The Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association Victorian title has been run & won at Rushworth Speedway by locally based competitor Mark Cecil in a spectacular night that included fast racing, a rollover & to close out the night a fire to the winners car after the finish line where he led home Jason Crawford the defending champion, Dennis Myers & Lisa Chalcraft both local competitors and the Australian Champion Paul Perry.
Heat race action began with nine starters for heat race one & Marty Job beginning his night from the number one starting spot with Sean Denning alongside, Greg Campbell & Lisa Chalcraft were next in the line with Janelle Saville, Chris Fowler, Jason Crawford, David Bacon & Dennis Myers completing the line-up.
Quickly assuming the lead was Chalcraft (#15 Gulf Western Oils – Suzuki), with Fowler right behind her & Crawford into third by the time lap one ended with Myers tagging along. The top four spots at the end of the first lap held by the fancied drivers in the line-up continued in the same positions for the first three laps with Fowler passing Chalcraft on lap four to take the lead.
Ten laps quickly finished with Fowler the winner from Chalcraft, Crawford (#50 Pitstop Mowers – Yamaha), Myers, Denning, Bacon, Campbell & Saville in a race that went the distance without a stoppage all finishing behind & Job pulled infield on the second last lap & failed to finish due to engine breakdown.
Australian Champion Paul Perry (#6 Phantom Stickers & Signs – Suzuki) & local racer Mark Cecil joined the line up in heat two with Crawford from pole position, Bacon, Chalcraft, Denning, Saville, Campbell, Perry & Cecil greeting the starter’s flag.
Crawford led lap one & from the back Cecil (#7 Goulburn Valley Hydraulink – Suzuki) moved into second ahead of Chalcraft & Perry as they crossed the start line to enter lap two. Campbell didn’t make it past lap one due to a throttle issue meanwhile Crawford maintained a small gap over Cecil until lap four.
Cecil made a move on the fourth lap taking the lead, which he would hold right through to the end. Crawford finished second to Cecil with Chalcraft, Perry, Saville, Denning & Bacon (#36 DB Cleaning & Kanga hire – Yamaha) the finishers whilst Cecil set a fastest one lap time of the night circulating in 17.720 seconds in what was also the fastest heat race of the four finishing in 3 minutes & .875 of a second.
Saville the only New South Wales driver came to the event with a history of strong results in titles & was hoping to leave Rushworth Speedway with a podium placing, however after starting on pole position in the third heat things didn’t go to plan when she, Job & Campbell (#9 Guardline Security – Suzuki), l didn’t make it to lap two. Campbell still had the throttle issues, Job sheered the bolts of the rear axle ending his night and Saville was having fuel issues. Fowler didn’t start due to having his own fuel supply to the engine concerns.
Myers (#11 Super Balance Automotive Shepparton) led from start to finish in a depleted field with four cars competing from lap two to ten. Myers took the closest win of the night over Chalcraft, Perry & Cecil with a 2.2 second margin at the line in favour of Myers.
In the last chance to qualify at the front of the title field, Bacon began from pole position with Crawford alongside. Cecil led lap one and looked to continue dominance over the defending Victorian Champion Crawford. Crawford though took the lead on lap two with Perry in between he and Cecil and despite a change of position between Perry (#1 Phantom Stickers & Signs – Suzuki) & Cecil half way through the heat, Crawford went on to win by the biggest margin of the evening of almost five seconds with Perry returning to second with he and Myers passing Cecil on lap six. Cecil finished in fourth then Denning at the tail.
After all the qualifying it was time for a twenty lap Victorian Title which doubles as the Rod Quarrell Memorial each season. Crawford earned pole position from Myers with Chalcraft, Cecil, Perry, Denning (#52 AR Suburban Fencing – Suzuki), Fowler, Bacon, Saville & Campbell the starters.
Myers was also a local veteran and multiple time champion in Grand Prix Midget racing and he started the strongest with the lead from lap one over Crawford, Cecil, Chalcraft, Fowler (#13 Ballistics Performance Parts – Suzuki), Perry, Denning, Campbell, Bacon & Saville for lap one.
Everything rocketed along without a hitch until lap six when Fowler bounced up and over onto his lid and out of contention. Myers led through lap seven with Cecil moving into second on lap eight & into the lead on lap nine as Crawford moved ahead of Myers and into second.
Chalcraft maintained her fourth placed ahead of Perry as the three leaders continued out front. At the drop of the chequered flag Cecil took the Victorian championship with Crawford, Myers, Chalcraft, Perry, Denning, Saville (#2 Sydney City South Signarama – Suzuki) & Campbell all finishing the distance. Bacon cooked his engine and didn’t finish.
Having taken the flag & the win things hotted up for Cecil as his engine had started to breakdown towards the end of the race, as he cross the line the engine caught fire & the red lights came on with Cecil hot shoeing it out of the car, despite all the drama, Cecil still finished almost four seconds ahead of the field whilst Third to fifth finished with it possible to throw a bed cover over the three cars as they crossed so close together.
Cecil was delighted with the win, his third Victorian title after a win in 2008 & again in 2010. “It is great to win at Rushworth anytime, especially for a local like me. The crowd was great as usual & I’m chuffed to win here in front of the talented drivers behind me. It is an honour to win the title and the Quarrell Memorial at the same time.” Cecil also picked up $200 cash from Pitstop Mowers & Jim Phillips for running the fastest lap in the feature.
The Victorian Grand Prix Midgets association thank Club Supporters:
Ballistic Performance Parts – Oil Hydraulics – Automotive Super Balance Shepparton – Pitstop Mowers – Rock Solid Productions
DMT Sports Media
For Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association