From Jarryd Stokes, image courtesy of SRA
Victoria’s finest Sprintcar drivers delivered one of the best 30-lap A-Main events seen at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway in the last decade as Lilydale’s Mike Van Bremen secured his second round win this season in the fifth round of the Eureka Garages and Sheds Series last night (December 26).
Familiar names Van Bremen, Matthew Reed, John Vogels and local racer Domain Ramsay had everyone catching a breath as they challenged for podium results and weaved their way through lap traffic on an exciting racing surface.
Reed was back to his own equipment after racing the first half of the season with Matt Eastham and he started brilliantly, being the highest qualifier and setting quick time in the top six shootout. The Victorian Champion elected to start from position two, allowing long time on track rival Van Bremen to start from pole position.
Drama circulated Avalon Raceway with Eureka Garages and Sheds Series contender Brett Milburn unable to fire the V68. The Pearcedale driver qualified in sixth position but was powerless in what looked to be another strong night at the office for the then third in points for the series.
South Australian Craig Vanderstelt also had no luck from position 15, tipping over in turn two on the opening lap after a number of cars slowed for a yellow light false start.
The scene was set early for a memorable final, with Van Bremen leading the field into lap traffic when Reed made his move around the outside for the lead, which only lasted a small breath before Van Bremen slid back on the inside. Meanwhile Ramsay, from Geelong, made his move on Vogels into third position before a yellow light with Carl Ludeman and Darren Russell spinning in separate areas of the racetrack.
Throughout the next 12 uninterrupted laps, Van Bremen, Reed, Ramsay and Vogels were superb, while Ballarat’s Rod Matthews and Bendigo’s Darren Hickman were running strongly.
With 12 laps remaining Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal brought on the caution light, with the next bit of high drama coming with just three laps left when Charles Hunter stopped in turn three and four for the final yellow light. Heads soon turned to another stopped car in turn two, which was second placed Reed. The contender was forced to the rear with the finishing line in sight.
Hickman, while in fifth position, pulled infield amidst the Reed drama. In the same event last year, Hickman stole the show with a remarkable win in his 360 powered machine. On resumption Van Bremen remained calm for a popular win, ahead of Vogels and Ramsay. Winchelsea’s Ryan Davis and 360 driver Chris Campbell both had career best results in the top five.
Veal, Reed, Matthews, Russell and Ron Dalton were the remaining finishers in an A-Main event that had everything.
Van Bremen was in the same situation in the opening round, however back then it was to be his first A-Main win at the Geelong venue and he drove cautiously, almost costing him the race. This time, with fewer nerves, Van Bremen made every corner count to separate himself from the chasing pack.
“Obviously it was really tough competition with Matthew Reed off the front row and as good as buddies as we are it’s nice to get one up on him. I’m really pleased to keep our good form going.
“It was a whole different ball game, now I have that monkey off my back of winning here at Avalon I wasn’t nervous at all. With 12 laps to go I treated it as a heat race and with three laps to go it was like a dash. It was pleasing to finish off the race, as last time I was cautious which nearly cost me,” Van Bremen said.
Earlier in the night six heat races were completed, with strong victories to Veal, Milburn, Reed, Simon Van Ginnekin, Campbell and Hunter.
The next round of the Eureka Garages and Sheds Series will be at Horsham’s Blue Ribbon Raceway on January 9.
Eureka Garages and Sheds Series contingency awards for round 5:
ELF RACING FUELS top point scorer – V92 Matthew Reed
AMERICAN RACER TIRE random draw between position 6th and 16th – V40 Darren Hickman (10th)
D&F RACING PRODUCTS hard luck of the night – V51 Peter Milnes
CASCADE SOLUTIONS FOR CLEANING 1st competitor to not transfer from the B-Main to A-Main – V11 Brad Foster
SMILEY’S RACING PRODUCTS 1st place in C-Main – V49 Damien Dannatt 1st place in B-Main – V73 Charles Hunter
JOHN SIDNEY RACING most cars passed in A-Main (end of series) cars passed on night – V44 Ron Dalton (8) OVERALL – V70 John Vogels (14)
HI ACE WINGS most B-Main wins (end of series) winner of B-Main – V73 Charles Hunter
Eureka Garages and Sheds Series – KTM Top 10 after round 5:
1st. John Vogels – 1496
2nd. Mike Van Bremen – 1482
3rd. Jamie Veal – 1311
4th. Domain Ramsay – 1288
5th. Brett Milburn – 1283
6th. Rod Matthews – 1213
7th. Matthew Reed – 1132
8th. Eddie Lumbar – 1105
9th. Charles Hunter – 1089
10th. Nick Lacey – 958