Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sparks to fly on Saturday

THERE will be fireworks both on and off the track at the Mountain Dew Ice Raceway, near New Norfolk this Saturday night, when the local venue plays host to the Tasmanian V8 Speedway Super Sedan Championship. The super sedan title will be the main feature on a big 26-event program, which also includes the spectacular Mercury Newspaper Fireworks display, giving speedway fans an early taste of New Year celebrations. The support program will include round nine of the Junior Sedan Championship Series, plus racing for V8 AMCAs, lightning sprints, modified production sedans and Tassie sixes, with gates open at 3pm. and racing from 6pm.

Devonport driver Brad Smith will start favourite for the super sedan state championship, with the reigning national champion looking to win his second title on the same track on which he won his first state championship in 2004. Smith has already tasted victory at the southern venue this season – one of three victories on Tasmanian soil, before heading to Queensland for the start of his national series title defence.
Returning to Tasmania for last night’s Geoff Stagg Memorial Race at Carrick, Smith was leading the final before striking driveline problems on lap 21 of the 25-lap final. His first DNF (did not finish) of the season will only spur on the former state champion this weekend in what should be a hotly contested title.

Third-generation V8 driver Callum Harper won at Carrick last night and will be aiming for a similar result in Hobart. Harper, of Hellyer Beach, was challenging Smith for the lead when the Devonport driver’s mechanical problems struck, indicating he is more than capable of taking the battle up to the race-favourite this Saturday night.

Former Australian champion Kevin Purton, of Deloraine, suffered engine dramas at Carrick and will be fired up to make amends, as will Launceston’s Adam Beechey, who qualified third but had his hopes dashed with suspension damage from a first-lap incident with Hobart’s Steve Latham. Latham, who has also been contesting the national series on the mainland, missed out on a podium finish at Carrick, but will be out to turn his fortunes around on his home track, where he also won the 2010 state championship.

Launceston duo Sam Hughes and David Nichols finished second and third at Carrick and will also be aiming to improve in Hobart, with Nichols chasing an unprecedented seventh title in what should be a fiercely contested championship.

Mountain Dew Ice Raceway is on the Lyell Highway at Sorell Creek.

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