Blue Ribbon regulars rewarded

by Mark Cowin

Extreme temperatures ahead of Saturday nights action did not phase the enthusiasm of Blue Ribbons regular fans and competitors alike with the running of the Robin Thomas Memorial for V8 trucks, the Les McMaster memorial for Limited Sportsman and the return after more than two decades of the SDAV Hotrods.

The extreme weather pushed the track crew to the limit and the clubs decision to push the start time back for the safety of the competitors and fans alike and gave the crew more time to prepare the surface. The positive attitude of the drivers was bought out in a comment, “its dirt not blacktop lets give them a show”, and that’s what they did.

Limited Sportsman

With the prestigious Les McMaster Memorial on the line Sportie drivers were focused on the goal from the drop of the flag and with the challenging conditions of the night it was going to be survival of the fittest. Two fields of sporties were split into three heats each and with previous winners Mark McDonald and Jock Baker aiming at taking the trophy home it was not going to be easy with Adam Mckenzie, Craig Ansell and Travis Matthews showing good speed.

In the heats Baker showed a clean pair of heels to the field taking the win in all three of his heats without giving up the lead at any time and showing how to set up his car on a track that was hard for the low slung cars to get around. McDonald was not to be denied taking a second and a first before secoming to a flat tyre in the third heat and a DNF. McKenzie and Aston took the remaining heat wins to put the question mark on the final.

After a track resurfacing the drop of the flag saw the SA 1 of Baker get the holeshot on the field with the cars of McKenzie and Aston in pursuit. With Baker moving further ahead the racing in the midfield became intense with positions changing continually until lap 7 when the 74 of Stevens dropped from the race followed by the 13 of Carpenter on lap 10 and the 27 of Matthews in the final laps. Jock Baker took a convincing win over a fast finishing Adam McKenzie and Mark McDonald finishing a close third from a start in the mid field.

Powering; Jock Baker on his way to his 6th Les McMaster Memorial.
Photo courtesy M&L Speedway Photography

V8 Trucks

Robin Thomas’s legacy with Blue Ribbon Raceway is long and varied and the V8 trucks was one of them, truck drivers in the club look to this as the high point of their season and with new trucks coming into the class the competition was intense.

With the drop of the flag in the first heat it wasn’t long before Luke ‘Redda’ James took his usual position up high on the wall at the head of the field and Wes Bell and Nathan Bird in pursuit until the truck of Bird suffered engine issues and was out for the night. The second heat saw James again running high and taking the win in a green white chequer finish over a fast finishing Fletcher Mills and Brendan Jackson making for an interesting third heat and final. Heat three was one of the best fought races in recent meetings with Fletcher Mills in the 44 and James in the 57 trading paint and positions all race long with James taking the win with a low pass over Mills followed by Bell in the 22. The final of the Thomas Memorial looked to be a barn burner and James took the lead over Mills, Bell. Entering turn two the truck of James took a right turn and hit hard into the wall and suffered a broken steering box and was out for the night, a very rare occasion for Redda. On the restart Mills and Bell battled as did Jackson and Carman changing positions throughout the race. Mills took the win over veteran Bell with Carman in third ahead of Jackson.

Lesson learned; Student Fletcher Mills battled the teacher, veteran Wes Bell to win his first Robin Thomas Memorial trophy.
Photo courtesy M&L Speedway Photography.

SDAV Hot Rods

With over two decades passing since the last visit of the SDAV to Blue Ribbon Raceway competitors and club members were excited at seeing these cars on the wide open spaces of the speedway. After their Victorian title in Bairnsdale the week prior the members had a lot of work before getting to Horsham and new Victorian 1 Stan Marco Snr wanted to stay out in front of the pack. Heat races saw the 84 of Shannon Meakins take a flag to flag win in a car that was not rebuilt until 9am Saturday morning before making the trip after a big roll over in the title followed by Stan Marco Snr and Jnr taking the minors. Heat two saw Stan Snr take the lead on lap 3 from Phil Jenkins and held the lead to win over Stan Jnr and Shannon Meakins. Stan Marco Jnr, showing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree with a flag to flag win over the hard charging Meakins and Stan Snr chasing the duo home for a strong third. The final for the hot rods again looked to be very tight with Meakins and Stan Marco Snr battling wheel to wheel for the entire race with some extremely close passes right to the flag with Marco Snr taking the narrowest win over Meakins followed by Stan Marco Jnr, Kali Hovey, Phil Jenkins and Russ Hovey in a great return to Blue Ribbon.

