All posts by Mark Cowin

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.

360 AllStars

Sprintcar All Stars return

SPRINT CARS; 360 Allstars in action earlier this season
PHOTO COURTESY : M&L Speedway Photography.

Blue Ribbon Speedway fans will be in for a great night of racing this weekend with the 100th series round of the 360 AllStars supported by Three Litre Sedans, Vintage Hotrods and Limited Sportsman.

After a short break in their calendar for the “Classic” where some of the All Stars either ran in the Classic or other series events the drivers will be keen for a run to celebrate the 100th round of this very popular series that never disappoints their fans with close racing and large fields everywhere they appear.

Continue reading 360 AllStars

Speedway Community shows class


Blue Ribbon Speedway fans, competitors and club members showed their class in remembrance of long time Club President Mick Fitzgerald at the clubs first meeting of the year on December 29.

On a night where hearts were heavy Horsham Motor Sports Club conducted the first event of the 2018/19 season, with the feature event of the evening being the Country Cup for AMCA’s and a return visit of the Vintage Hot Rods and Saloons cars ably supported by Limited Sportsman and Horsham’s own V8 trucks.

Continue reading Speedway Community shows class