The Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association has started it’s Stinger Chassis Masters Series season with the first night of action at the Goulburn Valley situated Rushworth Speedway complex and the battle came down to last season’s Stinger Series champion and Goulburn Valley favourite Alex Myers and Geelong racer Chris Fowler after a night of great battles all the way through.
Former Australian Compact Speedcar national champion Peter Robotham raced for the Mark Shiells run ‘Pitstop Mowers’ team in the Ross and Danny Stainer built race car the team owns, Robotham started rear of field in the heat races as a new driver to the Midget class.
Also competing were Terry Brown who was busy all night campaigning a car in two different classes, Jack and Shawn Ward, Mark Blackeby, and Matt Kamolins.
Myers, Brown (# V88 Aust Clean – Stinger), Jack Ward, Fowler, Blackeby, Shawn Ward, Kamolins and Robotham lined up for heat one when the green flag sent them on their way and Fowler took the immediate lead by driving around the outside of Myers in turn one and two of lap one before Myers came through on the next lap on the inside of Fowler in turn two to claim the race lead before driving away for a comfortable victory.
Through the field Blackeby moved forward then back before moving ahead of Jack Ward and Kamolins into fifth spot, whilst Robotham moved from last to fourth. Myers took the race honours by four seconds ahead of Fowler, Brown, Robotham (# V50 Pitstop Mowers – HMJ), Blackeby, Kamolins, Shawn Ward and Jack Ward. Myers fastest lap time of 16.771 was significantly faster than others in heat one, yet one second adrift of his record in the previous season.
Blackeby then started the second heat on a watered track from pole position with Shawn Ward, Kamolins, Myers (# V11 – Automotive Super Balance – PBR), Brown, Jack Ward, Fowler and Robotham positioned alongside and behind him. Shawn Ward from nearby Benalla led lap one of the race before Robotham hit the lead the following lap after a ripping start on lap one moving up seven spots to second driving just inches away from the concrete wall as he passed the field, the move showed the class of the former national champion in only his second ever Grand Prix Midget heat race.
Myers followed Robotham passed Shawn Ward on lap two and that left the former race leader in the pack battling with his son Jack Ward (# V4 – Bordy’s Graphix – Anskaitis), Kamolins, and Fowler in a terrific tussle for third back to sixth. Robotham and Myers battle for the race win was also outstanding and on the final lap Myers passed Robotham for a winning margin of just .092 at the line as Fowler moved into third on the same lap finishing just .054 ahead of Shawn Ward (# V44 – Dominant Detailing – Pearce) in fourth. Rounding out the field was Jack Ward in fifth then Kamolins, Brown and Blackeby who was a lap down on the leaders. Myers was quickest again yet much slower than heat one due to the track maintenance performed prior to the race with a 17.947 his fastest time.
Fowler then lined up on the front row with Kamolins (# V5 Pitstop Mowers – Stinger), Jack Ward, Shawn Ward, Brown, Blackeby, Myers and Robotham for the third and final heat race. Fowler led the whole race through and only a last lap spin by Jack Ward setting up and green, white chequered flag finish added some excitement. Fowler on the restart missed his line into turn one running wide and opening a gap for Myers to come right under the number 13 car in turn two. Fowler though carried some momentum down the back straight and held on to the finish to defeat Myers by over a second, Robotham, Brown, Shawn Ward, Jack Ward, Blackeby (# V10 – TPC – Yamaha R1 – Spitfire Restaurant & Grill) and Kamolins who was a lap down. Myers again was fastest with a 17.234 second lap time.
Fifteen laps awaited the field for the feature race with the highest points scorers moving to the rear of the field to a maximum of eight spots choosing who starts one spot ahead of them before that driver chooses who starts ahead of them until all spots are filled. Robotham started as seventh and last spot due to it being his first meeting. Myers as high points scroer on the night chose Fowler and Fowler chose Kamolins. Fowler pointed out in post event media, that he forgot Brown who had shown good pace the whole night and so did Kamolins whom Fowler chose to start ahead of him. The field was set with Blackeby, Brown, Shawn Ward, Kamolins, Fowler, Myers, and Robotham with Jack Ward unable to start due to a hole in his radiator.
Taking advantage of his front row starting position, Brown moved to the lead on lap one whilst Myers zipped through the line-up from sixth to second on lap one with Robotham in tow. Shawn Ward broke a helm joint on the rear suspension and on lap four he exited the race. On lap nine Fowler passed Robotham into third behind Myers before heartbreak for Terry Brown came on lap eleven when his car started to slow with engine problems.
Myers and Fowler came behind Brown quickly not realising how quickly Brown was slowing down and Myers went for a high side pass and rode over Browns right rear wheel whilst Fowler split down the inside of Brown making contact on the left-hand side of the 88 car of Brown and taking the lead in the process as Brown headed infield.
On lap fifteen catching up to Kamolins, Fowler (# V13 – R & P Stainer Grinding – HMJ) went to go around the outside in-between turns three and four however misjudged the turn in and nearly put himself into the concrete wall. A little time was lost, and the gap closed between he and Myers in second place however almost one and half seconds distanced Fowler ahead of Myers at the finish. Robotham was third in his first outing with the club, Kamolins finished in fourth with Blackeby a lap down in fifth.
Brown set the fastest lap of the final at 17.358 and if it were not for engine problems many suggest he would have had enough to go on and win the race.
Stinger Chassis Masters Series Points
Alex Myers – 70pts
Chris Fowler – 67pts
Peter Robotham – 49pts
Matt Kamolins – 32pts
Mark Blackeby – 31pts
Terry Brown – 29pts
Shawn Ward – 26pts
Jack Ward – 23pts
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