Saturday, 26 May 2018

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Saturday night’s action-packed season opener at Darwin’s 7Mate Northline Speedway saw Chace Karpenko start his 2017 season in the best possible fashion by coming away with the win in the Sprintcars feature race.

With six classes on the program, Saturday night also saw Hayden Brown, Brendan Kenna, Justin Brumfield, Lance Carew and Tim Fry claim feature-race victories in their respective classes.

After a turbulent start to the 15-lap Sprintcar feature race, which saw pole-sitter and Western Australian-based racer Jake Beard-Miller relegated to the rear of field after second-place starter Ben Atkinson suffered a mechanical failure off the starting line, resulting in contact with Beard-Miller, it was Karpenko who capitalised on the incident to take the lead from the restart.

Chace Karpenko 1

Photo: Nakita Pollock Photography

Proving that he benefitted from racing down south during the 2016-17 season, Karpenko was able to maintain his composure out front, going on to score a convincing win, ahead of last season’s Chariots of Thunder Sprintcar Series Champion Jason McIver in second. Following his early misfortune, Beard-Miller, who resides in Perth but is basing his car in Darwin this season, impressively managed to salvage a third-place finish, ahead of father and son duo David and Steven Ling, and final finisher Caleb Gotts.

Atkinson, whose late addition to the event bolstered the quality field, had a feature race to forget, with his mechanical failure forcing him to the infield without completing a lap, after a strong performance throughout his heat races.

Having not raced in over a year before Saturday night’s meeting, Beard-Miller was in strong form from the outset, winning two of the three heat races, with the remaining with going the way of Atkinson.

Hayden Brown

Photo: Nakita Pollock Photography

Hayden Brown was the best in the Formula 500s feature race, with the former Darwin Champion immediately taking the lead from the drop of the green flag and holding on to it to seize the win. Despite being the form driver throughout the heat races, Joseph Baronet was unable to fend off Brown and was forced to settle for the runner-up spot, ahead of current Darwin Champion John Staynoff in third. Finishing just off the podium in fourth was Boysie Bartholdt, with Daniel White and Mark Tattingham completing the finishers.

The earlier heat-race action saw Baronet claim two out of the three victories, along with a third-place finish, with the remaining heat-race win going the way of Brown, who also finished second and third. Bartholdt was also a model of consistency throughout the heat races, scoring two seconds and a third-place result.

Current Darwin Champion Brendan Kenna proved to be unbeatable in the AMCA Nationals, clean sweeping the night by winning each of the three heat races, qualifying in pole position for the feature race and going on to take a pleasing victory. Jacob Belcher and Peter Harding came home in second and third respectively. Completing the finishers were Andy Allcorn, Maria Panasewyecz and Janet Belcher, while Paul Paget was the only feature-race casualty.

Justin Brumfield

Photo: Nakita Pollock Photography

A dominant performance in the Street Stocks saw Justin Brumfield drive to victory in each of the three heat races, before going on to claim a commanding victory in the feature race, with the current Northern Territory Champion finishing over seven seconds clear of his nearest rival. Finishing one better than his starting position, Scott Bradbury came home in the runner-up spot, ahead of WA-based visitor Russell Gunn in third. James Dennis, John Spitzbarth, Ben Blatchford and Daniel Dennis rounded out the feature-race field.

Aside from Brumfield, Gunn and Bradbury were the other two form drivers of the night, having finished either second or third to Brumfield in each of the heat races, before backing up their form in the feature race.

Lance Carew

Photo: Nakita Pollock Photography

Lance Carew was a dominant force in the Junior Sedans and could not be stopped all night, qualifying in pole position, by virtue of winning each of the heat races, and going on to score a comfortable win, just shy of 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up. Mirroring all three of the heat-race results, the top three remained unchanged in the feature race, with Zack Grimshaw and Isaiah Strong completing the podium in second and third place respectively. Remaining finishers include Aleisha Grimshaw, Nicholas Dennis, Xavier Gotts, Cian Quinlan, Zac Uniacke and Liam Gotts.

After a solid performance, it was Tim Fry who claimed the feature-race win in the Speedway Karts, having made up good ground early to take the lead on lap four, after starting fourth. Unable to hold on to the top spot, pole-sitter Kirsty Driver was forced to settle for the runner-up spot, ahead of Steve Driver in third. Remaining finishers were Nick Belfield and Michael Brown.

Second-place starter Rebecca Pearce’s strong run came to a premature end on the opening lap, with Tony Brown joining her on the infield just one lap later.

Earlier in the night, heat-race wins were shared between Pearce, Fry and Brown.

7Mate Northline Speedway will be back in action on the Saturday night of June 3, when the Street Stocks contest their Darwin Title, with Sprintcars, Formula 500s, Junior Sedans and Speedway Karts also on the program.

For more information about Northline Speedway, visit their brand-new website: . You can LIKE them on Facebook by searching Northline Speedway or find them on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat by searching Northline Speedway.

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