Challenging conditions including a late afternoon rain shower tested competitors in the Victorian Title for Super Rods at Horsham’s Blue Ribbon Raceway on Saturday night.
With 11mm of rain over the previous week track crews had their hands full getting the track surface in a condition to suit the prestigious Victorian Title event and by the time the cars hit the track for the grand parade there was nothing to do but sit back and watch the most entertaining and challenging competition.
As the heat races continued the conditions of the track saw turns one and two producing good passing opportunities and turns three and four causing a lot of cars to push up to the wall and the better set up cars taking advantage down low and experience was beginning to show with the cars of Michael Coad, Ewan McKenzie, Howard Stansfield, Quentin Tanner and Neville Gange getting on top of the setups early and taking heat wins. Hard battler of the evening was split between the cars of Jason Kavanagh and Duane Cordina both having early damage but working hard through the night to be there in the end.
Pictured above: Number 1: New Victoria 1 Michael Coad powers his way to victory at Blue Ribbon. Pic courtesy of M&L Speedway Photography.
After a presentation of medals prior to the Final 14 of the 16 cars faced the starters flag and after a restart the car of Coad took a holeshot from the field followed in hot pursuit by the 88 of Stansfield chased by the 98 of Ewan McKenzie who after a few issues at Portland and Simpson was hoping for a better result in his title shot and hoping to add to his previous victories.
Victoria 1 Andrew Howard struggled throughout the meeting with handling and the final was no different as he ran midfield throughout. With Coad having a clean track in front of him due to a number of yellow flags from spinning cars the interest fell back to the battle between McKenzie and Stansfield with the two cars running neck and neck for the majority of the race and coming in contact with each other on a number of occasions. The final laps saw Coad increase his lead and McKenzie getting past Stansfield to finish in that order giving Coad the coveted Victoria One for the next year.
Closing off their season of racing saw a good field of Formula 500’s competing for bragging rights for next season. Dominating in his three heats, the 22 of Dion Bellman signalled his intentions early with run away heat wins in the greasy early heats and showed that he could also run hard as the track gripped up later in the night.
Action in the final started early with Bellman getting away from the hard-charging group of competitors fighting wheel to wheel at full throttle. Showing a clean pair of heels to the field the large crowd was entertained by the battle for the minor placings between Rob Rankin, Leigh Van Ginneken and Chris Bellman. Final placings saw Dion Bellman take the victory followed by Rankin and Van Ginneken.
Pictured below: Flag: Formula 500 feature winner Dion Bellman enjoys his victory lap. Photo courtesy of M&L Speedway Photography.
Sportie drivers from across the area came to the track to compete for the coveted Kevin Baker Challenge Trophy named for the elder statesman of the Limited Sportsman class. With a points system paying on placings, heat wins and passing it was sure to be an interesting evening culminating in a reverse grid start for the final.
With both the Vic 1Dillon Siely and the SA 1 Jock Baker in the field along with Dean and Clint Baker and the always strong Mark McDonald it was sure to be a big night.
The first heat saw Nathan Buckley edge out Siely and Adam McKenzie followed in by Mark McDonald, the second and third heats proved to be a McDonald benefit with the 44 car coming to grips with the track and the surprising struggle for the SA 1 of local favourite Jock Baker.
Final placings in the trophy race saw Mark McDonald showing great form to take the impressive trophy ahead of Jock Baker and Clint Baker.
Horsham Motorsports Clubs next meeting is the annual Queens Birthday two-day meeting in June featuring a variety of classes to bring the extremely successful season to an end.