On the same program as the Ladies Victorian title was of course the Open Crash and Bash drivers, more commonly known as the ‘Blokes’ however only when Finley Burke isn’t competing so as not to cop a backhander from her!
Day one of racing had twelve heat races, with the Ladies racing in between and the title race on the same day, the numbers dwindled by the end of the day however lots of fun was still had. Of the twelve heats on day one, eleven of them when start to finish without any caution period.
Setting the fastest time for the day was Rob Bushell in the second round as the Victoria #2 driver locked in a 26.752 second lap which would hold out to be the fastest of the weekend. Only two other drivers would get into the 26 second bracket, Tim Cole and Jason McKendry.
Bushell was the first winner of the weekend when he defeated the one and only Darren Skilton in his Ute with the Rubbish bin in the back. With a nine second margin Bushell was well clear, Daniel Williams, Trent Cauchi, James Kane and Mark Hebblethwaite finished behind the leader.
Rob Disher then won his first event of the weekend on his way to his overall win. Disher was quick early with lap times four seconds faster than Bushell could muster in the previous heat. McKendry finished second with Grant Attewell, Glenn Bosanko, Will Leeson and Alan George. Poor ‘Rupert’ though he couldn’t quite keep up the others.
Jake Young the Victorian champion in his first event since winning his title and driving the same car his mum won the Ladies Victorian title in on the same day won his first heat qualifier. Young was too good for Brad Warren, Adrian Brown, Cole, Steve Brown and Ron George.
Ryan Brown then won the fourth heat race and according to the electronic timing device he defeated Rob Bushell. Pretty strange that since Bushell was in the first heat and wasn’t due out again until the second round. Regardless as good ole’ Elsie will tell you, ‘the computers are only as good as the information we put in them!’ David ‘Art Gartfunkel’ Parker finished in third with Franky Sinclair behind him.
Disher then doubled up with another win in his second heat race smashing the opposition by almost thirteen seconds. Hebblethwaite had a great run finishing in second with Williams and Cauchi finishers. Poor ‘Rupert’ did not complete one full lap, he was quickly going nowhere!
In the fastest race of the weekend, Bushell won the next by fifteen seconds in an eight lap race time of 3 minutes 45.495 seconds ahead of Leeson, Attewell, Bosanko, Skilton, Alan George and the Sheriff Jimmy Kane at the back of the field with a blown head gasket ending his weekend.
Cole won the next race from Steve Brown, Warren and Ron George, whilst Andrew Miles made an appearance and quickly disappeared again.
Young backed up his first round win with another, this time ahead of the Big A, Big Brownie finished second with Sinclair, Parker and Jason Judd finished in fifth, question around the paddock was who was this Jason guy driving Bungy’s car.
Final round for the first day began with Disher picking up another win and Leeson continuing some great results securing a second place finish with Hebblethwaite also racing strongly in third. Jason McKendry was still racing around with the target media put on his car before the Victorian title it seems and he finished fourth place not game enough to pass those ahead.
Young made it three from three when he put another win in the books this time he was too good for Williams, Bosanko and Skilton. Good ole Rupert was back and he made a grand cameo of one lap before his race was over. It might be time for Rupert to think about becoming a Mechanic, one thinks.
Sinclair then won the next heat race from Cole, Ron George and Parker with the day coming to a close when Attewell defeated Warren and Steve Brown.
Into day two and after a night eating Caviar and sipping the Goulburn Valleys best wines’ the drivers were reading to go and again as they prepared for the big finale where they knock the stuffing out of each other. Parker didn’t make it to day two due the bottom end of his race car dragging itself along the dirt thanks to a Cole touch up the day before, the fly wheel was loose and the car was buggered.
McKendry finally got serious and took a win in the first heat of the day and he did so letting Disher know he was up for a battle today. Attewell finished second then Disher, Sinclair, Leeson and Adrian Brown.
Cole won the next by a massive margin from his car owner buddy Brad Warren. Cole was 16 seconds ahead of second place when the race came to an end with Warren then Skilton, Williams and Bosanko crossing the line.
