Robotham shines in Teretonga TR86 win
Australian Jaylyn Robotham converted pole position to a win at Teretonga Park after an epic battle in the first race of the weekend for the Best Bars Toyota 86 Championship.
He was pushed hard all the way by Peter Vodanovich as an eight car battle for the lead slowly became a two car scrap which was ultimately won by the Eastern Performance Centre car of Robotham. Third – for his first podium in the championship – was Campbell Stewart in his M2 Competition run Total Oil car.
It was Stewart who got the best start on the long Teretonga straight but it was Robotham who won the drag race into the first corner to emerge from it with a narrow lead over Stewart. The rest of the field emerged cleanly and as the cars surged across the finish line to start the second lap it was Robotham, from Stewart, Vodanovich in his NEXEN DTM car, championship leader Jaden Ransley in the Miles Toyota car, Connor Adam in his Post Haste car, Australian Richard Peasey, a fast-starting Justin Allen for Battery Town, Brock Gilchrist in his NEXUS Logistics machine with James Wilkins and Brayden Phillips rounding out the top ten.
The action at the front intensified when Stewart made a big push for the lead under braking for the final turn on lap three. He almost made it stick but Robotham’s robust defence compromised both slightly and allowed Vodanovich and Ransley to close right up. Vodanovich made a great exit from the final turn to forge ahead of Stewart, who in turn only just managed to hold Ransley at bay.
By lap five the lead was being fought out at the front of an eight car train that comprised of Robotham, Vodanovich, Stewart, Ransley, Connor Adam, Peasey, Allen and Gilchrist.
Slightly further back, Ryan Wood was well into his stride and moving forward through the field looking to latch onto the lead pack. He did eventually catch and pass Gilchrist and gained another place when Allen slowed suddenly and stopped on the infield. He did get going again but another solid run was ruined.
At the front, Vodanovich was piling on the pressure for the lead. With the laps counting down he made a lunge for the lead at the final corner and looked to have made it stuck. A poor exit onto the main straight however, allowed Robotham to out drag him up the straight and retake the lead and that was how the order remained for the rest of the race.
Robotham was first, Vodanovich second, Stewart a personal best third and Ransley right up there again in fourth with Connor Adam fifth.