Buckley's night as the best of seven Midgets at Goulburn Speedway
The first of two Memorial races on the NSW Grand Prix Midget Racing Association’s calendar saw seven GP Midgets entrants, crew and supporters travel to Goulburn Speedway for competition in the Bart Wilkinson Memorial doubling as round three of the Gulf Western Oil Super Series.
Another fantastic day at Goulburn greeted everyone with clear skies, and warm weather. The track preparation by Tony Kranitis and the team at Goulburn Speedway looked spot on, along with the brand-new control tower looking magnificent and highlighting the work from the local committee.
Adding to the prestige of the Bart Wilkinson Memorial event, Bart’s daughter Sue Hardy and her husband Ian were in attendance with the beautiful “BKW Special” – the 1960 Micro Midget custom built and raced by Bart.
Sixteen-year-old Tyler Lea would be piloting the White Ant Racing number 9 car this night, along with Eighty-Seven-year-old Wally Kermond making his comeback in the Central Coast Motor Group number 14 car. Andrew Walkerden, winner of the Sydney Speedway Kart Club drive in a GP Midget, also piloting the White Ant Racing number 25 car in his second run with NSW GP Midgets.
Grid draws for the three heats (eight laps each) were by pill draw and formatted based on seven competitors, with highest point scorers to the rear for the feature race (15 laps). Heat one grid positions were drawn with Tyler Lea in pole position with Wally Kermond, Riley Bowyer, Andrew Walkerden, Gary Bowyer, Adam Buckley, and Allan Black completing the seven-car field. At the drop of the green flag Tyler Lea made a great start into the lead through turns one and two, followed by Wally Kermond, Riley Bowyer (‘Bowyer Jnr’), Gary Bowyer (‘Bowyer Snr’), Andrew Walkerden, Adam Buckley, and Allan Black.
On the first lap, Black had showed his intent and moved up past Buckley and Walkerden into fifth spot as the field settled. Buckley then passed Walkerden just as Kermond pulled infield – unfortunately, Wally’s new Jettco injection unit still being bedded in and working with some electrical set up issues, would take no further part in the night’s racing. This saw a yellow flag and a single file restart, with the order being Bowyer Jnr, Bowyer Snr, Lea, Black, Buckley & Walkerden.
As the field set off again with Black passing Lea before the orange cone on the start line – this would cost Black a two-place relegation having been spotted by the chief steward. Two laps later, Bowyer Snr passed Bowyer Jnr for the lead, while a further two laps into the race Buckley then passed Lea into fourth place. Bowyer Snr & Bowyer Jnr were clearing out in front, and they were followed by Black, Buckley, Lea and Walkerden. On lap seven, Black spun in a 360-degree effort down the front straight, which allowed Buckley, Lea and Walkerden all to pass. Black kept the car going which also meant the green light stayed on, with the race completing the eight laps scheduled with Bowyer Snr in a convincing win over Bowyer Jnr, Buckley, Lea, Walkerden and Black.
Bowyer Snr then started heat race number two in pole position with Buckley, Black, Lea, Bowyer Jnr and Walkerden making the race start also. Bowyer Snr won the dash to turn one, with Buckley in hot pursuit, followed by Bowyer Jnr, Black, Lea and Walkerden. Bowyer Snr went about his business, taking the high line and showing the raw speed of which, he is capable. Buckley, meanwhile, was sitting behind – in his own words afterward “doing some espionage” watching closely and learning a quicker way around the Goulburn track.
Bowyer Jnr, himself not too far behind in third place was watching the two leaders out front go at it. Following behind in fourth place Walkerden, who had passed by Black and Lea who were having a great scrap themselves, with Walkerden & Black swapping position on a few more occasions in the final laps. The remainder of the heat race was completed without incident with the finishing order being Bowyer Snr victorious, then Buckley, Bowyer Jnr, Walkerden, Black and Lea.
Walkerden then lined up in pole position for heat three with Black, Bowyer Jnr, Buckley, Bowyer Snr and Lea rounding out the field. The race provided a chance for Kart racer Walkerden lead the field. At the drop of the green flag, Walkerden got a great start, leading through turns one and two, with Black poking his nose up the inside of the 25 car down the back straight. Buckley was following the lead two then Bowyer Snr, Lea and Bowyer Jnr.
Going through turns three and four on lap one, Black moved past Walkerden into the lead, as did Buckley into second on the front straight. Whilst in the lead, Black lost control of his number fifty-five car at the line and spun across the track, with Buckley throwing his car sideways to avoid him, while Bowyer Jnr reacted magnificently spearing off infield to miss them both. While Black was able to keep going, Buckley had come to a complete stop and yellow flags were thrown after one lap.
