Nathan Herne reflects on tough Sandown conclusion
Valvoline Team GRM’s Nathan Herne secured back-to-back Turtle Wax Trans Am Series titles at Sandown last weekend, but the notoriously fickle Melbourne spring weather ensured it was not a walk in the park.
After Race 1 was cancelled on Saturday due to the heavy rainfall, the conditions were still inclement on Sunday when the final two races were held.
In the end, Herne secured victory in one in an extremely challenging effort due to the changeable conditions forcing most of the field to pit after the warm up lap leaving Supercheap Auto’s Nash Morris as the only lead contender on the grid.
Herne was forced to charge his way through the field, which he successfully did to add another victory.
While Kelly struck back in the second after Herne was slowed by a backmarker, it was enough for the young gun to seal another title.
“It was good to get it done in different circumstances,” Herne explained to the Castrol Motorsport Podcast’s Andrew van Leeuwin.
“Before Race 2, which was Race 1 for the weekend, everyone started from pit lane and I think that took a lot of pressure off because I was worried about Turn 1 and 2, and what was going to happen there to make sure I wasn’t going to get torpedoed from behind.
“In the end it all worked out and I’m happy we managed to get it all wrapped up.”
Admitting there had been some niggle with his more experience Garry Rogers Motorsport teammate Owen Kelly, Herne was quick to credit his performances especially at Sandown.
“At certain points when you’re running one and two in the series in the same team, you’re always going to but heads, I guess,” he stated.
“We did but heads a couple of times, but towards the end of the year we nutted it out and respected each other for what we’d done for the year as we worked together as a team.
“I think the last round was the closest we’d been since we met each other, so that’s a positive.
“Owen stepped up in the large round. The rest of the year I always felt like I had the wood over him, but I mean that last round I was driving at ten-tenths trying to keep in front of him. You could tell he’s had a few Sandown 500s under his belt because as soon as it started raining, he knew exactly where to go.”
Focus now turns to the Trans Am 100 at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International where a big field and an international involvement is expected as Herne believes it will provide an insight into next year’s competition.
“Bathurst is going to be a real scene setter for next year,” Herne said. “I’m looking forward to next year, I reckon bigger season with 30-plus cars at most rounds I reckon.”
The inaugural Supercheap Auto Bathurst International will be held on November 11-13.