Haynes clinches TA2 victory in last-lap battle

The final TA2 win came down the the last metres as Josh Haynes narrowly clinched the win at Winton. Photo: Josh Haynes Facebook

The final TA2 win came down the the last corner as Josh Haynes narrowly clinched the win at Winton. Photo: Josh Haynes Facebook

Josh Haynes has scored a dramatic victory in the final TA2 race at Winton Raceway, beating Jackson Rice by a mere 0.19s after a nail-biting last lap battle.

Haynes, in the #37 Beaches SEADOO Ford Mustang, was all over the #7 Pedders Mustang, but it appeared Rice was set to take another victory.

Yet on the final corner of the 12-lap race, Rice ran wide for Haynes to capitalise on the mistake to win by a mere 0.1959s.

Race 4 started on the back foot for polesitter Rice after Lee Stibbs jumped the Pedders Mustang off the start to lead the opening stanza.

Meanwhile, Josh Haynes moved past the #68 Sullivans Ford Mustang of Dylan Thomas on the opening lap for fourth place, making the pass on Lap 2 at Turn 9 and then starting to mount pressure onto Nicholas Bates in third.

Hayden Hume also joined the battle, all over the back of Thomas, and on Lap 3 was able to get by along Kitome Straight.

Lap 4 saw Stibbs throw away his race lead, a mistake seeing him spin at the exit of Turn 11 and drop down the order.

Thomas continued to attack the back of Thomas’ Mustang before there was contact between the two at the exit of Turn 6 on Lap 5, which saw Hume off track and unable to resume, prompting a Safety Car.

The Lap 8 restart saw Rice make a smart getaway, but Haynes was able to stick with him and apply the pressure, looking inside and out as the two battled at the head of the field.

Lap 12 saw Haynes make a passing attempt, but instead saw him make contact with the rear of Rice’s Mustang as he failed to make it by. Despite the setback, Haynes continued to pile on the pressure with a do-or-die move as the pair went side-by-side into Turn 11 – the last corner of the race.

Rice ran wide – with no contact between the two – handing the lead to Haynes for a narrow yet deserved victory.

Brad Gartner enjoyed some redemption after a torrid weekend by charging to the final step of the podium in his #22 Mustang, with Michael Coulter, Hayden Jackson – the only Dodge Challenger in the Top 10 – in sixth ahead of Bates.

Stibbs recovered from his Lap 4 error to come home eighth, while Matthew Mackelden was ninth in the Kubota Ford Mustang, with Nick Lange 10th in the Tefol Group Chevrolet Camaro.

Cheney’s tough weekend continued as he received a 10-second penalty due to a Safety Car infringement and made contact with the #21 of Aaron Tebb metres before the chequered flag on the final corner. He finished in 20th.

Both Mark Crutcher and Paul Hadley did not start the final race due to issues they had in Race 3, Crutcher’s #4 car sidelined with a blown head gasket while the #50 of Hadley was involved in a rollover incident on the first lap of Race 3, ending his weekend.

TA2 Muscle Cars return to the race track in Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin on April 29 to May 1.

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