Winton wonderland: the round that kickstarted Waters' career

  • Repco Supercars Championship Dunlop Super2 Series
  • |
  • 21/05/2021
  • By James Pavey

The next stop on the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship holds a special place in Cameron Waters' heart, who dominated the Winton Dunlop Series round en route to the 2015 title.

Tickford Racing’s leading light was untouchable in 2015; Waters won 10 of 16 races, claimed overall round honours in four events, and won seven races in a row mid-season.

In the middle of that streak was his three-peat at Winton, which will host next weekend’s fifth round of the 2021 season.

The rural Victorian circuit will also host the second round of Super2 and Super3 action, marking the first Super2 event at Winton since 2015.

WATCH: RACE 1 HIGHLIGHTS

That weekend, a 20-year-old Waters was imperious, claiming pole and all three wins.

“It was a great weekend for us that year,” he reminisced to Supercars.com.

“It helped us put a stranglehold on the championship.

“I remember the car was working really well, and we had really good tyre life, which really helped us.

WATCH: RACE 2 HIGHLIGHTS

“The track’s changed a lot since then with resurfacing and the kerbs.

“It’s a lot different now than when we were there in ’15.”

The three races saw Waters lead home former series champions Andrew Jones and Paul Dumbrell on all three occasions.

Waters didn’t put a foot wrong in the 18-lap opener, leading away from pole before crossing the line nearly three seconds ahead of Jones.

Waters leads Jones

He then returned on the Sunday to extend his winning streak to five consecutive victories with a measured lights-to-flag drive.

Jones initially won the start, but Waters held on into Turn 1 and cleared out to a 1.4s win.

Waters and Jones had another drag race to Turn 1 in the finale, and the two made slight contact.

However, once clear, Waters marched towards another dominant win by a whopping 10 seconds.

WATCH: RACE 3 HIGHLIGHTS

The sweep helped him into a comfortable 118 point lead at the top of the standings, kickstarting his charge to the title following his strong start in Adelaide and Perth.

It came after he finished second overall to Dumbrell in 2014, having won races at Winton and Sydney Olympic Park.

“I was fast in ’14, but had a few crashes and it didn’t come together,” he said.

“In ’15, it was about bringing it all together all year, and it happened for us.

Waters in front of the pack

“It was great to beat guys like PD and Andy, and it also helped me get the gig with Chazzy [Mostert] for the enduros.

“It was a good year for me.”

A year before his Winton sweep in 2015, a teenage Waters dominated the Winton opener, clearing out by 10 seconds.

However, Waters didn’t attribute his Winton dominance in his development series journey to testing miles at the circuit; rather, he and his team simply got the job done.

(L-R) Dumbrell, Waters and Jones on the podium

“I wouldn’t say that because we tested there that it helped us,” he said.

“PD and Andy Jones tested there as well, so I wouldn’t say we had an advantage that weekend.

“But I had a fast car all year, and importantly, I knew what I needed to do to make it work.

“It all came together for us; we had really good tyre life, and that’s what helped us win races and build that lead in the championship.”

Happy days for Waters

Getting the job done has been what Waters has lacked in his 2021 main game campaign.

Poor tyre life cost Waters dearly at Symmons Plains, with the #6 Monster Energy Mustang pilot missing out altogether despite claiming both Sunday ARMOR ALL Pole Positions.

Poor luck has also played its role; Waters suffered a power steering drama in Race 1, and was wiped out in Race 10 in an opening-lap accident.

The 26-year-old, who has been dabbling in Sprint Car action in his free weekends, heads to Winton 264 points adrift of series leader Shane van Gisbergen.

With the Winton event to see the debut of the new Dunlop Super Soft tyre compound, Waters knows he and his team need to get it right from the word go should he close the deficit to rival van Gisbergen.

Waters defeats van Gisbergen at The Bend earlier this month

“We’re going to need to roll out with a car that works well,” said Waters, who claimed his first win of the season at The Bend Motorsport Park.

“The new [Super Soft] tyre is going to throw a curve ball into the mix, because no one knows what to do with it.

“Hopefully our base set-up works well with that tyre; whoever adapts to it quickest will have an advantage that weekend.

“We learnt a lot of things at the Winton test day, so hopefully a lot of those things carry over and set us up for a good event… hopefully another clean sweep.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to Victoria for the Winton SuperSprint across May 28-30. Tickets are available here.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus. Check out the weekend schedule here.

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