Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - Main pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

FORD’S Chaz Mostert posted the quick­est prac­tice lap at the Wat­pac Townsville 400 yes­ter­day to sig­nal he is a se­ri­ous con­tender this week­end. Mostert’s lap of 1min 12.2648secs was lit­tle more than a 10th of a sec­ond out­side Jamie Whin­cup’s record. Scott McLaughlin was sec­ond quick­est yes­ter­day at Reid Park, ahead of Shane van Gis­ber­gen.

RACE fans tuned up for a week­end of Su­per­cars rac­ing at the Wat­pac Townsville 400 yes­ter­day with a hec­tic sched­ule of ac­tion on and off the track.

Fans poured into Reid Park from 7.30am yes­ter­day on the first day of the three­day event, which fea­tured prac­tice ses­sions for all com­pet­ing classes.

Crowd num­bers are ex­pected to to­tal 140,000 for the week­end.

Townsville’s Brett Barsby, who has at­tended the Townsville 400 ev­ery year, said it just kept get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter.

Brett, who is a “Holden per­son”, has backed Shane van Gis­ber­gen for the win this year. Join­ing him for day one were sons Se­bas­tian, 7, and Hunter, 5, who said vis­it­ing the Op­ti­mus Prime truck on dis­play was their favourite part of the day.

The new fea­ture at­tracted big num­bers of fans all day, keen to get a photo op­por­tu­nity with the Trans­form­ers movie char­ac­ter.

Jody and Eddy Zaal go to the Townsville 400 ev­ery year for a fa­ther and daugh­ter bond­ing week­end.

By lunchtime they had man­aged three au­to­graphs and a hot- lap win with Jody’s favourite driver Adam Mar­jo­ram.

“I found out and I started bawl­ing. Dad thought some­one died,” she said.

Eddy was equally ex­cited to have ac­cu­mu­lated on his pros­thetic leg the sig­na­tures of Jamie Whin­cup, Van Gis­ber­gen and favourite driver Craig Lown­des.

Lo­cal young­ster Dy­lan Lines, 10, said he loved the fast cars and his favourite driver was Lown­des. “I want to drive a V8 some day,” Dy­lan said.

Twelve- year- old Bill Sweet­man was happy to get to the event af­ter leav­ing Cairns with his fam­ily on Thurs­day night for one full day of ac­tion, be­fore head­ing home late last night.

Bill said he loved sound, the smell and speed of the cars.

“My favourite driver Jamie Whin­cup,” he said.

Re­becca Col­lard, from Townsville, said she loved the V8s for the at­mos­phere.

“Go the Kelly boys,” she said.

The Townsville 400 con­tin­ues to­day and to­mor­row with the main races on both days at 4.10pm. Tick­ets are still avail­able for the Townsville 400 through Tick­etek or at the gate with prices start­ing from $ 30 for an adult pad­dock pass and kids un­der 12 free.

Hunter, 5, Brett and Se­bas­tian Barsby, 7, with the Op­ti­mus Prime truck.

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