Epic Battle; SDAV Hot Rodders Stan Marco Snr and Shannon Meakins waged a great battle in the final before Marco took the win.
Photo courtesy, M&L Speedway Photography

Production Sedans

Production sedans had a run at the track in the paddock sponsored by Alice Mobile Car Detailing, with local driver Ryan Queale wanting to prove his mettle in front of the home fans. With Australia 2 Dehne Sparrow in the field it was going to be a hard ask for the competitors and it came to pass with Sparrow taking two heat wins and a second and winning the final. Adam Wilson took the win in the third heat but did not finish the final with Shane Hammond in second Zak Calderwood in third and Queale a creditable fourth place in a great effort.

Pressure; Horshams Ryan Queale puts it where he needs to bring home a creditable fourth on home clay.
Photo courtesy M&L Speedway Photography.

Horsham Motorsports next meeting will be held on April 6th proudly featuring the Victorian State Title for Modified Production Sedans and support classes.

Pioneers Celebrated

by Mark Cowin.

Blue Ribbon Raceway will come alive on Saturday night with Open Wheel action and celebration as Horsham Motorsports Club hosts the Les McMaster Memorial for Limited Sportsman and the Robin Thomas Memorial for V8 trucks supported by the SDAV Hot Rods Production Sedans and Street Stocks.

Limited Sportsman

Limited Sportsman drivers from across the state will converge on the Kalkee track in search of a win in the prestigious Les McMaster Memorial that has previously been won by Jock Baker and Mark McDonald among others and both have shown great support for the event and have battled hard over the years to take the victory. Both drivers are nominated and will be sure to battle again for the trophy that personifies the class that Les had a hand in progressing until his passing and the legacy that the trophy brings to the class. Not to be out done by the guys newcomer Katelyn Worthy and Jenny Godfrey will be trying to show that they can give as well as the guys and will be out to prove that point.

Jenny Godfrey hoping to give the boys a run for their money in the LTD Sporties Les McMaster Memorial
PHOTO; M&L Speedway Photography..

V8 Trucks

Horshams own V8 trucks will again be out in force to compete hard for the Robin Thomas Memorial trophy on the wide open spaces of the Track in the Paddock, and they need it. Celebrating Robin Thomas, a stalwart of the club over many years as a Jack of all trades and a, I’ll get it figured out, type of guy and a man that held many positions within the club, from a volunteer to President and grader driver to V8 truck driver these guys have shoes to fill, big ones. With Luke ‘Redda’ James, Fletcher Mills and Wes Bell all keen to secure the win the field will be spread track wide all race with Redda on the high line as usual wearing the paint off the wall and a flock of screaming V8’s in close pursuit. For those that have not seen these trucks in action it is a sight to see these drivers wrestling the big race trucks around the circuit.

V8 TRUCKS; will sure to put on their usual great show in the Robin Thomas Memorial.
PHOTO; M&L Speedway Photography

