Big wins for Shane O’Brien and Mark Taylor

Alexandra Speedway

Shane O’Brien and Mark Taylor each collected their biggest career victories when they won the ‘Foodworks 100 Lap Derby’ for Open Sedans and the ‘Mick Corbett Memorial’ for Crash and Bash respectively at Alexandra Speedway on the weekend.

Defeating over 70 competitors, O’Brien came out on top after a terrific three-way battle between himself, Andrew Jordan, and Steve Kershaw that lasted most of the second half of the race before Joel Andrew’s made a charge, whilst Mark Taylor was a consistent competitor in the Corbett Memorial coming from last spot and remaining on the lead lap hitting the front when several fancied runners found themselves out of the race due to damage.

In the derby race O’Brien was himself one of the top competitors and qualified in the top half of the starting line-up for the feature event himself although Damien Miller was the best of all in qualifying winning all three of his heat races to claim pole position.

Miller top qualified in front of Healesville racer David Donegan, Darren Nelson, Daniel Scott, defending champion Lennie Bonnici, Peter Cox, Jordan, Josh Service, and Frank Ramsdale, with eastern suburbs racer O’Brien back in thirteenth starting spot.

Things didn’t go all Team O’Brien’s way with his brother Nathan involved in a crash as competitors headed into turn one on lap one ending his race right there.

Then on lap twelve defending champion and brother-in-law to the O’Brien boys Bonnici crashed in almost the exact same spot right in front of team supporters whilst Daniel Scott who raced in Darwin in a Sprintcar the weekend prior and is flying back to race in a Sprintcar in Darwin this weekend also, also had his derby cut short in his purpose-built chassis car.

Donegan took the lead from Miller around lap thirteen for a short time before Miller assumed the lead again.

O’Brien himself had moved into fifth spot at the twenty third lap stage of the race just as Miller left the track and did not return handing the lead back to Donegan who led Jordan and Nelson.

Before Lap 30, O’Brien moved to third spot in a tussle with Brad Warren where the two exchange spots more than once.

Jordan took the lead at Lap 39 from Donegan and nearing the halfway mark the two spots changed around.

It was at this point of the race that Donegan suffered mechanical damage and slipped back and out of the race and O’Brien slotted in behind Jordan.

Steve Kershaw put himself into the thick of the action and Jordan, Kershaw an O’Brien swapped the top three spots around for several laps.

Kershaw and Jordan held down the lead position until O’Brien took the lead for the first time on Lap 93 and did not hold back or look back.

O’Brien went on to add his name to the prestigious win list of the 100 Lap Derby defeating Jordan, Joel Andrews, Kershaw, and Gareth Wilson.

O’Brien was understandably ecstatic at the race competition.

“What a feeling this is,” he said.

“You never count yourself out because you never know what will happen in these endurance races, but I am lost for words right now.

“What a battle with Jordy (Jordan) and Curly (Kershaw).

“I am so proud of my team, my family for all their support and efforts to make this happen with me and share it with me.”

Damien Miller the top qualifier managed to complete the fastest ever Sports Sedan lap through the dog-leg circuit during the evening setting a new one lap time of 31.704s.

In the 68 lap Crash and Bash Mick Corbett Memorial event for a class that allows restricted contact, Mark Taylor began the race in dead last spot.

Jackson Basten qualified in top spot after three heat races for each competitor with Brad Trainer, Shane Roycroft, Daniel Williams, Matthew Haby, Rob Bushell, Mark Hebblethwaite, Russell Hill, Craig Claridge, and Nathan Taylor the top 10 starters out of approximately thirty.

After a hectic start to the race, Trainor who is the class champion driver for the past season was the first driver to exit the race on lap one with damage.

Rob Bushell led Basten and Roycroft at the ten-lap mark of the race with fancied racer Jason Judd way back in the field.

On Lap 13, a huge front straight front with Nathan Taylor slamming into the back of Matthew Haby caving in the rear of the car into the back seat ended the race of Haby and Nathan Taylor, whilst Mark Taylor had moved to 11th.

Bushell slipped down the field as the neared 20 laps and Roycroft led Hill and Basten before a whole bunch of cars through damage or breakdown left the race that included Hill and Claridge. Jaidyn Dredge became the new leader on Lap 18 and 20 laps later he was still at the front with Williams second, Peter Jenner third , and Mark Taylor in fourth spot.

A few race incidents slowed the race down with caution periods and during this period Williams took the race lead until he needed to pit, and Taylor took control from Lap 48.

From there the only driver that could beat Taylor was either Ashley George or Taylor’s own race car failing.

Neither occurred and Taylor went on to win by almost a complete circuit of the track from George, Daniel Kettels, Williams, and Roycroft, whilst Taylor had to celebrate his victory on the back of a tilt tray after his car broke down after passing the chequered flag.

With the Corbett family in attendance to be a part of the first ever Mick Corbett Memorial and hand over the trophies Taylor became the first holder of the perpetual trophy.

“I do not know what to say,” Taylor said.

“Winning this race after starting last, it being the first one, me being in a new car, it’s all a bit much to take in right now.

“I am very happy with winning, and I hope we all gave the Corbett’s a great night to reflect on Michael.”

Alexandra Speedway club returns to action in November when the 22/23 race season begins.

Alexandra & District Speedway Club thanks its terrific season supporters;
Alexandra & Yea Pre-Mix
Alexandra Panels & Towing
Barca Trailers
Bendigo Bank
Campton Graphics
Donnaz Underground
Eastern Suburbs Locksmiths
Exhaust Fix Lilydale
Fallon’s Bus Services
Highline Racewear
Ismail’s Building & Construction
LS Quarry
Matthew & Sons Drilling Services
Metro Tow
Outer Eastern Steel
Raslarr Engineering
Revegetation Victoria
S&N Builders
Smooth Suspension
Town & Country Tennis Courts
Tyrepower Alexandra
Waverley Exhaust & Brake Centre
Yenckens Hardware Alexandra

Written by Speedcafe contributor DMT Sports Media – Dean Thompson

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