Speedway | Season opener finds right racing formula

WINGING IT: The formula 500s gave crowds a thrill-filled, action-packed night in the Blue Ribbon Raceway season opening.
WINGING IT: The formula 500s gave crowds a thrill-filled, action-packed night in the Blue Ribbon Raceway season opening.

Saturday night, a full house at Blue Ribbon Raceway enjoyed a great night of open-wheel action starting the new season in great style.

Featured events were the formula 500 continuation of speed weeks with 33 cars making their way to Horsham from Hamilton.

Divided into three fields, cars competed in six-heat races with wheel-to-wheel and wing-to-wing action pitting the best formula 500 drivers against each other.

The highlight of the first heat was Frank Galusha’s victory. A native of Nebraska in the US, it was his first win of his summer tour.

Other heat winners were Josh Buckingham, Jack Bell, James Kennedy, Leigh Van Ginneken and Ryan Skennar, setting up a good battle in the B Main where the first and second placegetters would transfer to the A main.

The B main was run and won without any major issues, but with the track starting to turn black in both corners, traction was beginning to change and cars moved around more, testing the drivers’ nerve. The final laps saw Stephen Bell’s V69 secure the first transfer spot followed by Jordan Rea’s V9.

Nineteen cars lined up for the 20-lap final with the USA 12 of Frank Galushan in the holeshot. He held the top spot during a number of stoppages, only to have his night come to an end when his drive chain broke.

South Australian Brad Stell in the SA 33 battled through the remaining laps with the Vic 49 of Josh Buckingham and the Vic 4 of Jack Bell. Stell took the win with only metres between himself, Buckingham and Bell.

This season will be a battle of engine manufacturers in the AMCAs with the introduction of the Chevrolet small block ‘crate’ engine competing against the original 253cu in Holden V8.

Geelong’s Jamie Collins continued his winning ways taking out two of the heats. The third heat went to South Australian Jeremy Moore. In the final, Collins and Moore, both running crate engines, battled from flag drop with Moore finally drawing away to take the win, followed by Collins and Matthew Mills.

Pimpinio’s Jock Baker continued his dominance in the class from the start, taking all three heats, setting up a great final.

The 18-lap final was a battle of the Bakers with Jock, Clint and Dean dicing with the cars of Ansell and Matthews, with Jock separating himself from the pack and taking a comfortable win from Chris Ansell and Clint Baker in third.

A demonstration of vintage restored and replica cars showed the crowd of young and more seasoned fans what it looked like ‘back in the day’ with a variety of cars and driving styles.

Feb 3, Kalkee lights up with the All Star 360 sprintcars supported by the Robin Thomas Memorial for V8 trucks, three-litre sedans, street stocks, open sedans and ladies.