Three seasons after picking up the biggest achievement of his speedway career, Matt Hardy repeated history last weekend at Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway, once again taking his place atop the AMCA Nationals ranks and reclaiming his Australian Title crown.
While Hardy’s maiden Australian Title victory back in 2016 was an accomplishment that won’t soon be forgotten, having taken place on what is considered home soil at Lismore Speedway after a front-row start, winning last weekend’s running of the event was even more special for the 26-year-old racer, whose triumph certainly didn’t come easy.
Contrary to his first successful Australian Title attempt, Hardy’s campaign didn’t quite go as planned, with the opening night of competition delivering him with a mixed bag of sixth, second and fifth-place finishes in his heat races, ultimately seeing him sit 16th in points heading into night two.
On Saturday night, things started to look up for Hardy, whose win in his fourth and final heat race elevated him to 11th, where he would start the 40-lap feature race, which was anything but dull.
Becoming embroiled in several battles for position right from the drop of the green flag, Hardy knew that he had no time to waste, quickly making his way up to seventh by lap 10, before proving his prowess and cracking into the top-five just 15 laps in. From there, it was a steady progression, with Hardy being sure to keep his composure as he picked off the front-runners.
Committing to the bottom of the track, it was a strategy that well and truly paid off, with Hardy taking control of the lead on lap 24 and refusing to relinquish it throughout the remainder of the distance in order to claim the second Australian Title victory of his career.
“Winning an Australian Title is such a great feeling but given that we were slightly against the odds over the weekend, this one definitely means a bit more to us than the first one,” admitted the Qld # 15 Hardy’s Excavations supported Panther pilot.
“Overall, we didn’t have the best run on Friday night, which really put us on the back-foot heading into night two, but thanks to all the team’s hard work and some great assistance from Paul Geary at Shock Absorber Therapy, the car was set up perfectly for the feature race. Once I reached the top five, I knew we had a strong chance of being able to take the win.”
Friday night was a tough one overall for the Hardy’s Motorsport team, with Matt’s dad Russ coming away with a pair of sevenths and a fifth in his heat races, which was only good enough for 26th in the point standings. Similarly to Matt, Russ managed to bounce back the following night, finishing third in his final heat race to qualify fifth for the B main. After gaining the last transfer spot into the feature race to start out of position 20, Russ ended up 12th at the fall of the chequered flag.
Taking no time between drinks, the team is now in preparation for the Queensland Title, which will take place this Wednesday night at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway. Hardy, from Round Mountain in the Northern Tablelands of NSW, will be hoping to continue his winning form in order to reclaim the title, which he previously won twice in 2016 and 2017.
The Hardy’s Motorsport team would like to thank their 2018-19 season sponsors: Hi-Tec Oils, Hardy’s Excavations, Panther Chassis, Tweed Hydraulic Services, Tweed Fibreglass, and Speedway Stickers. Special thanks go to Narelle, Jazz, Jamie, Dennis, Justin, Paul, Brad and Jenny.
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