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TA2 Muscle Cars most unique series prize, the Championship Ring is set to be fought out by three drivers at the final round of the TA2 Muscle Car Series at Calder Park Raceway- framed by HYTEK Steel Framing on the 30th November - 2nd December.
The ring itself is an Australian-made, hand-crafted 18ct Gold piece, designed by Stuart Bishop of Wallace Bishop Jewellery. The centrepiece of the ring is a wheel, which was drawn to replicate the wheels that are used in the TA2 Muscle Car Series.
Previous championship ring winners include inaugural series winner Russell Wright in 2017, Ashely Jarvis in 2018, Aaron Seton in 2019 and third generation racer Jett Johnson in 2022.
Dylan Thomas, Josh Haynes, and Jackson Rice are all withing striking distance of taking the series win, with only 38 points between them, and 240 points up for grabs over the 4-race weekend. Thomas has been consistent all year, and has led the series from Round One, while both Haynes and Rice have had to come from behind, however all three are in with a real chance of taking home the gold.
The final round at the re-birthed Calder Park in Melbourne gives no home track advantage to any driver, and all will have a chance to practice prior to the round.
In addition to the series ring, the winner will receive a totally re-freshed engine for the 2024 season, while the runners up will each receive and gearbox and diff rebuild respectively by PBR Distributions, the technical partner to the TA2 Muscle Car Series.
The RaceTech Rookie of the Round Award has become a defining element of this season, recognising the fresh talent to the series.
In a season where young guns are making their presence felt, the 2023 Rookie standings have proven to be a battleground of fierce competition. Former Heritage Touring Car driver Greg Keam has taken the lead in the Debeer Refinish Ford Mustang, 128 points in front of 18-year-old Hayden Hume in the Total Parts Plus Dodge Challenger. Hume did not compete at the recent Sydney Motorsport Park round due to his Toyota 86 commitments at Bathurst the week before but will enter the Calder finale.
This year's award will come with an extraordinary prize - a cutting-edge RaceTech simulator seat and chassis worth over $2000, enabling the winner to hone their skills and fine-tune their race craft at home.
All the prizes will be awarded at the Hi-Tec Oils Presentation Evening, Sunday December 3. Practise for the final round of the TA2 Muscle Car Series - framed by HYTEK Steel Framing will be on Thursday Nov 30, with racing Friday and Saturday Dec 1 and 2 until twilight finishes. Catch all of Saturday’s action live and free to air on SBS on Demand, simulcast on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.
Craig Denyer Category Manager
“2024 has been a very competitive year for the TA2 Muscle Car Series and with three drivers still in for the series fight, the final round at Calder Park should be something special. The TA2 Championship ring for the series winner is something we are very proud of, its unique to Australian motor sport and has been treasured by all the previous winners. Along with a number of other major incentives such as a refreshed engine and other major prizes, we are looking forward to crowing the 2023 champion in fine style at our Gala Awards presentation on Sunday night following the final round.”
Josh Haynes #37 Beaches Sea Doo, Ford Mustang
“I have had an awesome year so far. We have had a couple of little setbacks which has hurt us in the championship. We are still well and truly in the fight leading up to Round 6 at Calder Park in 3 weeks time. We are going to a track that no one has ever raced a TA2 car at before, we are all on the same playing field and it is all to play for. I cannot wait it is going to be an awesome weekend.
To have a ring as the TA2 Major prize for the championship is really cool. There are not many categories you see that do something like this so I think it is really special.”
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Perth based Ron Moller has won the TA2 Muscle Car King of the West title following the final round at Carco.com Raceway at Wanneroo last weekend.
Moller took delivery of a new Ford Mustang in July this year and put it to good use, leading on points coming into the final which featured 6 rounds at the Wanneroo circuit, including the finale plus 2 rounds at Collie Motorplex, near Bunbury.
Ron had a yearlong battle with Troy Wilson taking the series by 108 points from Wilson.
2022 King of the West Brett Niall finished 3rd overall in his Camaro, however didn’t compete in all rounds. Last years title included 2 back-to-back rounds at Wanneroo and Collie, while this years series was expanded to include eight events. Niall recently raced at the TA2 Muscle Car Series round at Sydney Motorsport Park and will again back up for the final round at Calder Park in December.
Speedway star Jason Pryde wrapped up 4th place in the series, however only competed in 4 rounds due to sprint car commitments.
Peter Callo, father and son team of Brock and Brad Boley, Clint Rayner and Peter George in the ex-Nathan Herne Dodge Challenger all competed in the WA rounds.
Moller joins Graham Cheney, who was crowned the TA2 Northern Series Champion following the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park recently, as a series winner while the TA2 Southern Series will be decided at the final round at the rebirthed Calder Park Nov 30/Dec2. Catch all of Saturday's action live and free to air on SBS on Demand, simulcast on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.
"?The year for me went went quite well. I can’t thank my crew enough, if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be competing myself. They do a great job of keeping the car ready and helping me out.