On a single file restart with Walkerden at the front of the field he was followed by Black, Bowyer Jnr, Bowyer Snr, Lea, and Buckley relegated to the rear, deemed to have caused the yellow flag, Buckley moved ahead of Lea down the back straight, then a lap later Bowyer Snr moved ahead of Bowyer Jnr, with Buckley also moving ahead of Bowyer Jnr. Walkerden all the while was doing a fantastic job out front leading the race.
On lap four, Bowyer Snr moved past Black into second and a lap later Buckley also moved ahead of Black into third place, relegating Black to fourth in front of Bowyer Jnr and Lea. The last few laps of the race saw Walkerden driving a great line, Bowyer Snr in second right behind him and now Buckley closing up being the front two, while Lea got by Bowyer Jnr into fifth spot. On the last lap Walkderden held his position at the front of the pack, Bowyer Snr half a car length behind him then Buckley a further car length back then Black, Lea and Bowyer Jnr to finish out the heat races. A great moment for the Sydney Speedway Kart Club member, Andrew Walkerden, enjoining his first heat race win in a GP Midget, in just his second event.
Lining up for the Bart Wilkinson Memorial feature event the highest point scorer Gary Bowyer would line up out of sixth position with Buckley from fifth alongside him and in front of them were Bowyer Jnr, Walkerden, Lea and Black from the pole position slot.
As the field rolled out onto the track in a fantastic sight, Sue Hardy piloted her father’s BKW Special Micro Midget out onto the track and led the GP Midgets around for three laps, gaining a brilliant response from the crowd and pit area. With Sue pulling the BKW Special infield, the GP Midgets were formed up and set to go green for a feature race.
With fifteen laps ahead of them the race drivers got off to a clean start with Black taking advantage of his starting position to race into the lead, followed by Walkerden, Lea, Bowyer Jnr, Buckley, and Bowyer Snr. By the end of lap one, Buckley had moved ahead of Bowyer Jnr into fourth place. On lap two, coming back onto the main straight, Buckley then went past both Lea and Walkerden in a quick move up the inside. On lap four, Walkerden made an error through turn two and this saw Bowyer Jnr and Bowyer Snr move ahead of him and into fourth and fifth places respectively,
On lap five Buckley make his move on Black for the lead, into turn one again up the inside and then put some space between himself and the pack following. Bowyer Snr then wasted little time rounding up Lea, then Black to claim second place in the race. Almost halfway through the race Buckley, led Bowyer Snr, Black, Bowyer Jnr who had now also moved past Lea, then Walkerden. The remaining laps saw Buckley pinning his ears back out front, with Bowyer Snr doing his best to keep pace but losing drive out wide, allowing Buckley to pull further away for a third track advantage. Into the final laps, Lea in fifth place kept the pressure on Black in fourth, having a great mini battle of their own. The final lap saw Buckley speed to the chequer in first place, followed by Bowyer Snr second Bowyer Jnr, Lea, Black, and Walkerden.
After the race, during the presentations on track, Bowyer Jnr (3rd) said he “was happy with third after having some brake issues” and he thanked sponsors Arjan Motors & Gulf Western Oil, also letting the crowd know that the GP Midgets “are awesome cars and the best bang for buck, for what you pay they are awesome fun”. Bowyer Snr (2nd) thanked the track and volunteers for a great night’s racing, also let he crowd know that there are “GP Midgets available for hire, there were two on the track with us tonight, get in touch with us via Facebook and we can hook you up”.
Feature Winner Buckley remarked; “I am just so proud to have won this Memorial, the Bart Wilkinson, it is the first memorial race I have won, and I am so happy, finally starting to drive this little jet the way it is supposed to be driven. I would also like to thank my supporters, my wife Angela & Beesafe Travel, Luke Geelan from Shore Hire, Ben Vicary from Gulf Western Oil, Gary & Amanda Bowyer from Arjan Motors, ASCT, Penrith City Tyres & Automotive, Control Hire, Infinity Finance Solutions and B & B Graphics.
Also, our NSW GP Midget Club Sponsor West Sydney 4×4, Gabe is here supporting us tonight and they are amazing. Thanks also to Tony Kranitis and all the volunteers here at Goulburn Speedway, we love coming here and the track was just brilliant tonight.”
Special thanks to New South Wales Grand Prix Midget Racing Association supporters;
Gulf Western Oil
White Ant Racing
West Sydney 4WD
Panther Prestige Smash Repairs
Written by Speedcafe contributor DMT Sports Media – Dean Thompson