Twi­light zone for Su­per­cars

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - PE­TER CAMP­BELL SCOTT WALSH

AUS­TRALIAN IRC cham­pion yacht Philoso­pher looks right on tar­get to re­tain its na­tional ti­tle in Vic­to­ria and also must rank as favourite to win the Launce­s­ton to Ho­bart Yacht Race on cor­rected time.

Philoso­pher, a Syd­ney 35cr owned and skip­pered by Der­went Sail­ing Squadron gen­eral man­ager Shaun Tiede­mann, had a bril­liant fi­nal pre-Christ­mas race day on the River Der­went yes­ter­day, win­ning both the races un­der IRC and AMS rat­ing cat­e­gories.

The Com­bined Clubs In­shore Se­ries race day pro­vided chal­leng­ing con­di­tions (an early af­ter­noon south-east­erly front of 23-25 knots) for Philoso­pher and other Ho­bart yachts head­ing off shortly for races back from Syd­ney, Mel­bourne and Launce­s­ton.

The Rivers­dale Es­tate Wines Launce­s­ton to Ho­bart Race starts from Beauty Point on De­cem­ber 27, with the Aus­tralian Yacht­ing Cham­pi­onships on Mel­bourne’s Port Philip in mid-Jan­uary.

Tiede­mann’s son, Sam, fresh from be­ing a win­ning crew­man for Michael Cooper’s Ex­port Roo in last week­end’s SB20 Aus­tralian cham­pi­onship, helmed Philoso­pher with great skill in the strong and gusty wind and choppy waters on the river.

Der­went Sail­ing Squadron race of­fi­cers ran two races for the In­shore Se­ries, the first a long river race, the se­cond a shorter wind­ward/lee­ward race.

Philoso­pher was at its best in the first race of the day, race three of the In­shore Se­ries, win­ning Divi­sion 1 IRC from Toby Richard­son’s har­bour racer X&Y and Mel­bourne to Ho­bart West­coaster en­trant Whistler (David Aplin).

In AMS, Philoso­pher won from Whistler and L2H en­try Rad (Brent McKay).

Philoso­pher won the Divi­sion 1 IRC cat­e­gory of race four from L2H ri­val Filepro (Tim Gadsby) and AMS from Whistler.

Rolex Syd­ney-Ho­bart en­trant 2Un­lim­ited, Greg Prescott’s mod­i­fied Farr 40, was a ca­sual en­try, fin­ish­ing se­cond across the line in the first race of the day but did not start in the se­cond.

DSS Com­modore Steve Chau had a win­ning day in Divi­sion 2 with his Young 88, Young Lion, win­ning IRC and AMS in the first race and re­peat­ing that ef­fort in the se­cond.

At Sail Syd­ney, young Ho­bart sailors Wil­liam Wal­lis and Fynn Sprott are se­cond over­all af­ter day one of rac­ing in the 34-boat 29er fleet. THE Ade­laide 500 is bring­ing back its sun­set fin­ish, repris­ing a Satur­day twi­light race for the 2019 Su­per­cars sea­sonopener in March.

And in an added bonus for fans, the Su­per­cars field, in­clud­ing reign­ing drivers’ cham­pion Scott McLaughlin, will break with tra­di­tion by hit­ting the track for the first time on Thurs­day’s first day of rac­ing.

Next year’s Ade­laide 500 — al­ready ig­nited by the re­turn of Mus­tang to re­place Fal­con as Ford’s cham­pi­onship en­try — will be the first in the event’s 21-year his­tory to fea­ture the main-game Su­per­cars across four days of the race week.

The Thurs­day of Ade­laide 500 week is nor­mally re­served for sup­port se­ries, but the Su­per­cars will of­fi­cially open their 2019 sea­son with a lateafter­noon prac­tice ses­sion.

Fri­day’s line-up in­cludes two more day­time prac­tice ses­sions be­fore a twi­light qual­i­fy­ing for Race 1.

Those hit-outs will give drivers and teams a chance to ac­cli­ma­tise to the first twi­light race on Ade­laide’s streets since a one-off trial in 2014.

That year, Satur­day’s rac­ing was split into two 125km sprints, with the se­cond fin­ish­ing in semi-dark­ness at 7.50pm. Drivers backed the twi­light times­lot five years ago, but were cool on the twin sprints.

Next sea­son’s for­mat re­tains the 250km marathons on both Satur­day and Sun­day, with Satur­day’s Race 1 planned to fin­ish by 6.45pm.

“The twi­light ses­sions will pro­vide a new chal­lenge for all of us drivers in Ade­laide,” DJR-Penske pi­lot McLaughlin said. “The cir­cuit is a tough one any­way, so I’m look­ing for­ward to the ad­di­tional test. Ade­laide al­ways de­liv­ers in­tense, wheel-to-wheel rac­ing and 2019 will be no ex­cep­tion.”

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