Twilight zone for Supercars
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.”