Being forced to give up his South Australian Junior Sedan Title last season due to being unable to compete in the event, Ardie Jonic was hungry to reclaim the mantle last Saturday night at Waikerie’s Sunline Speedway, and that’s exactly what he did.
Making the long, almost 20-hour trip to Waikerie in the Riverland region of South Australia from his home in Ipswich, Queensland (over 1,800 kilometres), Jonic was determined to get his 2018-19 season title campaign off to a positive start, after winning the 2016-17 season South Australian Title at Whyalla’s Westline Speedway and being unable to defend it last season due to being sidelined with an injury.
It didn’t take long for the current National Champion to assert himself during what was his maiden visit to the Sunline Speedway track, winning his opening heat race and backing it up with a third-place finish and another win.
Sitting equal highest in points with South Australian Drew Flatman heading into the feature race, Jonic was awarded pole position by virtue of recording the fastest lap throughout qualifying. However, things didn’t quite go to plan for Jonic at the beginning of the 25-lap event, with the teenager losing out to Flatman, who managed to get the jump on him.
Settling into second and then becoming embroiled in a battle for the top position with Flatman and another South Australian Brad Gartner, Jonic and Flatman collided with a lapped car on lap seven, which handed the lead to Gartner. Jonic then chased after Gartner and went on to take control of the lead on lap 10. Unable to be caught throughout the remaining distance, which ran non-stop, Jonic not only regained his South Australian Champion status, he also managed to set a 25-lap record in the process (which was 13 seconds under the existing 25-lap Street Stock record).
“It’s really great to win back the South Australian Title after being unable to defend it last season; the South Australians definitely didn’t make it easy for me, but there were some great battles in the feature race which I really enjoyed,” commented the 15-year-old pilot of the Aus # 1 Daihatsu Charade car.
“With it being our first visit to Sunline Speedway, and team and I had to work on our car setup as the night went on, but we were able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.”
With a bit of a break before his next appearance, Jonic will then have a busy introduction to the New Year, competing at Gympie’s Mothar Mountain Speedway on December 28 and returning to the track just one week later when he’ll attempt to reclaim the Queensland Title, which he was also forced to miss last season due to injury. Jonic will remain in his home state and travel to Maryborough Speedway to contest the National Title on January 11 and 12.
Jonic would like to give special thanks to his nan and pop (Surelle and Lubo) for their support and for making racing a possibility for him, along with Wacka (Rob Stevens) and the rest of the Sunline Speedway team for their hospitality.
To find out more about Jonic, LIKE him on Facebook by searching Ardie Jonic Racing Team #50.