BLUE RIBBON RACEWAY will once again bring their season to a close with the Speedway Carnival to be held this weekend.
It has been a quiet season for Blue ribbon raceway this year but that doesn’t mean you won’t see some of the best racing of the year come Saturday and Sunday. With the May 11th meeting being rained out there are many drivers itching to get out there and finish their seasons on a high.
Over the weekend two club greats will be honoured, with the Kevin Baker challenge for Ltd. Sportsman being run on Saturday in memory of the Late Kevin Baker and the Mick Fitzgerald memorial for 3 Litre Sedans to be run over both days in memory of the late Mick Fitzgerald who’s favourite weekend of the year, was the June long weekend..
The Ltd. Sportsman Kevin Baker challenge will see an array of drivers from clubs all over Victoria including Kevin’s own son Clint Baker. Vying for the honour of winning the challenge Baker will be a crowd favourite as he and other members of the Baker family pay tribute to ‘Kev’ before racing starts on Saturday. Drivers travelling for the event include Mark both of Bairnsdale and Mark Stevens of Mt Gambier. A full field of local cars will also be vying for the honours including Mark McDonald who was the Winner in 2018, Jock Baker, Dean Baker and Nathan Buckley.
3 Litre Sedans will end their season with the Mick Fitzgerald Memorial, honouring the life member and long standing President of the Horsham Motorsports club.
Local cars such as Graham Gerlach, Terry Nash and Steve Honeyman will be hoping to take out the first inaugural Mick Fitzgerald memorial however they will have some stiff competition in the likes of the Victoria 1 – Lennie Clark and the Victoria 3 of Andrew Ahearn.
Wingless sprints will take to the track for the very first ‘Blue Ribbon Double Header Classic’ with more than 35 cars expected to roll out over 2 days it will be sure to create action packed racing for the crowd. With the likes of Travis Miller and Marcus Green who are always fast alongside Carly Walsh and Geoff Cook who both recorded strong wins during the season there will be no shortage of contenders. Horsham local Luke Schneider will make a long awaited return along with Jeremy Beddison and Robert Whiteside both looking for a strong result at their home track.
The Street stock 1000 will see more than 20 street stock drivers converge on Blue Ribbon raceway for the first time in a number of years. With the likes of Dylan Campton, Steven Watts and Lewis Clark among the regulars as well as Jayden Blomeley who has had multiple feature wins this season the racing will be sure to heat up as the weekend progresses.
There will also be a full field of supports classes including SSA Ladies, SSA Juniors, V8 trucks, Modified Sedans and Vintage classes.
Gates open 2pm Saturday racing from 3pm and Gates open 12pm Sunday with racing from 1pm.
More information at https://www.facebook.com/events/592714891198204/
by Mark Cowin
With heavy hearts with the passing of class patriarch Kevin ‘Kev’ Baker last week, Horshams Limited Sportsman drivers will again be vying to take home the coveted Kevin Baker Challenge trophy.
Always a great supporter of the Limited Sportsman class, and a proponent of giving everyone a ‘go’and putting on a show for the crowd Kev loved to watch battles throughout the whole field during an event and the format of the event reflects his love.
The format will see points accumulated throughout the heat races with the highest point scorers starting at the rear of the field giving all competitors a great chance of victory and Kev’s dream was to reward all those competitors that turn up race after race for the love of the sport above all else. It also gave the dominant drivers a chance to ‘show their stuff’ in the always entertaining class.
The Sporties live the speedway life from a time where winning was a goal but having fun and helping other racers to learn the sport in a family oriented safe and supporting environment with others which was Kev’s goal for the class.
As the promoter of the Challenge, Kev’s son Clint sponsors the event and has carried on the tradition with his own company Compass Powder Coating always having a sporty or two in the yard ready to be worked on to keep the class going and growing. Last years winner Mark McDonald is sure to have his tail up with the likes of Nathan Buckley, Jock Baker, Godfrey, Ansell, Matthews, McKenzie and a legion of drivers promising to make the trip out to celebrate Kev’s life and legacy and maybe take home a trophy as a bonus.
Wingless Sprintcars will be ending their WWS Super Series at Blue Ribbon and if the last few events have proven anything these drivers will not be holding back to be number one. Following on from strong showings at recent outings the event promises to be well contested.
With in excess of 20 of these high powered light weight cars nominated at press time the numbers are sure to grow and with the Kalkee surface sure to be in great conditions fans can be assured that this will be a must see event.
After a season of ups and downs will this be the time for Steven Hateley to shine in his Horsham Offroad/ Carmans windscreens hot rod on his home track or Jordan Nicholas and Braden Parr to dominate or will we see Carly Walsh show the boys a thing or two. With these cars anything can and usually does happen.
