Welcome to the weekly Weekend Wrap column. In this column, Totally Speedway’s Daniel Powell covers all of the hot topics from the weekend in Australian speedway and so much more.
BK Regains WA Title
The annual Shinju Matsuri event was fought out at Broome Speedway in the far north of Western Australia on Friday and Saturday night and the standout performance was local Brent ‘BK’ Halliday (pictured right) regaining his Western Australian Modlites Title.
After not having held the Western Australian Title since 2017, Halliday was in unstoppable form throughout the two nights of action and capped the event with a dominant feature-race performance.
At the fall of the chequered flag in the Western Australian Title deciding feature race, Halliday drove to the victory ahead of youngster Zac Minshull in second and Rob Kirk in third. Just missing out on a podium finish was veteran racer Warren Minshull in fourth place.
Stepping into Modlites this season, the Minshull father-and-son duo of Warren and Zac have taken to the class very well. Warren is a former Western Australian Title in Super Sedans, who has also recently moved into Late Models, while Zac, who is a former Western Australian Title holder, had a brief stint last season in Super Sedans, but he is going to be a big threat in Modlites.
In the other Shinju Matsuri events, Damon Lyall proved too strong in the Street Stocks and claimed the lion’s share of the $3500 prize purse and in the feature race defeated Kununurra’s Russell Gunn and Jim Dixon in second and third place respectively, while the in-form Jack McAuley outpaced Mick Johnson and Liam Mackenzie to the chequered flag in the Production Sedan feature race.
The support class feature-race wins were claimed by Rayburn Clifton (Modified Sedans), Kodee Brown (Late Models), Phil Barton (Super Sedans), Courteney Perry (Ladies Sedans), Riley Dunn (Junior Sedans - Top Stars), Max Lang (Junior Sedans - New Stars), Jim Gieson (Speedway Karts - Senior), Ben Harris (Speedway Karts - Juniors), Max Lang (Junior Quarter Midgets - A Grade) and Amelia Rayner (Junior Quarter Midgets - B Grade).
In what was arguably one of the biggest wins of his career, Kyle Sayer (pictured below) last Sunday at Ellenbrook Speedway, near Perth in Western Australia, romped to victory in the annual RDA Production Sedan Championship.
Photo: Peter Roebuck
Sayer, from Busselton, started from position two in the 30-lap feature race and from the green light powered to the lead. Once out in front, Sayer drove a clean race and went on to score a commanding victory.
Pole sitter Rick Musarra did his best to reel in Sayer, but he was unable to do so and had to settle for second on the podium, while the final spot on the podium was filled by a hard-charging Josh Fraser. In what was a fast finish, Fraser managed to move from fifth to third on lap 25 and secure his place on the podium and finish up what was an impressive drive.
Three of the favourites heading into the RDA Production Sedan Championship – Kane McDiarmid, Barry Rose and current Western Australian Production Sedan Champion Jamie Oldfield – missed out on podium spots and filled fourth, fifth and sixth finishing feature-race positions.
Also on the program at Ellenbrook Speedway, the second round of the Winter Development Series for Late Models was fought out and it resulted in surprise packet Pat van Brakel (pictured below) claiming the spoils.
Van Brakel, who was born in the north-western European country of the Netherlands and the team-mate of 2019 Australian Late Model Champion Paul Stubber, controlled the pace throughout the feature race and was rewarded with the win ahead of Stubber in second and Daniel Ameduri in third. Jac Dolmans Jnr and current Winter Development Series point standings leader Jeff Pahl were the two drivers that rounded out of the top-five finishes in the feature race.
Two-time National Street Stocks Champion Jamie Oldfield came out on top in the Street Stocks feature race ahead of his younger brother Warren Oldfield and Ben Norman in second and third place respectively.
It was another victory for the Oldfield family, with Jamie’s nephew Beau Oldfield picking up the Top Stars Junior Sedan feature-race win. Joining Oldfield on the podium was Riley Hanson and Dean Schofield. In the New Stars Junior Sedans feature race, Jack Tarandetti came out on top and he managed to defeat Alyvia Ferraro and Zach Munro to the chequered flag.
The sixth and final class on Sunday’s program at Ellenbrook Speedway were the Wingless Sprints. Daran Humfrey emerged the feature-race winner ahead of the Iwanow brothers, Blake and Matt. Current and five-time Western Australian Champion Tom Payet made another cameo return to the class, but he was unfortunately a casualty during the feature race.
Higgs Scores WA Title
Veteran racer Brett Higgs romped to victory in last Saturday’s Western Australian Super 6s Title at Pithara Speedway.
Higgs (pictured below) proved too strong for his rivals throughout the feature race and outpaced Ryan Lupica in second and Simon Mateljan in third. Unfortunately, the defending Western Australian Champion Glenn Brown was unable to finish the feature race.
