Blue Ribbon Raceway roared to life on Saturday night for the return of the 360 Allstars Sprintcar series
supported by Limited Sportsman, Modified Productions, V8 trucks, Three Litres and Vintage Hotrods.
Horsham Motorsports Club members worked tirelessly during the week putting thousands of litres of water into the racing surface, to give the high powered Sprintcars a track that would produce great wheel to wheel racing and that proved to be a job well done.
With track conditions changing with the temperatures the heats proved to be challenging for the series leaders and previous winners with the Solomon brothers and Mark Caruso searching for the right setups all night.
The first heat saw the V34 of Brenten Farrer lead from the green flag and after two false starts ran away to the heat win. Heat two saw the most spectacular incident of the night when on lap two the S32 of 19 year old Ben Gartner tangled with another car and rolled end over end into turn one landing on his wheels with the huge crowd falling silent until Gartner climbed out of the car and walked unaided to the infield, shaken but unfazed.
Winner of the heat was V4 of Phillip Lock.
Heat three saw tight clean racing with the setting sun and the air cooling the car speeds came up and and the V83 of Christopher Solomon and the S33 of Mark Caruso the favorites for the final struggling midfield and the S11 of Scott Enderl taking the heat win.
Heat four saw the return of the S32 of Ben Gartner with a new wing and some minor repairs to start mid pack and it was obvious the handling had gone away after the huge crash. Ron Donaldson in the V33 saw the fourth different winner in the four heats showing the party that is seen week after week with this tightly contested and hugely popular series.
The final race of the night saw 21 cars line up in four wide formation to salute the crowd for their support in cool conditions that would prove to add more horsepower to the already powerful V8 engines. With the drivers very enthusiastic the starter had to restart the race three times before a clean start saw the pole-sitter, Brenten Farrer in the V34 pull away from the field.
After a number of yellow flags for some minor incidents that gave Farrer the chance to run in clean air after being tied up with back markers the speeds came up to an incredible average of 110 kph on the wide open multi groove Blue Ribbon surface.
As the laps ran down Farrer closed on a slower car and ran up and over the rear wheel almost ending his dominant run. Final placings in the race saw Farrer take the flag ahead of the fast closing V4 of Phillip Lock and Jack Gartner in the S16.
Final results saw 18 of the 21 competitors averaging well over 100kph and 14 seconds per lap on the 440 metre track.
Supporting the nights racing were the local favorites and popular Limited Sportsman, a car developed in the area, and celebrated by the Memorial race for stalwart Les McMaster.
Heats for the Sporties were very competitive with changing conditions proving a challenge for the teams but leading to very exciting racing. Jock Baker again proved local knowledge and experience was important as he performed strongly through the heats battling with a number of different competitors and using various lines to set up a great final. From the drop of the flag Baker left the field in his wake and dominated and took the flag in an emotional win.
V8 trucks, another product of the local speedway scene, had their first run of the year in the Robin Thomas Memorial which brings out all the trucks in the area to contest this very popular annual event and their enthusiasm was obvious from the drop of the flag. Luke James in the #57 Chev powered truck showed a clean pair of mudflaps to the field of seven trucks and ran the high line all night taking the win.
Vintage Hotrods appeared again with a great field showcasing the earlier innovations of the sport up to the early 80’s with a Ford Sloper a 36 Ford, FJ holden and an LJ Torana among the field. The old cars are always popular and put on a great show for the large crowd.
Horsham Motorsports Club next meeting to be held on March 3 with the Victorian State title for 3 litre sedans, a round of the VMPA modified productions, V8 trucks , Limited Sportman and ASCF Ladies.