As the 2017-18 season winds down, winning opportunities are becoming limited. However, local Matthew Symons did just that with a victory in last Saturday night’s annual Peter Merrett Trophy for Wingless Sprint at Simpson Speedway.
The Peter Merrett Trophy, which coincided with the final round of the hotly-contested autObarn Super Series, saw Symons survive several challenges to record his first career feature-race Wingless Sprint win ahead of Dayn Bentvelzen in second and Alex Ross in third.
The line-up for the 30-lap feature race saw Symons and Bentvelzen on the front row, defending Super Series Champion Luke Weel and Glenn Watts occupying the second row, Super Series leader Daniel Storer and Alex Ross on row three and Geoff Cook and Rhys Baxter on the fourth row. The latter took the opportunity to have a guest run in the Wingless Sprint for this event.
Symons hit the lead from the start and led the entire race distance; however, that certainly didn’t mean he had it all his own way. After a spirited opening lap where Bentvelzen threw everything he had to take control of the lead, Symons managed to starve off the attack and remain in the lead.
As the race progressed, Symons opened a gap to the rest of the field, but as lapped cars started to enter the equation, then second placed Weel was closing in and with two laps remaining went to pass Symons for the lead. The two made contact and Weel was out of the restart with a collapsed front end. The final two laps saw Symons race away for the win.
For second placed Bentvelzen, he was never out of contention and after having a race long duel with Weel, where the two swapped places on three occasions before Weel’s demise, the winner of the recent round at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway came home a very solid second.
Ross had his work cut out for his third place after spending most of the race running in fifth. Just prior to the final stoppage, Ross, eventual fourth placed Glenn Watts and Daniel Storer, who came home in fifth, were battling hard for the minor positions. At one stage, the drivers were three wide on the main straight with Ross getting the advantage and holding on for the closing laps.
Watts, who was a winner of the recent Stonypoint 5000 event, was sitting in fourth up until the closing stages of the race when he dropped as far back as sixth before recovering at the final restart to cement his fourth-place finish.
Daniel Storer headed into the final round as the autObarn Super Series leader, and his fifth-place finish was enough to claim the overall point standings win. The youngster, who has had a very impressive season which has included a feature-race win in the series and fourth at the Victorian Title, was trying very hard to snare a podium finish from the final restart but settled for fifth.
Rounding out the top-10 finishers was hard-charging Carly Walsh from position 16 after qualifying via the B main to cross the line in sixth, Victorian Champion and B main 2 winner Travis Millar, Baxter, Luke Schneider and Aron Lawrence. The final two finishers were Jeremy Beddison and Scott Irons.
Non-finishers were Weel, Cook, Todd Hobson, Mitchell Smith, Shaun Lyness and Mathew Balcombe.
Heat-race wins earlier in the night went to Bhoe Paterson, Balcombe, Lyness, Tyson Bartlett, Lawrence, Ross, Cook and Irons.
The two B mains, which must be said featured some of the more fancied competitors that were unable to advance into the feature race including Alex Thomson, saw Balcombe and Millar score wins. Balcombe defeated Schneider and Beddison, while Millar outpaced Walsh and Smith.
As mentioned, Storer was crowned the champion of the autObarn Super Series. Held over six rounds, there were six winners which was a true indication of just how hard-fought this season’s Super Series was.
Final autObarn Super Series Point Standings (after 6 completed rounds):
1: Daniel Storer – 1651 points
2: Matthew Symons – 1453
3: Dayn Bentvelzen – 1345
4: Alex Thomson – 1344
5: Travis Millar – 1113
6: Luke Weel – 1088
7: Glenn Watts – 1061
8: Luke Schneider – 1018
9: Alex Ross – 1008
10: Todd Hobson – 978
For more information about the Victorian Wingless Sprints, visit their website at www.awsr.com.au/vic. You can also LIKE them on Facebook by searching Victorian AWSR Wingless Sprintcars or FOLLOW them on Twitter by searching @VicWinglessSpri.