Terrific title race finish, Matt O’Neill takes Victorian title to Queensland
The Victorian Compact Speedcar Club hosted the ‘Ringwood Mazda’ Victorian Compact Speedcar title in partnership with Wangaratta Speedway Club on Saturday the 4th of February at Wangaratta City Raceway with over twenty entrants arriving at the track for competition, defending champion Justin Paull was unable to survive the tough competitive night with Victorian member drivers Trevor Perry, Michael Conway, Mark Cecil and Joe Lostich all figuring in the final result, whilst Queenslander Matt O’Neill drove away with the top spot spoils.
Drivers from Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra and Victorian clubs were amongst the twenty six nominations and it would be O’Neill twelve months after finishing second in the Australian title at Wangaratta who would go one better this time as he took the title race victory ahead of Trevor Perry and Michael Conway.
Nine qualifying races determined the starting line-up for the twenty five lap title race, the results as follows. Pre-event entry Mark Hutchinson was unable to compete due to water pump issues.
Perry won the first qualifying heat by .420 of a second whilst Adam Ollerton from New South Wales was the fastest in the first heat, Perry moved from fourth to first by lap six. New South Wales racer Shaun Robinson won his heat race that went green to chequers, moving from fifth to first on lap one and Conway won with the fastest one lap of the round at 15.993
1A) Perry, Paull, Ollerton, Mark Heaton, Chris Curren
1B) Robinson, Glen Wiles, Cheyne Williams, Tania Hallett, Aaron Stubbs
1C) Conway, O’Neill, Andrew Parkes, Lostitch, Ben Fairfax
Unfortunately Con Buurveld from the Canberra club had fuel issues that ended his night early, Nathan O’Brien had injector issues that could not be rectified for competition however he did pick up the best presented race car award and Mitch Whiting blew a motor as did Ben Fairfax despite his fifth spot finish in his first heat.
Conway then won the first heat in round two with another one lap fast time surpassing his first-round lap, he set a time of 15.687, he passed Robinson on his way to the win, Australian champion Paull picked up a win as he won the fastest heat race of the night setting a time of 2:42.677 in his all the way win whilst former Australian champion Heaton won the final heat of the round taking the lead on lap five.
2A) Conway, Robinson, Williams, Hallett, Terry Brown
2B) Paull, O’Neill, Ollerton, Parkes, Lostitch
2C) Heaton, Louis Rodriguez, Wiles, Rod Saville, Curren
In round three of qualifying O’Neill led all the way to win his final heat race whilst Conway became the only driver to win all three of his qualifiers snatching the lead on lap eight of ten to take his third win whilst Paull won a second heat race leading all the way.
3A) O’Neill, Lostitch, Parkes, Robinson, Wiles
3B) Conway, Cecil, Rodriguez, Heaton, No other starters
3C) Paull, Perry, Williams, Stubbs, Hallett
A drive line failure as a result of hitting a rut in the third round of heats put Adam Ollerton out of the title event whilst electrical issues did similar for the defending Victorian champion Justin Paull, robbing the race of the Australian champion trying to defend.
The title race feature line-up was set after the nine qualifiers with Conway from the top spot then Robinson, O’Neill, Heaton, Wiles, Perry, Williams from Sydney, Lostitch, Parkes from Queensland, Rod Saville from Sydney, Hallett, Cecil, Rodriguez, Stubbs, and Terry Brown.
The title race didn’t last long for Williams as he exited on lap one when leaking oil from a damaged filter caught fire on the exhaust, whilst five laps later O’Neill took the lead from Conway and led the Victorian and Robinson, Heaton, and Perry. Rodriguez who had a horrible qualifying night was the next to exit the main event on lap nine when the chain tensioner broke adding to his electrical woes leaving him with no alternative accept to head infield. O’Neill on lap ten now was leading four Victorians Conway, Perry, Lostich and Cecil.
Robinson was the next of the favoured racers to exit the race when his engine blew leaving O’Neill still leading at lap fifteen and then again at lap twenty. At the twenty-lap mark pressure for the victory was coming from Perry as Conway dropped to fourth.
At the chequered flag O’Neill claimed the ‘Ringwood Mazda’ Victorian Compact Speedcar title win from Perry, Conway, Cecil, and Lostich as the Victorian title headed to the Sunshine state whilst his teammate Parkes holds the Queensland title. Cecil was awarded the hard charger award after coming from fifteenth spot to fourth.
This season’s Victorian title supporting sponsors includes:
Flash Heating and Cooling
Pulse Race Boats
Hammonds Auto Paints
Written by DMT Sports Media – Dean Thompson