Bendigo driver Kevin Clark out performed top local racers to secure the vacant Three Litre Title in heated battles at Blue Ribbon Raceway, Kalkee on Saturday night.
Vacated by four time champion Will Lamb, the scene was set for a night of tight racing for the coveted number 1 to be placed on the winning car for the next year.
Drivers from throughout the state converged on the “track in the paddock” north of Horsham with local heroes Ellis, Honeyman and Gerlach wanting to keep the title in local hands for the first time in many years.
Thirteen of the seventeen nominated cars made the final after the heats took their toll and as the night air cooled the local heroes scattered throughout the grid. With the drop of the green flag the 74 of Ellis came in contact with another vehicle in turns one and two and slowly rolled infield with what was suspected to be a broken throttle cable. A battle ensued with BGO 4 Kevin Clark, the SH14 Micheal Boyle and Ho6 of Graham Gerlach battling for space another restart was required which saw the car of Gerlach retire to the infield with a flat tyre.
With 21 laps to go Boyle held the lead for two laps and battled hard until 12 laps to go he came to grief after hard contact with the pit gate and retired to the infield with an ever growing number of cars.
Two laps after the restart the 0 of Scott Mallon made hard contact with the wall and a noticeable wobble was evident in the right rear and it was not long after the right rear axle broke and the wheel, hub and brake rotor completed the lap without Scott and the car.
With the restart coming with three laps to go it meant it was no holds barred for the final with the cars of Lennie Clark and Kevin Clark off the front row the scene was set for a barn burner of a finish, and the large crowd was not to be disappointed.
When the flag dropped the cars of Clark and Clark led the remaining 7 cars in the depleted field clean through one and two but came together in turn three which resulted in another stoppage and the resulting retirement of the V2 of Lennie Clark with a broken steering rack.
A green white chequered finish was set up for the title and with the supportive crown egging on their favourites it was the BGO4 of Bendigo driver Kevin Clark taking the title of Victorian Champion and the right to wear the number 1 on his car for the next year, followed home by the GV19 of Daniel Wilson who races out of Rushworth quietly making his way through and third home the B6 of Ballarat driver Ross Burrows.
Modified Production Round five.
Victorian Modified Production Association round five ran in support for the night contesting their round five of the Tritech series in preparation for their Australian Title to be held at Blue Ribbon Raceway on the Easter weekend.
With seven different drivers taking out the nine heat races, no real favourite was evident with the track proving to be very grippy and a struggle for the teams to get a hold of – the 30 lap feature was going to be a battle of skill and attrition.
When the green flag dropped it was the 4 of Brock Atkins that grabbed the holeshot from Matt Gerlach in the AV 14 running side by side for the first two laps with the 9 of Leigh Bourke in third and veteran racer Graham West in his old school Torana BGO 16 in fourth.
With 21 laps to go the AV11 of Jeff Leahy caused a stoppage and retired to the infield and the resulting restart was short lived when the field was reformed for another restart. 15 laps to go – the Cortina of Leigh Bourke retired spectacularly in a shower of sparks and plumes of smoke leaving the car of Matt Gerlach in the lead Graham West second, and the 16 of Mark Sheen challenging West.
Ten to go, West caught a rut and lost second place but recovered to again challenge for the lead. With the final stoppage coming at seven to go Gerlach lead West and Sheen to the flag with Sheen making his run for the flag at the right time and taking the win by 2.5 seconds from Gerlach and David Smith 0.7 seconds further back and the Torana of Graham West 0.9 seconds back in fourth place.
Speedway fans will be in for a great weekend of door to door racing, with an estimate of over 80 teams expecting to compete in the Australian Title scheduled for the Easter long weekend
Sporties and V8 Trucks
Blue Ribbon favourites the V8 trucks and Limited Sportsman were also racing in support action. Sporties again being dominated by the SA 1 of Jock Baker who led all but a handful of laps in the heats
and lead the final from the drop of the flag to the chequers with the placings being split between Dean Baker, Craig Ansell and Nathan Buckley.
In V8 Trucks the grippy track proved troublesome for the 57 of Luke James who dominated the last meeting with his high wide and handsome line up by the fence. That line was not there and brought him back into the field with the 68 of Brendan Jackson and the 67 of Jaryd Carman each having a run at the pointy end and Jamie Collins in the HO 44 again improving in his knowledge of these big race trucks.
Unfortunately the HO 11 with Steve Hately at the controls could not continue after the first heat with mechanical gremlins.
Horsham Motor Sports Club would like to remind fans that the Australian Title for SSA Modified Sedans will be held on the Easter weekend supported by a Three Litre feature and SSA Juniors.