Brock Hallett wins 50th Grand Annual Classic in a thriller
By Brett Murray
Monday 30th January, 2023 - 8:26am
Brock Hallett has pulled off a last-turn pass to win the South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Victoria in the early hours of this morning.
The finish was one of the most thrilling in the event’s history and a fitting full stop to the 50th anniversary edition of Australian speedway’s showpiece event.
Hallett passed World of Outlaws sensation Sheldon Haudenschild just metres from the final line to snatch the victory and the record $50,000 to win cheque – the winning margin just 0.122 seconds.
Defending Classic Champion Lockie McHugh was third.
Hallett is named after Peter Brock and comes from a passionate motorsport family who were on hand to witness the victory – this now the crowning moment of their time in the sport.
He celebrated in style with a series of now customary Classic winning donuts for the heaving sellout Premier Speedway crowd, before performing a wing dance in front of “Mount Max” where he was covered in victory confetti.
“To pass the biggest fence ripper in the world on the last corner to win the Classic was awesome,” said Hallett.
“It was a full-send finish – that was the only way we had any hope to win it!
“I honestly can’t believe it!
“To beat the likes of Sheldon and James McFadden – who are superstars of the sport in America – it just goes to show how big the result is.
“I’m so happy for Graham and Wendy who have built this team and have stuck by me for and to have this success – words just can’t describe it.”
The team has been a labour of love for Queenslanders Graham and Wendy Erhart who have built the operation across the past year.
Graham has spent 48 years in the sport – either driving, sponsoring or now owning a team.
“It’s a lifetime dream to win the Classic, Wendy and I are ecstatic – we just love the sport,” Graham Erhart told Speedcafe.com.
“This is a young team, we’re really only seven months old, and to win this event – in its 50th year – it’s really a dream!”
His wife Wendy has a simple philosophy about going racing – and that’s for the team to enjoy the ride.
“This all comes together when you are having fun, and we’re all having fun!,” said Wendy Erhart.
“There’s been many years of hard work and surrounding yourself with a dedicated team have led to this win.”
Haudenshild returns to America this week for the 2023 World of Outlaws season after his maiden trip to tackle the Classic.
“I’m disappointed to finish second for sure, and to lose like that is tough,” he said.
“I knew Brock was there and I knew he wouldn’t give up when I was leading, and he came back harder.
“But I’m still glad to be here on the podium in such a big race in the world, we’ll definitely be back and try again.”
The finals proved bruising for many of the Classic’s other visiting Americans – with Chase Randall, Cole Macedo and Brock Zearfoss all bringing out red flags for separate crashes.
Supercar star Cam Waters controversially qualified for the Classic final at the completion of the B-main, after Grant Anderson was disqualified after being deemed at fault for causing a crash after the race.
Waters was an early retirement in the final.
Earlier in the night Hodges Motorsport’s James McFadden took the A-main which had been postponed from the previous night and picked up $10,000.
McFadden would start third in the classic final and led the early stages of the feature before clipping a wall and damaging his suspension.
Despite his damaged car he went on to finish fifth.
McFadden featured earlier in the night in a tribute to past Classic champions ahead of the 50th final – which featured the likes of Garry Rush, Max Dumesny, Garry Brazier, Kerry Madsen, Trevor Green and the retiring Corey McCullagh.
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