From Phil Michell
In what can only be described as the best Australian 360ci Sprintcar Championship final in the history of the event defending race Champion Ryan Jones edged out Craig Vanderstelt in a epic battle at the Murray Bridge Speedway. After trailing Vanderstelt early in the event Jones took the lead just prior to the mid way point of the 40 lap final and went on to win by less than a car length as the duo put on a breathtaking display of Sprintcar racing that will long be remembered by all who witnessed the dramatic race.
For a majority of the race Vanderstelt was committed to the bottom of the race track while Jones elected to run the top with both cars wheel to wheel for a majority of the final ten laps. In the end the lapped traffic played a major part in the outcome with Jones just managing to get through a little better when it counted most. �I can�t believe that I am now a four time Australian 360ci Sprintcar champion. We get a fair amount of flack from the open competitors about racing a 360 but a Sprintcar is a Sprintcar regardless of the engine size and I am proud to have done something that very few drivers in the sport have acomplished� added an elated winner.
�I must give a lot of credit to Craig, he drove a great race. We ran side by side and never touched once. In the past it hasn�t always been that way. I have a lot of respect for him, he was one of the original 360ci drivers in South Australia so I am happy that Craig and his team got a great result as well�.
After trying for several years Vanderstelt was pleased to be on the podium despite the fact he came up less than a car length short of winning his maiden National Title. �It all came down to the lapped traffic but that�s Sprintcar racing. I am just glad to finally get a result in this race. I knew Ryan would run the top so we committed to the bottom and we had it running around really well but not quite good enough� he added following the race.
Third across the line was Broken Hill resident Brendan Guerin who put in the drive of his short two year career with fellow second season competitor Brendan Quinn finishing an outstanding fourth. Chad Ely managed to finish fifth, the exact spot he finished the race last season, with Shane Hendry charging from the B-Main to claim sixth. Western Australian Chris Ackland had a competitive run to post a seventh placed result while Mark Caruso, Keke Falland and Phil Lock completed the top ten.
The only real casualty of the race was former Australian Champion Tony Moule who rolled on lap six of the final after contact with Guerin. At the time Moule and Guerin were racing for a top four position.