With drivers pushed to their limits in last weekend’s Australian AMCA Nationals Title at Redline Raceway in what were extremely hot and humid conditions, it was Jeremy Moore who upset the form guide and came away with the Australia # 1 honours.
Forced to complete four heat races each prior to their mains on Saturday afternoon at the Ballarat, Victoria-based track, with Friday night’s schedule being postponed due to rain, drivers were well and truly spent at the completion of the Australian Title-deciding feature race, but none more so than newly-crowned champion Moore (SA), who gave everything he had in his quest for Australian Title glory.
At the drop of the green flag of the 40-lap event, it was current Victorian and South Australian Champion Jamie Collins (Vic) who took the early lead from pole position, while Moore immediately slipped back to third when third-place starter and one of the weekend’s shining lights Mathew Mills (Vic) got the better of him on the opening lap. It wasn’t long before Mills reeled in Collins, stealing the lead from him on lap five and going on to survive a number of restarts to retain his position.
Comfortably controlling the pace out in front in between the numerous stoppages for the next 12 laps, Mills’ Australian Title hopes came to a crashing halt when contact from Collins off yet another restart sent him spinning into the wall, relegating Collins to the back of the pack. While Mills attempted to restart the race from the front, his car had sustained too much damage and he was forced to limp to the infield.
Taking over the lead following this incident, Moore didn’t put a foot wrong throughout the remaining distance and couldn’t be caught by the stout field behind him, going on to claim a thrilling Australian Title victory in just his third season with the class.
Photos: Rock Solid Productions
After experiencing a solid drive throughout the race, Paul Sullivan (Vic) was pleased to claim the runner-up spot ahead of 2016 Australian Champion Matt Hardy (Qld), who delivered a herculean effort to clinch the final podium place, after being sent to the rear of the field, due to spinning out, during the early stages of the race.
Another Queenslander in Steve Price did well to finish just off the podium in fourth after qualifying into the feature race via the B main where he secured the final transfer sport, with Rodney Bassett (Tas) rounding out the top five.
The remaining feature-race finishers were Matt’s dad Russ Hardy (Qld), Peter Markulin (NSW), Shane Cartwright (NSW), Darren ‘Plugger’ McCarthy (Vic), Dean Heseltine (Vic), Collins, Nathan Durston (Qld) and Sharon Tindal (Vic).
It was a challenging night for defending Australian Champion Tim Reidy (Vic), who failed to qualify for the feature race, lining up in the 21st spot by virtue of his champion status. Impressing fans and competitors alike, Reidy utilised the high line to power through the feature-race field, making his way up to sixth place before losing control of his Aus # 1 Panther car on the back straight, rolling hard into the wall and landing heavily upside down. Thankfully, he emerged from the car unharmed.
Joining Mills and Reidy on the infield were David Boyes (WA), Raymond Kime (NSW), Jason Robinson (SA), current and three-time Tasmanian Champion Daniel Brooks (Tas), current NT Champion Shane Newstead (NSW) and Adrian Bassett (Tas).
In the 20 contested heat races, Matt Hardy and Sullivan were the only two drivers to score double victories, while other heat-race wins went the way of Cartwright, Heseltine, Rodney Bassett, Moore, Mills, Steve Potts (Qld), Reidy, Tony Blanch (NSW), Price, Markulin, Russ Hardy, Brooks, Durston, Andrew ‘Dooie’ Ryder (Tas), McCarthy and Craig Bagorski (Tas).
Following the heat races, it was Lachie Gwynne (SA) who came out on top in the C main, transferring through to the B main along with Kelsey Allen (Vic). In the B main, Adrian Bassett earned a feature-race transfer spot, along with Markulin, Cartwright and Price.
There were numerous front-runners throughout the weekend who hit hard times and they were consequently unable to earn a start in the Australian Title decider, including the likes of Potts, four-time Australian Champion Shane McKinnell (Qld), Blanch and Ryder.
The next title event for AMCA Nationals is set to take place this Saturday night at Swan Hill’s Sonic Speedway with the running of this season’s Victorian Title, where defending champion Collins will attempt to go back to back.
To find out more about AMCA Nationals, visit their website at www.amcanationals.com.au or LIKE them on Facebook by searching AMCA Nationals.