“The car ran great, we had no problems with the car. The handful of guys that were there were very good because we're all very close in times. It's literally only a few tenths of a second in our lap times.
“A couple of the guys that haven't been out as much this year will be back including Brett Niall, Jason Pryde, Clinton Rayner and Brad Boley, and I think Peter George might make it to a few more meetings next year, which will also be good.
“I do have a new car on the way for next season which is exciting. There’s half a dozen of us now that are literally within tenth or two of us, plus those names so it should make it a pretty interesting series next year.”
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IES Motorsport driver Graham Cheney has gone back-to-back, winning the 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Northern Series Championship - framed by HYTEK Steel Framing, following the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park last weekend.
Kubota Racing’s Matthew MacKelden finished 28 points behind Cheney with Maitlands Hayden Jackson in third only 2 points behind MacKelden.
The 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Northern Series rounds included Round 2 in Darwin, Round 3 at Queensland Raceway, Round 4 at Morgan Park and Round 5 under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Cheney had enough points in the bank to wrap up the Northern Series point score, despite a fuel leak putting an end to his weekend early after a major fire erupted in the IES Camaro early in race two. He escaped without issue, however the car was badly charred and out for rest of the weekend.
Both MacKelden and Jackson had strong runs all season, although a drive train issue in the final race with the Dodge ended Jacksons race early, allowing MacKelden through to second.
CXC Ford Mustang Driver Dylan Thomas Leads the Southern Series ,17 points in front of Jackson Rice on 390 points and Nicholas Bates sitting on 350 points, with Calder Park being the final round of the three event Southern Series.
Ron Moller leads the TA2 Muscle Car Western Series from Troy Wilson and reigning champion Brett Niall with only one round to go at Wanneroo Raceway in Perth coming up this weekend.
The grand final of the 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek Steel Framing will be held at the Calder Park Raceway on November 30 - December 2 and televised live on SBS on Demand, simulcast on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports.
Graham Cheney, #51 IES Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro
“It’s great to wrap up the Northern Series after the weekend we had in Sydney, it’s definitely a nice positive after a not so good season for us.
“After the fire in Sydney, the team stripped down the car on Sunday and Monday. It’s not as bad as we first thought and it will be repairable for the end of the year. However we have a spare car in our stable which we will wheel out for the final round at Calder Park.
“I’m excited for Calder. I raced there years ago on a Super Motard so it’s going to be cool to come back there and race in the TA2 series. It’s a cool track and no one really has a home track advantage there, we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got for a strong end to the year.
“A huge thanks to Paul Hadley and the IES Motorsport team, I wouldn’t be racing if it wasn’t for him, HSR Accident Repairs for their panel work, and OBR Automotive.”
Matthew MacKelden, #99 Kubota Racing Ford Mustang
"This year has been an incredible ride, and securing second place in the 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Northern Series is the cherry on top of a fantastic season. Our consistent performance in Sydney, where we completed every race and secured a top-ten finish in the final race, played a pivotal role in our rise from fourth to second in the Northern Series and sixth overall as we head into the final round at Calder.”
"I owe a huge amount of gratitude to our parrnerss, Kubota, Stellatec, DBC2, Smith & Co Realty, and Lanhams Motor Group, for their unwavering support throughout this season."
Hayden Jackson, #81 Team RSG Dodge Challenger
“ We have had a bit of an up and down season. We started off well in Winton, bagged some good points there and then from Darwin onwards we have had major reliability issues with the car and we haven’t really got on top of them since.
To have had all these reliability issues and still only be 2 points off Matt MacKelden in the Northern Series we are pretty happy with that. It just hasn’t been our year this year and we are looking for more luck at Calder Park in November.”
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On his solo TA2 debut, TCR Australia star Jordan Cox clean swept the penultimate round of the TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek, after taking out the final three race wins under lights on Saturday at Sydney Motorsport Park over Tom Hayman and Dylan Thomas.
After his win in Race 1 on Saturday, Cox went back-to-back in Race 2, holding off a fast-finishing Hayman in the Di Pronto Concreting Mustang who passed Dylan Thomas for second into Turn 2 on Lap 9, and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 10 with a 1:35.7 while chasing down Cox.
Cody Gillis started from the back of the grid in each race on Sunday, as a result of the contact with Haynes in Race 1. The Racing Academy driver pitted early in the race to get some clean air for testing purposes.
Gillis’ teammate Elliott Cleary was fighting hard with Ben Grice for fourth on Lap 4, before he came together with Ben Grice at the exit of Turn 2, with Cleary spinning into the infield.
A safety car was called on Lap 4 when Kyle Gurton stopped on the side of the track around Corporate Hill with low oil pressure.
TFH Hire duo Josh Thomas and Josh Anderson both had strong runs from the back of the grid to 15th and 11th respectively, with Anderson receiving the Hyperco Hard Charger Award for his efforts.
Cox scored a hat-trick with victory in a shortened Race 3 in Sydney after a final lap dash to the flag over Hayman.
