away and keep an eye on