Moffat takes National Trans Am series in dramatic finale

James Moffat is the 2023 National Trans Am Series winner in a dramatic finale at Bathurst. Image: SpeedSeries / Speedshots

James Moffat is the 2023 National Tran Am Series following a season final race that had crashes, spins and two Safety Cars under which the race finished.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport driver also had drama to overcome. He was leading the race when oil smoke began belching from the Mustang. He was forced to pit to have the leak from the transmission pump rectified and was able to resume a lap down and finished 14th.

“It means a lot [to win the championship], I have a great team behind me,” he said. “The only mishap we have had all year was in the final race, that is what motorsport is sometimes.

“It is a relief to get it done, huge thanks to everyone at GRM. [The problem] it was oil where it shouldn’t have been. The guys did a great job, they identified the issue and came up with a solution. Fortunately we had a reasonable points buffer coming into the round. We just had to finish and that is what we did.”

Moffat led from the start of Race 3 while there was incidents aplenty behind him. His teammate Lochie Dalton copped a bump that sent him wide at Griffins Bend. Just up the road, Cody Gillis (Mustang) clipped the wall and bounced into Moffat’s other teammate Edan Thornburrow. Both cars were seriously damaged, and the Safety Car was deployed.

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Craig Scutella and Elliot Barbour were also carrying damage as a results of collisions off the start. Both Camaros went to the pits at the end of the first lap but only Barbour was able to continue.

It was after the race resumed that Moffat was forced to slow and get back to the pits. He was the leader for half a lap as Elliott Cleary (Mustang) was relegated to third by Tom Hayman (Mustang). They were soon past Moffat as were the rest of the healthy runners.

On Lap 8 several went off at Murrays Corner including Robert Noaker and Tim Brook (Camaros) who were fourth and fifth behind Brett Holdsworth (Camaro). Also looping around were Mark Crutcher (Mustang) and Josh Anderson, his Mustang stuck in the gravel trap. The Safety Car was out again and was still out when the race finished.

Ben Grice (Mustang) picked up fourth as he came through the slippery part unscathed. Brook recovered quickly and was fifth ahead of Dalton, John Holinger (Camaro), Josh Thomas (Mustang) and Crutcher.

There was only one lap of racing in the second race. Moffat won the start and led up Mountain Straight. Thornburrow and Dalton ran side-by-side into Griffins Bend and had some side-on contact which unsettled Dalton and allowed Gillis to get past.

At the end of the lap, Cleary was fourth in front of Hayman, Holdsworth, Noaker and Thomas. The latter went into the tyres after Skyline on the second lap. The incident brought out the Safety Car before the race was red flagged at the end of Lap 4.

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