Queensland's Darren Vine skipped clear of Danny Stainer, Glenn Dobbin and Ronnie Hutchinson with his fourth Australian Compact Speedcar Championship when he led from start to finish in the C & S Robinson Truck Sales / Awesome Automotive supported Title race last Saturday night at Goulburn Speedway.
The four wide parade lap looked spectacular as the 24 drivers saluted the crowd. Vine qualified on pole with other former three time champ Danny Stainer along side in position 2. Scott Stirling and Rob Eyeington lined up on row 2, then came outgoing champ Justin McMinn, Robbie Stewart, Rob Gordon, Mick Wilson, Gavin Gay, Alan Day, Tony Aulsebrook, Craig Hickey, Johnny Kyriacou, Chris Singleton, Gary Hudson, Chris Curran, Darren Margules, Brad Day, Mike Griffiths, Steven Hawksworth, Matt Adams, Con Buurveld, Joe Lostitch and David Collins.
Once the field had re-formed into their double row starting order, a couple of roll up laps to settle the nerves and they were off. Vine led the charge into the turn one pit corner and it was a clean start. One lap down it was Vine from Stirling, Eyeington, Stainer and McMinn. Lap 2 and the yellows came on for the first of many interruptions, a total contrast to the earlier heat races that ran pretty much incident free.
Two laps later and the cautions came on again this time for third placed Rob Eyeington who had a loose on the front straight of all places. Eyeington was sent to the rear which then provided one of the highlights of the meeting as he had to try to make his way back to the front. At the restart Stainer made a move on Stirling to take up second spot. Mick Wilson was making steady progress moving up to fourth. Also moving forward was Tony Aulsebrook who had gained five places. A few more yellows were making the Eyeington task a lot easier keeping the leaders within view, he was now sitting in 8th at about the 8 lap mark.
The three leaders were putting on a great display of hard, fast racing while the action in the middle of the pack was intense to say the least. Several drivers were feeling the pressure resulting in a couple of more yellows. Time was ticking away and the call came from the officials to the drivers that laps would have to be cut as the number of yellows was testing the patience of the officials and spectators.
Stainer was making a charge at Vine on every restart but to no avail as the leader was holding the perfect line lap after lap. Third placed Stirling broke a chain exiting turn four allowing Eyeington to regain third spot after recovering from his rear of the line penalty.
The patience of the officials reached boiling point when Craig Hickey spun and Johnny Kyriacou rolled in the same pit corner. In somewhat of an anticlimax the race was declared at the time with the placing going back to the last full recorded lap.
The official placings were Darren Vine 1st, Danny Stainer 2nd, Rob Eyeington 3rd, Tony Aulsebrook 4th and Justin McMinn 5th. The remainder of the top ten were Robbie Stewart, Brad Day, Joe Lostitch, Mick Wilson and David Collins.
As mentioned earlier the heat races were run incident free with the majority running flag to flag. After hot laps the track was coming in a treat. The threat of rain was a concern with heavy rain fifteen minutes down the road at Marulan and on the other side of the hill in Goulburn township. Other than a few spots thru ought the evening the weather never played a part.
Queensland's Mick Wilson drew first blood taking out heat one ahead of Alan Day in the Rowlands family number 52. Aussie 1 Justin McMinn came from 9 to place 3rd. He was followed across thi line by Gavin Gay and Chris Singleton.
Heat 2 and it was Queensland one two with Scott Stirling ahead of Gary Hudson. Victorias Matt Adams and Rob Gordon were 3rd and 4th with Queanbeyan's Darren Margules rounding out the five.
Danny Stainer showed his intentions with a good win over Darren Vine in the 3rd heat. Robbie Stewart, Rob Eyeington and Tony Aulsebrook made up the rest of the top five.
Scott Stirling made it win number two taking out the 4th heat ahead of the ACT's Gavin Gay in 2nd, Chris Curran held out Nick Hudson and Alan Day.
Rob Eyeington showed his Goulburn knowledge to all as he comfortably won heat 5 from Justin McMinn, Rob Gordon, Gary Hudson and Robbie Stewart.
Darren Vine turned the tables on Stainer in heat 6 beating home the Victorian. Tony Aulsebrook was having a great night finishing 3rd behind the two multiple champions. Chris Singleton came from 10th to place 4th with Steven Hawksworth 5th.
The last round of heats started with a win to Robbie Stewart from fellow Queenslander Mick Wilson. Justin McMinn was remaining consistent with another podium finish ahead of Joe Lostitch and Alan Day.
Rob Eyeington scored his second heat win in the eighth ahead of Stainer, Hickey, Stirling and Mike Griffiths who was slowing getting his setup right rounding out the top five.
The final heat saw Vine come from position 8 to score a pretty convincing win over Gordon, Kyriacou, Day and Margules.
Some drivers will go away from this meeting blaming everything they can as an excuse for a poor meeting, but it was the same for everyone, some adapted, others didn't. The heat racing was excellent and the final had all the drama that held everyone's interest. Darren Vine gets to proudly display the number one again until next season when Queensland will host the 2013-2014 Aussie Titles.
The photos accompanying this report are thanks to Maximumactionphotography.
Four wide salute
2nd Danny Stainer
3rd Rob Eyeington
4th Tony Aulsebrook
5th Justin McMinn
Podium left to right. Rob Eyeington, Danny Stainer, Darren Vine, Cyril Robinson, Tony Aulsebrook and Justin McMinn.