Saturday night saw a full house at Blue Ribbon Raceway for a great night of open wheel action to start the new race season off in great style.
Featured events for the meeting were the Formula 500 for the continuation of speed weeks. 33 cars made their way to Horsham from the previous nights action at Hamilton, with most teams arriving with few issues from the nights action.
The formula 500 cars look very similar to Sprintcars with their large wings but are powered by 500cc motorbike engines and the speeds are impressive. With the formula cars divided into three fields and competing in six heat races the action began early with perfect weather greeting the race crews and spectators alike.
Blue Ribbon’s crew had the track surface in great condition and times in the heats showed with wheel to wheel and wing to wing action pitting the best formula 500 drivers against each other.
THe highlight of the first heat was the victory by Frank Galusha, a native of Nebraska in the US; his first win of his summer tour.
Other heat winners were, Josh Buckingham, Jack Bell, James Kennedy, Leigh Van Ginneken and Ryan Skennar setting up a good battle in the B Main where the first and second place-getters were to transfer to the A main.
The B main was run and won without any major issues or stoppages, but with the track starting to turn black in both corners, traction was beginning to change with the cars moving around more and testing the drivers nerve. The final laps saw the V69 of Stephen Bell secure the first transfer spot followed by the V9 of Jordan Rea.
Nineteen cars lined up for the twenty lap final that saw the USA 12 of Frank Galusha take the hole-shot on the field and held the top spot. A number of stoppages early on in the race unfortunately saw his night come to an end, when his drive chain broke and he rolled to a stop on the infield after the second lap.
South Australian Brad Stell in the SA 33 took advantage of the situation and battled through the remaining laps with the Vic 49 of Josh Buckingham and the Vic 4 of Jack Bell taking the win with only
meters between himself, Buckingham and Bell.
AMCA’S Battle of the Brands
This season will see a battle of engine manufacturers in the AMCA race cars, with the introduction of the Chevrolet small block ‘crate’ engine coming into the series to compete against the original 253cu in Holden V8.
Geelong’s Jamie Collins continued his winning ways by taking out two of the heats, while the third heat win went to South Australian Jeremy Moore. The final saw both Collins and Moore, both running crate engines, battle from the drop of the green flag and it continued through a very quick final. Moore finally drew away from a hard battling Collins to take the win in the McDonalds of Horsham sponsored event followed by Collins and Matthew Mills
Pimpinio’s Jock Baker continued his dominance in the class from the drop of the green flag in the first heat by taking all three heats setting up a great final.
The 18 lap final turned out to be a battle of the Bakers with Jock, Clint and Dean dicing with the cars of Ansell and Matthews. Jock separated himself from the pack to take a comfortable win from Chris Ansell and Clint Baker in third.
As a contrast to the modern classes; a demonstration was held with a number of vintage restored and replica cars. The crowd of young and more seasoned fans were treated to experience of what it looked like ‘back in the day’ with a variety of cars and driving styles.
Feb 3rd will see the track in the paddock at Kalkee light up with the All Star 360 Sprintcars returning to the wide open spaces supported by the Robin Thomas memorial for V8 trucks, Les McMaster Ltd Sporties Memorial, Three Litre Sedans, Street Stocks, Open sedans and Ladies.