|The 2002 Nationals were held in the National Capital of Canberra and this would be the first time the protagonists from this event would be meeting up again at the Kambah venue. National Champion Abbot driving his Associated and 2nd and third place finishers Nicholson and the unlucky Campbell (Xray’s) would all be present. In fact eight of the ten national finalists were at this event.
Qualifying was split over the Saturday (4 rounds) and the Sunday (2 rounds).
On the Saturday Night after 4 rounds of frantic qualifying Abbott (Associated) hold the top spot from Campbell (Xray) and Gavin Leys (Schumacher) third. So a heavy nights work was ahead as drivers changed their cars for the final 2 rounds to cope with the high traction levels at the Kambah circuit.
Sunday morning and the final two rounds. Round 5 saw Abbott improve his time to a 21/510 only 1 second in front of an improving Campbell then Griffin and Jason Dodds also on a charge.
Into the final and frantic round six, Campbell put it together to snatch the top spot by the smallest of margins with a 21/510, Dodds, Leys, Awizen, Vercoe, and Mackrill also all improved their times to book a spot in the final.
The unlucky driver from all this was Michael Clark who set a time good enough for 7th position but, had the time disallowed after a protest, due to a lost transponder, despite the fact that it had been counted manually. Oh well what do you do!
Top Ten Final Qualifying Touring Car Modified.
Pos. Driver Car Laps Time
1 D Campbell Xray T1 21 310
2 A Abbott Associated 21 310
3 J Dodds Xray T1R 21 313
4 G Leys Schumacher 21 314
5 M Griffin Associated 21 315
6 S Awizen Schumacher 21 316
7 B Vercoe Xray T1 20 301
8 C Putnam Schumacher 20 305
9 J Zarb Xray T1 20 306
10 K Mackrill Yokomo 20 306
So four Xray cars would go up against 3 Schumachers, 2 Associateds and 1 Yokomo.
At the start Campbell got away well, Abbott made a mistake and dropped back allowing Dodds through into second. Dodds never really closed the 5m gap that Campbell established and with about a minute to go dropped back as he dumped slightly. On the last lap the recovering Abbott and Griffin both passed Dodds to take second and third. Dodds was fourth followed by Leys, Awizen, Vercoe, Mackrill, Putnam and Zarb.
At the start Campbell was asleep allowing both Abbott and Dodds to get the jump on him. Dodds led for around the first two minutes until clipping a dot and getting stuck in the barrier, this allowed Abbott through into the lead with the hard charging Campbell tucked in right behind looking for way past.
With a minute and a half to go Campbell drew along side down the straight then switched back to the inside to pull of a fantastic pass through the flatout sweeper. Campbell then instantly opened a gap of about three seconds and drove onto a dominate victory becoming the 2003 ACT Champion. Abbott was second followed by Leys, Griffin, Vercoe, Mackrill, Putnam, Awizen, Zarb and Dodds.
Campbell got a great start in the third final followed by Abbott. These two cleared out from the rest but Abbott could never really get close enough to put any pressure on. Behind these two an epic battle was taking place between Awizen, Putnam and Leys with Vercoe charging up from behind. At the finish Campbell ran out a convioncing winner from Abbott, Awizen, Putnam, Vercoe, Leys, Mackrill, Dodds, Griffin, Zarb.
So after the three finals Darrin Campbell driving his Trinity powered Xray T1 Evo-2, had decimated the high quality field with three straight A final victories.
Pos. Driver Car
1 D Campbell Xray T1
2 A Abbott Associated
3 M Griffin Associated
4 G Leys Schumacher
5 S Awizen Schumacher
6 B Vercoe Xray T1
7 C Putnam Schumacher
8 J Dodds Xray T1R
9 K Mackrill Yokomo
10 J Zarb Xray T1
Another well run event by the ACTRCCC congratulations to Bob Jorgenson on a job well done. All competitors are now looking forward to the Australian Championships, which this year will be held at the Rooty Hill venue in November.