When it comes to the benefit of a home track advantage, there was no better example of this than the 2018-19 season Australian Wingless Sprint Championship at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway last night, when locals Alex Ross and Luke Weel filled the two top steps on the podium.
Driving the Vic # 14 Mick Uebergang-owned car, Ross had qualified on the outside of the Australian Championship deciding feature race alongside Weel, who has now qualified on pole position for three of the last Australian Championships, but after a short battle with Weel, he was able to power away and was never headed throughout the 40-lap journey.
Photo: 44 Photography
In only his second season in the Wingless Sprints class, Ross controlled the Australian Championship feature race like a veteran, while the more experienced Weel, who was the pre-feature race favourite, fought with Ross early on but was unable to stay with him in the long run and in the end had to settle for second.
Dayn Bentvelzen didn’t let starting the feature race from position 14 stop him from marching his way onto the podium in the final spot. The Victorian-based racer fought tooth and nail right up all the way through to the fall of the chequered flag and was rewarded with an impressive podium result.
Photo: 44 Photography
In what was his best Australian Championship performance, Travis Millar narrowly missed out on scoring a spot on the podium by one position after finishing fourth place aboard the Vic # 2 Fitzpatrick Autosports car.
Following the Victorian drivers lock out of the top-four finishers in fifth was NSW’s Jason Bates. The former NSW Champion made it back-to-back Australian Championship top-five finishes. Just like Bentvelzen, Bates came from deep in the feature-race field out of position 12.
The top-10 finishers were completed by Luke Storer, Mitchell Broome (SA), Daniel Storer, Jarmin Dalitz (SA) and outgoing Australian Champion Joel Chadwick (SA). The latter was forced to take his Australian Championship provisional after a horror weekend with everything that could of gone wrong actually happening, but he showed tremendous class to make up 14 positions during the feature race to finish in 10th.
Photo: 44 Photography
Chris Halesworth, Andy Hibbert, Tim Van Ginneken, Jake Ashworth (SA), inside second row starter Michael McDonald, Cody Boulding (NSW), Ashleigh Jack (NSW), Jeremy Beddison, Brad Foster and 2013 Australian Champion Brett Milburn. Milburn was looking great during the feature race and was within top-five contention up until a spin late in the race with two laps to go spoiling his chances and saw him finish at the tail of the field.
There was a total of four non-finishers in the feature race, and they included Brett Ireland (SA), Ash Hounsfield (WA), Luke Redpath (Tas) and Clint McLaren. On lap 14, Hounsfield was fighting for a top-10 spot before he crashed out in spectacular fashion in between turns three and four. In what was a massive hit, Hounsfield was taken to hospital via ambulance for a precautionary check. Apart from Hounsfield, Redpath crashed out on lap 11 that unfortunately involved an innocent McLaren. Both drivers had sustained way too much damage to their cars to take part in the restart.
Earlier in the night, there was plenty of action throughout the remaining qualifying events. In B main 1, Van Ginneken booked a feature-race spot with a solid win ahead of fellow transferees Foster, McLaren and Boulding, while in B main 2, Redpath powered to victory and was joined in the feature-race field by Ashworth and Jack. The final lap of B main 2 resulted in a nasty crash between Marcus Green and Brad Whitchurch (Tas), after Whitchurch collided with Green as they battled over the final transfer spot. As a result of this incident, Whitchurch was judged as the primary cause of the accident and was sent ROF by the chief steward.
Weel picked up the pole position honours for the feature race by virtue of winning the A Scramble, while the Mid-Pack Scramble saw a commanding win go to Luke Storer.
In the C main 1 and 2, the wins went the way of Matt O’Shannassy and youngster Cody O’Connell (Qld), while the D-main win was claimed by Robert Stevenson. The latter event saw Tyson Bartlett crash out on lap seven and he was taken by ambulance for observation checks, which caused a delay of over an hour as the track had to wait for another ambulance to get to the track.
The non-qualifier Scrambles resulted in the wins being shared between Luke Cole, Todd Hobson, Matt Bartlett and David Eggins (NSW).
At the beginning of the night, Hibbert, Luke Storer, Millar, Foster, Van Ginneken, Ireland, Redpath and Bentvelzen gained vital points with heat-race wins.
The Australian Wingless Sprint Racing committee would like to thank the all the officials, drivers, pit crews, race fans, and the Premier Speedway Club for their support towards making the 2019 Australian Championship the biggest.
The 2020 Australian Championship is going to be held at Kalgoorlie International Speedway in the gold fields of Western Australia on the weekend of February 29 and March 1.
For more information about the AWSR, visit their website at www.awsr.com.au or LIKE them on Facebook or Follow them on Instagram and Twitter by searching Australian Wingless Sprint Racing