The amazing true story here though, is that much like all the world’s best Under Dog stories, such as the Wild Thing, The Mighty Ducks and Dodgeball, Rupert completed six laps, enough to say he had finally arrived as a Crash and Bash racer. The crowd were delirious, you could almost hear the applause behind their hysterical laughter.
Young then made it four from four when he picked up another win this time over Bushell, Lee Beach, Hebblethwaite, Cauchi, Ron George and Alan George, by George it was a tongue twister for the announcer!
Leeson then picked up a win in the last round of racing giving him the final piece of confidence he needed before the forty lap finale. Leeson took the win over Beach, Sinclair, Williams, Adrian Brown, Ron George and Skilton.
McKendry made it a perfect day for him as far as the heats went by making it two wins from two chances in the last day’s heats when he defeated Disher and Bosanko. McKendry set the fastest day two race lap of 26.945 seconds.
Finally Young made it an impressive five heats and five wins by picking up the win in the eighteenth qualifier over Cole, Bushell, Attewell, Alan George, Cauchi and Warren, who claims to anybody that will listen to him that he is a Sprintcar driver, pffffttt finishing last, Sprintcar driver, yeah sure!
Forty laps awaited the ‘Blokes’ on Nagambie Speedway a unique venue where not only do the Crash and Bash have the Dog Leg to get through, they have to make sure down the back straight they do not slide of the track and find themselves in the trees or creek. Not joining in on the fun was Big A, as his car was walled in the heats and trashed, he isn’t exactly tickled pink about it either, however you can’t have Crashing and Bashing if you don’t have breakages!
Another not to make the start of the final after some great runs in the heats was Bosanko who broke an axle in the lead up to the final race, whilst Jimmy Brown didn’t get a look in with the Open racing because his wife broke the car on day one!
The green flag dropped and Young assumed the lead first. Disher went from front row of the field on lap one to ninth as he become the target of those behind him. Worst still for Bushell he went from the second row to seventeenth!
In Crash and Bash racing, it’s know good being quick out of the blocks if you’re not quicker than the bloke behind you because you’re going to go backwards fast. On lap six McKendry took the lead from Young and by the next lap Young was back in seventh.
Disher was making his way back through the field and was up and down from fifth to tenth in a couple laps and Cole moved up to second by lap six after electing to start towards the rear of the field and held that second spot until lap ten.
Warren assumed the lead from McKendry on lap ten and then Leeson led a lap and Warren came straight back at him and led until lap twenty three whilst Warren blew the gearbox in his machine. Young took the lead back on lap twenty four and Disher was into second by lap twenty five mixing it with Leeson and Young.
Leeson grabbed the lead on lap twenty seven and Disher took it from him on lap twenty nine as Young, Hebblethwaite and Leeson then swapped second to fourth around over the closing laps.
As the chequered flag waived, Disher had the win from Young, Leeson the only three drivers on the lead lap. Hebblethwaite had just dropped out of the race on lap thirty nine after being in the thick of the action and spun around the lap before by Young and didn’t cross the line due to stalling and would be spitting chips as he would have finished at least fourth.
The same for Skilton he could have had a fifth placed finish but alas didn’t cross the finish line when he got shunted and the tail shaft fell out leaving him stranded half a car away from the timing loop and not able to cross the finish line. This all happened on lap 37 for Skilton after hitting almost everything he could find in the infield during the race accept the tractor, he is going back next time to do the job properly and hit that thing.
Williams on thirty six recorded laps finished with fourth ahead of Beach, Cole limped to the finish in sixth after pitting when his girl (the car) got hot, Ron George finishing without brakes collecting the flag marshals box along the way and Bushell who finished although spending much of the time in the pits fixing his car and only doing sixteen of the forty laps.
Readers will be pleased to know ‘Rupert’ made a feature race appearance and completed thirteen beautiful circulations in the Ute known as the ‘Tank’ before he thought to himself that he had shown enough and departed the scene with the kettle almost about to boil.
Others that didn’t finish include McKendry’s car as it overheated with all the track surface sticking to the wrong places on the car. Sinclair, Alan George broken right hand bottom ball joint or cracked nuts whichever you prefer, Attewell & Cauchi blew his diff after a gentle love tap from Ron George early in the final.
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