Almost champions

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Top Alcohol worldwide seems to have a habit of being dominated. In the USA its Frank Manzo who strangles the category with his smarts and driving skills while his Australian equivalent is Gary Phillips, a man with 15 championship titles to his name.

It’s all up against anybody who chooses to try and topple the champion, but it was especially true in the case of Western Australian Adam Marchant, who along with brother Daniel and parents Charlie and Yvonne, came within one race of taking over the trophy Phillips has held with an iron grip for so long.

The situation was clear for the Marchant family going into the final event of the ANDRA season, the Fuchs Winternationals. Phillips had to go out early and they had to capitalise by making the finals. That situation was about to eventuate.

“The Fuchs Winternationals came with nothing to lose so day one went well with a 5.53 and a 5.54 with an early shut off because it was loose over the top end,” Adam said. “On day two we struggled and the shake returned but Phillips and (Wayne) Newby never made the field – meaning if I made the finals I would win the championship, still a big ask with a good field of cars.”

The move to a safe tune up for round one saw a 5.58 come up on the boards and move Marchant past Wayne Price. This put him up against the potent Jamie Noonan in a semi final where if he won, he would take the championship.

“We went out with the same set up but smoked the tyres instantly,” he said. “I pedalled but the belt was gone and as I rolled Noonan banged the blower. As I coasted over the top end I was angry but rolled to a stop halfway in the braking zone.”

It was a moment of frustration but then of reflection for the Perth driver.

“I got out the car and realised Marchant Family Racing had taken the 15 time champ to one round of a championship in our third pro season,” he said.


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