Veteran Andrew Pezzutti romped to victory in last Wednesday night’s eighth running of the annual Paul Britten 44 Memorial at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway in the most spectacular of fashions.
The two-time Australian Champion opted to take the challenge to start the feature race from the back of the field, along with fellow Top 6 Shootout competitors David Clark and the Britten brothers Peter and Kevin which earned them all a $200 JBR Motorsport product voucher each, and used his experience to carve his way through the field and claim the winner’s cheque and it included a $1000 as a bonus for being able to win after starting from towards the back of the field.
Pezzutti, who had started from position 15, from the drop of the green for the 44-lap event moved quickly up to fifth within the opening 10 laps. From there, he worked his way into second a further 10 laps later (lap 20) behind pacesetter Mitchell Randall, while another driver who started from the back (position 17) Kevin Britten sat in fourth place.
The race turned on its head on lap 35, when Kevin Britten tangled with the back of the lapped car and Trevor Wiley, which put the current and four-time Australian Champion out of the race in devastating fashion. At the same time this incident occurred, Pezzutti had taken control of the race lead from Randall.
Once out in front, Pezzutti was never headed all the way through to the fall of the chequered flag ahead of long-time leader Randall in second, which was an improvement on last season’s result – third – in the same event. Occupying third place on the podium was an impressive Brayd Stephenson, who had briefly taken control of the lead on laps 16 and 17, before Randall took it back.
After a DNF in his opening heat race, Mark Robinson was able to finish just off the podium in fourth ahead of Top 6 Shootout winner Clark in fifth. Completing the top-10 finishes was Sam Bruggy, Phil Roberts, Wiley, David Blanch and Mark Connelly. The final finisher in 11th was Dale Corbett, who also picked up the highest Sportsman class driver award.
Apart from Kevin Britten’s retirement, joining him on the infield was his older brother Peter Britten, who was having his first racing appearance in Australia for five years, after he suffered a punctured radiator in the early stages and was forced to retire. Other retirements were reigning 5 Star Dirt Series Champion Chris Corbett, former NSW Champion Phil McNamara, Zac McDonald, Marley Weller, Terry Leerentveld and Darren Latimer.
Earlier in the night, the heat-race wins were shared between Randall, Kevin Britten, Stephenson, Clark, Pezzutti and Leerentveld.
There were some hard-luck stories throughout the night, which included current Queensland Champion Klinton Hancey, Grafton’s Andrew Firth and newcomer Royden Alcorn. Hancey was out for the night following his opening heat race crash, while Firth had a night-ending crash in heat race four and Alcorn was unable to start the feature race after winning the B main.
The 2019-20 season running of the Paul Britten 44 Memorial event was the perfect lead up to the opening round of the 5 Star Dirt Series, which doubles as the NSW Title, at Grafton Speedway this Saturday night.
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