Welcome to the new weekly column called the Weekend Wrap. Totally Speedway’s Daniel Powell will be covering all of the hot topics from the weekend in Australian speedway and so much more.
Sprintcars Invade Cairns
Sprintcars Invade CairnsCairns International Speedway in North Queensland returned to action for the first time in 10 months on Saturday night, and the night was highlighted by the return of Sprintcars.
It had been nearly 15 years since the Cairns Speedway track had Sprintcars run on a regular basis – apart from numerous cameo appearances in between from visiting southern drivers. Now with the revival of the North Queensland Sprintcar Club, there is going to be Sprintcars consistently on show at Cairns Speedway.
In last Saturday night’s Sprintcar feature race, it was Wes Jenkins (pictured below) who came away with the victory. Jenkins, who is an ex-Sidecar competitor, defeated veteran Mike Walsh and newcomer Mace Papworth to the chequered flag in the 15-lap event.
The other feature races on the night saw them claimed by Townsville’s Kaydon Iverson (Formula 500s), Nate Campbell (Junior Formula 500s), Brisbane’s Darran Lester (Modified Sedans), Peter Butler (Super Street Sedans), Terrance O’Brien (Outlaw Speedway Karts), Justin Clauss (125cc Speedway Karts) and Sam Nucifora (Junior Speedway Karts).
From Supercar to Sprintcar
It’s no secret that Supercar racer Cameron Waters has a close association with the sport of speedway and for the second year in a row he has sampled a 410 Sprintcar around Darwin’s Northline Speedway in the Northern Territory.
After last year driving Chace Karpenko’s NT # 21 car for what was his first taste of a 410 Sprintcar, Waters last week jumped into Jamie O’Neill’s NT # 24 car to get what seems now to be his annual 410 Sprintcar fix. Taking some time out from his busy Supercar commitments between the two rounds at the neighbouring Hidden Valley Raceway circuit, the 26-year-old loved getting back behind the wheel of a 900 plus horse powered 410 Sprintcar.
Waters, whose dad Chris was one of the country’s leading Modified Sedan racers during the 1990s, is no stranger to the sport of speedway as a competitor, as he won the 2018 National Title in Modified Sedans and before that the 2015 South Australian Title in Late Models.
The winning ways of Kyle Larson continued over the weekend, after he dominated both nights of the World of Outlaws (410 Sprint Cars) double-header at Red River Valley Speedway in North Dakota.
Following being sent packing out of NASCAR land earlier this year, the 28-year-old has returned to his roots on a full-time basis, and he certainly hasn’t taken a backwards step – with wins all around the country, whether that is in 410 Sprint Cars, Midgets, Non-Winged Sprint Cars and USAC Silver Crown categories, where he has in his last 30 starts claimed an amazing 23 A main wins.
Larson doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon, and that’s definitely a scary prospect for his rivals. As a punter recently wrote jokingly on the Twitter social-media platform, when are they going to start up a GoFundMe page in order to help raise the funds to send Kyle Larson back to NASCAR?
Leading the Way
When it comes to the World of Outlaws for 410 Sprint Cars, it’s fantastic to see the small-budget Shark Racing team and their driver Logan Schuchart sitting on the top of the current overall point standings ahead of WoO stars Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz and their powerhouse teams.
The Shark Racing team is owned by 1990 Knoxville Nationals winner Bobby ‘Scruffy’ Allen, who is the grandfather of Logan and the father of Schuchart’s Shark Racing team-mate and uncle Jacob Allen. Jacob currently sits eighth in the WoO point standings.
Family Bond: Logan Schuchart and Bobby Allen
Ellenbrook Returns to Action
It had been a total of 317 days since Ellenbrook Speedway, near Perth in Western Australia, held a race meeting, but the wait ended on Sunday, when they held their first race meeting of the 2020 season.
Headlining the action was the annual Tom Green Memorial for Junior Sedans. In the Top Stars category, it was current National Champion Mitchell Baker who claimed the spoils ahead of Beau Oldfield and Brandon Buszan, while in the New Stars, Jaxon Buszan defeated Shataya Herbert in second and Alyvia Ferraro in third.
In the other classes in action, the feature races were shared between Warren Oldfield (Street Stocks), Drew Ogle (Production Sedans), Sean Zemunik (Sprintcars) and Daran Humfrey (Wingless Sprints).
