Redline Raceway, on February 2nd, played host to the annual blue ribbon feature event for Street Stocks, the Eliminator Cup, along with class state series racing for the AMCA Nationals.
With support from local club class racing, it would be perennial race winner Anthony Beare who would finish the strongest in the Street Stocks, whilst Victorian champion Tim Reidy finished ahead of Deane Heseltine in the AMCA Nationals series.
Just a day ahead of huge 40 degree plus temperatures in the area, that caused a total fire ban on the Sunday and despite the track preparation crews best efforts, this was always going to be a factor in the way the track went through the heat of the day and into the night.
Twelve heat races in Street Stocks for the forty eight entries with each driver competing in three heats saw eight drivers qualify for a pole shuffle, eventually won by Beare ahead of Lenny Bates who was the top point’s qualifier after the heats. Beare was a little further back in the qualifying, however won through to race off with Bates and win that encounter.
Beare got the jump away at the drop of the green flag with Bates chasing. One of the podium favourites and a former national champion, Mark Jennings spun, on lap two and the stewards deemed he managed that on his own, so he was relegated to continue from the back of the field. Mick Dann had started in eighth place and by lap eleven, one the local favourite’s, was in fifth place and on the move, fast.
Behind Beare and Bates drivers such as Darryl Atkinson, Mick Clark and Shaun Henry were having battles as Dann worked his way through them all. By lap twenty Dann was in third place and the very next lap moved into second as Bates started to lose speed with broken steering and struggling to hold on to the car and make the finish.
Clark got the better of his battle and moved into third and as the chequered flag dropped after thirty five laps, with two changes of direction along the way and eliminations of cars at each segment, Beare took out the big win by four seconds from Dann, Clark, Henry and Bates.
Earlier the qualifying races were won by Dean Jenkins, Ricky Throckmorton, Beare, Bates, Jennings, Atkinson, Steve Gartner, Jayden Edwards, Brad McClure, Henry, Beare and Bates again for a second time each. Darren Giacometti, after missing most of the race meeting due to CFA commitments, turned up to finish second in his only qualifying race, then from towards the back of the last chance qualifier he moved forward and won that event, leading a handful to the back of the feature race start.
AMCA Nationals had a busy month with their Australian title and other major events up in Queensland and down the coast. Victorian Champion Tim Reidy and South Australian title holder Dean Heseltine were in fine form for their second head to head encounter, at Redline this season, with Heseltine winning the first one.
A twenty lap final for the AMCA’s put Heseltine against Reidy as the most likely to win, with Heseltine already a winner at Redline and Reidy keen to even the score.
Heseltine lead lap one from Reidy, Tasmanian Justin Richardson, Grant Cullinger and Paul Howard. Things went pear shaped for Howard on lap five as he exited the race after a great night for the veteran racer who made a return this season and Richardson spun himself to the back of the field for the re-start.
Bill Lodwick and Darren Bloom found themselves in the top five having a stoush and on lap eleven Reidy hit the front and led Heseltine. The race was declared on lap seventeen as an incident had Lodwick spun around. Lodwick was re-instated and the result of the race was Reidy, Heseltine, Cullinger, Lodwick and Neale Peachey.
Earlier Paul Sullivan won the first heat race and qualified pole position for the final however was unable to start with damage to his car being unable to be fixed in time for the feature race. Heseltine, Cullinger and then Sullivan won the four heat races.
After a week in which his race car trailer was stolen from Geelong, Hayden Clifford had a smile when he won the Standard Saloon feature race ahead of Graham Hutchinson, who gave him a tough battle all the way to the end. The two were the best drivers of the night with Dean Pederson the next best in third, followed by Colin Ward and Patrick Walsh.
Craig Phillips was delighted to legitimately win a feature race on the race track for the first time ever. Phillips last feature win came to him via a points result rather than a race result and this time on track he was able to defeat Marc Hanson, Daniel Carter, Kayla Knox and Darren Ward in Sports Sedan racing.
Finally a week before the Victorian Unlimited Sedan title, Sean Lister took a win in the final ahead of Ian Page, Cameron Impey, Wally Hucker and Tim Williams. Lister looking forward to converting his Victoria # 2 status into a number one.
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For Belmont Speedway Drivers Club