Harris takes SuperUtes title as Alexander wins Race 3

Ryal Harris pic: Peters Motorsport Facebook

Ryal Harris has won the inaugural ECB SuperUtes Series with a third position in the final race in Newcastle, which was won by Tom Alexander.

Harris ran with reported steering damage for almost the entirety of the 10-lap race, while his only series rival Craig Woods succumbed to mechanical dramas at the halfway mark.

Alexander was untroubled on his way to a second race win of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 weekend and sixth of the season in the #22 Ross Stone Racing Holden Colorado.

He and Aaren Russell (#87 Sieders Racing Team Mitsubishi Triton) started Race 3 from the front row but the latter pinched the right-front at the first corner and ran into the tyre wall, at which time he was glanced by Harris, who had started fourth.

Woods took the opportunity to pass Harris for third as they ran onto Watt Street, while Ben Walsh ran second to Alexander.

The Safety Car was soon called, at which time it became apparent that Harris had a steering drama as he held left-hand-down on the #58 Peters Motorsport Mazda BT-50 despite appearing to only scrape bodywork in the contact with Russell.

The restart on Lap 4 was clean but Woods meekly gave up third position to Harris as they ran underneath Fort Scratchley next time around, before pitting the #64 Western Sydney Motorsport Toyota Hilux.

The SRT crew which runs WSM’s SuperUtes attended to the Penrith Toyota entry before Woods confirmed that “something fail(ed) in the rear.”

Harris had eyes forward for Walsh by then, and applied pressure to the #8 WSM Hilux but could not find a way through.

It mattered not as he had already started the race ahead of Woods in the standings, at the time needing to finish no worse than ninth to make the title safe.

Alexander took the chequered flag almost two seconds to the good from Walsh and Harris, while Team 18 stand-in Justin Ruggier gave the squad its best result in the series to date with fourth in the #18 Holden Colorado.

Aaron Cameron (#95 Peters BT-50) rounded out the top five as nine of the 11 starters finished the race.

The series win is Harris’ fourth in total in V8 Utes/SuperUtes history, having last collected season honours in the former category in a Falcon in 2015.

Results: Race 3

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Driver Car Laps Race time
1 22 SP Tools Tom Alexander Holden Colorado 10 17:33.7152
2 8 Car City Ben Walsh Toyota Hilux 10 17:35.6475
3 58 EFS 4×4 Racing Ryal Harris Mazda BT50 10 17:37.2764
4 18 AC Delco Racing Justin Ruggier Holden Colorado 10 17:39.9687
5 95 Bushranger Racing Aaron Cameron Mazda BT50 10 17:42.4146
6 99 Kubota Tractors Australia Matthew MacKelden Toyota Hilux 10 17:43.6064
7 45 Total Tools/Team Mitsubishi Michael Sieders Mitsubishi Triton 10 17:45.0040
8 52 Worlds Best Technology/SRT Charlotte Poynting Toyota Hilux 10 17:57.6330
9 94 Allgate Auto Doors Richard Mork Ford Ranger 10 17:57.9580
DNF 64 Western Sydney Motorsport Craig Woods Toyota Hilux 5 9:57.6448
DNF 87 Team Mitsubishi Triton Aaren Russell Mitsubishi Triton

Series points: Final

Pos Driver Pts
1 Ryal Harris 1098
2 Craig Woods 1060
3 Tom Alexander 1023
4 Ben Walsh 994
5 Aaron Cameron 935
6 Matthew MacKelden 901
7 Tomas Gasperak 714
8 Christopher Formosa 673
9 Michael Sieders 483
10 Craig Dontas 402
11 Steve Wilson 352
12 Elliot Barbour 176
13 Toby Price 151
14 Cameron Crick 146
15 Richard Mork 120
16 Charlotte Poynting 115
17 Kim Jane 94
18 David Sieders 0
19 Justin Ruggier 0
20 Luke van Herwaarde 0
21 Aaren Russell 0

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