The final stretch of the GRAsim V8 Supercar league included three races on Band of Others Racing’s home continent. With just four rounds to go, Marc Gammack led the team in the drivers standings, sitting in sixth. Kyle Breen-Bondie and Ken Lindberg were also in the top-10 sitting 9th and 10th respectively. In the Team Championship, ‘B2O A’ sat 3rd, 522 points behind ‘Newfornia Motorsports B’ and 963 points behind ‘Newfornia Motorsports A’. Round 9 brought the teams to Florida for the Sebring International Superprix, where B2O fielded three drivers; Marc, Kyle, Ryan Casteline!
Ryan led the team in qualifying taking 3rd place. Kyle qualified 8th, and Marc 9th (All drivers gained a position when pole sitter Martin Carroll failed to make the grid). Another trademark launch by Kyle saw him race up to 4th, while Marc picked up two spots going into turn one, putting him up to 6th! On lap 10, an unfortunate off track dropped Kyle back to 10th position, but he was able to continue without damage. On lap 15, just past halfway, teams began pitting and Ryan and Marc both took the opportunity to immediately grab tires. Playing a little fuel strategy, Marc gained a couple seconds on Tony Mino for 5th place but was never able to get around him. Kyle pushed his pit stop ‘til lap 17, hoping fresher tires at the end would help him claw back to the front. On lap 19, Ryan and Marc had a couple coming together that damaged both of their Holden Commodores, but they were both able to continue without needing repairs. Unfortunately, on lap 21, Ryan’s engine expired, ending his run inside the top-5. With 5 laps to go, Marc found himself in a three way battle for 5th with Val DiPietro and Troy Eddy. With two laps to go, a mistake by Troy allowed Marc to get 6th, but there was no time left to catch Val and the three would finish in that order. Three retirements in two laps boosted Kyle from 10th to his finishing position of 7th, which was enough to jump him all the way up to 7th in the driver’s championship! No other changes occurred in the points standings that week.
The series traveled north for the Superprix of Virginia at the twisty Virginia International Raceway. Again, three Band of Others Racing drivers made the grid with Ken Lindberg and Dino Topic joining Marc Gammack who led the team in qualifying taking a surprising 3rd. Ken qualified 7th and Dino qualified 10th. Out of the gates, Marc went after “Newfornia A” driver Ryan Shelton for 2nd in turn one, and tire spin from the latter sealed the pass. Ken had a more mild start, picking up 6th on the first lap, while Dino launched from 10th to 7th before VIR’s harsh South Bend bounced his car off the tires. Dino was able to pit and repair the damage and, with VIR living up to its reputation, he was able to make up ground with most of the field suffering similar fates throughout the race. Ryan Shelton retook 2nd from Marc at the end of lap 2, but a hopped curb sent his car out of control and pushed both cars off track. Ryan continued in 4th, while Marc dropped behind Ken into 6th. Thanks to teamwork, an off track, and an aggressive pass, Marc was quickly behind Ryan ready to fight for second again. The fight was cut short, however, when Ryan spun in Snake and handed the position to Marc. From there, there was no looking back and Marc cruised to his first podium of the season! A solid and consistent Ken kept his nose clean through the whole race and brought home 6th place, and Dino rallied from his first lap troubles all the way back to an 8th place finish, after edging out Troy Eddy in a hard fought battle to the end.
The second to last round of the season saw the teams head to the west coast for the Sanoma Superprix at Sanoma Raceway. Although originally three drivers made the trip for Band of Others Racing, the team was unable to get Dino’s car ready in time, so only Marc and Ryan made qualifying and the grid. Ryan qualified 2nd, and Marc qualified towards the back in 7th. Off the start, Ryan stayed right with 1st place until lap 4 when he spun, exiting Sanoma’s tricky hairpin, dropping him to 5th. On lap 12, Ryan seemed to just brush against the wall at the start finish line, but the contact was enough to damage his steering and send his car into the wall and rolling into turn 1. Fortunately Ryan was okay, but the car was finished. In the heat of the day, and feeling a bit under the weather, Marc did his best to just survive and outlive the competition. Mechanical issues cropped up early for other teams, and of the eleven cars that gridded, only seven made it halfway. When pit stops cycle through, Marc found himself up to fourth, with series newcomer Tom Thompson twelve seconds behind. With fresh tires and renewed energy, Marc was able to put together his fastest times of the race and hold of Tom to keep 4th place all the way to the end.
With that finish, ‘Band of Others Racing A’ jumped ‘Newfornia Motorsports B’ for 2nd in the Team Championship, heading into the 12th and final round of the season!
The round saw teams cross the Pacific back to Australia for the Phillip Island Superprix! Band of Others again fielded three cars with both ‘B2O A’ drivers, Marc and Ken, joined by B2O development driver Windell Stratton! Windell and Ken led the team in qualifying starting 6th and 7th respectively. Marc struggled in qualifying and only managed 14th of 17, the largest field since round 2 at Donington that saw 19 cars grid. A bit of a rough start saw Windell and Ken get together in the carousel, sending Ken through the weeds and to the back of the field, but without damage. After three laps, the B2O drivers had flip-flopped, with Marc running as high as 7th, Windell down to 12th, and Ken in 14th, but slowly the team started to turn things around. By the mid way point, Ken had worked his way up to 9th, right ahead of Marc. After the mandatory pit stop, Windell started marching his way forward, finding himself 11th. A retirement from one of the early leaders, with just 10 laps to go, bumped all three Band of Others cars to their finishing positions inside the top-10!
In the final points standings; Marc Gammack (6th), Ken Lindberg (9th) and Kyle Breen-Bondie (10th) all came inside the top-10 in drivers’ standings with Dino Topic (13th) close behind. “Band of Others Racing A” claimed 2nd in the team championship with “Band of Others Racing B” finishing 7th overall. The team had 8 top-5 finishes and 24 top-10 finishes (drop weeks not included). Band of Others Racing is excited for next season and the addition of Noel Luneburg and Windell Stratton to the team, with the team’s structure still left to be determined.