2008 MINI CHALLENGE – Round 8 wrap up

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Neil McFadyen - 2008 MINI CHALLENGE champion

As reported earlier this morning, Neil McFadyen has been crowned the first Australian MINI CHALLENGE winner, seeing off a late season charge from DecoRug racer Paul Stokell. The Round 8 winner, Jason Bargwanna, showed magnificent pace after joining the series mid-season claiming a series high ten race wins. Oran Park was no different for the former Bathurst champ as he strolled home in the last race this morning by a lazy 11 seconds.

McFadyen ended up winning the Series over Stokell by just 24 points after a tense final race. Although the Sydney-sider in the Industrie Clothing MINI was playing the conservation game, he survived a scare on the final lap when the close following Gary Young received contact from Barry Sternbeck—almost taking out McFadyen in the process. However, he completed his lap and took the series win.

On claiming his title McFadyen paid tribute to his team, “I really have to give this up to the M3 Motorsport team. They have lived and breathed MINI Challenge since the Series was first announced and for some of them even to the detriment of their own businesses. It’s been a tough year for us and I’m really happy to be crowned a national champion once again. MINI CHALLENGE has been a fantastic series to be a part of and I’m sure it will only grow from here.”

2008 MINI CHALLENGE - Round 8, Oran Park - Jason Bargwanna

Jason Bargwanna in the Trivett Classic MINI Garage car was supreme, winning the race by an astonishing 11 seconds. Bargwanna charged away from the pole and set about taking his MINI CHALLENGE race win tally into double figures. The win also saw Bargwanna take out the round win, and he was in a reflective mood after the race, “The team did a sensational job as they have done all year long. The Series has been fantastic for us. I wasn’t sure what we were doing at the start of the year, my thoughts were turned more to eight cylinders rather than four, so it’s been an interesting but enjoyable diversion! It’s phenomenal to have won 10 races in the Series and be winning again…it’s a great feeling!”

Completing a Trivett Classic quinella was Scott Bargwanna in second. A superior tyre strategy by the team—who are also supported by Matchmaster TV Reception Systems—ensured they could dominate proceedings this morning.

Third in the final race was Stokell. He tried valiantly to stay with the Bargwannas, wringing the neck of his DecoRug machine, but had to be content with the series runner-up trophy. “It’s been a challenging season to say the least,” said Stokell. “I just cannot believe that we’ve ended up second after everything that we’ve been through. I want to thank Bill Gremos from DecoRug, he has put his heart and soul into this project from the beginning and we tried our best to get Neil this weekend, but just couldn’t get it across the line in the end. Hopefully we might be able to go one better next time!”

Paul Fiore’s fifth position this morning earned him enough points to finish the series in third position. Fiore was rapt with his season and he paid tribute to some close racing he enjoyed with Nathan Geier, “I’m stoked to have come home third. The Shell Helix Ultra, Brisbane MINI Garage team have done an awesome job. The guys from Greg Murphy Racing who picked us up mid-way through the year prepare these cars fantastically. It’s been some great racing this year and I want to thank Nathan Geier in particular for the battles that we’ve had. Nathan had some bad luck through the back end of the season and I would have loved to battle with him for this third place trophy right down to today’s race, but it wasn’t to be.”

The team trophy was won by DecoRug Racing, who may have claimed a unique double had Grant Denyer remained fit for the full season. Denyer was leading the series before suffering his Monster Truck injury.

Channel 7 will broadcast highlights of this round on 20 December, check your local guides for details. Next year, MINI Challenge will be back bigger and even better with a sensational calendar that is about to be released by Series organisers, Toleman Motorsport and SPHERIX.

2008 Australian MINI CHALLENGE – Complete series points

  1. Neil McFadyen – 930
  2. Paul Stokell – 906
  3. Paul Fiore – 834
  4. Jason Bargwanna – 798
  5. Nathan Geier – 717
  6. Grant Denyer – 648
  7. Gary Young – 585
  8. Todd Fiore – 558
  9. Scott Bargwanna – 432
  10. David Turner – 357
  11. Nathan Callaghan – 243
  12. Todd Wanless – 237
  13. Nicholas Stillwell – 171
  14. Damien White – 156
  15. Darren Berry – 153
  16. Michael Stillwell – 132
  17. Iain Sherrin – 117
  18. Robert Graham – 111
  19. David Stillwell – 108
  20. Brent Collins – 96
  21. Jason White – 96
  22. Paul Morris – 84
  23. Barry Sternbeck – 78
  24. Matt Neal – 78
  25. Beric Lynton – 75
  26. Mike Sherrin – 69
  27. Damien Flack – 60
  28. Tim Leahey – 54
  29. Christopher Oxley – 54
  30. Ricky Occhipinti – 54
  31. Brendan Cook – 51
  32. Jim Sweeney – 42
  33. Callum Ballinger – 39
  34. Tim Poulton – 30
  35. Edward Singleton – 27
  36. Kevin Miller – 18
  37. Jason Akermanis – 18
  38. Ryan Mcleod – 15
  39. Chris Wootton – 9