Wangaratta City Raceway played host to the best Standard Saloon competitors across the Labour Day weekend with drivers from New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria all amongst the competition as the Victorian Standard Saloon title awaited a winner on Monday afternoon after rain prolonged the weekend after a Sunday washout, it would be Wahgunyah resident Rhys Lansdown who would come out on top after he took control of the race from lap four.
Corowa resident Trevor Mills on the Saturday night won a mini feature event for Production Sedans that also attracted cars from Canberra and surrounding New South Wales areas.
After a stirring remembrance of a speedway entity (Stephen Douglas) who recently passed away as a result of a race crash nerves and emotions ran high for the Standard Saloon competitors as the action got underway with eighteen heat races on Saturday night.
Night one standouts included Chiltern man Warrick Howie winning all three of his qualifying races on night one whilst Pakenham man Andrew Miles won two of his three races on the first night. Andrew Miles won the very first race for the Standard Saloons with Brad Warren, Josh Thomas, Mark Miles, Rhys Lansdown and then Howie the first-round winners.
Aaron Meakins, Bailey Sinclair, Jack Yeomans, Andrew Miles, Rhys Meakins advancing from the back row of the field in his race and Howie again won races in round two. Then Bradley Hill, Courtney Meakins making it a father, son and then daughter trifecta of victories for her family, Howie from eighth spot deep in the field, Micheal Fleming-Robertson another man from Corowa and Ashley Fythe after taking the lead on the very last lap, were all winners in round three to end the first night of competition.
Rain on the Sunday squashed the chance of getting back home early on Monday as competitors came back to compete in the day time from 10am until mid afternoon to get the title completed. In the fourth round Fythe backed up from the first nights racing where he won the last race of the night, to win the very first of the next day of competition. Coby McCabe, Fleming-Robertson, Mark Jennings from South Australia, Mitch Blencowe who also secured the fastest one lap of the weekend for the class of 18.766 and Aaron Marshall all won in round four.
The final round of racing seen victories go the way of Steven Dadswell, Thomas, Wayne Sheerman, Mark Miles, Shane Stewart and finally to Howie for his fourth win in the qualifiers making him the top driver of the qualifying races.
A last chance qualifier giving four drivers the chance to start from position nineteen in the twenty-five lap title race finished with Kacey Ingram, Jason Judd, Justin Smith and Shane Ardley all advancing into the big race.
Howie was a clear leader on qualifying points to start from the pole position on the front row with Mark Miles, Sheerman, Thomas, Andrew Miles, Lansdown, Stewart, Hill, Aaron Meakins and Fleming-Robertson whom had all won at least one qualifying race completing the make-up of the top ten.
Howie got away strongly and led until lap four, Lansdown then made his move taking the lead with the crowd right behind either of the two with both residing in the north east of the state. Lots of movement up and down the field occurred whilst the earliest favourite in the race to exit was Mark Miles with barely a lap completed.
On lap thirteen Howie’s race came undone and he exited to join a growing car park of fallen competitors in the infield whilst Lansdown continued to lead. Sheerman gave Lansdown a reason to stay focussed sitting close behind him in the closing laps and as the chequered flag dropped Lansdown who finished second in the same event last season at Bairnsdale went one better to become the new Victorian champion for Standard Saloons in front of Sheerman, Thomas, Andrew Miles and Stewart.
At the time of writing, a protest was put in regarding Wayne Sheerman and details seem to suggest regarding a driver protection device failing during the race. An appeal at the track is said to have been lost by Sheerman and now he awaits a lodgement of a state appeal in regard to being excluded from results. As of right now Lansdown is the winner and his engine check has been confirmed, whilst Thomas, Andrew Miles, Stewart and Bradley Hill are the rest of the top five pending engine checks and Sheerman’s appeal against exclusion.
Production Sedan competitors had gathered to compete across two nights also with the North East Nationals worth $5000 in prize money to conclude their weekend on Sunday night. A night one feature event with $1000 on the nose to the winner also gave the drivers to compete for on Saturday. It turned out that with rain on Sunday the Nationals event never concluded with a new feature event to be slotted in at some stage for the class whilst Trevor Mills from Corowa won night one after the top qualifier Stephen Laidlaw who had to start in fourteenth spot in a reversed grid final chose Mills to start alongside him in thirteenth place.
In qualifying races that was to help the drivers qualify for the nationals event that never eventuated, Craig McAlister, Laidlaw, Wayne Bourke, Danny Harrison, Bourke again and Laidlaw again were all winners. McAlister rode the highline much of the night in spectacular fashion making sure he was a fan favourite on the night, whilst Wayne Bourke from Leeton turned back the clock a little and showed that he was still a competitor not to discount from victory contention and Laidlaw, well he was just Laidlaw a driver that is always in the mix.
Leighton Evans from Wangaratta club and Tom Barnard started from the front of the field out of the cars that made it onto the grid and Evans claimed the early race lead from Raymond Ussher and Stuey Robinson. Evans led until lap five before the first of two spins by himself caused a caution. The second spin resulted in a number of cars behind him crashing into one another.
Ussher led from lap six with Mills and Laidlaw behind him by lap seven of the twenty lap race. On lap nine Mills moved to the lead whilst Laidlaw with a tyre puncture was out of the race on lap twelve. Bourke moved into second and by lap fourteen McAlister was in third spot. Mills went on to take the $1000 victory by almost three seconds from Bourke, McAlister, Ussher and Corowa’s Jack Bear.
Racing returns to Wangaratta Speedway on April the 15th with the Victorian Junior Open Sedan title, plus the Junior Sedan Promotional Association 1500cc class and Grand Prix Midgets amongst the categories in competition.
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Media release written by DMT Sports Media – Dean Thompson