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SHANNON'S NATIONALS ROUND 1 - BATHURST, NSW 20-22 FEB 2009

Asher JohnstonBathurst marked the start of the National Series, and also our first serious campaign in the brand new Check It Out Graphics GAC.

We arrived for the usual set-up and scrutineering on Wednesday and Thursday, and I got a chance to walk around the track. It's an amazing place, the sheer elevation just doesn't come across on TV, and both Kev and myself looked at some corners in amazement as we tried to imagine sitting in the car driving flat noise.

Our first session was Friday morning, a 20 minute practise session which was marred by red flags. I think I had done 3 full laps by the time Qualifying came around, and it unfortunately showed, with a grid spot for race one of 26th.

55 cars started race 1, which was shortened to 5 laps. I made a good start and clawed my way to 21st by the chequered flag. Getting a good tow both up and down the mountain was critical, and we seemed to be lacking top end speed which wasn't helping my cause.

We made a lot of changes over night with the help of Alan and Graham from GAC, who had made the trip out from England to be a part of our team.

The changes showed, and in race 2 I was 4 seconds a lap faster and finished 18th. We were still struggling on the run from Forest Elbow to the Chase and anything I made up over the top, I lost in the run down the mountain.

I got another good start in race 3 and made up another 3 spots in the first 2 corners. The race was then red flagged on lap 2 due to a fire alarm in pit lane. We elected to withdraw from the rescheduled 3 lap race, due to our lack of top end speed and the importance of next weekend's testing and race meeting at Mallala with the GAC team.

All up, I'm happy with the progress we made over the weekend, but obviously disappointed with the results. We are testing with Alan and Graham from GAC at Mallala this coming Friday with the aim of sorting out the suspension on the car, and after the race we will continue our engine development program before heading to Winton for the second Round.

Thankyou to Alan, Graham and Kate for coming over to be a part of our team, Kev Hill and Leon Gagliardi, Tom Sherwin, and Mum and Dad for all their support.

Asher Johnston Racing would like to thank the continued support of Kevin Hill, Leon Gagliardi, Alan Woodward and GAC and the AJR Sponsors including Cartek, Duplex IT, Wayne Richards Auto, Bridge Crash, Exhaust Technology and Taylor made Branding.

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