Six-time National Sports Sedan champion Kerry Baily will make his first start of 2014 with the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series, which will host its third round of the season this weekend at Queensland Raceway (8-10 August).
The 60 year old Baily last hoisted the championship trophy in 2012, and was leading the Series by 40 points heading to the penultimate round of 2013 when technical issues saw him excluded before business commitments required him to step away from the final round.
Now, the Gold Coast based, Tasmanian-born racer is set to make his return at his local Queensland Raceway.
“I am pretty excited about returning to the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series,” said Baily.
“Last year at Phillip Island we were leading the championship by 40 points, but then we were knocked out after falling foul of the noise regulations, seeing us drop from 40 points ahead to 40 points behind.
“Then when considering the final round, I had to make the decision to withdraw when my business commitments had to take priority following a fire which decimated one of my interests in Tasmania.
“I haven’t raced since then, and with the QR round being so close to my home base I thought I had better get out there and have a go at it.
“I am hopeful that we can also compete at the upcoming Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park events and hopefully do the full Series next year, but it really just comes down to those business commitments – it has been a really difficult 18 months in that regard so we will just have to wait to see how things go.”
While Baily and his distinctive #58 Rent Depot Aston Martin DBR9 may have been off-track since September, the experienced racer is already feeling back at home behind the wheel.
“With the intense focus on business for the last 12 months the car has just been sitting in the workshop untouched and I haven’t been on-track at all,” said Baily.
“Last week I did about three laps in the car out at Queensland Raceway and it felt really good, it was definitely good to be back in the car.
“The car is generally pretty bulletproof so we haven’t made any changes ahead of this weekend, both because it is a good car and also because we simply haven’t had time development-wise.
“Having said that, the other guys have surely been developing their cars over the last 12 months so we will be behind the eight ball a little bit, but we can only do our best.
“In 2012 we were running really well at QR but then blew the engine on Saturday before the start of the race which messed us up a bit, although we were able to put in the spare engine overnight before Sunday’s race.
“Last year I thought we would have done well, but we encountered a problem with the oil system which did slow us down somewhat. We have that fixed now so I am hopeful that we can be back to the pace that we experienced in 2012.”
While Baily hasn’t been on the track, he has been sure to keep an eye on the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series across its opening two rounds.
“I have very much been following along, and I can’t wait to get back into it,” said Baily.
“Tony (Ricciardello) has had a bit of a monopoly on the Series so far, but having said that it has only been at the slow cornered tracks that really suit his Alfa so far. I think once we get to some of the faster tracks you will see some of the other cars come into their own, especially the Audi (of Darren Hossack), so we should see it equalised somewhat.”
Baily will be joined on track at Queensland Raceway by thirteen other racers, including fellow Queenslanders Phil Crompton, Shane Hart, Colin Smith, Jason Heck, Shane Bradford and Warren Davis; Victoria’s Darren Hossack, Michael Robinson, Bruce Henley and Steven Tamasi; Tasmania’s Bruce Banks, West Australia’s Tony Ricciardello and New Zealand’s Bob McLoughlin.
The Kerrick Sports Sedan Series is one of the most exciting on the annual Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals calendar, pitting a range of ‘wild and winged’ modified sports sedans and Trans-Ams against each other. Part of The Nationals since its inception in 2006, the Kerrick Sports Sedans represent the fastest tin-tops in Australia and in some cases, the fastest outright cars on a number of national circuits.
In 2014, the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series will contest five national circuit racing events across four states:
Round One – 25-27 April, Mallala Motorsport Park
Round Two – 13-15 June, Winton Motor Raceway
Round Three – 8-10 August, Queensland Raceway
Round Four – 19-21 September, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Round Five – 17-19 October, Wakefield Park Motor Raceway