The mighty minis of the V8 powered Super Rods will bring their best to Horsham as their long season continues. With the return of Shaun Walsh to the ranks the season has been a revolving door of winners with Coad, Walsh, Gange and Gleeson joining series Champion Ewan McKenzie in the lineup. After securing his fourth title in 37 years of competition the never aging McKenzie is sure to be up front proving that ‘it aint over till its over’ as these V8 powered machines steam around the 440 metres of Wimmera clay.
V8 trucks and a full program of supporting classes will also run so remember to pack a blanket and a chair or arrive early and secure a spot on the bank and watch from the warmth of your car. Gates open 4:30 with racing getting under way at 5:30
HORSHAM Modified Sedan driver Daniel Simpson wrote his own fairy-tale at Blue Ribbon Raceway on Saturday night, claiming the Victorian Title crown.
With a few withdrawals and a late nomination, 26 cars contested the Victorian Modified Sedan Title.
Simpson, a Horsham local, started out of Position Three for the final, behind Mildura racers Jake Drewett and Martin Hawson.
While Simpson earned himself the title of Victorian Number One, earlier in the evening Drewett owned the action, recording three heat wins from three starts, despite having car dramas, and rocketing himself to a pole position start for the feature.
Other heat winners for the night were Simpson, who took out Heat One, Darren Cockerill, Hawson (two heats), Jeff Leahy and Matt Nelson.
“I was stoked to start off pole because after the parade I was going to load it up as we knew we had a head gasket issue,” Drewett said.
“Dad (Mark) just said send it and keep an eye on it which is what I did.
“The car was really strong for six or seven laps but would start getting really hot and the fail safes we put into the ECU after Kingaroy started dropping a lot of power out of the car which started to make it harder to drive, keeping it out of a mid push.”
In the heats Drewett was able to open a big enough lead so that by the time his car began to shut down he was already in a position to win.
In the final Drewett got the jump on the rest of the field and was dominant early on.
“I knew Marty (Hawson) would be right there but knew he wasn’t under me as I can hear his car when he is i was just hoping to lead as many laps as I could,” Drewett said.
“I knew very well the chances of me finishing were pretty much none.”
Hawson got around Drewett eight laps in and coming into lap traffic the Number 18 started to run hot and lose power.
“I lost my ability with the car to keep it rotated getting mid corner pushes,” he said.
“I tried to baby it and hopefully make it to the end but the ECU went into limp mode to protect the engine from overheat and that was it for us.”
With Drewett pulling infield it left Simpson to chase Hawson, but with only four laps to go Hawson also came to a halt infield.
“I’m really shattered for Marty because as most people know I’m probably one of his biggest fans,” Drewett said.
“But Daniel Simpson – after seeing a bloke battle with so much bad luck who is one of the nicest blokes in speedway win in front of his home crowd was cool to watch.”
Heading into the event Simpson said he was looking forward to racing in front of his family, friends and sponsors but after winning the event he described the achievement as “unbelievable”.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to have done it anywhere else,” Simpson said.
Reflecting on how the night unfolded for the driver of the Number 33 Commodore, he said: “I had a really clean run through the heats and managed to win our heat from our front start and get into the top three with the two rear starts with no damage.”
He took the first heat despite having mechanical issues.
“In the first heat the new gearbox I put in for the night was jumping out of gear so I had to hold it in with one hand for the whole race,” Simpson said.
“So I thought that might have been the start of a tough night.
“Other than that we had some power steering issues causing smoke but we were able to get it fixed for the final.”
Starting from Position Three Simpson lined up behind two of the Modified Sedan drivers he considers fastest in the country – Drewett and Hawson.
“Both are racers I respect a lot and I knew they would have been on it from the start,” Simpson said.
“But I thought if I could stay close enough, lapped cars or them battling each other could work in my favour.”
After Drewett’s demise and then Hawson’s exit, Simpson found himself briefly in a state of disbelief.
“It was a bit of a shock for a second or two, then my main focus was to push harder not knowing how close everyone else was,” he said.
“I was determined not to throw it away from being conservative.”
Simpson crossed the line and took the chequered flag to the cheers of the local crowd, a reception that was mirrored at the presentation after his win.
“It is definitely a career highlight and a special moment in general,” he said.
“Nearly all club members and some of the people on the hill I have known since I was a kid, to see how happy they were with the result was extra special and it wouldn’t have been the same if it was at another track.”
Simpson said the win was even more special with good friend Brody Chrystie claiming second place, while fellow Victorian driver Darren Cockerill, Andrew Blackwell and Kye Walters rounded out the Top Five.
