6 12 18 redline BT

TRACKS

Queensland driver Wayne Corbett took the Victorian Compact Speedcar Title trophy win after an action packed event at the Goulburn Valley Auto Club’s Rushworth Speedway last Saturday night.

After qualifying in the highest spot for the final, local favourite and race leader Geoff Meyers exited in controversial circumstances after just six laps. Australia number two, Darren Dillon retired after a spectacular crash & Mark Cecil holding position two at the time, inexplicably slowed coming out of turn four, just metres from the chequered flag, all this and more kept race fans on their toes as Rushworth presented yet another show stopping title event.

Pre-race contenders included Queenslanders Corbett & Dillon who had performed well in last year’s national title. Defending champion Rob Eyeington from NSW would certainly be a threat and on the local front several drivers were keen to see the Championship come home to Victoria including Shepparton drivers Cecil and Meyers whilst Benalla resident & multiple Australian champion Danny Stainer had emerged from retirement.

Things did not start well for some racers with title defender Eyeington backing his car into the fence on turn 3 in hot laps & was followed by Rodney Howie, repeating the same trick. Both suffered damage which took them out of the first heat.

For the championship race, Meyers got away cleanly from Corbett and set up a two car length lead. Dillon moved up to third, with Cecil in fourth. This little bunch quickly established a handy break from the rest of the field and continued for six laps, by which time they had started to catch the tail-enders. Meyers held a three car lead and was pulling away from Corbett.

Entering turn 1, Meyers was making an outside pass on a lapped car, only to have the car move up on him and making contact, which launched Meyers’ car onto two wheels and firmly into the concrete. After several attempts at re-starting the car, it was obvious that the damage was not repairable, and a devastated Meyers, whose performance had promised so much, withdrew from the fray.

During the re-formation, Tania Paul stopped to have an animated conversation with the Chief Steward. She re-joined at rear of field.

At the restart, it was Dillon who grabbed an early lead, followed by Stainer, Corbett and Cecil. Cecil then pulled off a clean outside pass on Corbett, only to have the positions reversed following another stoppage when Louis Rodriguez spun.

Another start with eight laps down and Corbett took front position, followed by Stainer, Dillon and Cecil. This tightly packed group engaged in a fierce battle for two laps, until in turn three, Dillon rode up on the car of Stainer, launching himself into the air and crashing heavily to the track to roll another couple of times, the car ending on its side. An instantaneous red flag followed. Thankfully Dillon emerged unhurt. Amazingly, the car suffered comparatively little damage, with only a broken shock absorber preventing Dillon from re-starting the event.

Corbett then held front position from Stainer, Cecil and Will Van Der Ark, until Cecil got through Stainer into second position. Van Der Ark followed in third, then Stainer and Eyeington making up the top five.

Corbett was stretching the lead out to about 20 metres, with just nine competitors remaining. Tania Paul was four laps down.

Under the white flag, all seemed pre-determined until on turn four of the final lap, Cecil inexplicably slowed and was passed by two cars approaching the chequered flag, handing a gift of second place to a gleeful Van Der Ark, with Stainer in third. Cecil rolled over the line to take fourth, his clutch having expired!

Final top five placings were Corbett, Van Der Ark, Stainer, Cecil, and Eyeington. The fastest time of 17.168 seconds was posted by Corbett.

17 12 2015 Compact SpeedcarsPhoto: InAction Photos

In the GV Open Saloons Phil Lamb re-asserted his claim on top spot with two wins and a second from the heats and a pole-to-chequered performance in the final. Chris Denton made his first appearance for the season in the “Dominator” to take second spot, with Michael Wicks in third. These three cars had opened a half-lap lead on the field by the final flag. The top five were Lamb, Denton, Wicks, Peter Fitzpatrick and Keith Simmonds.

Great competition is emerging in the GV Production Sedans, with Daniel Wilson taking line honours from Leigh Jeffery, Shane Hutchins, Warren Alexander and Scotty Smith. Best luck of the night must arguably go to Ash Brown, who after going well in the heats had his steering column break. The wheel fell off in his hands whilst on the dummy grid for the final.

The return of Debbie Pratt to the ladies races proved highly successful, as she completed a white wash of all events. Jacquie Fitzpatrick came second in the points, followed by Ally Moore, Kelly Nadort and Chelsea Hodge.

Overall total domination in the Juniors event was evident from Thomas Conboy. In one six lap heat, Conboy had caught the tail-enders by lap three and lapped the second placed car by lap five. In the final, starting from ROF, he had hit the front in the first half a lap, having simply driven around the outside of the entire field.

Top five juniors were Conboy, Lachie Fitzpatrick, Ricky Clarke, Kodye Basten and Maddy Nadort.

The next meeting at Rushworth Speedway will be on Saturday 9th January 2016, featuring the Paul Benton Memorial race for GV Open Saloons and GV Production Sedans. This is the big event of the season for the GVAC tin tops and will be hotly contested. Top visiting class will be the VSC Opens & on the same program we will see action from the GP Midgets.