Junior Sedans at Ellenbrook Speedway Photo: Peter Roebuck
McAuley Claims Memorial
The annual Pippingarra Legends Memorial event was fought out on Saturday night at Port Hedland Speedway in northern Western Australia and it saw the in-form Jack McAuley score the win.
Following his impressive win in the previous weekend’s Ashley Page Memorial at Newman’s Hillview Speedway, McAuley (pictured below), who is a Production Sedan racer, drove to the win in the annual event for Production Sedan and Street Stock racers ahead of Jake Hoath (Street Stocks) and Liam Mackenzie (Production Sedans) in second and third place respectively.
Liam Mackenzie (Production Sedans), Jake Hoath (Street Stocks), Jamie Page (Formula 500s), Cameron Inch (Sprintcars), Dane Francis (Wingless Sprints), Lincoln Hoath (Junior Quarter Midgets), Bailee Pettitt (Junior Sedans - New Stars) and Jared Coutts (Junior Sedans - Top Stars) all emerged as the night’s other feature-race winners.
Current Australian AMCA National Champion Matt Hardy and his dad Russ were the victims of an outrageous hoax over the weekend.
An ‘anonymous’ tip off to police on Saturday night saw them arrive at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway looking for the Hardy father-and-duo, after this phone call to police had stated that they had illegally travelled over the NSW-Queensland state border from their Round Mountain residence on the northern NSW tablelands to attend the practice night.
Hardy was quick to hose down this hoax via his Facebook social-media channel.
“Firstly, I don’t even have a race car as I sold it a few months ago,” the 27-year-old racer stated.
“Secondly, dad’s Qld # 18 car is currently in the stages of a rear-end (differential) upgrade and is nowhere near race ready.
“Thirdly, we have absolutely no intentions of breaching border restriction rules just to go racing.”
After the above explanation, Hardy signed off with the following comment.
“Whoever this lowlife was, give yourself an uppercut,” he remarked.
“I’m sure the police have got better things to do than chasing up bogus calls on a Saturday night. If anyone hears anything on the grapevine, I would love to hear from you.”
Full credit must go out to Premier Speedway Club track manager David Mills for his open and honest interview last week regarding the upcoming 2020-21 season plans for the south-western Victoria venue.
In an interview with local journalist Liam Fitzpatrick, Mills, who has been the Premier Speedway Club track manager for 12 seasons now, explained that like everywhere in the world, things are currently up in the air.
As the state of Victoria is currently in lockdown, Mills has said that he will assess the situation regarding the upcoming season again once the lockdown has been lifted. With the upcoming season up in the air, there is a cloud that hangs over the sport’s biggest speedway event in Australia, the Grand Annual Classic. With nothing confirmed, it could possibly take a leaf out of Knoxville Raceway’s book with this year’s 60th running of the Knoxville Nationals and cancel the event for the year 2021.
To watch the entire interview with Mills, visit the Premier Speedway Facebook page.
Photo: Corey Gibson Photography
Gladstone Progressing Well
The construction of the new Gladstone Speedway continues and is on track for its 2021-22 season launch.
Bob McCosker from McCosker Contracting, along with a core group of volunteers, have been working hard on the construction of the central Queensland track that has a 403-metre pole line and 15 metres in width. Apart from the main track, part of the plans is to have a smaller track on the infield for Solos and Sidecar motorcycles.
The new Gladstone Speedway is a major boost for the local motorsport community, and it replaces the area’s previous speedway venue, the Gladstone Showground, which is now unsuitable to conduct race meetings.
When it comes to the Gladstone Speedway, McCosker and his team are excited about the steady construction of the new speedway track and are passionate about securing the sport’s future in the area.
New YouTube Channel
Former 410 Sprintcar racer Toby Bellbowen has launched his own YouTube channel called Sprintcar Hub.
Since being forced into retirement from 410 Sprintcar racing two seasons due to issues relating to a cataract impairment on his left eye, the 26-year-old has been still actively involved with the sport through a brief stint in commentary at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway and his personal analyst of the sport via his Facebook Toby Bellbowen Racing page.
Over the weekend, Bellbowen launched his Sprintcar Hub brand on Facebook – replacing his Toby Bellbowen Racing page, which also included a YouTube channel that can be found by searching Sprintcar Hub.
It’s great to see a young racer that has had his driving career cut short still remain involved in the sport of speedway. A lot of the time, someone at his age in that situation leaves the sport completely. However, with a rich family history in the sport and a genuine love for the sport, that just wasn’t going to be possible for Bellbowen.
Photo: Tony Loxley