Jeff Leahy, Mick Johnson, Chris Hayden and Peter McCarthy were the only other drivers to go the full distance.
Angelo Halacas completed 32 laps, Jakobe Jetson and Matt Nelson 20, Graham West 15, Aidan Raymont, Rachel Pratt and Russell Bent 13, Matt Gerlach and Russell Felsovary 12 and Dale Hallett two laps.
Saturday night’s Title brings Simpson’s racing season to a close, but he will be back next year with the Victoria One on his panels for the VMPA Series and to contest the Australian Title.
by Mark Cowin and Jamie Collins
Speedway action at Blue Ribbon Raceway on Saturday night showed the fickle nature of motor racing resulting in a very popular win by local Horsham Motorsports racer Daniel Simpson to become Victoria #1 in Modified Sedan competition.
In the lead up to the championship Simpson’s chances of a title looked very challenging when an encounter with the wall at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool left a very damaged race car parked high in turns one and two. Two weeks of hard work saw the HO 33 of Simpson on track for first heat. The cars of Matt Gerlach and the sentimental crowd favourite Graham West in his very fast LJ Torana also suffered significant damage at Warrnambool but were also ready to do their utmost to keep the title in Victoria after a trip to Queensland with Aiden Raymont also intent on keeping it.
Heat one saw Simpson show the depth of his desire with a flag to flag win by 10 second over Jetson followed closely by Chrystie and Gerlach. Heat two saw the cars of Raymont and coming from the back end of the grid to challenge Atkins mid race with Drewett taking the win over Atkins and Raymont with only .03 secs seperating them ad West in fourth. Heat three saw another hard charge from the rear of the field with Martin Hawson took the lead on lap four and held on with Kye Walters in second and Chris Hayden holding off Blackwell by .3 seconds, Hawsons fast lap of 20.334 seconds set the tone for the night. Heat four saw another hard charge from the rear of the field with Simpson off the back row getting to fourth by lap three and with starting and finishing one/two Simpson got the better of Blackwell on the last lap for third after a six lap battle by half a second. Heat five was a run away win for Darren Cockerill from pole with an eight second gap on a charging Russell Bent .03 seconds ahead of Jetson in third the cooling temperatures saw Cockerill lower the lap time below 20 secs to 19.699.
Heat six line up had the cars of favoured runners Raymont, Walters and Hawson pitted against each other in what was a hard fought battle for the minor placings with Hawson running away with another low time of 19.294 and Walters and Raymont battling for six laps Walters taking second with one to go. Heat seven again saw Jake Drewett in the MDA 18 charge from the rear of the field to take a narrow win over Hawson who fought through the field from last half way through the heat to miss first by half a second with Rachel Pratt five seconds back in third. Heat eight saw Daniel Simpson start near the rear of the field but by lap three was chasing down Matt Nelson and eventually taking the lead on lap eight only to lose it one lap later to finish second to Nelson with Walters in third and only .6 seconds seperating the top three. In one of the closest heats of the night eleven seconds sperated the field of nine over the ten lap race. Places changed constantly during the heat with the car of Leahy taking the lead on lap two and the minor placings being decided by lap six with the final placings Leahy, Cockerill and Burr setting the scene for a barn burner of a final.
Twenty one cars lined up for the final and after the formalities of driver presentations set off for 35 laps to determine the Victoria #1. MDA 18 Jake Drewett got a holeshot on the field at the flag and looked strong but was challenged on lap 8 by the MDA 72 of Martin Hawson who took the lead. By lap twelve the cars of Matt Gerlach and Russell Felsavory were infield followed one lap later Rachel Pratt, Russel Bent and the reining Vic #1 Aiden Raymont followed shortly after by Graham West all from contact. This left a wide open track for the field to battle for the title. Leader Martin Hawson was also involved while leading but continued on.
Lap 30 saw the car of Hawson leading Simpson, Chrystie, Cockerill and Blackwell and all lapping within view of the chequered flag. Dramatically coming out of turn four while being chased by Simpson, Hawson pulled onto the infield to the shock of the crowd and Simpson took the lead on lap 32 and would not be challenged from that point to take first place and the title of Victorian Champion by four seconds from Chrystie and Cockerill followed by Blackwell and Walters for the podium. Seven seconds separated the top six finishers and Simpson’s best lap was a 18.556 at 100.884 km/h.
Simpson now has the right to carry the Vic #1 on his car for the next year and after not knowing two weeks before if he would even make the field his win was a huge effort and brings the title back to Victoria.
Caption Victoria #1: Horsham’s Daniel Simpson celebrates his win in the Victorian State Title at Blue Ribbon Raceway. Photo Courtesy of Jamie Collins.