The now traditional opening to the Crash and Bash season has been run and won at Drouin Speedway with car owner Jason McKendry flipping the keys to his Commodore over to Brendan Miller to bring home the first win of the year in a bone crunching final thrilling the fans up in the crowd.
Entries to the first event of the year included the current Victoria One through to three from last year’s state title Jake Young, Rob Bushell and Andrew Corlett to compete in six heat races in the hope of still having a car in good enough condition to do the final.
Open Sedan 100 Lap Derby King Lennie Bonnici began the day beautifully by greeting the finish line first in heat one. Tim Cole was in hot pursuit however during the battle got spun out in the dog leg and re-entered missing the transponder timing loop and therefore missing the lap. Ron George was recorded as second as a result and Darren Skilton in his tradie Ute finished third.
We had become accustomed to Jake Young starting rear of the field in Crash and Bash just as an extra challenge to himself, however this year could he be serious about winning the club championship? We ask because he seemed to start in position as drawn. Young went on to win the second heat ahead of Brendan Miller and Andrew Corlett who has finished his world tour hanging out with Gun’s N Roses, Metallica, Savatage and Jimi Hendrix.
Cole made up for missing a lap in the first round of heats by taking a win in heat three. Bonnici again finished strongly with second whilst Anthony ‘Rupert’ Segond not only completed a lap, he finished a race and he finished in third in his brand new Panel Van racer much to the delight of his growing fan club.
Miller picked up a win in heat four ahead of Young and Corlett. Last season’s Victoria one and three tried hard to keep with Miller, however the guest driver started to look like he was going to be the one to beat later in the afternoon.
Miller picked up another win in heat five with Rob Bushell greeting the line in second spot ahead of what was the best presented car of the day driven by Mark Hebblethwaite, the car as a result of this meeting is now properly broken and dinted as you would expect. We don’t normally celebrate fourth in heat racing however this ‘Rupert’ bloke was on fire finishing high up two races in succession.
In the final qualifying race of the day, Young took his second win and secured a front row start with Miller for the big 31 Lapper final. Young finished ahead of Bonnici and Beau Evans in the final heat, a result that would ensure Bonnici began from the second row for the final and in a position to possibly spin one of the two top guns early.
Big hits in the heat racing finished with a number of competitors finding the concrete wall and breaking steering racks and tearing off wires that provide their machines with spark and the big hits kept on coming in the final. Chris Aarts was one of those in the heats to break a steering rack and he didn’t make it out for the final.
Others to not make it to the final included Ron George who done his steering rack in heat three and kept going without steering until the selector let go and the Thermos got damaged, it didn’t help any further with the engine ripped out of the mounts. Skilton was another to not make the final after two wall hits in the heats and then an electrical fire that fried wires from the alternator put him out of business.
Jason Judd in heat racing broke his steering and hit the wall and then had to ratchet strap his engine to hold it in place and find a way to squeeze the radiator back in place.
At the start of the final, crashes in turn two and the entry to the dog leg early in the final stitched up a couple of drivers and hobbled others, as Miller, Young, Bonnici, Corlett and Cole began well.
Segond was one to find the concrete wall in the final breaking the top ball joint on his way into the hard stuff. Judd succumbed to a flat right rear tyre. In his own words, the Sheriff Jimmy Kane shared that ‘half arsed’ repairs during heat racing after breaking a Watts Link returned to haunt him when the link let go again and caused the car to handle poorly and puncture a tyre. Kane held on for a few laps before Cole spun him out of the picture.
At the front of the field Miller kept on storming through the pack, dodging and weaving his way through avoiding any attempt from others to tag him. Evans suffered a flat tyre and put him out, Hebblethwaite was having power issues with the battery and lost power in his accelerator leaving him going nowhere fast.
The mean and nasty Victorian Champion Jake Young showed Warrnambool’s Gav Fenton where the Drouin concrete wall was up in turn three by giving Gav a helping touch up, Fentons starter motor gave up the ghost and would not turn over and besides, his power steering was buggered and that’s enough to put Gav out of contention.
A minor altercation caused a stoppage with half the race to go when Corlett’s Falcon got spun by Cole and wouldn’t restart, a emergency in the crowd prolonged things under a red light stoppage as Corlett crossed his fingers that his car would restart, which it didn’t of course and he had to be push started to join the rear of the field.
Trent Cauchi broke an engine mount off and then distributor wire ripped off before he fixed it during the red light stoppage and returned to the race, however movement ripped the wire off again and Cauchi had to return to park infield.
At the half way point Miller was leading Young, Bonnici, Cole, Judd, Kane and Bushell.
After the re-start Cole’s car started to wind down and eventually the Limp mode was switching on and off over the last six laps much to his frustration as he tried to challenge Miller. After earlier being fenced in the final, Young with bent lower control arms and broken tie rod ends pushed on and after being spun by Cole lost his clutch and limped across the line in third.
At the chequer flag, Miller was a dominant winner ahead of Cole, Young, Bushell, Bonnici and Corlett.
The Crash and Bash Association thank all their sponsors for the Men’s Crash and Bash Season:
The Truck Doctor – Total Autos Pakenham – DNAirbrushing – Gully Tattoo’s – Pakenham Towing – R & E Autos
DMT Sports Media
For Crash and Bash Association