Wangaratta Speedway delivers terrific opening night show, fans went home early and happy
Wangaratta Speedway Club on Saturday night October 14th put on a terrific night one program of racing that seen race after race on and off track and finished before 10pm sending fans home happy after they witnessed some terrific racing throughout the night. Winners included Hayden Glare in round one of the Wangaratta Street Stock series, Darren Forrest in round one of the Unlimited Sedan state series, Wangaratta members Zach Erickson in national Junior Sedans, Sarah Meakins in Ladies Sports Sedans, and Warrick Howie in Standard Saloons, plus Anthony Knight in Sports Sedans.
Speedway Sedan’s Australia Street Stock competitors were competing in the first round of five in the Wangaratta Street Stock series and the start was promising for local competitor Shane Roycroft who won the first heat of the night ahead of a tight tussle behind for minor placings. The second heat race included a couple of penalties one for Roycroft for contact with Rhys Meakins and one for fellow Wangaratta member Matthew Brooks for starting outside of the start zone before Meakins took victory. In the final qualify in a close finish, Hayden Glare defeated Roycroft who was soon to discover that a valve was broken in his engine to end his night without starting the feature.
In the Street Stock final, the initial laps of the race saw the lead change between Glare and Meakins and back again as Meakins pulled infield with mechanical concerns leaving Leigh Gooding and Tim Hutchinson chasing the leader Glare. Hutchinson moved into second with Brooks pressuring Gooding for the third spot. A change of race direction with five laps to go only encouraged Glare to go harder and he finished with a three second margin back to Hutchinson, Gooding, Brooks, and Nathan Fawns.
Victorian Speedway Council Unlimited Sedans were at Wangaratta for round one of their statewide ‘Lucky 7s’ series with competitors from Horsham, Wagga Wagga, and Gippsland making the trek into town. Horsham’s Danny Smith took victory in a close finish as Trent Susol chased him down in the later stages. Whilst Susol set the fastest one lap time all night of 16.795, Smith held on to a half a second margin at the close of heat one. A multi car crash in turn two on lap one of the second heat race that involved Smith, Anthony McKean, Susol, Peter Farley and Rob Tatterson finished off Tatterson’s race along With Susol’s. Darren Forrest went on to win from Farley and Smith after the res-start before winning again in heat three. Forrest was outstanding in winning the feature event by an eleven second margin ahead of Farley, Wayne Eames of the nearby Corowa club, Peter Camillieri, and McKean.
Speedway Sedan’s Australia Junior competitors were also entertaining with children aged ten to sixteen in competition. Wangaratta were represented by Zack and Allie Erickson and Zack proved to be a standout as the night wore on. Visiting competitor River Paterson won the first heat race and the second before Will Fallon secured a win in the third heat race after Judd Bowers had a huge crash going upside down in his debut race meeting, whilst Zack Erickson was the highest placed New Star ranked racer in all three.
Drama in the feature event on lap five for Patterson came when he was penalised to the rear of the field for contact with Allie Erickson as he tried to pass her. That wasn’t the end of the drama for Allie Erickson either as she hit the windrow on the pole line soon after causing a caution as her car spun around facing traffic and sat stranded. At the next start Patterson was deemed to have passed cars before the starting cone and subsequently was sent to the rear of the field in the Top Stars class. Fallon had the race lead briefly before he had an infield excursion whilst leading the race dropping him back to seventh by the time he got back on track.
James Peacock assumed the lead of the race with Zach Erickson and Axel Robinson challenging him. Erickson moved into the race lead on lap thirteen with two more laps to go and he went on to a popular win in front of Wangaratta fans as a New Star beating higher ranked competitors. Erickson in New Stars defeated Axel Robinson, Jaylen Knight, Brad Marshall, and Cruz Paterson whilst Peacock who finished second at the line was winner of the Top Stars ahead of Fallon and River Paterson.
Warrick Howie from Chiltern another Wangaratta member took victory in the Standard Saloon class after some hard-fought battles during the heat racing. In heat one Jack Braz hit the windrow and rolled his car over onto its roof down the back straight. Wayne Sheerman the current Victoria number two driver won the race after the re-start. Howie in the second heat turned Harley Matthews around whilst trying to pass and the Stewards sent him to the rear of the field on lap eight. A green, white, and chequered flag re-start finished with Sheerman securing another victory. In the third and final heat race Courtney Meakins pulled infield with a suspected fuel leek and was allowed to continue when nothing was confirmed, and Victorian Champion Rhys Lansdown went on to victory.
