They had Buckley’s chance of beating him at Cullen Bullen

The New South Wales Grand Prix Midget Racing Association made the trip out to Cullen Bullen for racing on Saturday (6th of May) for round seven of the Gulf Western Oil Super Series on a fantastic day, with clear skies above and a great looking track with six competitors able to make the trip including Gavin Black making a debut in GP racing.

Leaders of the Portland Speedway Club Ray and Sue Healy along with their team of volunteers have transformed the Cullen Bullen Speedway with amazing fencing, lighting, track widening and facility improvement and there is no doubt the track is about to boom with regards to classes and fans it will be able to attract. On Saturday a full program, with GP Midgets supported by Vintage Sprintcars, Compact Speedcars, Restricted Sedan Association (RSA) Sedans, RSA Street Stock and Fender Benders.

The New South Wales Grand Prix Midgets had some important visitors to the pit area of the class and were graced with the presence of Max Bradburn – NSW GP Midget Title winner in the early 70’s and part of the “Dynamic Duo” alongside his teammate, Wally Kermond. It was just amazing seeing Wally and Max together and sharing a laugh, reminiscing about so many great memories in Grand Prix Midgets.

Not to be outdone by Max’s attendance, Speedway legends Brian Linigen & Sid Middlemass come over and spent some time chatting to the teams, and more particularly, to recent Australian Speedway Hall of Fame inductee Wally Kermond.

For three shows in succession, the Grand Prix Midgets put on a fantastic show with all six cars making it through to the feature, racing from green flag to chequer flag without a stoppage all night. Gavin Black, a very experienced racer, ex-Sprintcar Feature Winner and current Lightning Sprint/Compact Sprintcar competitor made a debut for the Grand Prix Midget class in the White Ant Racing car supplied by Gary Bowyer. Black competed in two classes on race night campaigning his Compact Speedcar and jumping in and out of both cars through the whole night.

Anthony Lea started heat one of the evening alongside Adam Buckley on the front row with Riley Bowyer, Gavin Black (NSW 25 – Paul Perry Chassis – Suzuki GSXR 1100), Gary Bowyer and Tyler Lea rounding out the field. With the drop of the green flag, Anthony Lea (‘Lea Snr’) got a cracker of a start, while Adam Buckley seemed to miss the colour green, and this saw him drop back to the rear of the field by turn one. Riley Bowyer (‘Bowyer Jnr’) moved into second place, followed by Gary Bowyer (‘Bowyer Snr’) who had also passed Gavin Black on lap one, followed by Tyler Lea (Lea ‘Jnr’) then Buckley.

By Lap three, Buckley had recovered and had passed Lea Jnr then Black to move into fourth Place and chasing the front three. A short six lap heat race for heat one produced sprint like pace and Lea Snr had a momentary lapse of concentration on the penultimate lap and this allowed Bowyer Jnr to pounce, taking the lead, Lea Snr into second and Bowyer Snr in third as the chequered flag fell with no further change to the race order of Bowyer Jnr, Lea Snr, Bowyer Snr, Buckley, Black and Lea Jnr (NSW 3 – Independent Chassis – Yamaha R1).

Black with all his racing experience then began from pole position in heat race number two with Bowyer Snr, Lea Jnr, Lea Snr (NSW 7 Perry Bros Chassis, Kawasaki ZX10), Buckley and Bowyer Jnr the starting order. Lea Snr charged into the lead on turn one out of starting position four, ahead of Bowyer Snr, Black & Bowyer Jnr, with Buckley and Lea Jnr following in hot pursuit.

Bowyer Jnr made a clean pass to take third place from Black by the end of lap one. On lap four of the eight lap heat, Bowyer Jnr then made a great inside pass to take second position away from his father, Bowyer Snr. A lap later, Buckley made an outside pass on Black to claim fourth position. The remaining few laps saw no further change to the order, with Bowyer Snr testing the limits of the fence line all the while being observed by Buckley. Anthony Lea (Snr) took the victory ahead of Riley Bowyer (Jnr), Gary Bowyer (Snr), Buckley, Black and Tyler Lea (Jnr).

