MUSTON HEADS TO BATHURST IN WINNING FORM

FEW DRIVERS WILL hit Mount Panorama at next weekend’s Bathurst Motor Festival in as rich a vein of form as Production Sports driver Neale Muston.

Muston, who will race a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car over the April 6-8 event, heads to Bathurst as a two-time defending NSW Production Sports Car Champion and the leader of the Radical Australia Cup.

He kicked off his 2012 with victory in the Radical season opener at Eastern Creek a fortnight ago. After winning the two sprint races, Muston encountered late gearbox problems in the 50-minute final but held on to win by just 0.1246s over Ed Singleton.

“It was very exciting,” Muston said.

“I had about a 15-second lead, then a Safety Car came out and my gearbox started giving me trouble.

“I got caught with two or three laps to go and I was trying to hold off Ed. I know Eastern Creek pretty well, so I was able to keep in-front of him in all of the overtaking places, but I think with another lap he probably would’ve gotten us.

“And, of course, no sooner had I crossed the finish line, it seized and locked in fourth gear. I was a little bit lucky to win that one – usually it doesn’t work that way!”

Switching his focus back to the Porsche, Muston is eyeing a strong result at Bathurst next weekend in the first round of the Production Sports season. In the Easter 2011 event he was among the pace-setters - but the races were less kind.

“I think we qualified second and we won the first race, but got excluded with a stewards issue,” he recalled.

“In the second race I was leading and having a good battle with the Daytona of Andrew Miedecke, but I had a little incident on Mountain Straight. I spun, clipped the rear corner and that was it.

“The pace was there, but I’m hoping for a little bit more success this year.”

If racing two different cars in two separate categories wasn’t enough, Muston has even more on his plate, coaching a top-level junior female soccer team for Sydney club Northbridge FC. With Muston at the helm, they’ve tasted success, but it’s come at a cost to his racing.

“We went from club level to state level last year and won a SuperLeague premiership, so we’ve been promoted again and we’re up into the big-time now, the Premier League,” he said.

“That’s pretty demanding. We train a lot and play on Sundays; unfortunately it clashes with a lot of the racing."

Fortunately, ‘Coach’ Muston won’t be required over the Easter weekend and he’s free to unleash his Porsche at Mount Panorama. As part of a diverse 39-car field, he’ll contest two sprint races and a one-hour final.

“I really try to plan my year around Bathurst events. If you miss one of those, you sort of kick yourself a bit, because it’s very difficult to get the track time there,” Muston said.

“It’s a circuit that’s second to none for a Porsche. My thing just loves it around there, with the mid-corner speed. They reckon that in a good Porsche Cup Car, you’re probably quicker than a V8 Supercar over the top of the Mountain; they just get you on the squirt going up and down the Mountain.

“It’s really adrenaline pumping stuff.”

Bathurst Motor Festival organisers have also confirmed that the Event website, www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au will feature live timing for all categories across the weekend.

Production Sports Cars will be joined at the Bathurst Motor Festival by the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship, Aussie Racing Cars, HQ Holdens, Group N Historic Touring Cars and Regularity events for the NSW Road Racing Club and the Porsche Club NSW.

With three big days of on-track action, spectator entry to the April 6-8 event at Mount Panorama will be via a ‘bank note’ donation to charity.

For further information about the Bathurst Motor Festival, visit www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au