Howie who had yet to win a race in the evening moved to second in the feature behind Sheerman before a wiggle of the rear end of Sheermans car as he came out of turn four seen Howie pounce with a passing move around the outside and into the lead. Mair crashed into the concrete retaining wall exiting turn and put his car out of the race and after a re-start Lansdown exited the race with a flat front left tyre and Howie went on to win by almost six seconds with Sheerman, Jaimi Barber another Wangaratta member and Victorian Ladie’s Standard Saloon champion, Jack Braz, and Trevor Evans.
Sports Sedans competed with the Open category and the Ladies category seeing a handful of the Ladies taking advantage and racing in both. In the first heat of the Open Category Felicity Roycroft claimed the win. Katie Meyer could not get off the line in heat two heading straight for the infield as the green flag unfurled before Lachlan Hamilton joined her pulling off the track during caution laps. Anthony Knight from the Corowa club took the win whilst Dennis Reid was entertaining in second place hiking his car up on three wheels through turns three and four. In the final heat to of the night’s fastest competitors Josh Beattie and Knight cam together in the middle of turns three and four whilst in second and third positions and a re-start was required. Garry Gapes led until lap four when Beattie made a pass into the lead and went onto win from Knight and Riley Balins a senior class rookie.
In the feature event Knight was leading Beattie and Balins up until lap six when Roycroft passed Balins into third place. On lap eleven Beattie spun exiting turn two and the caution light switched on to regroup the field behind Knight. Soon after the re-start Beattie clipped the concrete wall in turn four and connected with Gapes before heading infield with a flat tyre and out of the race. Roycroft put pressure on Knight for the victory with Knight defeating Roycroft, Reid, Balins and Gapes to end the feature event.
Ladies Sports Sedan competition turned into a battle between Felicity Roycroft and Sarah Meakins, and a terrific battle it was with their feature event arguably the race of the night. A tangle early in heat one between Roycroft and Bianca Ballantyne didn’t change positions for a re-start however soon after Ballantyne with a flat tyre parked her car whilst Roycroft went on to win. Meakins secured victory in heat two whilst she was leading in the third heat before getting loose in turn four almost connecting with Roycroft in second spot. Meakins moved to the rear of the field for a re-start and Roycroft claimed a second heat win.
Meakins and Roycroft both Wangaratta members lined up on the front row in the final and Roycroft won the fight to lead lap one. Meakins took command of the field on lap two with Roycroft snatching the lead on lap nine once again, only to give it up the next lap around. At the finish line with a margin of just .188 of a second Meakins secured the win in front of Roycroft, Jaimi Barber, Ballantyne and Cobie McGraw.
New track records set at the first event of the season include the following.
VSC Unlimited Sedans
8 Laps – Darren Forrest – Drouin – 2:19.807
SSA Junior Sedans
1 Lap – Will Fallon – Alexandra – 19.249
8 Laps – Will Fallon – Alexandra – 2:37.976
VSC Ladies Sports Sedans
12 Laps – Sarah Meakins – Daylesford – 3:52.157
SSA Street Stocks
8 Laps – Hayden Glare – Swan Hill- 2:43.905
Special thanks to Tommy McDonald of Abacus Energy and Ducks Race Shop for spending some time on Saturday to fix our public address system wiring concerns.
Wangaratta sent the fans home happy with an extremely well-run show and looks forward to seeing everybody again in November with the V8 Dirt Modified’s featuring on that event along with Street Stocks for the second round of their series and Production Sedans for the first round of their series.
SPONSOR RECOGNITION FOR Wangaratta Speedway Club
A1 Tyre Service
Burson’s Auto Parts
Fallon’s Bus Service
North East Fasteners
Robinson Truck Repairs
Snap on Albury
Stevo’s Painting Services
Tailor Made Kitchens
Thomo’s Cash 4 Scrap
Ussher Plumbing and Contracting
Vern and Jackie Parker DVD’s and Photography
Wangaratta Spring Works
Waw Credit Union
Wangaratta Brake and Clutch
Wangaratta Offroad & Mechanical
Written by Speedcafe contributor DMT Sports Media – Dean Thompson