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News Update

BGR/TLM Racing with Grote Weathers the Storm at Shannonville

Rounds Three and Four of the 2009 Ontario Formula Challenge put the Brian Graham Racing/TLM Racing - Grote squad through many tests this past weekend (May 29-31) at Shannonville Motorsports Park.

Stefan RzadzinskiThe nice weather went away just in time for the weekend and a damp track with lake sized puddles welcomed the drivers, whom none of which had driven the challenging course before. Testing began on Friday morning, and the track dried before too long, except two corners that remained wet all day with a natural "drive thru car wash". Drivers Stefan Rzadzinski, Mikhail Goikhberg, Fabio Urbano, and Allan Craighead progressed all day and lowered their lap time continually. Track walks Thursday and Friday proved fruitful, as they all continued to pick up the pace through Saturday's practice and into qualifying.

Rzadzinski lead the quartet in qualifying with a superb third place on the grid, with Goikhberg in seventh and Urbano in 12th. Craighead, returning to the cockpit after many years, put his trusty old Lola within reach of his class C car competitors.
Mikhail GoikhbergRzadzinski made a terrific start in race one of the doubleheader later in the day, jumping to second, while Goikhberg vaulted into fourth. The strong start was short lived however, as Goikhberg missed a downshift and spun the car off-course and with the aforementioned wet conditions beaching his car, making him a spectator. As things settled in, Rzadzinski was comfortably in second, ahead of Urbano who had made up some ground and was up to sixth. Unfortunately for Rzadzinski his race ended prematurely when a wheel failure sent him off track and into retirement. A sure second place was lost, however Fabio was still making up ground, eventually closing out the race in fifth overall, fourth in A class. Craighead enjoyed a good battle with his class C counterparts, eventually ending the race second in class.
Sunday brought clear sky's, but a west wind which helped the laps times, as it provided a great tail wind down the long backstraight. Rzadzinski again put his car third on the grid, with Urbano eighth and Goikhberg struggling to get a handle on the technical track slotting into the 11 spot. Craighead continued to shake the cobwebs off, steadily dropped his lap times and the gap to his rivals in class C.
When the green came a short time later for Round Four, Rzadzinski again quickly slotted into second and pursued the leader Matt White. He hung with him for the first few laps, before White began stretching his lead. In turn, Rzadzinski did the same to the rest of the field. But with only three laps remaining a mistake took it all away, as a spin put him down to 12 with little time left. A valiant effort saw Rzadzinski regain four spots to eighth and sixth in the A class field. Ahead of the charge, Urbano and Goikhberg were putting on the best battle of the weekend, along with series regular Dan Burchill, as the three drivers swapped positions every lap. Then with three to go, Urbano and Burchill made contact, with Burchill done on the spot. The two BGR teammates ran locked together for the remaining laps and it wasn't until the last corner that things were decided, when Goikhberg spun trying to get the final spot on the podium. He recovered to finish ninth overall and seventh in the A class. Urbano earned his first podium to give BGR/TLM its third FF trophy of the still early season.
Al CraigheadUnfortunately prior to the race a high wind gust took the Brian Graham Racing awning over the trailer and Craighead was struck with a flying hoist and had to skip the Sunday race with a head injury. Luckily he is fine and still satisfied with his return to the racing world with a solid performance.
"We had an interesting weekend, we lost two sure podiums, lost an awning, and really felt like we left something on the table that was ready for the taking," stated team owner Brian Graham. "It was a smaller field this weekend and the points we could have gained never really materialized. However with what we learned with our team of rookies we will get stronger and come back harder at the next round. Fabio really had a break through weekend, despite a perhaps over ambitious pass that took out a competitor and friend. He is learning and learning quickly. Unfortunately when you’re new to racing mistakes will happen and you have to learn from them and move on. We are all looking forward to Mosport and the Gord Lowe Memorial presented by Toronto Tirecraft.

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