Van Bremen Wins at Avalon

From the SRA

Victorian crowd favourite Mike Van Bremen has reached one of his career goals by finally winning an A-Main event at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway in his 15th season of Sprintcar racing. ‘The Flying Dutchman’ led every lap of the 30-lap final, holding off a fast finishing Matthew Reed and John Vogels in the opening round of the Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series last night (November 7).

Van Bremen, a two time SRA Series Champion, has been in the position to win at Avalon Raceway on numerous occasions, but finally broke through for a jubilant win that lit up Avalon Raceway for all the right reasons.

The Lilydale driver was fourth on points after heat racing and set the second fastest time in the top six shootout to start alongside third generation racer Nick Lacey for the final.

Lacey was showing his more experienced campaigners how to do it by qualifying highest on points after heat racing, but also setting the quickest time in the shootout to start from pole position in the main event.

In a thrilling start to the final, Lacey and Van Bremen ran wheel to wheel into the first turn, with Van Bremen just gaining the ascendancy to claim the lead.

Lacey was quickly swamped by Vogels and Jamie Veal and dropped back to fourth, with Matthew Reed was also in the action. In the jostle for positions, Lacey was unluckily caught out on the back straight and suffered a flat right front tyre that ended his impressive night.

The race was certainly panning out perfectly for Van Bremen, with regular stoppages giving him a fresh start with no lap traffic in sight.

With 20-laps remaining, six time SRA Series Champion Reed, driving the V88 Mathew Eastham owned car, began to make his move in a dual with Veal for third position while Vogels held down second.

Veal pulled up in turn four with ten laps remaining while in fourth position, which elevated the likes of Charles Hunter and Rod Matthews in a position to battle for a podium result.

Reed was continuing his run, using the highline at Avalon to great advantage as he challenged Vogels, with both drivers nervously touching each other at speed down the back straight.

South Australian challenger Craig Vanderstelt brought up a vital yellow light when he pulled up on the exit of turn four with just six laps remaining. Reed was briefly into second place but had to go back to third for the restart.

Reed quickly got by Vogels and set his sights on long time on track rival Van Bremen, knowing that his off track friend would be sweating up with victory in sight. Van Bremen tip toed his way through the turns, while Reed was throwing everything on the high line to lose by two car lengths, another lap and it could have been a horror story for Van Bremen.

“I was so nervous, with the last restart I knew I had my first win at Avalon in sight and it was all I could think about. I was so cautious in the last few laps and it almost cost me the race, if I was pipped on the line it would have been horrible,” said Van Bremen.

“It was such a great feeling seeing the chequered the flag, the crowd response was amazing, I couldn’t believe it. I suppose a lot of them have been waiting for me to win for fifteen seasons too,” smiled MVB.

Vogels finished on the podium to start his season well, while Matthews and Hunter left the track with smiles in the top five. Domain Ramsay and Brett Milburn passed plenty of cars for solid finishing positions after mixed nights behind the wheel. Carl Ludeman, Eddie Lumbar and Chris Campbell rounded out the top ten, with Philip Down, Phil Lock and Ron Dalton all finishing the final.

Heat race wins earlier in the night went to Milburn, Lumbar, Van Bremen, Vanderstelt, Veal and Reed.

After a thrilling start to the Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar Series, round two will be held in South Australia at Mt Gambier’s Borderline Raceway on November 21.

Eureka Garages and Sheds Series KTM Top Ten after Round 1:

1st. Mike Van Bremen – 400
2nd. Matthew Reed – 390
3rd. John Vogels – 384
4th. Charles Hunter – 357
5th. Rod Matthews – 355
6th Domain Ramsay – 332
7th Brett Milburn – 315
8th Eddie Lumbar – 309
9th Carl Ludeman – 304
10th Chris Campbell – 286

Eureka Garages and Sheds Series Contingency Awards

ELF RACING FUELS top point scorer $50 gift voucher – V70 John Vogels
AMERICAN RACER TIRE random draw between 6th and 16th place in A-Main for a new right rear tire – V34 Philip Down (11th)
D&F RACING PRODUCTS hard luck of the night – V26 Nick Lacey
CASCADE SOLUTIONS FOR CLEANING $90 1st driver to not transfer from the B to A Main – V17 Dennis Jones
SMILEY’S RACING PRODUCTS discount voucher for winner of B Main – V24 Chris Campbell
JOHN SIDNEY RACING most cars passed in A Mains (end of series award) – V68 Brett Milburn (7)

The Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria thank the following
Garages and Sheds Super Sprintcar series sponsors:

Eureka Garages and Sheds –
KTM Australia –
SprintcarWorld –
John Sidney Racing –
Camden Neon Signs –
Corey Gibson Photography –
Elf Racing Fuels –