October 7, 2001 - Sydney's Lansvale Racing Team has finished in the top ten at Australia's most famous motor race, the V8 Supercar 1000 at Bathurst's Mount Panorama. 27 year old Cameron McConville and his 36 year old co-driver Rick Bates powered...
October 7, 2001 - Sydney's Lansvale Racing Team has finished in the top ten at Australia's most famous motor race, the V8 Supercar 1000 at Bathurst's Mount Panorama. 27 year old Cameron McConville and his 36 year old co-driver Rick Bates powered the team's first fully in house built VX Commodore to 10th overall after fighting back from an early unscheduled pit stop to repair a mystery engine problem. 16TH time Bathurst competitors Steve Reed and Trevor Ashby drove a strong and consistent race in the team's sister VX Commodore finishing 11th and joining FTR and Gibson Motorsport as the only teams that had both cars make it to the chequered flag. The Lansvale Racing Team drivers started from the 21st (McConville/Bates) and 31st (Ashby / Reed) positions on the grid.
All four Lansvale drivers endured a myriad of trying racing conditions including hail, rain and numerous high speed accidents, making the going treacherous at many stages of the six hour, 161 lap race. Strategic racing decisions were imperative today at Bathurst, Chief Engineer Wally Story calling the Lansvale Team's shots well, particularly during the mid stages of the race when circuit conditions fluctuated wildly. Only 21 cars finished the 2001 V8 Supercar 1000 from the 40 cars that started.
Cameron McConville - "We just kept working at it all day after losing a lap early due to our stop. Rick drove consistently and this helped us stay within touch of the top ten throughout the race. The numerous safety car periods also worked in our favour as the team's strategies were very effective. This made us the first of the lapped cars in the field, ready to break into the top ten by the closing stages. I am glad that we were able to achieve this today given the problems and conditions that we had to deal with. The car was great and this is a deserving result for the team."
Rick Bates - "This is my first top ten finish at Bathurst in a V8 Supercar and I am very happy with our effort given the horrendous start that we had to the race and the wild weather conditions thrown at us all day. We kept out of trouble and stayed consistent and this paid off at the chequered flag with our 10th place. The team has worked hard for this result and I am delighted to have played a part in it."
Steve Reed - "Our result represents a huge effort by the entire team. Both cars ran strongly all day and to bring both home at the top half of the field was an incredible effort. I took a while to get consistent during my stints as there was all manner of things that would wreck your rhythm - such as safety car periods along with intermittent rain and hail. Once I was able to run consistently my lap times improved and we stayed in touch all day. I would have loved to have finished our 16th Bathurst 1000 within the top ten - but I won't complain about 11th today.
Trevor Ashby - "I am very pleased for the team with this result. Everyone has worked so hard to get both cars home, Cameron and Rick never gave up despite losing a lap so early and our car didn't miss a beat all day. That was the fastest that I have ever driven here and to finish just outside the top ten is an excellent and a fitting way to mark our 16th Bathurst together. The incident with Dean Canto at the closing stages was my fault, I ran wide and didn't see him, causing the contact and my spin. That added a bit of excitement to the close of the race let me tell you !"
Lansvale Racing started their 2001 Bathurst 1000 campaign from 21st (McConville and Bates) and 31st (Ashby and Reed) on the grid at 10:10am. The race was only into its third lap when McConville pitted with a misfiring engine. This cost the number 3 car one lap and the day long fight started soon after to make it into the top ten. The opening stages were strong for Ashby who was racing his way through the field at the rate of one position per lap.
By lap 11 Ashby's lap times continued to tumble, his 2min 13sec laps represented the start of a strong drive. McConville had his work cut out for him in 36th position and reported engine misfires on the way up the mountain, costing him precious time. Despite this set back, the Victorian driver was setting lap times of 2min 12sec, that compared favourably with the pace being set by the top ten competitors.
Lap 29 saw Ashby pit for the first driver change, followed by McConville one lap later. Steve Reed continued on in 23rd position and Bates took control of the team's new VX Commodore in 29th position. Bates made up the road gap to the field during his stint with the help of a safety car period and he also had to contend with the first signs of hail and rain at the top of the mountain that made the racing treacherous. By the 37th lap out of a massive 161 in total, a short hailstorm hit the top of the mountain and it was a credit to Bates' driving expertise that he was able to remain on slick tyres throughout this dangerous time which saw several drivers eliminated. He also handed the car back to McConville well up the order.
McConville returned to the cockpit and began a fight through the field up to 15th by the 76th lap. By lap 80 he was 14th, and on lap 86 all hell broke loose with a short but treacherous rain storm hitting the mountain, claiming Craig Lowndes and a number of other drivers. McConville reported that it was almost impossible to keep the car straight across the top of the mountain and another safety car period followed due to a number of accidents. The Lansvale team drivers did not lose any track positions during this time despite their wise decision to remain on slick tyres. Ashby was placed 14th and McConville was up to 12th due to the combination of accident attrition and consistently fast driving. By lap 89 Ashby was 13th and McConville 11th ready for the next pit stop.
Flawless Lansvale Racing Team pit crew brake pad, tyre and driver changes were the order of the day, which sent Reed back on to the track in 13th position and Bates in 12th to continue the Lansvale Racing Team's Bathurst 2001 challenge. By lap 120 Bates had remained consistently fast and was knocking on the top ten's door at 11th, with Reed also setting fast lap times right behind in 12th.
The last pit stop took place on lap 126 which saw McConville take the reigns for the final run to the chequered flag and he met the task well, making it into tenth position through total consistency and the help of another late rain shower. This saw several drivers fall off the road, including Championship contender Jason Bright, Cat team driver Simon Wills and Castrol ace Larry Perkins who spectacularly crashed into the pit wall.
Reed pitted for the last time on lap 128 and Ashby continued the Lansvale team's effort for the run home. Ashby remined in 12th and McConville made it to 10h position on lap 135. At the same time team statesman Ashby made it into 11th and these were the positions that the Lansvale racers held until the chequered flag.
The run to the end of the race was not without incident though, with Ashby and FTR driver Dean Canto making contact in the closing stages, Ashby spinning but avoiding impact with the wall. Ashby later admitted not seeing the hard charging driver seeking to pass him and the contact was through no fault of Canto.
A fitting result for Sydney's V8 Supercar Team despite the odds stacked against it and a magnificent team effort by the close knit Lansvale Racing Team at Bathurst 2001.
- Lansvale Racing Team