SDAV Hot Rods

After an absence of over two decade the SDAV hot rods are returning to Kalkee to become reacquainted with the wide long track and will definitely put on a great show. With names such as Marco, Hovey, Jenkins, Meakins and West, names that show a long lineage in hot rods, in the line up for their Thunder Down Under series the long history of this club can not be denied. Only one driver in the current crop can claim any racing knowledge of the track and that is Phil Jenkins who has been racing ‘hot rods’ since the earliest days and throughout the transition to today’s high tech machines from the backyard racers of yesteryear. Beginning in the early 50’s the ‘A Grade’ hot rod has grown from a cut up 30’s model Ford or similar car using side valve V8’s through the years to 6 cylinder and finally small block V8’s today. The Hot Rod was the catalyst for many other forms of racing including Sprintcars and Super Rods of today and are a light weight version of the Heavy Hot Rod more commonly seen in the West of Victoria and South Australia. After his victory in the State Title last weekend, Stan Marco Snr, who’s Father also Stan Snr dominated hot rods through the 70’s and 80’s, will be looking to continue his winning ways on Saturday night. There will be 4 Marco cars in the line-up on Saturday night. A unique feature of the appearance of the SDAV cars will be the use of an original restored SDAV car from 1973 as a pace car for the night. This car ran against many of the drivers in Saturdays meeting driven by Maurie Moss throughout Southern Australia and is a great contrast to today’s cars. It is still demonstrating on track and owned and driven by Leanne Shanks and Mark Cowin of Beulah who restored the car.

SDAV Hotrods; Kali Hovey member of one of longest standing racing families in the history of SDAV.
PHOTO; M&L Speedway Photography

Production Sedans

Proddies will be making an appearance with a nice field in what has been a very busy schedule racing across the state for these teams. After a hectic Title held at Hamilton recently and the absence of the interstate and intrastate teams this could be the time for the locals to shine. Sophomore driver Ryan Queale has shown promise this season with some nice finishes and tempered with some dissapointment getting tangled up in other cars issues, Ryan is more than determined to put on a good showing for his legion of local supporters. Team Queale has put together a very professional squad with their team uniforms and dad Shaun is doing his best keeping the car pointed in the right direction as well as, of course, keeping other teams cars on track as is the family atmosphere of the class. Ryan will have to contend with the teams of Sparrow, Calderwood and Wilson among others that will keep him honest. Street Stocks will also be putting on a good showing in their own way with tight and very entertaining racing that will have the fans on their feet all night.

HORSHAMS Ryan Queale looking forward to a run on his home track
PHOTO; M&L Speedway Photography

Tractors Pull Crowd

by Mark Cowin

Horsham Motorsports Club’s first foray into the world of competitive tractor pulling drew one of the largest crowds seen at the Kalkee facility in recent seasons.

With a week of clear weather allowing the volunteer crew to build and prepare the specially built racing surface to the specifications of the Down Under Tractor Pulling Association the scene was set for a fantastic day of pulling. Saturday morning dawned cool and a brief but significant rain shower fell on the speedway grounds sending the track crew out again to remove any standing water from the track surface and to build a third track to ensure great conditions for pulling.

First out on the track were the vintage tractors some of which were unhooked from farm equipment that morning and given a scrub up and trucked directly to the track while some of the restored tractors were given a polish and set loose. Some of these old machines were completely stock while other had been tinkered with and turbochargers and fuel systems which were tuned for better performance. There were two classes, under 100hp and over 100hp and all the tractors ran three heats and it was great to see these competitors actually getting their front wheels off the ground as the sled pulled them to a stop. One of the highlights was the appearance of Graham Pickering in his Pietsch 4WD 871 powered beast which, with the concrete wall being the thing stopping him, would have probably kept going until he hit the Murray River. As this is a non competition event no measurements were taken but full pull of 100mtrs and more were made by many of the tractors.

Modified events got underway and were run on two of the three tracks which kept the officials and track workers very busy as the track needed to be smudged or smoothed out after each run. Pro Stock Open tractors had two competitors in the event, the Cornfoot brothers Norm and Brendan both finding the going hard with mid to three quarter track runs and Brendan not making a third run giving Norm the win on the day and closing in on the season lead.

Pro Stock tractors saw the local crew of Hicks and Wilkens with Red Devil driven by Chris Hicks against Old Smoke driven by Ainsley Magee both make three pulls with Red Devil taking a commanding win which included a massive pull of 112.581 on its third pull and keeping it well ahead in the season standings.

