AM Champs gallery: the fight in the night


The Fight in the Night is an AM Champs staple at Queensland Raceway and something to look forward to. Here is the action from a pitch black raceway…


BMW driver Beric Lynton flew solo and brilliantly won the Australian Manufacturers Championship (AM Champs) ‘Fight in the Night’ at Queensland Raceway on Saturday evening, in the #23 Alphera Financial Services BMW1M.


In a race of strategy, the Gold Coast BMW dealer emerged from the second round of pit stops in the race lead and then managed his margin to the Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i of Grant and Iain Sherrin in the closing stages to record a tense, yet ultimately safe, race victory.


The win marked a return to the top step of the AMChamp podium following a lengthy repair of his BMW 1M due to damage sustained during Phillip Island’s Great Southern 4 Hour in May this year.


“Fight in the night has never gone our way and we’ve always had issues. So it’s nice to get a win and it’s nice to get a win here in particular. It is good for the boys who have worked hard to get the car back together after it got crashed at Phillip Island. It is a very good result all round,” said Lynton.


“Tomorrow will be a bit harder. The Pro-Duct car tonight would have won it if they had pitted twice under the safety car. Rick (Bates) and I are a lot similar in pace in the car – Aaron (Seton) is a lot quicker. At the end of the day, I guess that is where the strategy comes into it. Their radio wasn’t working properly apparently – they’re the things that happen in racing. It helped us get the win but the Sherrins were very close to us as well. Their car’s flying.


“We are looking forward to tomorrow, it’s a different race with the heat of the day. The tyres will wear a little bit more, so it’ll be about managing those as well.”


While the Sherrin brothers again fell agonisingly short of winning an AMChamp race outright, they did manage to secure a comfortable Class B victory to complement their second-place outright result.


“It was a good day, a good race. The first stint was good – we got up to third in the first stint and were just behind the front guys, just sticking behind them quite nicely,” said Iain Sherrin. “And then the safety car came out – we got our compulsory pit stop done and then did our fuel stop, but we didn’t quite get back around on the ‘train’ and that left us with a gap to the leaders which we maintained basically for the rest of the race. Grant went out and he was entering into turn six as the other guys were coming across the start/finish and that was the gap for the rest of the race, which is a shame. If we had got back on that safety car train after the refuel, then we could have been fighting with Beric right until the end. But having said that, it is a good result and we are set up nicely for tomorrow.”


Rick Bates and Aaron Seton finished third in the leading ProDuct Racing Mitsubishi Lancer, however stopping under green conditions – when his rivals stopped under a Safety Car – cost them a chance at outright victory. They did, however, set the fastest lap of the race and a late charge from Seton got them to within one minute of the leader in the closing stages.


Tony Alford finished fourth in his Donut King BMW1M while Jake Camilleri finished fifth outright – and won Class C – in his Grand Prix Mazda-supported Mazda 3 MPS, overcoming turbo issues in qualifying.


“We only ended up doing a lap all weekend before we went into it. Qualifying should have gone to plan but it didn’t so we are happy with that. We kept a constant pace and it was pretty consistent. Probably a little bit off what we wanted but it was what we needed to do and got us the class win and I wasn’t far off a couple of those BMWs in front. So I was hanging there just in case something happened. So, yeah we’re really happy,” said Camilleri.


Though they ultimately finished seventh, Jim Pollicina and Dean Lillie encountered tyre issues – and a subsequent drive-through – early in the race that dropped them out of outright contention. The Poll Performance/Mocomm HSV GTS briefly led the race in the early stages before being forced to pit.


Enduring less than happy endings to their Fight in the Night exploits were the Pedders Racing Toyota 86 of Grant Phillips and Andrew Turpie, George Karadimas (Australian Auto Wreckers Falcon), Michael Sloss (GWS Personnel BMW130i) and Wade Scott and Callan Sayers in the WKTS/Callan Sayers Motorsport Evo.


The sole Class D entrant, the Phillips/Turpie entry encountered radiator issues towards the end of the racing, failing to finish the race. Earlier in the race, Karadimas brought out the safety car when he ran out of brakes at turn four and collected Sloss, putting them both out of the race.


For Scott and Sayers, a great start saw their Evo rise from 14th on the grid to fifth on the road by the end of lap one, with the pair running as high as fourth before pit stop issues intervened to see them served with a drive through penalty. However, with Sayers at the wheel the car would lose all power prior to them being able to return to the pit lane – seeing them stranded on turn 5 for the remainder of the race.


By Sam Tickell, August 2015

Words by AM Champs PR

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