The annual Street Stocks Classic event saw Warren Oldfield claim the winning honours and he was able to defeat Brendan Vanzetti and Chris Vanzetti at the completion of the 20-lap event.
In the support classes, the feature-race wins were shared between Glenn Forenza (Pro Modifieds), Chris Dymock (Formula 500s), Lee Redmond (320 Sprintcars), Wayne Leviston (Production Sedans) and Riley Hanson (Junior Sedans).
Iverson’s Pain is Pokarier’s Gain
An unfortunate mistake by Kaydon Iverson resulted in Josh Pokarier coming out on top in last Saturday night’s Formula 500s feature race at Cairns International Speedway in North Queensland.
After leading the majority of feature race, Iverson in the closing stages accidently hit the power steering switch inside the cockpit, which made him think that there was front-end damage to his car after the steering had gone heavy and he took the safe option and opted to retire to the infield.
This unfortunate incident for Iverson played into the hands of Pokarier (pictured below alongside John Magro and Alan Iverson), who led the rest of the journey and scored the win.
John Magro, who is the current Australian Formula 3 Champion on the circuit racing scene, ended up second on the podium, while third place was filled by veteran and Kaydon’s dad Alan Iverson.
Tim Smith came out on top in the Modified Sedans feature race and the 25-year-old defeated veteran Graham Kleinhans and Steve Manly in second and third place respectively.
Nate Campbell (Junior Formula 500s), Terrance O’Brien (Formula 400s), David Keating (Speedway Karts - Seniors) and Kayla Adams (Speedway Karts - Juniors) emerged the support class feature-race winners.
A handful of Sprintcar drivers returned to Cairns Speedway for practice sessions on the night and those drivers were Wes Jenkins, Mace Papworth, Cameron King and Rob Wilkins. Jenkins, who had come out on top in the feature race at the previous Cairns Speedway race meeting, emerged on top of the time sheets in the practice sessions.
In other Cairns speedway news, Sprintcar veteran Mike Walsh and his son Brian (pictured below) competed in last weekend’s Targa Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. The third running of this popular tarmac rally event saw the father-and-son duo overcome a crash during an early stage and at the completion of the weekend finish on top in the Early Modern 2 class aboard their Daihatsu Charade.
Larson Wins Again
American star Kyle Larson was at it again! This time it was in Sunday night’s latest World of Outlaws Championship round at Huset’s Speedway in South Dakota that saw him pick up a $20,000 winner’s cheque.
After struggling in the previous night’s A main due to a tyre issue and finishing back to 16th, Larson (pictured below) bounced back in the best possible fashion. Larson moved into the lead of the A main in the final 10 laps after passing long-time leader Gio Scelzi and from there was never headed to score his 10th WoO Championship round win of the year.
Larson took out a comprehensive win ahead of a hard-charging James McFadden. The Australian had started the A main from position 11 and finished strongly to snare the runner-up spot on the podium. David Gravel, who had started from position two, completed the podium finishes in third place.
In what was his best performance from him since taking over the KCP Racing team drive from Australian Ian Madsen, Gio Scelzi just finished off the podium in fourth. Current World of Outlaws point standings leader Brad Sweet worked his way from position 12 to round out the top-five finishers. WoO point standings challengers Donny Schatz and Logan Schuchart finished a few spots behind Sweet in eighth and ninth respectively. Schatz earned the night’s hard-charger award after he had started from position 20, while Schuchart came from position 21. Sheldon Haudenschild, who was the previous night’s preliminary A main winner, was a disappointing DNF.
The previous night at Huset’s Speedway, Sheldon Haudenschild claimed his fourth WoO Championship round win of the year.
Haudenschild started from the second row in the A main and hit the lead on lap eight after passing Larson. From there, he remained out in front all the way through to the fall of the chequered flag to score the $10,000 top prize.
Macedo, who had started from position 14, followed Haudenschild across the finish line in second, while Daryn Pittman finished in third place on the podium. The top-five finishes were completed by Brad Sweet and James McFadden. Sweet’s WoO point standings main threats, Schatz and Schuchart, finished back in sixth and seventh.
Current WoO Championship Point Standings
1: Brad Sweet - 5118 points
2: Logan Schuchart - 5104
3: Donny Schatz - 5038
4: Carson Macedo - 5016
5: Sheldon Haudenschild - 5008
Tennant Creek’s Upgrade
Despite the uncertain times with everything surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, there is one Australian speedway track that is going from strength to strength is Tennant Creek Speedway in the Northern Territory.
Located 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs, it was recently revealed that the Tennant Creek Speedway track was upgraded to a four-star track rating by the sport’s governing body Speedway Australia.
