Defending Australian Champion Liam Williams got his title defence off to a near perfect start as he claimed two heat race victories and a second in his opening three heat races of the 2017 Australian Formula 500 Championship at the Murray Machining and Sheds Speedway. In addition to Williams ending the night as the top qualifier after the 18 heat races he also recorded a runner-up finish to Jack Bell in the non-points 20 lap Knight Before The Championship preliminary main event.
Second place in the points chase going into night 2 is Western Australian Thomas Davies with Victorian Chris Bellman, Stephen Bell and Troy Johnson, who also finished third in the preliminary main event.
Whyalla resident Angelo Karoussis is the best of the locals in sixth with Terry Rankin, Grant Stansfield, Ryan Skinner and Matthew Symons completing the top ten.
On a night that saw a number of tremendous heat races with great racing throughout, it also saw a number of big crashes. Several drivers unfortunately joined the upside club with Simon Reichelt riding out a big crash after a steering failure in turn one, Jake Hose, who crashed heavily after riding a wheel and Marcus Gibbons, who rolled over in turn three.
Queenslander Zac Howell had a night to forget after tipping over in both of his first two heat races before failing to start his third heat after rolling out of the gate with a flat left front tyre.
Night two of the 2017 Australian Formula 500 Championship will take place on Easter Saturday at the Murray Machining and Sheds with the South Australian Speedcar Title and Modlites in support.
The top 20 in points after night 1:
Liam Williams 70 Thomas Davies 67 Chris Bellman 65 Stephen Bell 64 Troy Johnson 57 Angelo Karoussis 56 Terry Rankin 55 Grant Stansfield 53 Ryan Skinner 51 Matthew Symons 51 Dale Sinclair 49 Matt Redpath 49 Kaydon Iverson 49 Patrick Merrett 47 Ash Sinclair 47 Nick Kingston 47 Jack Bell 46 Jarrod Bampfield 46 James Aranyosi 45 Richard Schmidt 45