|Posted on June 12, 2017 at 8:35 AM|
Sunline Speedway concluded the 2016/17 speedway season with an action packed meeting on Sunday, with the meeting beginning under beautiful sunshine and concluding under lights.
The main event on the program was the Steve Butcher Memorial for Street Stocks, with 19 drivers attempting to add their name to a must win trophy for the class. The heat races showed that it was going to be a tight contest with Rhys Heinrich, Jason Gibbs, Des Birkin and Nigel Reichstein each claiming a heat win. For the main event, it would be Heinrich and Reichstein that would lead the field, ahead of Phil Watson and Gibbs. Whilst this race is one that everyone wants to win, it seemed that everyone wanted to win it in the first few laps with numerous restarts required to get more that a lap completed. Once the dust had settled, Heinrich claimed the win which is his fifth in six years. Reichstein finished second from Brooke Ferguson, Steve Heinrich and Anthony Buchanan.
The stars of the future took to the track for the final of the Junior Sedans Track Championship. As they had done at the previous meeting, Heath and Nathan Thorne elected to start all races from the rear, but the results remained that same with each of the brothers claiming a heat win. Aaron Tranter and Tom Richter would start the feature from the row ahead of Ashlee McEwin and Paige Goldsack-Gwynne. A late race caution set up a tight finish with Nathan holding on from Heath to claim a narrow victory, McEwin was third, followed by Drew Flatman and Goldsack-Gwynne.
As with the Robert Gwynne Memorial, the Thorne brothers managed to end the Track Championship tied on points. The overall win was awarded to Heath due to winning 3 features to Nathan’s 2. Third went to McEwin ahead of Tom Richter and Lachie Gwynne.
The Modified Sedan Championship was well represented with 8 cars competing with several drivers Mildura making the trek across the border to attempt to take home the $500 prize. Bradley Hammond and David Smith were victorious in the 2 heat races and allowed to Smith to start the Feature from pole ahead of Wade McCarthy, Hammond and Trevor Raams. All drivers put on a great display of racing to go non-stop for the 20 laps on offer, a feat that hadn’t been achieved since the track had been reconfigured ahead of the 2014/15 season. Smith was able to hold off McCarthy over the last couple of laps fort the win and to have the honour of having his name attached to the track record. Ben Tuttle claimed third, after earlier missing the first heat race, ahead of Hammond and Raams.
Wingless Sprints started off the meeting with an uneventful race that was claimed by Aaron Doe. However, there was plenty of emotion on display in heat 2 when Aaron Doe made contact with his brother Keir Doe in turn 3, which resulted in Keir rolling several times and causing a fuel leak that was quickly attended to by the CFS. With the cars parked under due to the red light, Keir made his way over to Aaron to tell him what he thought with officials presents ensuring that nothing got out of hand. Once the heat was restarted, Lucy Evans powered to the win. Evans would start the feature from pole and would be able to withstand the pressure that was applied from Aaron Doe to claim victory. Anthony McMillan finished third from Melissa McMillan and Cheian-May Perrett.
13 AMCA’s took to the track but unfortunately Michael Qualmann didn’t re-emerge after a first heat incident. Jeremy Moore and Darren McCarthy each claimed a heat win, which was no mean feat as each driver started 13th and 9th respectfully to do so. High point scores in their other heat race meant that they would start the feature from the front ahead of Jason Robinson and Jeremy Fenner. From the drop of the flag, Moore looked to have the race in control and would end up claiming a comfortable win. McCarthy had a tougher time in finishing second, being pushed hard all the way by Robinson and Fenner.
Modlites welcomed the returning Matt Egel to the class after a win on debut at Sunline’s last meeting in May. A small field of 6 cars was reduced to just 4 when Brooke Alexander and Michael Brown were unable to continue after the first heat. Brian Chadwick looked like he had his Sunline mojo back with wins the in 2 heat races and entering the feature would’ve wanted to make it a clean sweep. It wasn’t to be for Chadwick as Scott Webb showed everyone how it’s done and powered away to claim the win, as well as lowering the track record by .27 seconds. Egel was second from Chadwick and Jake Lewis.
Rounding out the program was the Super Sedan with 5 cars in attendance; Daniel Obst and Steve Schwarz with a heat win each. There was some confusion in the second heat after Michelle Dillon made heavy contact with the main straight wall, causing heavy damage to the #75 machine. With the red lights on, the water truck entered and completed a lap watering the racing surface mid race. Due to this, the officials elected to restart the race whilst reducing the race distance by 2 laps. Feature time and Schwarz and Obst started from the front but would soon be overtaken by Jason Gantz, who would go on and claim the win. Terry Brown finished second ahead of Obst and Schwarz.
Sunline Speedway would like to thank everyone that assisted at any point during the 2016/17, the officials and volunteers, drivers and crews, sponsors and the fans that made this season one to remember. Planning is well underway for the 2017/18 season, with Opening Night set for the 17th February with the return of a round of the Australian 360 Sprintcar All Stars series. Keep an eye on the Sunline Speedway website and Facebook page for all of the latest news.