Wangaratta speedway clubs Wahgunyah race night a huge success

Published: Wednesday January 4 2023

Wangaratta Speedway Club’s community spirit resulted in a terrific night for the nearby Corowa-Rutherglen Speedway club who held their first meeting of the season at the Wangaratta Speedway whilst the Wahgunyah Speedway goes through a clean up after the Murray River channels around the speedway broke over the levy and flooded the track damaging equipment and making a mess of the soil, and track.

By opening the gates to their venue to the Corowa club, Wangaratta were able to help them raise funding to assist with being ready for the next event at Wahgunyah Speedway on January the 21st which includes the Australian Motor Contest Association Victorian title.

President of Wangaratta Speedway Club Kenneth Mankey shares of the success of the night. “We are very pleased with raffle that was run, and the profits made from tonight’s meeting, after costs, we were able to raise over $17,000 for our friends at Corowa – Rutherglen Speedway Club. I am super proud of all of the members, supporters and volunteers that contributed. I believe from hearing from others we have really set the bar for supporting and working with other clubs for the success of Speedway. You cannot wipe the smile of my face.”

Production Sedans were one of the feature events of the show with their annual Noel McGrath Memorial held at Wahgunyah Speedway each season being held on the Wangaratta track for the first time ever. Qualifying race wins went to Scott Hawkins from the Leeton Club, Stephen Laidlaw representing the Bairnsdale club, Ray Ussher a local Wangaratta member and businessman, Jacob Mills from Howlong going back-to-back for wins and then Wayne Bourke also from Leeton.

Scott Hawkins and Ussher started the final from the front row with former national champion Jacob Mills and Bourke behind them. Ussher assumed the from the start with Mills moving to second from lap three. Wangaratta member Shane Roycroft moved into third by lap six, Ussher held the control of the race and went on to defeat Mills, Roycroft, Scott Hawkins and Canberra clubs James Hodak.

Unlimited Sedans are a regular feature at Wahgunyah, and they got to compete at Wangaratta which is a rare occurrence for them. Mount Beauty member Corey McDonald won the first heat race and the second, both of them comfortably before torching the field in the final to defeat Peter Farley and Peter Camilleri both from Bendigo then Peter Schmetzer in fourth.

Micheal Fleming-Robertson won the first Standard Saloon heat race of the evening up against a few out-of-town competitors who had come to compete at the venue hosting their Victorian title in March. He also continued to show local knowledge winning the second and final qualifier before new Wahgunyah resident Rhys Lansdown who is currently the Victoria number two plate holder won the final in front of popular Yarrawonga racer Gary Evans. Justin Cadman a rookie race driver from Melbourne finished third in front of Chris Miles and Fleming-Robertson.

Local association the Goulburn Ovens Sedans Association held a points event for their members Fleming-Robertson who also competed in Standard Saloons won the first heat of the night with Robert Garlick the second and third and Marty Bassett winning the fourth and final qualifier. Former Wahgunyah club President Peter Little was a popular winner of the final given the significance of the night being a fund raiser for the club he loves. He defeated Bassett, Justin Brockley and the Schmetzer boys Tommy and Benny in fourth and fifth.

Competition in the Ladies Open Sedans seen Felicity Roycroft win the first of three heat races with Katie Meyer the second, and Belinda Chalcraft the third. Starting from pole position in the final, Meyer then went on to lead Chalcraft early in the race with Tay Barnard in third. Coming from the rear of the field Roycroft was in fourth by lap five of twelve. Meyer went on to win by less than a second in front of Chalcraft, Roycroft, Janie Patton, and Jaimi Barber.

Junior Open Sedans were part of a Victorian state series round having already held the Wangaratta round at the previous meeting. Marcus Maclean from Corowa won the first qualifier, Jack Randall the second, Connor Claridge the third, Jacob Tinworth from the host Wangaratta club the fourth, then Claridge again and Arthur Hutchinson the final qualifier.

Hutchinson in his first meeting in the Open Sedan version of Junior racing at state level was a front row feature race qualifier with Connor Claridge whom he had competed against in Junior 1200cc Sedans many times. Claridge got the better start for the final with Nathan Miles quickly into second in a Standard Saloon spec car on lap two. Hutchinson re-claimed second on lap four before Jordan Tewkesbury came through into second on lap six. Hutchinson again took over the second spot on lap eight and the chequered flag closed out the race with Claridge winning over Hutchinson, Tewkesbury, Kalani Garlick and Jasmine Kettels.

Sports Sedans returned for the next round of their Victorian Dirt X Industries Series having been at Wangaratta already in early December when Josh Service took victory. Recent winner at Nyora and Wangaratta member Caleb Lincoln won the first of nine qualifying heats. Steven Loader then won the second, with Jamie Thomsen the third closing out the first round of qualifiers. Bradin Claridge then began the second round as the first winner, Zac Swanson and Dale Smith were the other winners. Matthew Ismail, Tom McDonald, and Josh Service won all the races in the third round.

With qualifying points tallied up, Service began in prime spot to take out a second feature win from two starts in the series with local Wangaratta charger Felicity Roycroft alongside him and Bradin Claridge, Zac Swanson, Nathan Shortis and Jamie Thomsen rounding out the top six starters. At the drop of the green flag, Service led Claridge and Shortis on lap one.

Roycroft moved from fourth into second on lap nine with Swanson in third then Thomsen and Claridge. Ten laps in with Service still the leader he went on to lead the next seventeen laps and take victory in front of Roycroft, Swanson, Thomsen, and Dale Smith.

Wangaratta City Raceway will once again have Speedway action on January the 14th with the Goulburn Ovens Sedan Victorian title, the Bob Bailey Memorial for Production Sedans, and the Wangaratta Cup for Grand Prix Midgets amongst the programmed events.

Aidan Copeland won a race car donated by C & T Roofing in the raffle and Leigh Agustyn won a trailer and all the goodies that were in the trailer with the trailer coming from Matt from ML Automotive and the goodies by various supporters.

Other supporters for the raffle include
Ruff Az Guts Racing – Swan Hill
Victorian Mini- Lightning Sprints
Knox Fabrications – Bendigo
Napier Photography
Ducks Race Shop
Claridge Motorsport
EB Graphics
Lincoln Motorsport
Aerodrome Automotive
Total Tools
Dan Murphy’s
CP Racewear
Ballarat Speedway Club
Nyora Raceway Inc

SPONSOR RECOGNITION FOR Wangaratta Speedway Club
A1 Tyre Service
Aerodrome Automotive
Alpine Truss
Alpine Drilling
Burson’s Auto Parts
Cashiee Wangaratta
Country Concrete
Creative Designs
Edge FM
Fallon’s Bus Service
Grimshaw Sign
Jabek Transport
Jim Snowdon
Kore Concreting
Keam Fertiliser
Mundie Automotive
McDonald’s Wangaratta
McGregor Machinery
North East Fasteners
O’Loughlin Contractor’s
Robinson Truck Repairs
Rouse Transport
Solimo Towing
Snap on Albury
Vic Solimo
Tuff Tyres
Tailor Made Kitchens
Thomo’s Cash 4 Scrap
Toil and Soil
Ussher Plumbing and Contracting
Wangaratta Spring Works
Waw Credit Union
Wangaratta Club
Wangaratta Radiators
Wangaratta Brake and Clutch
Wangaratta Mazda
Wangaratta Offroad & Mechanical

Written by
Dean Thompson
DMT Sports Media
For Wangaratta Speedway Club