The big bangers of the Open class saw the three engined Plum Crazy pitted against the mighty four engined Coyote. Unfortunately Coyote suffered a gear box issue and was not able to compete in the first two pulls which saw Plum Crazy and Doug Williams pull a 113mtrs in the second of their three pulls. After battling all night to get back on track Coyote hooked and the sound of 8000+ HP rang around the track, unfortunately it all came to an end at half track when a fuel fire engulfed the left rear engine and driver Peter Mann shut down and the fire was extinguished and Peter, unharmed, but dissapointed to not be able to put on the show for the fans, Coyote still has a commanding lead on the season and promised to be back next time.

FLAMEOUT; 8000 + HP Coyote suffers a fuel fire during its run
PHOTO M&L Speedway Photography.

POWER; Clay flies as Plum Crazy heads down the track on a good pull.

PHOTO; M&L Speedway Photography.

Super Modifieds put on some of the closest racing on the night with David Cornfoot on $crap Value and Matt Reeves on Disorderly Conduct swapping wins. With $crap Value taking the first pull by less than a metre and both full pulls Disorderly conduct took the second and $crap Value the third and taking the win by 7 mtrs and keeping the season lead by a small margin.

Limited Modified saw almost half their pulls over the 100mtr full pull mark with Shillberite taking the win with two full pulls over Full Throttle with one full pull and Flat Stick with a full pull and a 99.263 close in third Full Throttle retaining top spot on the season followed by Shillberite and Flat Stick.

In Two Wheel Drive trucks Sudden Impact and Chilli Town Thunder battling all night with the full pull of the Land Cruiser, Sudden Impact, helping take the win and retain top spot in the standings.

Over on the Mini Track Mini Modified, Super Mini Mods, Outlaw and Open minis showed thats it not all about size. These tractors may be small in stature but with fuel injected, super charged and normally aspirated V8 engines they are a sight to be seen and the action was intense.

With three runs in the mid 90’s Little Willey took the win over 2 Tuff, Set The Sled and within 8 mtrs of each other and the unfortunate Mid Life Crisis who had the misfortune to lose the front right wheel mid run on the third pull. Little Willey retains the season lead handily over Set The Sled.

TYRED; Kevin Delosa in a bit of a bind after loosing a front wheel.
PHOTO M&L Speedway Photography.

Super Mimi Modified were represented by Success 11 driven by John Cameron with three strong pulls and retaining the season lead.

Outlaw Minis saw four competitors who had a tough go at it with only Stampede and Blown Income making three pulls the best being Blown Income with a 99.727 in his third run. After missing his first pull, Tommy’s Toy finished big with a 103.414 on his third pull and Russell Palmer in Stone Cold had a blower backfire that locked his engine causing it to make, in his words, some not nice sounds. Stampede holds a slim lead over Blown Income in the standings.

Rough Justice had three pulls in the Open Mini Class including a mighty 113.767 to keep the top spot this season in this class.

The large crowd showed their appreciation by staying throughout the evening and many made their way to the pits and onto the infield of the speedway which was a feature of the venue to allow fans to get up close to the tractors and talk to the drivers. There was a positive response from the participants and the fans and even the early morning rain and the wind, that cleared out for a beautiful evening, did not dampen the enthusiasm of all involved. The Down Under Tractor Pull Association has stated they will be back next year.

Worlds Heaviest Motorsport comes to Blue Ribbon

by Mark Cowin

Diesel smoke, multi engined tractors and supercharged V8 engines may not be the norm at Blue Ribbon Raceway in Horsham but this will all change on Saturday Feb 9 when the Down Under Modified Tractor Pulling Association brings their show to town.

