Holdsworth laments ‘soul-searching’ Townsville 500

Lee Holdsworth

Penrite Racing’s Lee Holdsworth is keen to put the struggles of his NTI Townsville 500 aside in what he described as a soul-searching weekend.

Holdsworth languished down the back of the field the entire weekend, with a best result of 17th on Saturday in the first of the 250km Reid Park encounters.

Both of the Grove Racing Mustangs battled with car speed and were on the back foot throughout Friday and Saturday.

The team made significant changes to its cars ahead of the final day and Holdsworth’s team-mate David Reynolds had an improved showing to just outside the top 10 in Race 20.

However, nothing seemed to click for Holdsworth, who had team principal David Cauchi filling in for COVID-stricken regular #10 race engineer Will Davidson.

It comes at an untimely moment for the 39-year-old, who could again be out of a drive next year.

Team owner Stephen Grove has been vocal about the plan to have Dunlop Super2 Series front-runner and Grove Racing junior Matt Payne in one of his main game seats next season.

“It’s a good question,” Holdsworth told Speedcafe.com when asked why he struggled so much.

“We tried a hell of a lot [but] we certainly didn’t hit the nail on the head definitely in either car.

“So there were some positives for Dave’s car [on Sunday], gained in some areas, lost in others, so there’s still plenty of homework to do before Tailem Bend.

“[The cars] were subtly different, we tried to align the cars closely but obviously a bit of soul-searching this weekend.

“We tried different things on each car, tried to get a clear direction.

“We need to make the car quicker, there’s probably maybe bits and pieces I can do better but we need to get the car in the right window for me.”

Townsville proved to be the first real test for Grove Racing since the Braeside outfit came under it’s new guise, led by father-and-son Stephen and Brenton.

There is hope within the team that moving away from a low-grip circuit like Townsville to the smooth grippy surface of The Bend Motorsport Park will see better results again.

“This weekend has been our toughest all year,” added Holdsworth.

“It’s a test for us and as long as we learn from it, which I think we will, then we’ll come back with more speed at The Bend in a few weeks’ time.”

The OTR SuperSprint at takes place from July 29-31.

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