The young brigade of Lea Jnr and Bowyer Jnr began heat race number three at the front of the field with Bowyer Snr, Buckley, Black and Lea Snr the order. Black failed to get onto the track before the pit gate was closed and missed the race. Bowyer Jnr bolted into first at race start, whilst from sixth spot Lea Snr made another sling shot start, passing three cars into second place by turn two.

Buckley moved into third place closely followed by Bowyer Snr and Lea Jnr. On lap four with Bowyer Jnr and Lea Snr leading the way, Bowyer Snr used his earlier testing of the fence line to surprise Buckley on the outside and make a clean pass for third place. The final four laps saw the GP’s all driving fast lines with no mishaps and finish the heat strongly. Riley Bowyer claimed victory in front of Anthony Lea, Gary Bowyer, Buckley, and Tyler Lea.

The line-up was settled for the feature race with highest point scorers starting from the rear of the field as per club rules for the Gulf Western Oil Super Series. Black started from pole position alongside him was Lea Jnr, then Buckley, Bowyer Snr, Lea Snr and Bowyer Jnr (NSW 50 – WAR Chassis – Suzuki GSXR 1000). For the feature event with all six cars starting, it was going to be a case of all the big guns behind getting track position and making a clean start.

The feature had a hectic start when Lea Snr out of position five couldn’t clear his son, Lea Jnr and this saw Lea Snr climb the inside rear of the Lea Jnr, causing a flat outside rear tyre on the Lea Snr’s car ending his race on Lap two. Up front at the front end of the field, Black took advantage of his experience and starting from pole position to take a lead with a break back to Buckley, who managed to finally get a solid start to a race for the evening, moving into second.

Bowyer Snr (NSW 5 – WAR Chassis – Yamaha R1), then closely followed snapping at Buckley heels, with Bowyer Jnr right in the mix followed by Lea Jnr. With some spring water coming up through the track surface in turns one and four the track surface had deteriorated with some deep ruts forming through the centre of the race lines (despite the welcome and valiant efforts of the track crew). This made for some hectic moments and difficult driving, yet the GP rocket pilots didn’t let up, keeping the race pace fast.

With Black leading the way, Buckley (NSW 67 – WAR Chassis – Kawasaki ZX12 1200) moved up close behind and waited patiently for a mistake, which came on lap five when Black entered the Grand Canyon (rut) in turn four, giving Buckley the chance to make an inside pass into first. Buckley now leading from Black, Bowyer Snr, Bowyer Jnr and Lea Jnr. A blanket could have been thrown over the front four race cars, with the racing fast and volatile. The final lap saw Buckley take his second ever career feature race win, Gavin Black second in his first ever GP Midget feature race and Gary Bowyer third place to round out the podium. Riley Bowyer and Tyler Lea completed the race in fourth and fifth.

With win number two notched up Buckley remarked after the race “I’d like to thank my supporters, my wife Angela Buckley & Beesafe Travel, Luke Geelan from Shore Hire, Ben Vicary from Gulf Western Oil, Gary & Amanda Bowyer from Arjan Motors, ASCT, Penrith City Tyres & Automotive, Control Hire, Infinity Finance Solutions and B&B Graphics.

Also, our NSW GP Midget Club Sponsors Gulf Western Oil, Arjan Motors and West Sydney 4×4. I’m buzzing to get a feature win for the first time in this #67 GP Midget, couldn’t have done it without the help of Wally Kermond, my crew chief and of course White Ant Racing – they do an awesome job for the Club and for myself personally, it just makes such a big difference. Thanks also to Cullen Bullen Raceway, we love racing here”.

The New South Wales Grand Prix Midget Racing Association thank their season sponsors;
Gulf Western Oil
Arjan Motors
White Ant Racing
Beesafe Travel
AOK Trophies
Full Throttle Publishing

Ends Release.

Media written by Dean Thompson

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