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Weather fails to dampen on track action

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 6:10 AM

Whilst the weather threatened, and even provided a few light showers, Sunline Speedway was able to complete a full program of events on Sunday Night. This also included that last minutes addition of Formula 500’s, as their State Title had been rained out the night before at Mt Gambier. The night started with an emotional tribute to Super Sedan competitor Bill Miller, who lost his battle with cancer on Saturday morning.

V6 Sprints contested their second and final night of their King of the Riverland series. After Night One, Chris James had a handy lead after claiming maximum points, ahead of Michael Buxallen, Steve Agars and Brock Lane. James started the night well, claiming the first heat win before finally being beaten by Danny Pauley in heat two. Kym Simon put in a stellar drive in the top six Pole Shuffle, elevating himself from sixth to the front row, only to be denied pole position by James. Come Feature race time, and James again proved to be the class of the field. Agars didn’t let him have it easy, but he wasn’t able to do much besides watch James claim victory. Simon finished third ahead of Lane, Daniel Thwaites, Buxallen and Darryl Barkla. Once the points were tallied, it was no surprise to find that James had claimed the King of the Riverland crown, ahead of Agars, Lane and Buxallen.

Junior Sedans had a massive field with 23 cars competing for their own two night Riverland Cup, as well as points for Round 1 of the Robert Gwynne Memorial, and Round 2 of the Junior Sedan Track Championship. Nathan and Heath Thorne finished Night One of the Riverland Cup tied on points and would be a battle between them to claim the Cup. The battle for third would be a very different story with many of the field in with a shot, ensuring that the racing during the night would be fierce. Going into the Feature, the Thorne brothers were still tied on points, with Heath and Nathan claiming 2 heat wins each during the night, meaning that it would be winner take all in the Feature. Whilst its sounds like the Brothers had it easy, that had been pushed hard by Tamika and Sharni Pitcher during the heats and both would be starting inside the top five for the feature. Whilst looking under pressure early, the Thorne brothers pulled away from the rest of the field after a mid race caution. Heath claimed the win and the Riverland Cup ahead of Nathan; Tamika finished the feature third ahead of Sharni, but it would be Sharni on the final step of the podium by a slender five points.

Super Sedans were running Round 2 of their United Speedway Association Country Series with 6 drivers in attendance. However, it might has well been renamed the Kym Jury show after he dominated the evening, claiming both heat race wins to secure pole position for the Feature. Jury’s dominance continued in the Feature, winning the 15 Lap race and in the process establishing a new 15 Lap track record. Second was Quenton Thompson from Jason Gantz and Terry Brown.

Street Stocks continue to gain valuable track time ahead of their State Title at the Venue in May, with 9 drivers competing over two heats and a feature. Steve Heinrich and Phil Watson took the honours in the heats, and were scheduled to start from the front row in the feature. However, Watson was unable to take the start due to experiencing clutch issues. This elevated Neville Nitschke to the front row. Heinrich took control of the race early and was able maintain this through the race to claim the win. Behind him, the racing was fierce with Nitschke and Darren Flatman trading places several times before Flatman started to fade; Nitschke claiming second ahead of Flatman and Tony Prideaux.

Modlites had 9 drivers competing and the crowd was wondering if any would be left by the end of the night. After various incidents in the first heat, only five cars were running and people were wondering if it would be last driver standing. However, it was good to see all cars return to the track to contest for the remainder of the event (even if Michael Brown switched to his second car before the feature)! Brook Alexander and Sam Martin each claimed a heat win and would start near the rear of the field, with lowest points Jake Lewis starting the feature from the front row with Danny Prade. Prade got a great start and was pushed hard by Brain Chadwick for the duration of the race but was able to claim the win by just a few car lengths. Martin came through the field to finish third from Michael Cowland and Denis Knowles.

Modified Sedans only had a small field but put on some great racing. Heat one saw Trevor Raams take a solid win despite the car sounding like a tractor over the last couple of laps. Things hadn’t improved by Heat two and Raams struggled for pace with Adam Haseldine claiming the win. The Feature only saw three cars finishing with Haseldine winning ahead of Justin Demaine and Marty Raams.

As mentioned earlier, Formula 500’s were a late addition to the program and 5 drivers made the trip to Sunline. Brad Stell and Joe Mercorella claimed the heat wins and would start the feature from the front row. From the start, Stell gained the lead and was able to withstand that challenge from Austin McDonald to take the feature win; Shaun Brown finished third and Mercorella fourth.

Sunline Speedway’s next meeting is on Saturday 22nd April with the running of the South Australian AMCA Title, proudly sponsored by United Speedway Association. Junior Sedans will contest their final Round of the Robert Gwynne Memorial as well as Round 3 of their Track Championship. Other classes on the program include Super Sedans, Street Stocks, Modified Sedans and Modlites.




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