The action at Rushworth Speedway action on January the 13th was as expected sensational across the complete range of divisions on the night with impressive wins to Danny Stainer in Grand Prix Midgets, Lennie Clark in 3 Litre Sedans and Paul Lamb in the Paul Benton Memorial for GV Sedans.
The visiting Grand Prix Midget Association of Victoria were in town for the Ironbark Classic and amongst the field were the likes of the current Australian Champion Trevor Perry, former national champion Paul Perry, multiple times champion Dennis Myers and Compact Speedcar legend Danny Stainer who is racing in the Midgets for car owner Mark Shiells.
Three qualifying races were split with Trev Perry picking up two wins and Myers in his new Perry built race car picking up the other. Paul Perry never got going with his car having ignition issues that could not be sorted and Stainer chose to continue to develop his race car in the qualifying races by starting towards the back in only the cars second meeting.
Come feature time, Stainer zipped through the field and into the lead on lap one with Crawford, Blackeby, Ward and Perry chasing. On lap seven Stainer and Crawford had a half a lap lead on the rest whilst in third Perry spun coming off turn four and backed the car into the wall and was able to restart at the rear of the field.
Lap eight finished with Stainer still leading Crawford, Chalcraft, Blackeby and Ward. On lap ten Ward spun after Blackeby made a move down his inside, the spun brought on the caution lights and the race was declared with Ward the cause of the stoppage being classed as a non-finisher. Stainer the clear winner from Crawford, Chalcraft, Bacon, Perry and Denning were the final placings.
The 3 Litre Sedans drivers group travel around to various tracks through the season such as Heartland, Horsham, Swan Hill, Redline, Hamilton, Wangaratta and Rushworth. Many of the competitors are from Bendigo, the Echuca area and across the Goulburn Valley.
Bendigo driver Lennie Clark won two out of three qualifying races with a best one lap time during the races of 18.641, Horsham racer Steve Ellis picked up the win in the other qualifier.
Clark was two strong in the feature race leading every lap from Michael Boyle of the Swan Hill Speedway Club, Ellis, Andrew Robl from Wangaratta and Jason Ahearn.
The biggest one day event of the season for local competitors is the Paul Benton Memorial honouring the late President of the Goulburn Valley Auto Club. This event pits Goulburn Valley Open Saloon competitors up against Goulburn Valley Production Sedan competitors vying for the big win. The event is the pinnacle of the season’s race dates for locals with only the club championship the other major trophy to win.
Returning from a race meeting away Adam Box started his day well with a win in the very first of six qualifying races. Paul Lamb who had already had some tremendous stoushes with Box won the second heat whilst the crowd remembering their last encounter, sat there waiting for the two to come up against each other as soon as possible.
In round two Lamb one his second heat and Box then won his, Box however according to the electronic timing system completed a lap in 17.414 which was almost a full second quicker than anybody else on the night.
Finally in race five Lamb and Box came up in the same race. Thomas Conboy was in the battle however until mid-race Box was in the lead until Lamb passed him to take the win. Brad Simmonds started last in the final qualifier and picked up the lead by lap two and went on to win.
The twenty lap Benton Memorial race got underway, however robbing the crowd of something they were hoping to see was the fact that Adam Box did not make the race. Lamb was the top qualifier and he led from pole position. Mark Bergmann started from second and he started well whilst Garry Gapes was up the pointy end of the field also.
Bergamann midway through the race was passed by Gapes, Lamb continued to lead. A six-second gap was created by Lamb and at the chequered flag on lap twenty Lamb had won from Gapes, Keith Simmonds, Leigh Jeffrey from the Productions and Mark Bergmann all on the lead lap. Shane Hutchins and Daren Hodge followed also on the lead lap then Braiden Simmonds and Scott Smith a lap down.
In Junior Sedan racing Josh Cecil stunned everybody winning the first two of three qualifying races. In recent seasons last year and so far this year, Lachie Fitzpatrick has been unstoppable. For Cecil to win both the opening heats, the excitement level increased as the youngsters headed towards their final.
Fitzpatrick was the quickest driver in the field with a one lap time in heat two of 19.543 being recorded, Fitzpatrick went on to win heat three with Cecil dropping to a fourth place finish.
In the feature event Josh Cecil, then Tristan McGraw and then finally Fitzpatrick led the first three laps of the race in a sensational start. Fitzpatrick then went on to record the win from McGraw, Josh Cecil, Luke Cecil and Daniel Smith.
In Ladies Saloon action Rachel Pratt returned to the track after some strong performances in Modified Sedan racing around Victoria.
Belinda Chalcraft however was awarded the win in the first of three qualifiers leaving Pratt and the others to scurry back and check some set ups in the pit enclosure.
Pratt then won the second and third qualifiers with Chloe Lamb recording the fastest one-lap circulation in heat two stopping the clock at 18.757. The final become a non-event for Pratt as she didn’t make it past lap one whilst Lamb led every lap to go on and win from Chalcraft, Felicity Roycroft, Nicole Gapes and Tara Mitchell.
Action returns to Rushworth Speedway on February the 3rd with two Victorian state titles. The Victorian Speedway Council Division 2 Hot Rods and the Speedway Sedans Victoria Production Sedans will both battle for state title glory. All club classes will support the action.
The Goulburn Valley Auto Club would like to thank the following supporters:
Super Balance Automotive, Shepparton – WG Panels, Rochester – Provac Poultry Services, Bendigo – Bourke Fencing, Bendigo – Kyabram Motor Wreckers, Kyabram – The Rushworth Hotel, Rushworth – Kyabram Bearings, Kyabram – Autobarn Shepparton – Marty Turpin Mechanical, Tatura – Ipta Fibreglass, Geelong – Ross Adams Cartage Contractor, Rochester – Rushworth Bakery, Rushworth – Maxam Printing, Shepparton – Pearce Concrete, Golden Square – Michel Signs, Shepparton – Sonaray Lighting, Melbourne – The McIvor, Bendigo – Superior Concrete & Construction, Bendigo – A1 Water Supplies, Tatura
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For Goulburn Valley Auto Club