Bairnsdale Speedway kicked off Australia Day weekend for many in East Gippsland and on a special night where $1400 in funding was raised by the Late Model Racing Victoria people and Olsson Heavy Haulage a trucking company from Lillico to be donated to the Sarsfield Fire Brigade whilst Bairnsdale local Joshua Thomas sent everybody home happy when he won his third Standard Saloon feature event from three starts completing a clean sweep of the mini feature’s at the track this season.
Brock Edwards took a dominant win in the Late Models, Phil Jenkins turned back the clock in winning the Speedway Drivers Association of Victoria Hot Rods, Mike Conway won the Mini Sprintcars and the King of the Rock for Limited Sportsman’s was won by Bairnsdale club member Darren Adams.
The Standard Saloon’s was not supposed to be the biggest race on the nights calendar, however by sheer driver support and the sensational feature race action, it was. Many of best East Gippsland and Latrobe Valley race drivers were in the field and returning competitor Daniel Stewart qualified at the top of the field and won the pole shuffle leading into the feature event against one of Victoria’s best, Jacob Vuillermin.
A first attempt to start the final ended in disaster for one of the top six qualifiers Peter Cormack when his car came out of turn two and got caught on the marbles and sucked into the fence hard. Cars behind had nowhere to go and Alan Danks, Kane Gibson and Steven Dadswell all succumbed to damage and none of them got to restart.
Twenty-five laps in the Bairnsdale 1000 final seen Stewart, Vuillermin and Thomas put some distance between themselves and Scotty Roberts and Leigh Gooding from the start. Lap thirteen was significant as the lead three tried to pass backmarkers and Thomas moved from third to first coming out of turn four and across the line to start lap fourteen. Gooding was impeded on lap twenty-two when he lost sight of the racetrack in the smoke pouring out of the car in front of him mixed in with the settling bushfire haze.
Thomas went on to take a victory ahead of a fast finishing Vuillermin by just .476 of a second with Stewart, Roberts and Patrick Vuillermin closing out the top five finishers in the Bairnsdale 1000.
There was a small field of 700+ horsepower ‘Olsson Heavy Haulage’ supported Late Models in attendance however the crowd truly loved the noise these machines made. Brock Edwards in the feature event led from start to finish in the fifteen lap final whilst his brother and Victorian Champion Chevy Edwards had to come from the rear of the field to finish second almost eight seconds and over half a lap behind his winning brother. Kristin Vermeulen finished third, Will Lamb fourth and then Shane Belk in fifth.
In the King of the Rock for Limited Sportsman Darren Adams and Craig Ansell were the two strongest competitors through the evening with Bairnsdale club member Adams taking the win in the annual feature for Limited Sportsman. Adams defeated Ansell, Mark Both another club member locally, Jason Hurley and Daryl Carpenter whilst at stages both Tim McKenzie and Jason Hurley could have secured the third spot before spinning themselves out of contention.
The ‘Ipta Fibreglass’ supported Hot Rods had an unpredictable night of racing. Stan Marco Snr and his sons took complete command of the race in the first heat. Tom Macro won the second heat although Shannon Meakins was the fastest on track. In the ten-lap final, Phil Jenkins who had finished down the back of the two heats hit finished, had complete control at the front of the field. Meakins rolled and put himself out of the race and Tom Marco tried however just could not real in Jenkins. Kali Hovey finished in third.
The fastest category of the night was the Mini Sprintcars and recent Alpine Rally Classic Class competitor Michael Conway took the feature race win at the end of the night when he stormed away from Darren Schnoor and Andrew Burleigh to win by 4 seconds.
The Bairnsdale Speedway Club were proud to host a contingent of Australian Military personnel that are in the area helping with the disaster efforts surrounding those affected by bushfire activity and proud of the financial support raised for their own Sarsfield CFA Brigade whom also work as the venues crash crew.
Bairnsdale would like to recognise and thank their Club 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