AUSTRALIAN Touring Car Championship veteran Charlie O’Brien and his nephew forrner V8 Supercars Development Series driver Shannon O’Brien shared the honours with two wins a piece at round three of the Australian Trans-Am Series at Queensland Raceway on June 11 and 12 at the Shannons 2 Days of Thunder.
Iwan Jones – June 2016
Charlie O’Brien (Chev Camaro) was looking to continue to add to his flawless start to the year setting a blistering 1:19.62 in qualifying to take pole position ahead of nephew Shannon O’Brien (Pontiac Firebird) and over a second faster than Russell Wright in third (Ford Mustang). Alwyn Bishop (Ford Mustang) took pole in the Loaders ‘R’ Us Sportsman class with Robert Hackwood (Ford Mustang) securing pole in the Mulch Smart 5 Litre Classics.
The defending champion’s eight-race-win streak came to an end with the younger O’Brien emerging victorious in the family feud that was race one, taking out the first race ahead of Uncle Charlie and Brett Curran in the Angliss Meats Toowoomba Ford Mustang. The first race began in exciting fashion as Shannon O’Brien took the race lead from Charlie O’Brien on the opening lap into turn three, the Pontiac driver debuting a new livery on the ’72 Pontiac Firebird this weekend.
Meanwhile, a great battle emerged throughout the lower part of the top 10 between John English back in the #99 Ford Mustang, Anthony Tenkate and newcomer to the grid Fraser Ross (Ford Mustang). Alwyn Bishop took the chequered flag in the Sportsman class, following a great scrap with Steve Scales (Ford Falcon Sprint) and Shane Wilson (Ford Mustang), while it was Rob Hackwood leading the way in the 5 Litres ahead of defending series champion Sean English (Ford Mustang) and Tricia Chant (Ford Mustang).
The former Holden Dealer Team driver equalised with a win following a great battle with Shannon O’Brien in the early stages of the race, with Ian Palmer and Cameron Mason impressing in fourth and fifth in the Trophy Class respectively. Bishop and Hackwood again reigned supreme in the Sportsman & 5 Litre classes. A great battle at the tail of the field between Jamie Chant in Mike Collins’ Mustang, Dan Flemming (Ford Mustang) and Gareth Jones (Ford Mustang) saw the three drivers separated by little over a few seconds across the whole race.
The senior O’Brien went back-to-back in race three, besting his nephew and Curran to the finish line by over a second. Bishop made it a hat-trick of wins in the Sportsman class in the BMG Machinery Group/Agilis Accountants Mustang with Harry Charalambous (Ford Mustang) and Wilson completing the podium, while Hackwood took the 5 Litre Classics win in the Mustang Auto Parts/Wellpro Mustang with Sean English and Tricia Chant following suit.
In the final race it was Shannon O’Brien who was victorious, taking his second win for the weekend with Charlie O’Brien and Curran again featuring on the podium. Bishop completed a clean sweep in the Sportsman class as well as Hackwood who clean swept the weekend in the 5 Litre Classics ahead of Sean English and Tricia Chant.
In light of his performance, Charlie O’Brien said he is committed to the endless pursuit of speed and wants to make the triple-championship winning Camaro more difficult to catch.
“Quite simply, we have to make the Camaro go even faster,” O’Brien said.
The fourth round of the Australian Trans-Am series will be at Lakeside Park on July 16 and 17.