Monday, January 28, 2013

International winner at the speedway

REIGNING world and US V8 champion Jimmy Owens became the first international driver to win Tasmania’s longest speedway feature event, the Mountain Dew Ice Tasmanian Grand National, near New Norfolk, last night. Owens, from Newport, Tennessee, thrilled the large crowd at the local speedway with a hard-charging all-the-way win in the 50-lap final, driving a car prepared by former six-times Tasmanian champion David Nichols, of Launceston.

Former Hobart driver and three-times grand national winner Darren Kane, finished second ahead of defending champion Lachlan Onley, from NSW. The grand national also doubled as the final round of the National Super Sedan Series, with second place for the now-Brisbane-based Kane, good enough to wrap-up his third series victory.

Queensland’s Matt Pascoe needed to finish at least two places ahead of Kane to snatch the series win, but placed fifth in the final after a titanic struggle in the middle stages of the race with Kane, Onley and Queensland’s Wayne Randall, who eventually finished fourth. Onley started alongside two-times current US champion Owens on the front row, sticking with him for nine laps before making his move. Looming large on the outside of the American ace only seemed to spur him on and after fighting off the challenge, he opened up a two-second break on Onley.

Kane, who started from grid three, lost ground early in the race, which gave Pascoe a sniff of series victory, leading to the four-way battle Randall and Onley after he lost ground to Owens. On lap 27, Kane eventually broke free from the battle and advanced to second with a big outside passing move on Onley, with Randall bumping Pascoe back to fifth place, six laps later. Kane started to close the gap to Owens late in the race, only to see the world champion turn the wick up again in the dying laps, to record an impressive victory.

The win for Kane was a special one and also one which could have gotten away with the former four-times Tasmanian champion forced to change an engine on Sunday night, despite winning one of two mini-finals on Sunday night by a massive 12.7 seconds. “I brought the car out onto the track for hot-laps (practice) and it developed a miss in the engine,” Kane said.

“We decided not to risk it and change the engine, but I could see the series points going down the drain if we didn’t  do it right,” he said. “My crew was fantastic and they changed the engine in record time, which kept our series alive. It’s really special to be the first driver to win three series and to do it on my former home track is just the icing on the cake.”

Kane said he still had unfinished business at Latrobe this Friday and Saturday night in Australia’s richest super sedan event, the $46,000 Bendigo Bank Grand Prix. “That event’s been a hoodoo for me, but I’m determined to win it before I retire, even if I have to stay racing until I’m 90,” Kane said.

On the same program, Victorian teenager Dion Bellman won the Tasmanian Junior Sedan Championship with an all-the-way win from green light to chequered flag in the 20-lap final. Bellman, the reigning Victorian champion, who recently finished second in the Australian title, emulated his older brother Chris Bellman, who also won last year’s Tasmanian and Victorian championships.

Bellman was always the driver to beat after winning his heats convincingly, with former Tasmanian Brody Fraser-McGee, now from Queensland, joining him on the front row for the final. However, Fraser-McGee’s challenge was short-lived when the suspension on his Daihatsu Charade broke, with his sister Maddie McGee inheriting second place and maintaining station to the chequered flag. James Nolan finished third as the best of the resident Tasmanians after a race-long battle with Nathan Russell, Aiden Gilbert and Josh Stephens in a tight battle for the final podium spot.

Earlier in the night, Richmond’s Laura Davidson showed a clean pair of heels to the boys in two divisions of the Speedway Karts Mini-Grand National, winning both the modified clubman and 125cc finals. Devonport veteran Geoff Lawrence also finished second in both finals after a consistent weekend, with Deloraine’s Jamie Claridge third in the clubman final and Devonport’s Charlie Woolley collecting his first major podium in the 125cc final. Meanwhile, former Tasmanian and now Western Australian brothers Leigh and Carl Aylett dominated the junior final, with Leigh winning from reigning Tasmanian champion Carl and reversing last year’s result. Ulverstone youngster Ty Auton finished third.

RESULTS – National Super Sedan Series (round 10) and Mountain Dew Ice Tasmanian Grand National, Heat one: D Kane (Qld), 1; L Onley (NSW), 2; W Randall (Qld), 3. Heat two: T Wilson (Qld), 1; M Pagel (Qld), 2; K Brown (WA), 3. Heat three: J Owens (US), 1; T Barklimore (NSW), 2; S Jordan (Qld), 3. Heat four: L Onley (NSW), 1; D Kane (Qld), 2; J Campbell (Qld), 3. Heat five: K Brown (WA), 1; T Wilson (Qld), 2; M Pascoe (Qld), 3. Heat six: D Gartner (SA), 1; L Cleary (Tas.), 2; J Owens (US), 3. Heat seven: S Randall (Qld), 1; D Kane (Qld), 2; J Campbell (Qld), 3. Heat eight: K Brown (WA), 1; M Pascoe (Qld), 2; J Harper (Tas.), 3. Heat nine: J Owens (US), 1; M Nicola (Vic.), 2; D Gartner (SA), 3. Final 1 (20 laps): D Kane (Qld), 1; D Gartner (SA), 2; K Brown (WA), 3. Final 2 (20 laps): J Owens (US), 1; M Pascoe (Qld), 2; T Wilson (Qld), 3. Heat 10: S Jordan (Qld), 1; T Barklimore (NSW), 2; L Onley (NSW), 3. Heat 11: B Miller (SA), 1; D Gartner (SA), 2; L Cleary (Tas.), 3. Heat 12: M Nicola (Vic.), 1; M Pascoe (Qld), 2; J Owens (US), 3.

