DANIEL’S AUSTRALIAN TITLE DELIGHT
Winning one Australian Title is good, but winning two Australian Titles is even better. After winning the preliminary night of the 2015-16 season Australian Wingless Sprints Title at Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Queensland, Daniel Hartigan completed his dominant weekend with another Australian Title win.
The Western Australian racer now joins Todd Wigzell (SA) as the only driver to win duel Australian Wingless Sprint Titles. After starting the 35-lap Australian Title deciding feature race from position four, Hartigan quickly worked his way to the front of the field after the drop of the green flag. It took two attempts to get the start underway, after an opening-lap incident saw Joel Chadwick (SA) forced to change a flat tyre on the infield.
Like Hartigan did the previous night in the preliminary feature race, he powered away from his rivals. After qualifying on the front row of the feature race, one of the standout drivers of the weekend Scott Thomsen (Qld), started to drop through the field, due to a mechanical issue, and eventually retired to the infield on lap five.
The feature race went without a stoppage up until the lap 28, when Tom Payet (WA) had spun out in turn four. At the restart, Hartigan, who lost his advantage due to the stoppage caused by his best mate, Payet, led Brad Whitchurch (Tas) and Rhys Baxter (Vic).
For the remainder of the distance, Hartigan stayed out in front, despite numerous lead challenges from Whitchurch, and went on to claim the second Australian Title win of his career.
In what was one the drives of the weekend, Robert Heard (SA), who had finished second in the B main after he had come from position 13, charged his way through the field by using the high line of the track to great affect and came home with a wet sail to snare the final spot on the podium: third.
Like Heard, B-main winner Andy Hibbert (Vic) worked his way from the back of the field and went on to finish just off the podium in fourth. This was the fourth occasion in the past five seasons that Hibbert has placed inside the top five of the Australian Wingless Sprints Title.
The top-10 finishers were rounded out by Baxter, a gallant Chadwick, pole sitter in Victorian Luke Weel (who had admitted he made the incorrect tyre selection for the feature race), a content Sydney-based Jason Bates (NSW), Travis Millar (Vic) and Payet in 10th. After going to back of the field, for changing a tyre on the opening lap, Chadwick managed to finish what was a mixed weekend on a high with an impressive drive.
Daniel Storer (Vic), ‘Iron Man’ Mark Blyton (NSW), Troy Carey (NSW), Brett Ireland (SA), David Eggins (NSW), Robert Mazzer (NSW), Peter Logue (Vic), a disappointed Sam Wren (Vic) and Darryl Marshall (NSW) completed the finishers.
Earlier in the night, the heat races were won by Adam Butler (Qld), Baxter, Steven Gravino (Qld), Millar, Mitch Gowland (Qld), Travis Beasley (Vic), James Wren (Vic), Luke Storer (Vic), Mitchell Randall (NSW) and Heard.
On the road to Australian Title feature race, the D main was won by Glenn Wright (Qld) who defeated fellow C-main transferee Simon Bestmann (NSW), the C main was won by Kevin Willis (NSW) and in second was Dan Moes (Qld), and the B main resulted in Hibbert advancing into the Australian Title deciding feature race along with Heard, Logue and Carey. In the latter event, Butler and Matthew Balcombe (Vic) narrowly missed out on a transfer and earned the right to be reserves for the Australian Title feature race.
There were a number of crashes on the night that involved Mick Reid (NSW), Balcombe, Gravino, Logue, Trent Humphries (Qld) and Bates. While some of the aforementioned drivers were able to continue on in the night after some hasty repairs from their teams, there were some who weren’t able to, due to the amount of damage sustained. Although it wasn’t a crash, David Lindsay (Qld), who went into the second night eighth overall on points, was unable to start to the night, due to engine woes.
The Australian Wingless Sprints Racing committee would like to thank all of the drivers and their teams, along with the track staff at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway, for making the 2015-16 season Australian Title a memorable one.
Source: Toowoomba Speedway