Tapley, Beare and Merrett Win Early Season Features
Anthony Tapley dominated the opening Wingless Sprint event of the season (Phil Michell Motorsport Media photo)
An all sections club event got the 2017/18 South Australian speedway season underway at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway on Saturday night (September 30) with the Wingless Sprints, Formula 500’s and the Street Stocks being the feature categories. In addition to the sections mentioned the night also included the Modlites, Junior Sedans and AMCA Nationals along with Sprintcar hot laps.
The opening night of the season didn’t get off to the best of starts with two drivers rolling their race cars within the opening three races. The first incident involved Mildura’s Jason Bolitho as he rolled his Wingless Sprint after contact with Aaron Doe while Graham Knuckey barrel rolled his Modlite in turn one in spectacular fashion while leading.
Following the action packed start the racing settled down to produce an entertaining night of racing with some close racing throughout all of the sections, especially from the Street Stocks and Formula 500’s.
The honour of winning the first feature race of the new season went to Anthony Tapley who dominated the 20 lap National Karate Wingless Sprint feature, winning by over 7 seconds. After starting from position 5 Tapley quickly found the lead and went on to defeat Victorian Michael McDonald, pole sitter Renee Pestka, rookie Jack McCarthy and Aaron Doe. Earlier the two heat winners were Tapley and Pestka.
The Burson Auto Parts Formula 500 main event saw Bordertown racer Patrick Merrett cross the line first after inheriting the lead from Victorian Jake Hose with six laps remaining after Hose retired while in a commanding position. Second went to Brad Stell with Chris Pinchbeck, Lochie Cates and Richard Schmidt completing the top five.
The Spry Earthmovers Street Stock feature saw 19 drivers take the green for the 20-lap event with the race proving to a one man show as former Australian Champion Anthony Beare dominated the race. Fellow South-East resident Jayden Edwards finished second but due to a late race caution the margin of victory was a lot closer than it should have been. Neville Nitschke finished a creditable third with Mark Gartner and Australian Champion Rhys Heinrich completing the top five. Despite finishing within the top five Heinrich didn’t show his usual pace and he was lucky to finish that high up after a couple of late race casualties, namely Paul Hayes who retired late while running a strong second placing.
The other feature winners on the night were Brian Chadwick, who won the Modlite feature, Jake Armstrong (AMCA Nationals) while Drew Flatman won Division 1 of the Wally’s Bottleyard Junior Sedans over Tyson Greig and Zoe Young. The Junior Sedan Division 2 podium place getters were Nate Trewin, Jemma Chapman and Kirra Lee Pitcher.
The 2017/18 Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway season continues this Saturday night (October 7) with the opening round of the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship SA, that will be run in conjunction with the Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge. Already the likes of Robbie Farr, Shaun Dobson, defending USC SA and race Champion Luke Dillon, Brad Keller, Ryan Jones, Aidan Hall, Matt Egel, Jake Tranter and New Zealand’s Brett Sullivan are among the 21 nominated drivers for the event but nominations are still open.