Speedway Kart Mini-Grand National – Heat one: J Bryan, 1; G Lawrence, 2; C Abel, 3. Heat two: L Davidson, 1; D Orme, 2; Jory Breitkopf, 3. Heat three: Ty Auton, 1; L Aylett, 2; C Aylett, 3. Heat four: L Davidson, 1; G Lawrence, 2; Tim Auton, 3. Heat five: G Lawrence, 1; Ben Boun, 2; M Gale, 3. Heat six: Jorey Breitkopf, 1; L Davidson, 2; J Claridge, 3. Heat seven: L Aylett, 1; W McLean, 2; C Aylett, 3. Heat eight: L Davidson, 1; G Lawrence, 2; Tim Auton, 3. Heat nine: G Lawrence, 1; Ben Boun, 2; J Claridge, 3. Heat 10: L Davidson, 1; C Abel, 2; Tim Auton, 3. Heat 11: C Aylett, 1; Ty Auton, 2; C Bryan, 3. Heat 12: G Lawrence, 1; L Davidson, 2; C Wolley, 3. Heat 13: J Claridge, 1; J Bryan, 2; G Lawrence, 3. Heat 14: L Davidson, 1; Jory Breitkopf, 2; J Benge, 3. Heat 15: K Scott, 1; W McLean, 2; L Aylett, 3. Heat 16: L Davidson , 1; G Lawrence, 2; C Woolley, 3. Junior final (8 laps): L Aylett, 1; C Aylett, 2; Ty Auton, 3. Modified clubman final (10 laps): L Davidson, 1; G Lawrence, 2; J Claridge, 3. 125cc (10 laps): L Davidson, 1; G Lawrence, 2; C Woolley, 3.

Central Steel Tasmanian Junior Sedan Championship (Sunday night) – Heat one: M McGee, 1; A Gilbert, 2; J Stephens, 3. Heat two: D Bellman, 1; B Fraser-McGee, 2; J Crossin, 3. Heat three: D Bellman, 1; A Gilbert, 2; J Crossin, 3. Heat four: B Fraser-McGee, 1; M McGee, 2; N Russell, 3. Heat five: B Fraser-McGee, 1; J Nolan, 2; J Stephens, 3. Heat six: D Bellman, 1; M McGee, 2; N Russell, 3. Final (20 laps): D Bellman, 1; M McGee, 2; J Nolan, 3.

Wingless sprints (Saturday night) – Heat one: B Herbert, 1; S Bissett, 2; T Watson, 3. Heat two: C Breen, 1; C Gallagher, 2; B Herbert, 3. Final (15 laps): T Watson, 1; B Herbert, 2; C Gallagher, 3.

Formula 500s  (Saturday night) – Heat one: D Peck, 1; B Freeman, 2; B Whitchurch, 3. Heat two: M Kelly, 1; K Cruse, 2; J Broomhall, 3. Final (15 laps): K Cruse, 1; M Kelly, 2; B Freeman, 3.

Street stock sedans (Saturday night) – Heat one: C Nicholls, 1; J Sylvester, 2; M Atkinson, 3. Heat two: C Nichols, 1; J Sylvester, 2; M Atkinson, 3. Heat three: M Atkinson, 1; J Beasley, 2; R Riley, 3. Heat four: D Riley Jr, 1; C Nicholls, 2; W McGuiness, 3. Final (20 laps): C Nicholls, 1; D Riley Jr, 2; R Riley, 3.
Sunday night - Heat one: S Russell, 1; J Beasley, 2; C Nicholls, 3. Heat two: M Hammond, 1; A Cooper, 2; D Croft, 3. Heat three: J Beasley, 1; A Cooper, 2; S Russell, 3. Final (15 laps): M Hammond, 1; C Nicholls, 2; A Cooper, 3.

Sidecars (Saturday night) – Heat one: B Sheals and J Rainbow, 1; N Broomhall and D Bakes, 2; M Munday and K Whish-Wilson, 3. Heat two: N Broomhall and D Bakes, 1; R Waters and J Sheahan, 2; B Sheals and J Rainbow, 3. Final ( 4 laps): B Sheals and J Rainbow, 1; M Munday and K Whish-Wilson, 2; R Waters and J Sheahan, 3.

Modified production sedans – Heat one: L Gunn, 1; B Piper, 2: M Rowlands, 3. Heat two: L Gunn, 1; B Mitchell, 2; B Piper, 3. Final (15 laps): L Gunn, 1; B Piper, 2; M Harrison, 3.

Bombers (Saturday night) – Heat one: N McIlwain, 1; D Jetson, 2; H Abel, 3. Heat two: N McIlwain, 1; S Devine, 2; J Cooley, 3. Final (15 laps): N McIlwain, 1; S Devine, 2; H Abel, 3. Sunday night - Heat one: M Hart, 1; S Devine, 2; N McIlwain, 3. Heat two: N McIlwain, 1; S Devine, 2; M Hart, 3.

Modified production sedans – Heat one: L Gunn, 1; B Piper, 2: M Rowlands, 3. Heat two: L Gunn, 1; B Mitchell, 2; B Piper, 3. Final (15 laps): L Gunn, 1; B Piper, 2; M Harrison, 3.

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