The Australian MINI CHALLENGE had a great position in the television broadcast today. Race 3, the final race for Round 6, was to be beamed live into Australia’s lounge rooms as the last event before the Top 10 Shootout for the V8 Supercars. The first two races, both won by Jason Bargwanna, were tight and exciting, and after a few ups and downs for the series management this year the MINI CHALLENGE would really benefit from a full grid and a national live telecast.
All was going well until a brutal accident on the first lap involving Darren Berry and Ryan McLeod. The crash happened towards the back of the field, on the downhill run, between the Dipper and Forest Elbow. McLeod’s MINI tagged the back of Berry’s Clipper Motor Yachts MINI and forced him head on into the wall. McLeod also slammed into the concrete, before parking on the in field just after Forest Elbow. The Safety Car was sent out, but race organisers stopped the race and declared it a no result. No points will be awarded.
The impact of Berry’s MINI into the wall was shocking. A statement from MINI CHALLENGE (shown below) reveals that Berry suffered a broken ankle and was complaining of back pain. He has been transferred to Orange Hospital where we hope he makes a quick start to a full recovery.
Berry’s accident comes on the back of Grant Denyer’s absence from the series after his incident at the NSW Monster Truck Championships last month.
(Thanks to John for the image—click for larger version.)
MINI CHALLENGE DRIVER – DARREN BERRY – BREAKS ANKLE IN RACE CRASH.
MINI CHALLENGE driver, Darren Berry has sustained a broken left ankle following an incident in the opening lap of race three of MINI CHALLENGE at Mount Panorama, Bathurst today.
Berry has been transported to Orange Hospital for further treatment. He was complaining of back pain and has sustained peripheral injuries of a minor nature in addition to the broken ankle.
Darren was extricated from the Clipper Motor Yachts MINI by the Team Medical Australia crew, before being transferred to the trackside medical centre. National Manager, MINI – Justin Hocevar – and Categoy Manager – Ted Toleman expressed their best wishes to Darren.
“Today’s incident involving Darren Berry was unfortunate. Thankfully, Darren’s injuries appear fairly minor in nature and there is no indication of any serious injuries,” Hocevar said.
“The entire MINI CHALLENGE family passes on its best wishes to Darren and his family for a speedy recovery.”
Berry was involved in an incident with Ryan McLeod coming down the Mountain on the opening circulation. After a coming together, Berry collected the wall virtually head on. He was then attended to by the medical staff.
Race three was declared a no race and no Series points were awarded.
Earlier in the day, Jason Bargwanna extended his winning streak to eight in a row after the best MINI CHALLENGE race that has been seen in Australia.
Matt Neal, the double British Touring Car Champion, led most of the way, however having a couple of moments on the final lap allowed the chasing pack to close down on him.
After leading going into the Chase, Neal ended up crossing the line fifth, with Jason Bargwanna having been gone for all money sneaking through for the win. Paul Stokell finished second, third was Scott Bargwanna and New Zealander, Brent Collins finished fourth.
Neil McFadyen has assumed the Series lead as a result of the two points paying races this weekend.
The next round of MINI CHALLENGE will be at Symmons Plains in Tasmania in support of the Falken Tasmania Challenge, November 21-23.
You can send a message of support to Darren at the MINI CHALLENGE Facebook page.