Warrnambool turned on it’s usual four season’s in one day for the 47 participants of the fifth Eureka Sprintcar Series round at Sungold Stadium tonight. Touring American star Tyler Walker enjoyed his best result of the summer with his stirring win in the non stop 30 lap final. Presented by Go Traffic, Walker led home a fast finishing Stephen Bell with Steven Lines following into third place as the event was also the first round of the Cool Chassis & Croft Constructions Sprintcar track championship.
“I’ve been trying to come over to Australia for quite a while but after being plagued with injuries every winter I’ve never got here. It’s been a long time and I’ve heard nothing but great things about this place, I’ve always looked forward to it,” professed the likable Walker from victory lane.
“I thought tonight was a great race track with two lanes and room to pass, this so far has been my favourite track, I am definitely looking forward to what we’ve got ahead.”
John Vogels started from pole position courtesy of top qualifier Steven Lines electing to start from the outside of the front row. Jamie Veal and Walker filled the second row ahead of Matt Egel and Glen Saville while the fourth row saw Ryan Davis and Darren Mollenoyux. Stephen Bell and Danny Reidy rounded out the top 10.
Vogels bolted to the lead and set about opening a small margin while behind him Walker worked past Lines for second position. Walker reeled in Vogels and made the pass for the lead, something he would not relinquish for the remainder of the race.
Behind Walker who was putting on a clinic in traffic there were some unbelievable battles including Veal and Lines who were locked in a race for third position with Egel, Bell, eleventh starting David Murcott and Danny Reidy in hot pursuit. Walker remained unchallenged by Lines as Bell quickly tracked down the leaders taking second from Lines with 6 laps to go.
Lapped traffic played a major part as Bell worked towards Walker but as the laps wound down Bell couldn’t catch the American. Walker won from Bell, Lines, Veal, Murcott, Grant Anderson, Egel, Reidy, Saville and Vogels in tenth. Robbie Farr, Ryan Davis, Mollenoyux, Milburn, Nick Lacey, Kelly Linigen and Glen Sutherland rounded out the finishers.
Runner up Bell took notice of the preceding Formula 500 event to establish his racing line. “I watched the little cars and thought if they can’t get the top to work then it’s not going to happen. I don’t generally like the bottom but that’s where the track was and that’s what we had to do.”
Another podium place for Steven Lines albeit for the first time in Monte Motorsports colours. “I can’t thank my team enough we’re still working on things. Obviously we’re not happy with the result but it could be worse and we’re hoping to do a little better in the coming weeks.”
Last chance tickets were provided to Lacey, Farr, Milburn, Linigen, James McFadden and Sutherland in the B Main with six successful transferors to the main event. The stout line up included plenty of well known names and with them came some great racing. Australian champion James McFadden came from last starting position of 16 in the B-main all the way to fifth to make the transfer. Earlier in the night he suffered a dislodged fuel nozzle that hurt his points sentencing him to the B. McFadden’s run ended in the A-main when he came infield after touching the wall mid race.
The night began with some excellent heat races won by Veal, Mollenoyux, Egel and Lines and saw substantial damage to a number of cars including Tim Rankin after a major incident with the catch fence in turn three. The second round of heat wins went to Sutherland, Vogels, Ash Burke and Lacey. David Murcott recorded Quick Time earlier in the night with a strong 11.017sec lap.
In the Jack Willsher Cup, ‘young gun’ Jye O’Keefe romped to a classy win ahead of Chad Sullivan and former national champ Mick Pronger. A full report to follow on the Formula 500’s.
Next Event – January 1 World Series Sprintcars / Oval Express Formula 500 Series.