Thanks to Northern Territory government and Motorsports NT support, along with the support of sponsors and volunteers, Tennant Creek Speedway upgraded their safety wall and fence, which earned them their Speedway Australia four-star track rating.
Apart from the safety wall and fence upgrade, the Tennant Creek Speedway track has installed a brand-new timing system which includes a new timing loop, along with a brand-new control tower, canteen and pit-area toilet block.
All of these upgrades to the Tennant Creek Speedway has taken place over the past two years, but the club, which is led by current president and Street Stock racer Colin Fry, is excited about the future.
Regarded as mainly a sedan track over the past two decades, Tennant Creek Speedway is hoping to attract more open wheel classes to the track, which includes the 410 Sprintcars. The last time the Sprintcars actively appeared at Tennant Creek Speedway was during the late 1990s, when they hosted rounds of the Northern Territory Sprintcar Trail.
Since the unveiling their upgraded facilities back in June and three race meetings held so far in the 2020 season, the future for Tennant Creek Speedway looks bright.
Five-time New Zealand Midget Champion Michael Kendall is excited about his return to Speedcar racing this coming season, after he announced that he has joined up with the Ian Boettcher Race Parts team.
Running the Qld # 35 Ian Boettcher Race Parts supported Cool car, the ex-pat New Zealander is planning to contest the full 2020-21 season in his home state of Queensland, and he is hungry to win.
“I feel that I still have the pace to run at the front of the field and the goal for this season is to prove that I can still do the job,” Kendall stated during an interview with Archerfield Speedway track commentator Steve ‘Macca’ McCullough.
“I have spent a couple of seasons on the sidelines, and while I was watching the Speedcars at Archerfield Speedway late last season from the stands, I got the hunger to get back out there.
“During the off season, I had heard that the Ian Boettcher Race Parts team were on the lookout for a new driver, so I reached out to them and it all fell into place from there.”
Kendall last competed in Speedcars on a full-time basis back in the 2016-17 season with the Neilson Motorsport team and since then in Australia he has made cameo appearances in Modlites and most recently last season in Compact Speedcars.
Prior to Kendall to stepping into the Ian Boettcher Race Parts Speedcar, eight-time Australian Compact Speedcar Champion Darren Vine and youngster Callum Walker have piloted the car.
Kendall and the Ian Boettcher Race Parts team have run two encouraging practice sessions recently at Archerfield Speedway, as they prepare for the full 2020-21 season schedule. The pair has one main goal for this coming season, and that is to be at the pointy end of the field more often than not.
Prosser’s Big Step
Exciting youngster Taylor Prosser has recently started the massive move into 410 Sprintcars during the 2020-21 season.
In what is set to be a part-time introduction to the world of 410 Sprintcar racing, the 17-year-old has recently stepped into his new surrounds during the practice sessions at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway.
Prosser’s move into 410 Sprintcars has been aided by his dad and former Australian Modlites Champion Aaron Prosser and the assistance of Jamie and Lockie McHugh from McHugh Motorsport who will look after the team.
Apart from selected 410 Sprintcar events at both Archerfield Speedway and Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway, Prosser, who is based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, plans to contest various Formula 500 and Speedway Kart events.
Since bursting onto the speedway scene three seasons ago in Junior Formula 500s, Prosser late last season moved into senior Formula 500s. Despite his youth, Prosser managed to impress from the outset and quickly developed into a front-running contender.
Although it’s a massive step into 410 Sprintcars and consequently a huge learning curve ahead, Prosser is going to be one driver to watch.
Photo: Matthew Paul Photography
The Compact Speedcars in NSW is set for a boost of a girl power kind with second-generation Compact Speedcar racers Chloe Raynes and Chelsea Essai set to join the ranks.
Raynes and Essai (pictured above) are familiar surnames within Compact Speedcars, with Raynes being the daughter of ex-Compact Speedcar racer from the 1990s Paul Raynes, while Essai’s dad, Jason, is a former Compact Speedcar racer who last competed two seasons ago, too.
While Raynes, aged 16, has no prior speedway racing experience, Essai, also aged 16, is currently running in RSA Junior Sedans.
The plans for the season ahead are for Raynes to run a full season in NSW and Essai is set to compete in RSA Junior Sedans and then towards the end of the season move into the ex-Mark Heaton car to start her career in Compact Speedcars. After dipping her toe into Compact Speedcars this coming season, Essai is going to run the full 2021-22 season schedule.
“I’ve never raced before but I’m planning to follow in the footsteps of my dad and become competitive,” Raynes enthused.
“I will work as hard as I can with my schooling in the background, but I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel and doing my best out on the track.”
There is no doubt that the addition of these two enthusiastic teenagers are going to be a fantastic boost for the NSW Compact Speedcar scene.