Haynes Launches into title contention
Canberra racer Josh Haynes is fully primed for the second half of the 2023 motorsport season, after launching himself into title contention for the TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek with the overall round victory at Morgan Park on the weekend.
Haynes started the season on the back foot in the season opener at Winton in March, a mechanical problem ruling him out of the weekend’s opening race. However, he demonstrated his speed by fighting through the field, ultimately winning the fourth and final race.
The second round was a twin-driver endurance event at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway, in which Haynes teamed up with fellow Canberra racer Nicholas Bates. Haynes qualified fastest in a star-studded field that included American TA2 star Nathan Herne, and while the race results were mixed, a strong second-place finish in the final 35-lap feature race was enough for Haynes to move from eighth to fourth on the points table.
In the third round at Queensland Raceway, Haynes finished second in all four races to entrench himself inside the championship top three, before finally breaking through for the round win at Morgan Park to close within 13 points of the series lead.
The final two rounds of the season will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park and Calder Park, with Haynes expecting those venue venues to work to his advantage.
While the TA2 Muscle Car Series has been Haynes’ focus, he has also dabbled in some other categories. He drove Tony Barton’s Nissan 300ZX in a round of the NSW Sports Sedan Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park, before slotting into the Phil Crompton-owned Mustang for the first round of the National Sports Sedan Series at Winton.
Despite it being his first time driving the car, Haynes took the category by storm, racing wheel-to-wheel with Sports Sedan legend Tony Ricciardello and established front-runner Jordan Caruso and scoring a win in Race 2. A fairytale round win was on the cards before an unfortunate engine failure sidelined the Mustang in Race 3.
Haynes will also compete in this weekend’s Sydney 300, teaming up with Michael Ricketts in a Nissan Pulsar. The duo will aim to defend their Division D victory from last year, racing in a mammoth 53-car field.
Josh Haynes #37 - Beaches Sea Doo Ford Mustang
"We’ve had good speed all year, but the DNF at Winton put us on the back foot,” Haynes said.
“Since then, we’ve had to work hard to fight back into title contention, but Morgan Park was definitely a breakthrough round.
“I finished second in the first three races, but in the final race I was able to take the lead around the outside in the first corner and had the pace to drive away from the field."
“SMP is a track where I’ve had a lot of experience, not just in TA2 but in the Pulsar Series, Sports Sedans and Sydney 300, so I’m hoping for a home ground advantage there,” he said.
“The season finale at Calder Park will be a big unknown for everyone, because it’s been so long since it’s hosted national-level events. It’s going to be an exciting finish to the championship, that’s for sure.”
“My main priority is TA2, but it’s very cool to have these opportunities in other categories and I’m thankful to the people who have made them happen,” Haynes said.