The race was marred by a fire which engulfed Graham Cheney’s IES Motorsport Camaro on the exit of Turn 3 on the opening lap. Fortunately Cheney exited the car swiftly and was cleared from the infield medical centre.
The field resumed on Lap 5 before another safety car was called two laps later after John Holinger spun off track at Turn 1, before a one lap dash to the flag after eight laps.
In the finale, Cox fended off Hayman in a 15 lap thriller to clean sweep the weekend. The pair could not be split for the entire race until a last charge at the lead couldn’t pay off for Hayman, with Cox taking the chequered flag by 2.3 seconds, with third-placed Haynes over ten seconds behind.
Dylan Thomas sat in fourth early on before a gearbox issue saw the CXC Racing Mustang lose second gear, but salvaged a commendable seventh position and third overall for the round behind Cox and Hayman.
Nicholas Bates won the Circo Masters Class by one point over Kubota Racing’s Matthew MacKelden, while Zach Loscialpo won the Wilwood Big Broker Award and Anthony Tenkate won the Bowden’s Own Best Presented Award for the new colours on the Tenkate Plant Hire Mustang.
The final round of the 2023 TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek Steel Framing will be held at the Calder Park Raceway on November 30 - December 2.
Jordan Cox, driver #4 Crutcher Developments Ford Mustang
“Hopefully [Mark Crutcher] says he’s out and I’m in for the rest of the year! Seriously though I can’t think him enough for giving me these opportunities. It's people like him in motorsport that really give people like myself a chance to showcase our skills and I can't thank him enough, I really appreciate it.
“The IES Motorsport crew did a great job running the car all weekend. It was fast.
“It was a super interesting race, that last one. I was quick in places, Tom [Hayman] was quick in places. He's a really good steerer, I was right on the limit and I thoroughly enjoyed that last race.
“The best thing about these cars is you have to wheel them. My shoulders are sore, with the gearbox, the H-pattern dog box, you have to wheel it. But it’s not just one thing that makes a category. It's great people, great cars, well run and it was a good all round category to be a part of.”
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Jordan Cox has dominated the opening day of racing at Round 5 of the TA2 Muscle Car Series Framed by Hytek Steel Framing at Sydney Motorsport Park, converting a record-breaking pole position to a lights-to-flag win in Race 1.
While series newcomers Ben Grice and Tom Hayman, who regularly race in the National Trans-Am Series, topped the times in Practice 1 and 2 respectively, Qualifying saw TCR Australia front-runner Cox steal the show with a new TA2 practice lap record in the Top 10 Shootout, setting a 1:32.8221 for his maiden PWR Pole Award from series leader Dylan Thomas, Josh Haynes and Cody Gillis.
Cox, driving the Crutcher Developments Ford Mustang usually raced by Mark Crutcher, lead the field away off the start, withstanding a charge from Haynes who challenged for the lead on the opening lap through Turns 3 and 4, before shuffling back to third.
Haynes race unravelled at Turn 2 on the following lap after contact with Cody Gillis which sent Haynes back to 17th, before a strong recovery drive back to ninth.
CXC Racing’s Dylan Thomas hunted Cox for the lead but could not get close enough to threaten the leader, finishing half a second behind to extend his series lead over seventh-placed Jackson Rice.
Gillis placed third in The Racing Academy Mustang from Tom Hayman and 17-year old Elliott Cleary.
Rice, Kyle Gurton, Haynes and Brad Gartner completed the top ten.
Nicholas Bates lead the Masters class for the majority of the race, before a clash with Russell Wright at Turn 2 on the final lap saw Wright retire, as well as John Holinger in the aftermath. Bates finished in 19th out of 20 finishers, as Kubota Racing's Matthew MacKelden won the Masters class in 12th overall.
West Australian was in the pits on the opening lap with an overheating issue, while series newcomer Josh Thomas failed to finish with a differential issue, and debutant Josh Anderson pitted on Lap 9 with a drivetrain issue.
The TA2 Muscle Car Series framed by Hytek is back in action tomorrow for Races 2, 3 and 4 at 1:06pm, 6:06pm and 8:11pm respectively.
A live stream will kick off at 1pm on the TA2 Facebook Page, Hi-Tec Super Series Facebook and YouTube Channel and on Speedcafe.com, while the broadcast commences live and free on SBS Viceland from 5:40pm, simulcast on Fox Sports and Kayo.
Jordan Cox, driver #4 Crutcher Developments Ford Mustang
“It was awesome to take the win tonight under lights in Sydney. I feel great in the car and I can’t thank Mark Crutcher enough for giving me the opportunity to do this in his car.
“Mark has been super enthusiastic. Before we went overseas, he was sending me messages about the set up, what to do, and the boys were in the shed back at Young, sorting it out for me. I’ve been really spoiled to be able to do this and glad to get a pole position there and a win, with one down and three to go.
“Dylan [Thomas] is fast. Through turn one, turn two, in sector one he's really good, I got him in sector two, then we're sort of pretty even through sector three. He’s close and so are some of the other guys behind us. It'll be a good close race for the rest of the weekend."
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