February 27, 2021 | General

Harris claims dramatic Bathurst TCM opener

Ryal Harris has opened his 2021 Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters account in style, sweeping to victory in the first championship race of the weekend at Mount Panorama after drama befell two early leaders.

Harris, who with his EFS Racing Camaro team missed the opening round of the series in Tasmania, started third but was given a free kick before the race when Adam Garwood’s Whiteline Racing Camaro lost an engine before the cars even left the form-up area.

He was then running second when leader Ryan Hansford’s Multispares Torana cut a right-rear tyre with two laps of the race remaining, dropping the Holden out of the race.

Harris then withheld a late challenge from Steven Johnson to claim his third TCM race victory and an important haul of championship points in the process.

Johnson’s second represented the best result yet for his XD Falcon, while Cameron Mason finished an outstanding third in his Toronto Hotel-supported Ford Mustang Trans Am – however was later excluded from the results due to a technical infringement.

Mason started sixth but consistently worked his way forward throughout the seven-lap race.

He ran in close company to Johnson and leader Harris at the end of the race, however an issue with the height of his Mustang’s front spoiler saw the car excluded from the final results – elevating Zukanovic to third. John Bowe wrapped up Cameron Tilley late in the race to grab what would ultimately be fourth position.

Behind Tilley, Jim Pollicina and Andrew Fisher battled over seventh and eighth positions while Mark King and Tony Karanfilovski – who started last – completed the top-10.

Hansford aside, Jamie Tilley and Jeremy Gray were the only two other non-finishers after both were involved in a turn-one incident.

Tilley locked the rear brakes of his Ford Mustang entering Hell corner, spearing sideways across the infield and very nearly into the path of the pack as they negotiated the first turn.

Fortunately, everyone took evasive action – only Gray’s Capri making light contact with the spinning Mustang.

That contact broke the right-front steering of his car, forcing him out of the race, while Tilley retired to pit lane.

Races two and three will be contested tomorrow at Mount Panorama.

RESULTS – Race 1, Mount Panorama 

Pos Car Competitor/Team Driver Vehicle              Cap Laps Race Time Fastest Lap
1 58 EFS 4X4 Accessories Ryal Harris Chevrolet Camaro SS 7 16:18.8989 3 2:18.9096
2 17 Full Throttle Custom Garages Steve Johnson Ford XD Falcon 7 16:19.5431 4 2:19.1100
3 33 Toronto Hotel Cameron Mason Ford Mustang Trans A 7 16:21.0766 3 2:19.3559
4 71 Action Motor Industries Marcus Zukanovic Ford Falcon XD 7 16:31.3886 3 2:18.8694*
5 18 PAYNTER DIXON / Payce John Bowe Holden Torana SL/R 5 7 16:31.6740 4 2:20.0628
6 60 Anglomoil Superior Lubricants Cameron Tilley Valiant Pacer 7 16:31.9877 7 2:20.6414
7 7 MoCOMM Motorsport Comms Jim Pollicina Holden Torana A9X 7 16:45.7457 2 2:21.9430
8 9 Jesus Racing Andrew Fisher Ford Falcon XY GT HO 7 16:47.4072 2 2:22.7799
9 95 Whiteline Racing Mark King Chevrolet Camaro SS 7 16:48.1695 4 2:22.2092
10 88 TIFS Third Party Logistics Tony Karanfilovski Ford Mustang Trans A 7 16:52.7239 5 2:22.3521
11 75 McGill Motorsport Aaron McGill Ford Falcon XW GT 7 17:26.6836 4 2:24.5976
12 74 Lyndways Builders Wayne Mercer Ford Falcon XY GT HO 7 17:28.0225 7 2:26.8981
13 12 Lighthouse Hotel Peter Burnitt Holden Torana A9X 7 17:51.0585 2 2:28.5466
DNF 6 Multispares Racing Ryan Hansford Holden Torana A9X 5 16:26.2895 4 2:18.8722
DNF 29 Gulf Oil Jamie Tilley Ford Mustang Coupe 1 4:48.6216
DNF 67 Bilstein/JMG Racing Jeremy Gray Ford Capri Perana