Reposted from TOCA web site <www.toca.com.au>
Morris wins title amid spate of crashes ========================================= BMW Motorsport driver Paul Morris today claimed his second BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing title in three years amid a spate of crashes at Amaroo Park in Sydney.
The 29 year old from the Gold Coast, who won his first title in 1995, completed this yearís eight-round championship with a tally of 191 points to head team-mate Geoff Brabham, who finished second on 171. They were followed by ORIX Audi Sport Australia team-mates Cameron McConville, of Victoria, on 155, and Alburyís Brad Jones on 126, and Volvo Dealer Team racer Jim Richards on 111.
Brabham, who went into the round as the only driver capable of depriving Morris of the title, won the opening heat over 29 laps in 33 mins 9.02 secs, finishing 2.54 secs ahead of Jones. McConville was third, followed by Morris, New Zealandís Craig Baird in another BMW Motorsport 320, and Richards.
New Zealandís Tony Newman flipped his Fastway Courier Peugeot on lap four, and a pace car circulated for a brief period before racing resumed. On lap 20 Sydneyís Mike Fitzgerald crashed spectacularly after hi MF Motorsport Peugeot made contact with Jonesí car. Jones was making an overtaking move to lap Fitzgerald when the incident occurred. Fitzgeraldís car was temporarily engulfed in flames. He was rushed to Westmead Hospital by ambulance with cuts and bruises, but X-rays later cleared him of serious injury. The race was stopped after Fitzgeraldís crash and then re-started and completed.
Morris led the second race over 31 laps from start to finish and took the chequered flag in 35 mins 50.06 secs, winning by 3.94 secs ahead of McConville. Brabham was third, and Baird fourth, but Jones was forced to retire because of broken gearbox. Sydneyís Mark Adderton was the leading Independents Cup driver for the round, finishing seventh in both races.
The second race featured a controversial incident involving Sydneyís Bob Tweedie in a IBC Vauxhall Cavalier, Queenslandís David Auger in a Gun Racing Alfa Romeo, and New Zealandís Blair Smith in a BMW. Auger spun after contact with Tweedie, Smith hit the Alfa Romeo, and a pace car slowed the remainder of the field until the track was cleared. As Tweedie drove past the crashed vehicles on the following lap Auger kicked the side of the Vauxhall with his foot.
BMW claimed the Manufacturers Championship title for 1997 with 220 points, followed by Audi on 194, and Volvo on 158. Queenslandís Cameron McLean won the Independents Cup title with 186 points in a Greenfield Mowers Holden Vectra, followed by Steven Richards on 123 in a Valvoline Nissan Primera.
Paul Morris (BMW Motorsport 320I): ìI saw the Fitzgerald crash in front of me - when the flames shot up I thought t was New Yearís eve! There was a of of drama out there, but I managed to stay out of it. The second championship is a good feeling because it proves the first one wasnít a fluke. The cool conditions helped us today. Hopefully I can get some drives overseas with BMW next year. I think Iíve proved myself in Australia and Iíd like to get a chance to have a crack at Europe.î
Brad Jones (ORIX Audi Sport Australia A4): ìI saw Geoff (Brabham) go past Fitzgerald, and I went to go up the inside of him. I donít think he saw me and I had to go out onto the dirt - when I came back we touched and away he went. Itís unfortunate, but these things sometimes happen when youíre lapping slower cars on tight circuits like Amaroo. The main thing is he wasnít badly hurt.î
Cameron McConville (ORIX Audi Sport Australia A4): ìMy aim at the start of the season was to be consistent. We achieved that, so third in the championship isnít such a bad result for my first year in the Super Tourers. Hopefully Iíll be back next year and Iím sure I can improve.î
David Auger (Gun Racing Alfa Romeo): ìBob (Tweedie) came up behind me in the second race and hit me. I lost control coming into the straight. Blair (Smith) was right behind me when I spun and he had nowhere to go. I was angry because it was a repeat of when he hit me at Philip Island this year.î
Bob Tweedie (IBC Vauxhall Cavalier): ìIt was a racing incident. I was in the faster car and David (Auger) was continually blocking me. I had my lights on to let him know I was there. Then I went for the gap and he came across on me.î
Race 1 Results (29 laps)
POSDRIVER CAR TIME 1 G Brabham (Qld) BMW Motorsport 320 33 min 09.02 sec 2 B Jones (NSW) ORIX Audi Sport Australia A4 33:11.56 3 C McConville (Vic) ORIX Audi Sport Australia A4 33:14.15 4 P Morris (Qld) BMW Motorsport 320 33:18.74 5 C Baird (NZ) BMW Motorsport 320 33:22.56 6 J Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team 850 33:38.71 7 M Adderton (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 33:48.54 8 S Richards (Vic) Valvoline Nissan Primera 33:52.68 9 T Scott (Qld) Volvo Dealer Team 850 33:58.88 10 D Bewley (NZ) Fastway Courier Peugeot 405 34:11.07
Race 2 Results (31 laps) POSDRIVER CAR TIME 1 P Morris (Qld) BMW Motorsport 320 35 min 50.06 sec 2 C McConville (Vic) ORIX Audi Sport Australia A4 35:54.00 3 G Brabham (Qld) BMW Motorsport 320 35:55.67 4 C Baird (NZ) BMW Motorsport 320 35:56.60 5 J Richards (Vic) Volvo Dealer Team 850 36:09.40 6 T Scott (Qld) Volvo Dealer Team 850 1 lap down 7 M Adderton (NSW) Phoenix Motorsport Toyota Camry 1 lap down 8 J Matthews (NSW) Faber-Castell BMW 318 2 laps down 9 C Elias (NSW) Knight Racing Ford Mondeo 5 laps down 10 D Bewley (NZ) Fastway Courier Peugeot 405 7 laps down
Drivers Championship points (Final - after round 8):
Morris 191; Brabham 171; McConville 155; Jones 126; Jim Richards 111; McLean 67; S Richards 42; Baird 35; Matthews 31; Newman 23; Auger 20; Tweedie 19; Bates 14; Adderton 14; Wakefield 10; Scott 7; Jason Richards 7; Johnson 7; Briggs 4; Cornish 3; Hills 2; Bewley 2; Elias 2; Pickett 1.
Manufacturers Championship points (Final - after round 8):
BMW 220; Audi 194; Volvo 158.
Teams Championship Points (Final - after round 8):
BMW Motorsports 362; ORIX Audi Sport Australia 305; Hyundai Hve Motorsport 31, Knight Racing 30; Volvo Dealer Team 25; Fastway Courier Racing 17.
TOCA Challenge Independents Cup points (Final - after round 8):
McLean 186; S Richards 123; Matthews 111; Auger 81; Tweedie 78; Newman 74; Adderton 50; Bates 34; Hills 30; Wakefield 24; Johnson 24; Jason Richards 23; Bewley 22; Cornish 16; Elias 13; Briggs 12; Luff 8; Pickett 6; Thompson 4.
Brett Ramsey "DEMOCRACY IS A TRADGEDY WHEN THE MAJORITY ARE FOOLS" Don't know who wrote it but I like it.