Bairnsdale Speedway’s annual Boxing Day race meeting has been run and won. In front of a healthy crowd including hundreds of visitors to East Gippsland, the night featured Sprintcars, Super Sedans, Wingless Sprints, Limited Sportsman and Standard Saloons with three of the feature events won by Bairnsdale locals.
The popular Sprintcars has attracted competitors from around Victoria to start investing in the class. Michael Evans, Adam Greenwood both from Bairnsdale won qualifying races in the ‘Curtis Engineering Christmas Dash’ before Luke Schneider from Horsham joined them. Alistair Bastian another Bairnsdale local then completed the qualifying with a win in the fourth to set up the twenty-five-lap feature event.
Greenwood had qualified his car in pole position. When the green flag dropped Greenwood took off to a quick start putting some space between he and Bastian. Both drivers had the better of one end of the track with Greenwood exiting turn two better and Bastian climbing through turn four best of the two.
Shane Steenholdt moved forward into position three early in the race and with some cautions during the race, Greenwood had the better re-start on each occasion. On lap twenty-five coming through the bottom end of the track, Bastian spun and stalled and watched as Greenwood grabbed the chequered flag and the field roared past him. Steenholdt snaffled second, Schneider a terrific third place then David Dennison a local legend and Evans finished in fifth.
Super Sedan action is always popular in their annual appearances in Gippsland and Traralgon drivers figure prominently with the four car Nicola family team consisting of Michael Nicola and Michael Nicola Jnr, Peter and Anthony.
Qualifying racing in the ‘Virtue Homes Traralgon’ supported event proved interesting with drivers trying to get a handle on a slippery top end of the track for the early races. Darren Giacometti from Ballarat way did that with ease in heat one. Whilst New South Wales visitor Mark Sommers claimed victory in the second heat race. Peter and Michael Nicola Jnr won the final two qualifiers. Giacometti also managed to roll his machine over onto it’s roof In the qualifying and made an appearance in the final with half of his body work in the trailer.
With consistency in the qualifiers, Nicola Snr then started the twenty-lap final at the front of the field. Nicola Senior led through the first turn and out of the second and down the back straight with Junior chasing. Some shuffling of positions in the packed changed a few things around and with Peter Nicola exiting the race with damage, Nicola Senior a former national champion proved he still has a few years in the tank telling the crowd via interview that “he is only just getting started!”. Senior defeated Nicola Junior, Jamie Collins, Giacometti and Lucas Roberts.
The Wingless Sprints were in attendance for a local Bairnsdale club show with state aggregate points up for grabs and there was no shortage of racers from the Latrobe Valley competing with the Logue Family and Ricky Mills figuring prominently in the feature event result.
Todd Hobson qualified in pole position with qualifying race consistency with Peter Logue ahead of his son Daryl, then Mills and South Australian Normie Moore.
When the green flag unfurled, Hobson either had a ripping start or jumped early and he took off with a good lead. At this point the chief steward Brendonn Croucher had correctly deemed the driver had jumped the start and waited for the first caution opportunity to enforce a penalty. This came on lap ten and Hobson was moved back from the lead to third spot behind Daryl and Peter Logue.
On the first re-start lap Hobson moved to second and then put the pressure on Daryl Logue from Morwell until lap eighteen before taking the lead and bringing the field to the finish line two laps latter to pick up the win from Daryl Logue, Peter Logue and Peter’s other son Wayne in fourth with Mills in fifth place.
After the race and speaking with Craig Mitchell Hobson from Clyde in the South East Melbourne suburbs confirmed he knew he jumped the start. “I knew that I was going to be pinged, it was the right call. I had a cracking time here racing with Daryl and Peter Good clean racing with such great Speedway people. I really enjoyed tonight regardless of my result.”
Local sedan racing heroes were competing in the Bairnsdale 600 for Standard Saloons. Six qualifying races began with Gordon Russell leading the field to the finish line in the first heat only to be penalised two spots after the finish and the win given to Steven Danks, Kane Gibson then won the next two, one from the pack and one from the front before Russell and Joshua Thomas then wrapped up the qualifying with wins.
Danks and Gibson began at the front of the field for the final. With the race underway, Thomas had moved from sixth to second by the finish of lap two going around the outside of Roberts, Russell, Farry and Gibson to sit behind Danks. On lap three he took control of the race lead and from there in the twenty-lap final he was never headed. Danks held firm in second with pressure at times from Russell that Danks was able to withstand. Roberts and Sara Benson exchanged positions with Benson in fourth for a long time before Roberts snatched that spot.
At the chequer flag, Thomas made it two from two with the Bairnsdale mini features so far this season whilst Danks, Russell, Roberts and Benson completed the top five.
In the supporting Limited Sportsman Jason Hurley deserved his feature race win having won all three heat race qualifiers. There was some pressure in the final from Chris Woetjes with Mark Both and Tim Mckenzie, all four cars were setting similar lap times. Bairnsdale’s Hurley though took a firm win from Woetjes and Mckenzie both from Goulburn Valley and Both in fourth.
Bairnsdale Speedway Clubs valued Sponsors
A1 Septic Tanks
Assist ‘A’ Lift
Bairnsdale Automotive Transmissions
Bairnsdale Show Committee
Craig Riseley Plumbing
Dennison Quality Roofing
East Gippsland Hire
East Gippsland Locks & Keys
Granite Rock Quarries
Great Southern Kitchens
Logues Auto Wreckers
M & S Laity Hay Contractors
Mitchell Valley Excavations
Office Choice – Bairnsdale
Phase Link Electrics
Random Panda Photography
Roseneath Caravan Park
SS Auto Wholesaler
TRFM & Gold 1242
Wayne Trinder Plumbing & Gas Fitting
W.G.I Earthmoving & Heavy Haulage
Zack’s Firewood Services
Tim Bull MP – Member for Gippsland East