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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Rookie Of The Year - Stunning Weekend Sees Bailey Shine At Bathurst

HMO Customer Racing’s Bailey Sweeny has completed a stunning weekend and season, taking a second place podium spot, in a dramatic final Race 3 , at the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series round, as part of the Bathurst International event, at Mount Panorama. Sweeny finished second, after at one stage leading the race, following on from his victory in Race 1 on Saturday.

Photo: The result means Sweeny ends the championship in 5th place in his first season of TCR racing and claims the Rookie of The Year title.

LIQUI MOLY Team MPC’s Will Brown has narrowly missed out on the 2022 Supercheap Auto TCR Australia title, despite winning the final race of the season. It was a dramatic final encounter at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International as the fluctuating title positions of Brown and Honda Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto proved a nail biting affair. The race started clean through Hell Corner as Dylan O’Keeffe in the Schaeffler GRM Peugeot made a great start to lead the field up Mountain Straight, but lost the rear at Griffins Bend and hit the outside tyre wall allowing stablemate Cameron taking the lead ahead of HMO Customer Racing’s lead contender Nathan Morcom in the Hyundai i30 N TCR. Opening race winner Bailey Sweeny dropped to fourth in the kafuffle as title contender Will Brown elevated to third in the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi RS3 LMS TCR increasing his series winning aspirations. Continuing his solid weekend, Ben Bargwanna was fifth driving the Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot ahead of the new Hyundai Elantra N TCR of Josh Buchan and Lachlan Mineeff in the Forza Brakes Motorsport Audi. However, the race was turned on its head when the two leaders collided at The Chase, with Cameron maintaining his lead and Morcom dropping back behind Brown in addition to teammate Sweeny. As for series leader Tony D’Alberto, his Honda Wall Racing dropped to 14th losing position to GRM Valvoline Racing’s Kody Garland in the Renault Megane RS TCR and the Ryco Audi of Michael Clemente. However, a move from Clemente forced Garland wide and elevated D’Alberto a position to 13th. Cameron continued to lead, but Brown amazingly dove down the inside at The Chase to take the lead of the race and the series, but Sweeny was not far behind. Behind the top three, Buchan and Bargwanna further demoted a struggling Morcom as the front guard was peeled back resulting from the Cameron contact. But in another twist, Cox was damaged after scraping the wall and dropped down the pack to elevate D’Alberto back to a series winning position on a countback. The Swyftx GRM Peugeot returned to the pits were running repairs were attempted to return him to the track. The Chase continued to provide the passing opportunities as Sweeny passed Cameron to pursue Brown for the lead, though his title aspirations took a hit when Bargwanna stopped exiting The Dipper elevating D’Alberto to 11th. A safety car was called to retrieve the stricken Burson Auto Parts Racing Peugeot, but it was a short interruption and Brown led away, making a perfect restart against Sweeny as Cameron had a peak entering Hell Corner. By The Chase, Sweeny was pressuring Brown, which led to a mistake as the LIQUI MOLY Team MPC Audi squirmed as the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai i30 N TCR emerged ahead. A concertina behind gave Buchan a sniff at third place, but Cameron defended to maintain position. D’Alberto continued to hold 11th and was applying the blowtorch to the Autoglym Ashley Seward Motorsport Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR of Michael Caruso for a top 10 berth. Brown re-took the lead on the final lap, but it was in vain as D’Alberto maintained 11th to take the title by two-points. Rounding out the podium were HMO Customer Racing pair Sweeny and Buchan. Cameron held onto fourth leading from Mineeff in a season best result, Morcom, Frenchman Teddy Clairet in the GRM Peugeot, Moutai/ZIP PAY privateer Luke King, Caruso and Clemente completed the top 10. The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series returns next year as part of the SpeedSeries in what will be a bigger and better season in 2023. Follow Bailey Sweeny HERE


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