Proudly sponsored by Emmetts Horsham this will be the first time that Tractor Pulling has been held at the Kalkee facility and a specially prepared track has been constructed for the event. Tractor pulling is a competitive motor sport in which modified farm tractors, modified tractors or trucks drag a metal sled along a prescribed course. The sled contains a box filled with weight that is mechanically winched forward as the sled progresses along the course, with a full weight equivalent of 15000 kg. Pulling this ever-increasing load eventually causes the vehicle to lose forward momentum and torque. A rare few might indeed reach the end of the course, known as a ‘full pull’. The distance from start to finish is measured within millimetres and the tractor that pulls the sled the furthest distance is declared the winner. If more than one competitor reaches the full pull mark (100m), a pull off is held to determine the winner.

Various classes and designs of tractors will be pulling at the event from the mini modifieds with a single V8 engine up to and including the mighty multi engined monsters with up to 4 Supercharged V8 engines running methanol to move the sled to the end of the course. Some of these tractors may look like the same vehicles you would see out in the paddocks but others are works of art pushing out over 8000 horsepower.

NEMISIS; THE SLED; the Ultimate Object Of The Day

Headlining the program will be the newly imported Coyote owned and run by Peter Mann a veteran of the sport who has been involved since the 70’s with his father and uncle building the original Superman and Superman 11 tractors amongst others. Powered by four supercharged Rodeck engines, and room for a fifth, Peter travelled to Canada to buy the machine and bring it back for this season. Boasting 8000 plus horsepower and using 125 ltrs of methanol fuel per run this is the tractor to beat and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. This tractor is the first of its kind to run in Australia with Double Trouble in the 80’s and Sharecropper in the 90’s sporting only two V8 engines being the biggest until now.

COYOTE pulls hard at a recent event

Another tractor to watch is the Gary Johnson supercharged V8 methanol powered Stampede boasting 1800 horsepower. Gary is an ex drag racer and mechanic that gets the most out of the engines he builds and will be a top contender this weekend. Having less horsepower than Coyote may seem to be a disadvantage but the combination of horsepower and torque can be overcome by the limitation of traction and driving skill will come to the fore.

Another highlight will of course be the diesel powered tractors that may look like dads paddock tractor don’t be fooled. Wicked Whitetail owned and driven by MTPA President Brendan Cornfoot, is an 1100hp 8.3L John Deere turbo charged beast. Brendan imported the tractor from the Indiana in the US where it had won a number of titles in the hands of Jeremy Roberts. There will be sibling rivalry in the class as Brendan’s brother Norm will be competing with Wolverine Deere 11 and the competition is always fierce when the clutch is dropped and the black smoke pours from the stacks down the track.

DEERE :  Brendon Cornfoot’s Wicked Whitetail looking like Dad’s farm tractor  

Action will get underway at 2PM with the vintage tractors strutting their stuff and the big modified tractors will hit the track at 4PM. There will be three heat races for all classes and winners will be determined by the longest pull of the day. The action will continue under light into the evening when the light show from the flames from the exhausts and the roar of the engines will keep everyone on their feet.

This is a family event and will feature an ‘open pit’ where spectators can get up close and personal with these magnificent machines and chat to the drivers and learn more about the sport, there will also be spectator access to the infield where fans can get closer to the track and feel and hear the power of the racers as they attempt to successfully get a ‘Full Pull’.

Full catering will be available at the track as well as kids entertainment with jumping castles and a giant slide.

Photos Courtesy of MTPA

100th round for allstars

HOT; Brayden Parrs #77 cooling down in the heats. Photo courtesy M&L Speedway Photography

Sprintcar fans from across the region helped celebrate the 100th round of the All Star 360 Sprintcar series at Blue Ribbon Speedway on Saturday night with the large crowd kept entertained throughout the evenings program.

With 26 of the best 360 drivers competing on the night the competition was intense with no quarter giving on what turned into a great surface for Sprint car racing. In front of a large crowd of appreciative fans. Time trials produced a top speed and quick time from the South Australia 33 Mark Caruso at 14.232 seconds at 108.769 kph on the 430 metre racing surface and only 3 seconds separating the full field.

