From Phil Michell, image courtesy of Murray Bridge Speedway
For the second year in a row Victorian David Murcott steered the Downing Brothers #97 Cool Chassis to victory in the Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway. After trailing early race leader Jamie Cobby, Murcott made the decisive move in traffic to win comfortably ahead of Cobby, Australian Champion James McFadden and an extremely impressive Brad Keller.
“Jamie did a great job but sometimes it better to be running second at a tight little bull ring like this. Race wins don’t come along to often so when a chance to win you have got to go after it. It just feels great to win for the Downing Boys first night out. The track was a little demanding tonight but I hope we put on a good show for the fans who came out and braved the cold conditions” commented the race winner.
Jamie Cobby was also elated to be on the podium at the first race of the year but he conceded he probably needs to get a little fitter for the upcoming events. “We haven’t raced since Darwin but it is a good result for the guys who have stuck by me”.
Third place getter McFadden was also satisfied with his nights work and was pleased to leave Murray Bridge with a top three. “I charged hard but I don’t think I could have done any better. A big thanks to the boys, they got the car feeling pretty good at the end. It was a good test run for the World Series rounds coming up here in a few months” added the National Champion on the podium.
The 30 lap race got off to a dramatic start as Cobby got the jump over Egel but the red light was soon on as the cars came around turn two for the second time. Ricky Maiolo, who was up to third, spun in front of the field leaving Phil March no where to go and as a result he inverted his #3 Cool. Luke Dillon was also involved but was able to restart.
The field then formed up for a complete restart with Cobby once again getting the jump over Egel and Murcott. Murcott then quickly moved into second but the driver on the move was Maiolo, who had been sent to rear after the earlier incident. Lap five saw the seconf red light of the event after Terry Pitt spun in turn four and was collected by Mike Van Bremen, with the Victorian’s #6 machine ever so lightly falling onto its side.
From that point the race went to the flag with the race winning move coming with 12 laps remaining as Murcott made a neat outside move in turn two over Cobby. McFadden made a late charge to round up Egel to claim third while Brad Keller also got by Egel late in the race to finish fourth. Egel held on four fifth ahead of Luke Dillon, Danny Pestka, Maiolo, Lacey and Glen Sutherland.
Earlier in the night the heat races proved to a survival of the fittest as several cars failed to make it through the heats. As a result the B-Main was cancelled due to a lack of cars. The main casualties of the heats included local hope Ryan Jones who destroyed his race car after hitting the wall, rookie 410ci campaigner Darryl Guerin, who had a massive accident on the front straight, Andrew Cox (hit wall) and Jason Loveday, who failed to complete a lap due to engine dramas.
Other drivers such as Steven Caruso and Terry Pitt also had their fair share of bad luck with Caruso rolling hard on the back straight after contact with Luke Bowey, while Pitt was involved in an accident with Victorian Nick Lacey.
The winners of the six heats were Jamie Cobby, Matt Egel, James McFadden, Brad Keller, Ricky Maiolo and Phil March. Egel was then victorious in the 6 lap dash ahead of Cobby and defending race champion David Murcott.