This past weekend was the inaugural Australian Bandimere Championship race at the scenic Sydney Motorsport Park. For motorsport fans in Sydney, it was an opportunity to see some of the best cars from across the country and around the world compete for glory, and for those who couldn’t make it in person, it was live streamed online.
The race itself was an entertaining battle between Team Kiwi and Team USA, a battle that ultimately went down to the wire. It wasn’t until Jamie McLean’s post-race maneuver that the full capacity crowd at Sydney Motorsport Park knew who the eventual champion was, and it was a champion they had never really seen before.
Let’s dive into what happened, and how it all went down.
The Pre-Race Cocktails
One of the most anticipated things about the Bandimere Championship was the fact that it was the first ever Australian-based championship, and as such, there would be no tradition pre-race drink. For fans of Harvey Norman Red Bull Racing Australia, it was also an opportunity to try out the newly-launched Red Bull Holden, which was officially revealed earlier in the week, and for which the team were entered in the championship.
Therefore, for those who braved the chilly September night and lined up for pre-race cocktails, they would be drinking in honor of the newest member of the Red Bull Holden family: the 2019 Bandimere Championship.
The drinks were fun and tasty, featuring locally-made rum that was a blend of rums from the Caribbean and Australia, and were served in a traditional Australian way: in big chalices, with big skewers of sausages and plenty of pickles, and cups of robust English breakfast tea. The organizers did a great job in creating a true Aussie vibe, and the drinks certainly helped.
The Practice And Qualifying
The team were out and about on Thursday, getting their cars ready for the big race ahead, and were out on track for some practice. The practice sessions were held in the morning before the official qualifying was due to begin, and as expected, it was a fast and furious practice, with the cars coming together often and violently. It was very difficult to gauge who was going to be the fastest in practice, as the order was constantly fluctuating every lap.
The Biggest Surprise
The early morning started rather cold, windy, and dreary, and while the teams were warming up their cars and getting ready for qualifying, the clouds slowly began to break up, and blue sky slowly began to peek through. It was a magical transformation, and it gave new life to the teams and the spectators alike. Suddenly, it was a perfect day for a race.
The big day arrived, and with it came a cool and crisp air that had a tinge of autumn in it. It was a beautiful day for a race, and the teams were also treated to wonderful views of the Sydney Opera House, as the paddock was directly in front of it. The race was due to begin at 1:00 pm local time, and with the teams taking the chequered flag in the order of their qualifying speeds, it was clear that this would be a sprint to the finish. And indeed, it was. The first 50 kilometers saw Team USA take the lead from Team Kiwi, and the rest, as they say, was history.
It was truly an exciting race to watch, and as it reached it’s tense and thrilling climax, the crowd at the Sydney Motorsport Park grew larger and larger, eager to see who would come out on top. The last lap was particularly dramatic, with Team USA giving it all they had, while Team Kiwi held onto the lead as long as they could. As we know, it was Jamie McLean who graced us with a perfectly executed last kick, and the crowd went wild as he crossed the line victorious. The entire Australian crowd, both spectators and participants alike, went wild as they realized the full extent of their new champion’s dominance. At one point, it seemed as if the entire grandstand was on its feet, roaring their approval, as the crowd embraced this new world champion.
It was a great day for drivers, teams, and spectators alike, and it was a wonderful inaugural event for the country’s premier motorsport championship. While we await next year’s race, let’s raise a glass to this unforgettable moment, and to the new Aussie World Champion, Jamie McLean.