Six heats were run splitting the field of cars and the heats started to show the teams that were able to get the handling right and were able to keep lap times consistently in the high 14 seconds and were relatively trouble free. The third round of heats saw the 77 of Brayden Parr who, after contact, ran a number of laps with his front wing broken pulled onto the infield with a fire evident under his car and entering the driver compartment. With an excellent response from emergency personnel and officials Parr was removed from the car and the fire extinguished without further damage to the car and the driver was unhurt.

SLAMMED; Mitch Smith tangled with the wall after contact. Photo Courtesy M&L Speedway Photography

As the track crew worked to set the track up for the final the facility was plunged into darkness as there was a failure of the electrical supply to the lighting. Fortunately the fault was rectified quickly but the lights needed extra time to cool before being able to be turned back on. To the credit of the fans and the commentary crew every one took the delay in style and entertained themselves with renditions of Nutbush City Limits and the Chicken Dance.

After the break a shortened B main was run the top finishing cars transferring to the A main and with times into the low 14 seconds it was looking to be a great final.

After the now regular four wide salute to the crowd the 20 car field got under way with the drop of the green flag and it did not take long until contact saw the cars of Solomon, Cambell and Enderl pulling infield and a series of restarts before four laps were completed with Mitch Smith slamming the turn three wall doing serious damage but walking away unhurt. The most serious incident occurred on lap four when the cars of Daniel Scott and James Wren touched in turn four resulting Scott barrel rolling into the pit straight tearing off the wing but due to the safety features of these cars walked away shaken but unhurt.

The race continued unstopped for 10 laps and after another stoppage for a spinning car the race continued to the 30 laps finale with the hard charging Mathew Reed taking the chequered flag over Micheal Tancredi and Jordyn Charge the top three in the 100th round of the All Star series.

CENTURION; Mathew Reed #92 leads the field in the four wide salute prior to winning the 100th round. Photo Courtesy M&L Speedway Potography

Three Litre Saloons

A field of 8 very competitive three litre saloons where on hand to compete in the GV Bearing’s feature event and the heats showed the field was very tight and it would be a hard fought event.

Heat 1 saw the 35 of Ben Naismith out front for 8 of the 10 laps, led only mid race by Jason Ahearn who kept Daniel Wilson at bay in third, heat 2 saw the 66 of Horshams Steve Honeyman take the lead from Shane Simpson on lap two and hold it from Simpson and a hard charging V2 of Lennie Clark.

BATTLE; Mick Boyle and Steve Honeyman battled hard through the final before Boyle puuled away for the win.

Heat three was again a tight race with Andrew Ahearn taking the lead from the green flag and held it to the finish with Mick Boyle starting to get a hold on the track in second and Jason Ahearn in third. Local drivers Honeyman and Graham Gerlach again struggling with the track and set up.

Heat 4 again saw a dominant run by Andrew Ahearn from the front row to take the win followed by Mick Boyle with Naismith and Jason Ahearn fighting for third with Ahearn taking third.

The final run over 15 laps turned out to be a very hard fought and fast paced race with the front row of Clark and Andrew Ahearn running nose to tail until lap 11 when Ahearn pulled infieldto join Gerlach, Daniel Wilson and Naismith.

Coming up fast through the field Horsham’s Honeyman was waging a fierce battle with Swan Hills Boyle with both cars swapping positions in the latter stages of the race. With three laps to go Boyle got the run on Clark and Jason Ahearn and took the checkers in a very entertaining race followed by Clark, Shane Simpson who got by Ahearn on the last lap and Honeyman dropping back in the field.

Vintage Hot Rods

A field of six Vintage cars ran three rounds of demonstration events during the night giving the large crowd a look at what it was like back when cars were built in back yards and sheds and in farm yards for weekly trips to the picnic races.

Limited Sportsman

A small field of Limited Sportsman ran a series of short sprint runs in packs that showcased the speed and agility of these very popular cars and will be sure to produce more great racing at Blue Ribbon this season.

The next event to be held at Blue Ribbon Raceway is Saturday February 9 when the Modified Tractor Pull.

Horsham Motorsports Club Inc.