Crowds flock to speed­way opener

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY MARK COWIN

Blue Rib­bon Race­way was packed to the brim for a night of open wheel ac­tion to start the new race sea­son off in style.

Fea­tured events at the meet were the For­mula 500 – the con­tin­u­a­tion of speed weeks – with 33 cars making their way to Hor­sham from the pre­vi­ous night’s ac­tion at Hamil­ton, with most teams ar­riv­ing with few is­sues from the night be­fore.

The for­mula 500 cars look sim­i­lar to sprint­cars with their large wings, but are pow­ered by 500cc mo­tor­bike en­gines, and the speeds are im­pres­sive.

With the for­mula cars di­vided into three fields and com­pet­ing in six heat races the ac­tion started early, with per­fect weather greet­ing all in­volved.

Blue Rib­bon’s crew had the track sur­face in great con­di­tion and times in the heats showed, with wheel-towheel and wing-to-wing ac­tion pit­ting the best for­mula 500 driv­ers against each other.

The high­light of the first heat was the vic­tory by Frank Galusha, a na­tive of Ne­braska in the United States, his first win of his sum­mer tour.

Other heat win­ners were Josh Buck­ing­ham, Jack Bell, James Kennedy, Leigh Van Gin­neken and Ryan Sken­nar, set­ting up a good bat­tle in B main where the first and sec­ond placeget­ters were to trans­fer to A main.

The B main was run and won with­out any ma­jor is­sues or stop­pages, but with the track start­ing to turn black in both corners, trac­tion was be­gin­ning to change, with the cars mov­ing around more and test­ing the driv­ers’ nerves.

The fi­nal laps saw the V69 of Stephen Bell se­cure the first trans­fer spot fol­lowed by the V9 of Jordan Rea.

Nine­teen cars lined up for the 20-lap fi­nal that saw the USA 12 of Frank Galushan take the holeshot on the field and top spot dur­ing a num­ber of stop­pages early on, only to see his night come to an end when his drive chain broke and he rolled to a stop on the in­field af­ter the sec­ond lap.

South Aus­tralian Brad Stell in the SA 33 took ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion and bat­tled through the re­main­ing laps, with the Vic 49 of Josh Buck­ing­ham and the Vic 4 of Jack Bell tak­ing the win – with only me­ters be­tween Stell, Buck­ing­ham and Bell.

Bat­tle of the Brands

This sea­son will see a bat­tle of en­gine man­u­fac­tur­ers in the AMCA cars with the in­tro­duc­tion of the Chevro­let small block ‘crate’ en­gine com­ing into the se­ries to com­pete against the orig­i­nal 253cu in Holden V8.

Gee­long’s Jamie Collins con­tin­ued his win­ning ways by tak­ing out two of the heats, with the third heat win go­ing to South Aus­tralian Jeremy Moore.

The fi­nal saw Collins and Moore, both run­ning crate en­gines, bat­tle from the drop of the green flag. It con­tin­ued through a very quick fi­nal with Moore fi­nally draw­ing away from a hard-bat­tling Collins to take the win, fol­lowed by Collins and Matthew Mills.

Lim­ited sports­man

Pimpinio’s Jock Baker con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance in the class from the drop of the green flag in the first heat by tak­ing all three heats, set­ting up a great fi­nal.

The 18-lap fi­nal turned out to be a bat­tle of the Bak­ers, with Jock, Clint and Dean qual­i­fy­ing.

Jock sep­a­rated him­self from the pack to take a com­fort­able win from Chris Ansell and Clint Baker in third.

Vin­tage demon­stra­tion

As a con­trast to the modern classes, a demon­stra­tion was staged with a num­ber of vin­tage re­stored and replica cars show­ing young and more seasoned fans what it looked like ‘back in the day’ with a va­ri­ety of driv­ing styles.

Next meet­ing

The track in the pad­dock at Kal­kee will light up on Fe­bru­ary 3, with the All Star 360 Sprint­cars re­turn­ing to the wide open spa­ces, sup­ported by the Robin Thomas memo­rial for V8 trucks, three-litre sedans, street stocks, open sedans and ladies and the Les Mcmaster Lim­ited Sports­man Memo­rial.

ON FIRE: Josh Buck­ing­ham lights up the night in F500 ac­tion. Pic­ture: M&L SPEED­WAY PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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