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A large crowd converged on Hession’s Auto Parts Grafton Speedway to celebrate the beginning of the 2018-19 season last Saturday night with an jam-packed program which was headlined by the Clarence Valley V8 Dirt Modified Spring Cup and the NSW Demo Derby Title.

With plenty of excitement in the atmosphere following a live performance from the Yeah, the Boys band ‘Living Proof’, who were raising money for men’s mental health awareness, there was certainly no shortage of action throughout the night, particularly from the V8 Dirt Modifieds, with local Andrew Firth emerging victorious and taking top Spring Cup honours.

After some turbulence in the heat races which saw many drivers collide with the wall, it appeared that Lady Luck was smiling down on Firth as the drivers drew their feature-race starting positions, with the Grafton local drawing pole position.

Being sure to make the most of his inside front row start, Firth immediately leapt into the lead and despite receiving late-race pressure from Mitch Randall, who executed a pass on Trevor Wiley for second place just a couple of laps from the chequered flag, Firth could not be reeled in, going on to claim the victory and continue his momentum from last season, which resulted in a pair of feature-race wins at Grafton Speedway.

Coming home a close second was Randall, who had managed to build a decent gap from Wiley, with the latter being forced to settle for the final podium place after running second for most of the 30-lap distance. While he may have been slightly disappointed not to clinch the runner-up spot, Wiley’s performance was still a notable one, having been the first Sportsman car across the finish line.

Lee Gorton, Phil McNamara and Joshua Rose completed the feature-race finishers, while Peter Readett unfortunately retired to the infield just one lap into the feature race, later being joined by Ash Hall on lap eight.

There were no repeat winners in the heat races, with wins being shared between Rose, McNamara and Gorton, while it was Hall and Readett who took a win apiece in the Novice heat races, also trading the runner-up spot, with Taylah Firth (Andrew’s daughter) placing third in both heat races.

Despite being hugely entertaining for the spectators, things didn’t quite go according to plan in the NSW Demo Derby Title, with the race being declared early after a massive crash from Jason Vermeulen resulted in him being transported to hospital, later being cleared of any serious injury. With five cars remaining when the event was declared, the prize money was split between them, with the drivers reaching a mutual decision to award the winner’s trophy to Brad Thompson, whose car had sustained the least damage.

It was Brock Armstrong who proved to be the best in the RSA Street Stockers, moving into second place on the opening lap of the 20-lap feature race before chasing down race leader James Corbett and pipping him on lap 12 to take control of the pace out in front. From there, Armstrong drove to a convincing win ahead of Corbett and Darren Miller.

It was the Taylor show in the RSA Outlaw and Limited Sedans, with Michael Taylor beating out Daniel Taylor and Scott Taylor in the opening King of the Ring battle, with Daniel Taylor managing to pip Michael in King of the Ring two. Once again reversing the order in the third and final King of the Ring, Michael Taylor returned to first place ahead of Daniel Taylor.

An action-packed feature race for the RSA Junior Sedans resulted in Brock Youngberry claiming the victory after moving forward two positions throughout the 20-lap duration to take control of the lead. Next across the finish line was Sam Mooney, followed by Shanae Smith, Nathan McGregor and Chad Bowling.

After securing pole position, Graeme Rangihuna came home first in the Stock Rods feature race, while James Turner clinched the runner-up spot.

The next event at Hession’s Auto Parts Grafton Speedway is set to take place on the Saturday night of October 27, featuring the Stampede and Sportsman Challenge for V8 Dirt Modifieds. On the support program will be Wingless Sprints, RSA Street Stockers, RSA Junior Sedans and RSA Fender Benders.

Grafton Speedway would like to thank their naming-right’s sponsor for the 2018-19 season: Hession’s Auto Parts. Based in Grafton, Hession’s Auto Parts stock a wide range of parts and accessories at competitive prices. To find out more about their products, contact them on 0266 423 085.

The track would also like to thank the following 2018-19 season sponsors: Grafton Auto Electrics, Grafton Bakehouse, TNT Towing, TLE Electrical, Coats Hire, Red Point, Blue Water Mechanical, and Snap on Tools.

For more information, contact Hession’s Auto Parts Grafton Speedway Promotions Manager Troy Saville on 0455 948 802. You can also visit their website at www.graftonspeedway.com.au or LIKE them on Facebook by searching Grafton Speedway.