The Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association finally got their 22/23 season underway leaving 2022 behind as competitors parked their transporters in the Avalon Raceway pit enclosure for the annual Wally Anskaitis Memorial.
With Janelle Saville and Anthony Lea from New South Wales joining the Victorian contingent that included Ashley Booker (#50 – HMJ – Yamaha 1000 – Pitstop Mowers), Victorian based New South Wales champion Shawn Ward, Chris Fowler, and New South Wales number three driver Jack Ward competing in a Wally Anskaitis built chassis (#4 – Yamaha 1000– Dominant Detailing) and also a Victorian, the racing was going to be fast and furious.
The racetrack had plenty of racing in the lead up to the event that included Sprintcar racing, and with the heat that Victoria had been getting from the big fire in the sky, Avalon Raceway went slick pretty quickly sending race teams scurrying in between races to try and work out set-up adjustments to get speed out of their cars.
Every driver competed in two heats before all drivers were sorted in qualifying positions for the final.
David Bacon (#36 – PBC – Yamaha 1000 – DB Cleaning & Kanga Hire) in heat one had a rollover on lap two and in turn two after making contact with the concrete wall, not long after Shawn Ward (#44 Pearce Chassis – Yamaha 1000 – Bordy’s Graphix) blew an engine ending his race night also. Completing ten laps Terry Brown went on to win by .770 of a second ahead of Saville, Alex Myers who in the process of finishing third set the fastest lap of the race at 15.242. In fourth spot Booker finished ahead of Fowler, Lea (#N7 – TPC – Kawasaki ZX10 – TRS Telco Rigging Solutions), Travis Florrimell, Mark Blackeby, Matt Kamolins (#5 – Stinger – Yamaha 1000 – R & P Stainer Grinding Services), and Jack Ward.
Heat two drama in a big way occurred when race incidents were not picked up back track stewards and as a result caused a bigger incident ending in three cars finishing their night in heat two. What had occurred was that Blackeby (#10 – TPC – Yamaha R1 – Spitfire Restaurant & Grill) had spun in turn two and was not able to restart and sat stricken on the track. Kamolins had broken the rear end of his race car and cut down his left rear tyre and was slowly making his way through turns one and two up high on the track.
Brown (#88 – Stinger – Yamaha 1000 – Mooroopna Mobile Engineering) who was last season’s B Grade club champion and running as an A Grade driver for the first time, was flying through turns one and two as the lights were still green and he was unaware of what lay ahead of him in turn two until he got there. In trying to avoid Kamolins who was up high he chose to go to low and collected Blackeby and rolled his car out of the nights racing.
Heat two results were Saville winning from Fowler, Booker, Lea, Myers (TPC – Suzuki GSXR 1000 – Automotive Super Balance), Florrimell and Jack Ward. Saville (#N2 – TPC – Kawasaki ZX10 – Easters Auto Electrical) with a 15.183 for one lap was fastest in the heat race and .400 faster than anybody else on track.
Into the Wally Anskaitis final, all eyes were on Saville as she attempted to go back-to-back in winning the event. Until lap six, everything was rocketing along for the Grand Prix Midgets. It was then that Alex Myers stopped up along the concrete wall after making some slight contact with the wall. It was found he suffered no damage from the incident and as the yellows came on for Myers, Fowler (#13 – HMJ – Yamaha 1000 – J & D Price Automotive) pulled infield with fuel pump failure.
Saville sped on to a comfortable seven second victory over fifteen laps with her best one lap time of 15.375 .800 of a second faster than the next best. Last season’s Victorian club champion Booker finished in second, Myers, Lea, Florrimell (#81 – Stinger – Suzuki GSXR 1000 – TM Lineboring & Engineering) and Jack Ward rounded out the feature result. Myers and Lea had a great battle throughout the final.
Saville shared this with officials. “I thought those behind me were right there. This is the first time I have driven this race car, and wow what a night, what a result.”
Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association would like to thank this season’s supporters;
TM Lineboring & Engineering
Automotive Super Balance
DMT Sports Media
DMT Sports Media
for the VGPMA