Wangaratta Speedway’s latest meeting was filled with thrills, spills, driving brilliance and controversy, everything you need to make a good drama, and at the end of the night eight feature race winners were all delighted with their wins.
North East Victoria based driver Rhys Collins picked up a win in the annual Darren Levy Memorial for Sports Sedans over a very strong field and interesting to note at the presentation even he acknowledged what after the meeting became a contentious result when he thanked the steward for not pinging him for a passing move on the then race leader.
The records will show Collins who is from Stanley won ahead of Victorian Champion Jamie Paull, Damien Miller, Martin Heiner from Bowser and the hard done by Dale Smith who was the driver Collins was referring to in regards to the passing move into the lead. Once Collins hit the lead, try as he did Paull just couldn’t force a passing move without doing so illegally due to the smart car positioning of the leader.
In heat racing in the final qualifying race of the night, a turn two racing incident involving four cars finished with Steve Akil and Greg Parks with wrecked cars. Both drivers walked away from the incident un-injured however also both missed the final. Also hard luck for Liam Powell from Beechworth who top qualified for the top 8 pole shuffle and at worst would have started the final from position two, he didn’t get on track for the shoot out and started from eighth and way to far back to make an impression on the lead cars.
Marsh Modified Sedan competitors for the ‘Tailor Made Kitchens North East Classic’ with many of the drivers from between Ballarat and Melton that compete in this class that races right hand down. Gary Kakoschke was unstoppable in the feature taking the win over newcomer to the class Daniel Kettles, Greg Knight, Justin Bradley and Jonathon Knight, it is hoped the North East Classic grows each season with the class.
Victoria’s best 3 Litre Sedan competitors visited to compete for the ‘A Grade Removals Robl Rumble’ and whilst the field was small, the top four drivers over the course of the night were sensational rubbing panels and managing not to impede each other as they gave it their all. Troy Simpson was the winner from Lennie Clark, Zac Swanson, Micka Boyle and Kevin Clark.
Gary Evans from Yarrawonga picked up another Standard Saloon feature race win when he was to good for Stuart Densem a Wangaratta local who is now showing the ability and car development he had prior to a nasty road accident a couple seasons ago. Jared Burder finished in third with Warrick Howie and Micheal Fleming – Robertson the top five.
David Hutchinson won the Compact Speedcar final in a great race at the front with Chris Curren with both drivers having held the lead at stages. Victorian champion Justin Paull chased hard, however at the line Hutchinson took the win over Current, Paull, Louis Rodriguez and Tania Hallett.
Goulburn Ovens Sedan Association competitors were competing in round one of a two round track championship at Wangaratta supported by ‘Ryan’s Refrigerated Transport’ and a welcome return to victory lane for Ross Maclean of Corowa when he proved too fast for all contenders. Clint Henderson finished second with Chelsea Cornelius challenging Henderson in the later stages crossing the line for third then Frank Gordon and Tom Barnard a local Wangaratta resident.
Mitch Watts whilst in the lead bunch lost a wheel as it ripped out of the car with the axle attached to it sending a bit of a fright through driver’s right behind him.
Junior Sedan drivers finished the third round of their North East Rising Star Challenge series that included events at Wahgunyah and Mount Beauty prior to the finale at Wangaratta. Toby Carmichael won the final round from Daniel Powell, Will Heiner, Ashleeh Bunt and Zac Twomey whilst Powell won the series by just three points after nine heats and three finals.
Rounding out the racing was the Grand Prix Midgets in another round of their season long state series. With top qualifiers to the back of the field Trevor Perry started just ahead of the rookies with Lisa Chalcraft and Jason Crawford ahead of him the next two best performed on the night. Perry is sensational at Wangaratta Speedway with his highline antics, and frankly has become a crowd favourite at the venue because of his driving style. Perry rode the high line to the front of the field after a short chase of Janelle Saville from New South Wales who started strongly.
Perry finally made a pass for the lead, when Crawford passed Saville, he at times looked like he was reeling in Perry, however it was just a smidgen too late as Perry won from Crawford, Chris Fowler, Saville, Chalcraft and Marty Job.
The Howlin’ Humpy’s popped in for some demonstration runs with much of the action closer than some of the classes running for trophies, the Humpy’s do know how to put on a demonstration that seems real!
Next meeting is February the 25th with the annual Modified Sedan feature known as the Ned Kelly Cup headlining the show. It is still early however many of the great drivers in the division have already entered or expressed interest in entering. You won’t want to miss the show.
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