MAIDEN CLASS B WIN FOR #19 AS #1 SUFFERS LATE-RACE HEARTBREAK
The Island Four Hour was a race of contrasts for the Sherrin Rentals Racing team.
On Friday, Grant Sherrin qualified the #1 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i he shares with brother Iain on pole for Saturday’s Island Four Hour with a qualifying personal best, while David Ayres set the seventh fastest time outright during the session in the #19 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i he co-drives with Michael Sherrin.
Before the team even got to the track on Saturday, changes were afoot. It was soon apparent that after falling ill unexpectedly, Ayres would be unable to drive in the Island Four Hour that day.
Former Sherrin Racing driver David Russell – who was already on track with the Australian GTs and also in support of his father Geoff Russell who was racing with a fellow APCS team – was enlisted as a late replacement, and started the race from the rear of the 21-strong grid.
Pole-sitter Grant Sherrin lead the race early, while Russell set about carving through the field – moving to 13th by the end of lap one and then to sixth by the completion of lap two. He would advance to fourth and then third on the next two laps before moving to second place by lap seven.
Russell and Grant Sherrin would fall into a good rhythm at that point, with Russell later overtaking the #1 for the lead while both drivers traded fast laps throughout this first hour and a half of the race.
Then, as so often happens in racing, the plans were once again changed. Just as the team prepared to bring Russell in, rain started to fall and safety cars began to emerge – forcing changes in strategy. The #1 would be brought in instead for a driver change, and Russell was left to continue his command of the lead of the race until the 1 hour and 47 minute mark, when he handed over to Michael Sherrin.
With plenty of the ‘wet stuff’ falling from the sky it was tricky conditions for the next couple of hours for all the racers and especially for cars such as those campaigned by the Sherrins, but in the #1 Iain persevered to reclaim the lead while Michael made sure the #19 stayed in a strong position despite the extremely wet track surface.
With just over one hour remaining, Grant would return to the #1 driver’s seat, while Russell would climb into the #19 with 45 minutes remaining, with both racers setting about the task of attempting to advance while navigating what each described as ‘diabolical’ corners.
With just 20 minutes remaining, the #1 was placed to take out third outright or better and the Class B victory, however disaster then struck for Grant with a spin in the final corner leaving him backed up against the concrete wall.
After a valiant minutes-long effort to successfully and safely get back onto the track in the slippery conditions - which drew cheers from the media pack watching on - he later found himself stranded elsewhere on the track due to the ‘pigeon toed’ status of the wheels following the impact.
With Grant out of the running, it was up to Russell to take the Class B victory for the team – in the process he would take the #19 from 8th to 6th in the final and very wet laps.
The Sherrin Rentals Racing Team will be back on-track with the Australian Production Cars across July 1-3, at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Sherrin Racing is proudly supported by valued sponsors Tyres 4 U, Hi-Tec Oils, Sci-Fleet, Clark Equipment, Sherrin Rentals and Sherrin Equipment. For more on Sherrin Racing, including news, upcoming events and photo galleries, please go to sherrinracing.com.au, or visit the team on Facebook at facebook.com/SherrinRacing
WHAT THE DRIVERS HAD TO SAY:
Class B winner, 6th outright – Michael Sherrin - #19 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i “That was fantastic. Dave Russell did a great job after stepping in for Dave Ayres who came down crook this morning unfortunately, he was turning out the same times as Grant out there in the early stages and handed the car over to me in great condition. Unfortunately during my stint we hit wet weather and dropped back in the field, but he took over for the last 45 min and got us from about 10th or 11th and got us up to 6th in the rain so a great result all round and the first class win for us (for the #19) – I am very happy with the first class win.”
Class B winner, 6th outright – Dave Russell - #19 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i “My history with production cars goes back to 2000 when I started racing on the national stage (in circuit racing) and it is great to be back. I found the APCS to be very well-run, the competitors were all really good and while there were some fierce battles everyone is good to race with. Today, obviously for us we had a lot of different things happening with strategy and the rain. Starting out of last was fair enough as a late entry but it was great to get into the lead of the race. It was good fun coming through the field, the car was great in the dry and coming up to the sister car Grant knew I was coming and we got into a nice rhythm until obviously the weather interrupted things and threw a bit of a spanner in the works. We would have had a much bigger lead (without the safety cars in his stint), but that is the way races go sometimes. We came in and did our stop, and when Michael jumped in the conditions were not ideal for him – it was very, very slippery but he did a great job and did not put a foot wrong. It was good to drive the Beamer even in the trying conditions. My second stint was out in very wet weather, it was quite diabolical towards the end, but I still had a lot of fun – you definitely had to have the eyes on though and there was no room for error that was for sure. I just want to say thanks to Sherrin Rentals Racing for the late call-up. It was a great car and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was a great experience and I was happy to see the amount of cars out there enjoying the race. For me it (the Series) is definitely the way to get yourself on to the National circuits and come and be a part of it, it is a lot of fun and a good way to get into the race that is for sure.”
Grant Sherrin - #1 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i “It was really, really wet out there. It was changing every lap with the rain always in a different spot and heavier or lighter each time around – and then the temperature dropped. Every corner was just diabolical. At the end there I was just coming onto the straight and it just stepped out on me and spun around and it was too quick, I went into the wall and bounced off it, and incurred damage to the front. It was a battle to get it back onto the track, there was plenty of commentary on my radio telling me to get back on and I was trying, but the car was trying to spin back into the direction of the oncoming cars and I was worried about jumping out onto the track and being T-boned. Iain came down the pit lane and helped me work out a point that I could just do it, and I hear that when I made it back onto the black stuff there were cheers from the media contingent watching on! It was certainly difficult out there for us in the car with the rain. Before it fell, at the start of the race, the car was just on song. It was perfect. I could punch out qualifying-style laps lap after lap – I wish it was dry all the way, but that is what happens.”
Iain Sherrin - #1 Sherrin Rentals Racing BMW135i “I reckon we were on for at least second, perhaps even first, if we hadn’t got caught out. One of the guys ahead of us was saying that the extra pit stops allowed them to get the fuel mileage they needed, so I think if we could have held the position we were in, we hopefully could have forced the guys in front to pit and then leap-frogged them to get the position back. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, but we are very happy for Michael and David Russell to be taking the maiden class win for the #19 and we were very pleased with the earlier performance, it just wasn’t our day, or our weather!”