By Ebony McQuinn
The 2023 Grand Annual Classic has come to a close, after lots of rain, crashes and drama.
Starting the Saturday night with time trials, Cam Waters put down a time of 10.906 to qualify 5th in his flight of 28 cars, qualifying him out of 2nd in his Heat 5 and out of 7th in Heat 10. Rain started to fall as Heat 5 reached the dummy grid, and after rolling around the track a few times, the cars were called to the centre before quickly being sent back to the pits to wait the rain out.
Track conditions were questionable as Heat 5 resumed. Waters quick off the start, leading the field up until the last lap as a lapped car damaged the front wing of Waters and put him back into fourth. Rain continued to worsen the track conditions and all racing was put on hold. ultimately leading to a driver's meeting where it was decided racing would resume the following day.
At 3:00 pm on the Sunday Heat 6 opened the events for the night. Starting out of 7th in Heat 10, Waters navigated more tricky track conditions to finish 6th. With the points earned after the bad luck on Saturday and the Sunday heat, Waters was placed out of 6th in the B-Main with the top four progressing into the A-Main. Running the top in the B-Main, Waters made significant progress, before battling with other cars and dropping into 5th. Finishing in 5th, Water's qualifying night running stopped with the B-Main, he'd qualified to start out of 16th for the main event's second B-Main feature. With only the top 3 advancing into the A-Main, a lot of work was to be done.
Having a good start, Waters immediately moved into 14th, and into 11th after one more lap and a restart. After pulling off one of the best drives of his sprintcar career, Waters crossed the line in 4th. Unfortunately, Grant Anderson had blown his rear, Waters had nowhere to go as he hit Anderson's car after the checkered flag. The car had sustained significant damage. As the car was brought back to the pits, Waters and crew chief Lindsay, were greeted by many different teams to help pitch in on the effort to fix the car. Halfway through the repair, an official alerted everyone to the disqualification of Anderson for the crash and that the V6 car had now made it into the A-Main as the final transfer. In a miraculous effort, everyone involved repaired the car just in time.
Quick into the A-Main, Waters had made up one position however, it was shortlived as he hit the wall 6 laps I'm. Bending the steering arm, Waters was forced to pull in.
Congratulations to Brock Hallet and GW Racing on winning the Classic! Also, a massive thank you from Chief Racing to the crews of Luke Dillon, SRV Racing, Diamond Bay Motorsport and to anyone else we have forgotten.
"Well, that's The Classic done and dusted! It started off really well, time trialled 5th for our flight, putting us in a good position for our heat. We were leading that right up until the last lap, then a lapped car hurt us a bit so we dropped to fourth. It really hurt our weekend and put us on the back foot but we kept fighting. Had a fast car and was able to move forward in the next heat- went through the B-Main. Unfortunately, only finished 7th so we didn't make the transfer.
Sunday night, "rolled" around. Started 16th in B-Main 2, a lot of work to do but we had a fast car. I managed to work my way up to fourth at the finish line which made us first reserve for the A-main. As we crossed the finish line for the B main Ando had an issue and was slowing. I didn't have anywhere to go so I hit the back of him and crashed across the finish line. The officials deemed Ando the cause of the incident which put me in the show. I think it probably should have been labelled a racing incident. Ando should have kept his spot and I should have been the first reserve so I feel for him and his crew. We got the car back to the pits and it was amazing to see not just our team but others help fix the car. I didn't think we'd get back out but they got it done so a massive thank you to everyone that helped out to fix it.
We started off the back for the A-main and was going ok but the car was a little wounded still from the crash. I got into the wall at T2 which bent a steering arm and ended our race.
Overall super happy to have just made the A-main at the biggest race in Australia. A massive thank you to our team for all the hard work that they have put in over the past week for giving me a quick and reliable car. To our sponsors thank you for the support. We couldn't do it without you. "
Photos by Ebony McQuinn