Aussie Racing Cars Championship 2019 - Round 5 The Bend SuperSprint South Australia August 23-25
Only four weeks ago one of the youngest drivers in the Aussie Racing Cars Championship 2019, in his very first series, MTA NSW sponsored driver and MTA NSW trained 3rd year mechanical apprentice, Kody Garland diced with seasoned competitors and took 7th position and the much coveted, The Most Improved Driver Award at Round 4 in Queensland.
Despite having some obstacles: his first visit to the Bend SuperSprint SA, competitors head start and track experience advantage, Garland maintained his characteristic resilience and was confident of moving up the order faster. He also had set realistic expectations, “We are a single-car operation and don’t have the benefit of obtaining data and knowledge off team mates,” Garland said. “Besides which our car is ten years old and really not as quick as the newer cars.”
Whilst the older cars do have updated componentry, the chassis are never quite up to quality of the newly constructed cars. “We have brought a new Mustang but we won’t be bringing that along until we fully understand what we have, and have sorted it fully.”
Garland put in two solid sessions for race one on Friday. Driving his Motor Traders' Association of New South Wales (MTA NSW) Altima racer, he was 8th fastest in the only session ahead of qualifying and finished 12th. Kody was positioned to start the first of four scheduled races on Saturday from the outside of the sixth row. “I’m pretty happy with the track… still learning, also getting the car right but I’m having a good time.”
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The second day after the first two races at The Bend Motorsport Park presented highs and lows for Kody Garland Racing.
Kody pushed the Altima to secure tenth place finish at the first outing but sadly sustained damage from an accident in the next race that resulted in a non-finish saying,
“I had a great dice with several other cars and were passing and repassing. It was so slippery off line with the dust on the track – any slip up costs you a place.
But it was great to get a top ten result as we keep developing this car.
The reality is that it is difficult to get our car which is much older than our rivals to match them,” he added.
Race two was off to a positive start as Garland fulfilled his goal of ‘moving up the order faster’ and was up to seventh on the opening lap. Unfortunately contact with a rival caused rear suspension damage on the MTA NSW Altima and Kody had to retire to the pits.
“It was a disappointing way to finish the day after such a positive start, but we will make the repairs and be back for the tomorrow’s races.
“It will be tough coming from the back of the grid, but I am up for it!”
Following his inability to finish race two, due to rear suspension damage on the MTA NSW Altima, Kody had to start race three from 18th place.
True to form and despite numerous set-backs, 18-year-old Garland came back stronger on the final day of the Aussie Racing Cars Championship Series at The Bend to take #41 to a ninth overall finish!
Garland put in a few energetic laps and moved up to eleventh. “The car was the best it has been, and I was doing the fastest laps of the weekend – we had more pace on everyone around, really unbelievable!”
But it came undone when he was hit and turned around at turn one on lap four. “It was so disappointing as I was on for my best result in my first year. Not on really,” he lamented.
“We know we not going to win a championship or anything – that is what we are aiming for next year – but a solid result would have been so good.”
The spin dropped him down to 18th after which he recovered two spots by the chequered flag for 16th.
Unshaken Garland started his MTA NSW Altima from 15th for the final race of the round and in the first lap alone, picked up four positions. It was a solid outing with further gains as the race progressed before being classified eighth at the finish.
“It was a good race this afternoon. It was a great way to conclude the round after the dramas earlier,” he enthused.
“I really enjoyed racing on this track, we had good pace, just not a lot of luck,” he added. “Big thanks to our sponsors and I can’t wait for the Gold Coast round to come along in October. Hoping to produce something really special at that one!”
Congratulations to the Kody Garland Racing team and to Kody for another outstanding effort behind 1st position by almost a mere 0.38 seconds, well done! Congratulations also to all the winners Joel Heinrich (Cruze) 17:02.0153 in first position, followed by Justin Ruggier (Mustang) 17:03.5248 and in third Luke Fraser (Camaro) 17:03.8055.
The next Round of the Aussie Racing Cars Championship 2019 will take place at The Gold Coast 600, Queensland, October 25-27.