Locals survive in battle of endurance

Thewlis, McIlroy, Van Der Heyden all rapt
CLASS WIN: Celebrating their division five win on the podium was (from left) Matt Thewlis and co-driver John McIlroy alongside Aneeta Abzatz, who finished second in division five with Julie Showers, making the duo the only all-female combination. PHOTO: Rene Martens

A DRAMATIC finish in Sunday’s Winton 300 may have captured much of the race weekend’s attention but for Wangaratta drivers, Matt Thewlis and Daniel Van Der Heyden, it was all about the B Main race.

Thewlis alongside co-driver John McIlroy finished fifth outright in the 94-lap (282km) race and took the victory in division five, while Van Der Hayden and Corey Gooch crossed the line in 11th outright.

“We had a good solid weekend and a good strategy for the race, we ran John with a lighter fuel load and myself with a heavier fuel load to get the lap times consistent, and we just chipped away all day at it,” Thewlis said.

“To finish fifth outright and to win our division by two clear laps, the car was just faultless and ran all day.

“John qualified the car (13th) but I think if you’re inside the top 15 you’re in with a chance, and we put in a good performance and showed you can drive through the field.”

Van Der Heyden said he was rapt to finish the race after suffering mechanical dramas from the morning’s warm up to the end of the race.

“We managed to still persevere to come home in 11th, we could have been running at the front but we had a misfire the whole race,” he said.

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