Challenge Bathurst ends with international joy

Tuesday 03 December, 2019
Photo: Speed Shots Photography

The Challenge Bathurst has enjoyed a successful 2019 edition with more than 100 drivers taking part in the four-day event at Australia’s iconic Mount Panorama Circuit. 

During the popular event, both regularity and supersprint competitors spent lots of track time vying for top spot in their respective categories and classes, including a number of big names contesting in the supersprint.

Taking place on Thursday and Friday, the supersprint had four classes competing with both international and national stars all in the running for the main game, the Pirelli GT Supersprint. 

Out of the 26 registered drivers, it was the three foreigners who made up the podium with British driver Ben Barnicoat steering his 59 Racing McLaren 720S to victory over Shane van Gisbergen.

Photo: Speed Shots Photography

The battle for top spot between the two drivers was split by just one second as Barnicoat was half a second short of breaking the impressive two minute barrier.

A further one and a half seconds behind the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship runner-up was German Christopher Mies, who edged out Vincent Muriti and Luke Youlden in fourth and Garth Tander in fifth.

The other supersprint class victors saw Brett Hobson beat Harrison Jones and Tony Walls in the Group A class, while Matthew Cole took out Group B honours over Paul Plank and Jonathon Canavan.

The closest supersprint battle came in Group C as Damien Grima finished just half a second faster than David Withers to claim the class honours. South Australian Matthew Sims rounded out the class podium. 

Once the supersprints were completed, all attention turned to the two-day modern regularity as five groups competed on the track across four 20-minute sessions.

Photo: Insyde Media

In Group A, it was Gene Phillips who came away with the win as he ended the weekend with two session wins over Simon Tate who had piled all sorts of pressure over their four trials. 

Like Phillips, Stewart Temesvary was the clear winner in Group B as he proved too strong for his group, coming away with three session wins overall. 

Temesvary's class win put him in rare territory, with the New South Welshman the only driver to get a class podium in all four years of the Challenge Bathurst.

"I'm really proud to achieve that record and I was particularly pleased with my performance this year because I won the first, second and fourth trials," Temesvary said.

"After the third trial I knew I had a massive lead and about the only thing that would stop me winning the overall trophy would be a DNF in the fourth trial. 

"I could have taken it easy and just circulated to stay out of trouble, but decided to go for it and earn the title, which I did."

It was a much closer affair in the three remaining groups as consistency ended up proving to be the difference.

At the end of the weekend, Anthony Colombrita came away with Group C honours without winning any sessions and it was the same story with Raymond Nonik’s Group D win and Gordon Lovegrove’s Group Z victory.

Photo: Insyde Media

Click here for full results. 

In what was a nice touch by event organisers at the conclusion of the event, officials were treated to an appreciation lap around the famous Mount Panorama track in honour of all the fantastic work they had completed over the course of the weekend