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Bethune wins arm-wrestle at opening South Island Formula 1600 round

Josh Bethune has won the opening South Island Formula 1600 Championship round at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch over the weekend. The three-race meeting proved to be an ‘arm-wrestle’ between three returning drivers, Bethune from Auckland, Southland’s Jordan Michels, Christchurch’s Bailey Paterson and rookie James Penrose from Rangiora. With Bethune, Michels and Paterson each claiming a race win, it was Bethune’s two second placings that sealed the round win in his favour.

“I haven’t been in the car for five months and we only decided recently to enter the series,” said Bethune. “It’s good to finish all three races and win the round as last year we had a couple of dnfs!”

It was Michels (Mygale) who was quickest in qualifying on Saturday morning and then took a straight forward win in the afternoon ahead of Bethune (Ray) and Paterson (Stealth) and Penrose (Van Diemen RF93).

Bethune stepped up on Sunday morning to win the second race from Michels with Penrose taking his first F1600 podium finishing third ahead of Paterson.

The deciding final race of the round was red-flagged straight after the start when Penrose stalled on the grid and was hit by a flying Corey Hodges with Steve Edwards also getting caught up in the fray

At the restart Michels got away from Paterson and Bethune who continued to gap the rest of the field. Michels held the lead until four laps from the end when Paterson got by heading into turn one, draughting Bethune through to second place.

“I’m not sure what happened there,” said Michels. “The car ‘fell’ away later in the race which is disappointing. Overall, I’m happy with the weekend considering we only decided to enter a week ago. The car is fast!”

Paterson took the win and second place for Bethune was enough to win the round.

Behind the front three a battle took place between Jack Noble-Adams (Stealth) and rookie Zac Stichbury (Mygale) for fourth place.

“It’s been a great weekend,” commented Stichbury. “At the moment it is about learning, finding out about the tracks, the car, other competitors and the racing.”

The F1600 category runs three Classes, mainly determined by date of manufacture. With a change in regulations concerning inboard suspension mountings being removed, Van Diemen Stealths have moved from Class 1 into Class 2 unless they are racing with three-way dampers.

Bethune leads Class 1 from Michels, Stichbury, and Grant Campbell while in Class 2 Paterson leads from Robert Toshach,, Jack Noble-Adams and Cameron Freeman. Seven cars are currently competing in Class 3 with Andy Downs leading from Gary Love, Roger McKenzie and Dave McKenzie.

Teams and drivers now prepare for the second South Island F1600 Championship meeting at Timaru International Raceway Saturday 10 December which also doubles as the opening round of the New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship.

Overall Points Table
1 Josh Bethune Ray GR17 110
2 Jordan Michels Mygale SJ13 108
3 Bailey Paterson VD Stealth 99
4 Zac Stichbury Mygale SJ08a 80
5 Robert Toshach Spectrum 08 72
6 Jack Noble-Adams VD Stealth 64
7 Cameron Freeman VD RF92 60
8 James Penrose VD Stealth 59
9 Grant Campbell VD RF03 58
10 Anna Collins VD Stealth 45
11 Steve Edwards Mygale SJ08a 34
12 Gary Love VD RF88 34
13 Andy Downs Lola 642e 34
14 Noel Atley Crossle 55F 32
15 Roger McKenzie Begg FM3 31
16 Stephen Heffernan VD Stealth 30
17 Corey Hodges VD RF92 28
18 Dave McKenzie Begg FM3 28
19 Greg Inwood VD RF 91 27
20 Dominic Robertson VD RF92 21
21 Keith Cowan Johnston 01 0
22 Nigel Huston Johnston 03 0

Race 1 (Top 10) – 10 laps
1/ Jordan Michels
2/ Josh Bethune
3/ Bailey Paterson
4/ James Penrose
5/ Zac Stichbury
6/ Robert Toshach
7/ Grant Campbell
8/ Steve Edwards
9/ Cameran Freeman
10/ Jack Noble-Adams

Race 2 (Top 10) – 10 laps
1/ Josh Bethune
2/ Jordan Michels
3/ James Penrose
4/ Bailey Paterson
5/ Zac Stichbury
6/ Robert Toshach
7/ Jack Noble-Adams
8/ Vameron Freeman
9/ Grant Campbell
10/ Anna Collins

Race 3 (Top 10) – 12 laps
1/ Bailey Paterson
2/ Josh Bethune
3/ Jordan Michels
4/ Zac Stichbury
5/ Jack Noble-Adams
6/ Robert Toshach
7/ Cameron Freeman
8/ Noel Atley
9/ Grant Campbell
10/ Stephen Heffernan

2018/19 South Island Formula 1600 Championship Calendar
Rnd 1: October 27-28 2018, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch
Rnd 2: November 10 2018, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru (also Rd 1 NZ Formula 1600 Championship)
Rnd 3: December 1-2 2018, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill
Rnd 4: January 12-13 2019, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna (also Rd 2 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 5: January 18-20 2019, Teretonga Park Raceway, Invercargill; (also Rd 3 NZ Formula Ford Championship)
Rnd 6: April 6 2019, Timaru International Raceway, Timaru

Photos: Euan Cameron

Prepared by SB Networks on behalf of the South Island Formula Ford Club

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