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The 2022 Formula Winton Festival kicked off on a high note after a great day of racing with bumper to bumper beautiful open wheelers gracing the tight and technical Victorian country circuit.

A packed schedule included Formula Vee 1600’s, Formula Ford 1600’s and Historic Formula Ford’s, but Saturday’s star attraction was the Formula 5000 class.

A total of 12 classic cars, including Chevron, Lola, Elfin, March and McRae, lined the starting grid for the eight lap event.

After a hard-fought race, Tom Tweedy emerged victorious in his Chevron B24/28 by a comfortable 28 seconds over a pair of identical Lola T32s driven by Paul Zazrin and Timothy Berryman.

However, according to participant and spectator Rod Carroll, the battle for the podium was much more exciting than the results suggest, with many showing great drives.

“It was an extraordinary day of action,” he said.

“Tom led all the way, but only because Tim Berryman challenged for the lead and going into turn 3 he really dived under him in a spectacular move, but suffered a half defeat, so Tom pulled away.

“Tim fought back valiantly but once again lost because he was trying so hard and Paul ended up second after they had huge dice.

“David Crabtree also rode as champion in an uncontested March, while Dean came from eighth position to challenge David and they set up top-class racing for three laps, with Dean coming out in front.”

Tom Tweedy won the opening Formula 5000 race of the Winton Formula Festival today, but the big question is can he be stopped at tomorrow’s Rose City 10,000? Images: Peter Ellenbogen

Josh Buchan qualified very well driving his Matich A53G P2 but had trouble on the dummy grid and missed today’s race, so he will be determined to challenge the likes of Tweedy and Berryman in the main event, the prestigious Rose City 10,000 tomorrow.

Anticipation for the big race is higher than usual after Carroll revealed that competitors had to go the extra mile to show up at Winton due to flash flooding in the state, but that didn’t stop the category, which is proudly sponsored by Auto Action, from achieving new heights.

“We had a flood here in Bennell and to get to the race track we had to drive miles to avoid the flood,” he said.

“There were rivers of water on the track on Friday but we still got out and played and a great time was had by all.

“I think there would be the largest number of pure Australian F5000s on the track today.

“The F5000s are so impressive because the way they roar out of corners is really something to watch and they’re pretty close to the lap records.”

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