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  • The Victorians were in the game at the 2015/16 Australian Wingless Sprint title with seven contenders making it into the big race including Luke Weel claiming pole position after two nights of racing & although they all finished the guys just couldn’t snaffle the big top three spots with Andy Hibbert a transferee from the B Main sensational moving from fourteenth to fourth the best placed Victorian with Rhys Baxter finishing in fifth just behind.

    Weel had obviously been the driver to beat during the two nights securing the top spot for the main race & the pressure to get away clean and fast and make the most of the great qualifying effort came with that. Weel was able to lead lap one & from there things went in the other direction as he started to drift back to fourth by lap four.

    In contrast Hibbert from fourteenth was in sixth by lap five!

    Rhys Baxter up to second by lap four.

    The race was a long and hard 35 lap affair with Hibbert securing his fourth place in what was almost the drive of the feature only to be out done by another B Main transferee in Robert Heard of South Australia who started seventeenth and stormed to the finish line ahead of Hibbert.

    Daniel Hartigan of Western Australia took the win, Brad Whitchurch of Tasmania was second and Heard an amazing third place finisher. Well finished in 7th, Travis Millar in 9th, Daniel Storer a lap down in 11th, Peter Logue in 17th & Sam Wren in 18 both a lap down also.

    Proceeding the title race was a total of three nights of action and twenty four heat race events plus finals on both nights of race action.

    In practice on the Thursday night thirty four drivers took advantage of the opportunity and Peter Logue was Victoria's best at second on the charts with Millar in third. Five Victorians were in the top ten on the timing monitor with James & Sam Wren & Wayne Logue the others.

    Right from heat one the Victorians set the tone eventually winning eleven of the twenty eight heats contested over the weekend. It looked like Matthew Balcombe would be the first Victorian to win a heat when he led the first heat from the green, Weel picked him off on the very last lap to be the driver to get the points rolling the Southerners way, Balcombe took the second spot with three other Victorians finishing further back.

    David Alford was second until lap nine in the second heat before being passed & held on to third place with Hibbert & Baxter behind him across the line. James Wren crashed into the turn three fence and the Victorian champion ended up hanging from the back of the tow truck.

    Millar was the next Victorian heat race winner in heat five with a big five second lead across the line as he led from lap two until the end after starting in fourth spot & Sam Wren had a great driver in the sixth heat converting a tenth place start into a fourth place finish, a crucial result in an event where you have to pass cars from your back of the field start to get ahead of others who don’t.

    James Wren came back in the second round and picked up a win in heat seven after starting on the second row whilst Wayne Logue was strong coming from seventh to third.

    Millar started strong in the eight heat leading the first lap before mechanical issues slowed him down and resulted in him drifting into the infield to wait for the out gate to open after the race.

    Peter Logue won the tenth heat leading all the way holding on by just .586 of a second & Daniel Storer won the eleventh heat in an even closer margin of .479 & Sam Wren finished second in the twelfth heat just .339 behind the winner & when just when you thought things couldn’t get any closer Daniel Storer won the fourteenth heat by .295 of a second with a last lap pass, in the thirteenth heat a race prior, Hibbert finished second.

    Sam Wren in the third round of heats drove to a win in the sixteenth from Weel as a great night one of racing continued for Victorian drivers & continued with Baxter picking up a second with Peter Logue third in the final heat Victorians competed in, heat 17. Unfortunately for James Wren after winning his second heat things went pear shaped again as he struggled across the line in eleventh place with mechanical defect in the same race.

    Three drivers then finished the B Preliminary final midpack almost one behind the other with Baxter in 7th, Millar in 8th & Langdon 10th whilst in the A Preliminary event Weel finished 2nd, Sam Wren 5th, Peter Logue 7th, Daniel Storer 8th, Matthew Balcombe 9th & Hibbert in 12th.

    At this point Sam Wren, Weel, Peter Logue & Daniel Storer were in the top ten on the points table.

    Night two produced another string of great results for the southern state with Jason Langdon getting things underway by finishing second just .344 behind the winner before Baxter won heat twenty.

    Disaster for Hibbert who was in a position to direct qualify for the title race when he clipped a spinning Queenslander ahead of him and ended up with a DNF, in a competitive field with almost everybody finishing races, this put Hibbert into the B Main.

    Millar won his final heat leading every lap with brothers Daniel Storer & Luke Storer finishing third & fourth & Weel finished at the front of end of the field in his last with another second placed result.

    James Wren won his last heat defeating Baxter before Luke Storer capped off a tough weekend with a win in heat twenty six with Sam Wren finishing third. In this race Peter Logue was looking to avoid an incident ahead of him and ended up with two cars riding over the top of him including fellow Victorian Balcombe, both Logue and Balcombe didn’t finish & effectively ruined Balcombe's aspirations of an Australian title qualification.

    Weel & Millar finished third and fourth in their last heat with Hibbert ending off his qualifying with a third place finish.

    The D Main didn’t have any Victorians in the field & the C Main only had Alford amongst them. Alford got a flying run on the second restart only to crash into turn three and end up on his lid and out of the race.

    In the B Main Hibbert started in sixth place and turned that into a win by just .034 of a second taking the lead on lap 16 of 20 as both he and Peter Logue who finished third qualified into the title race. Balcombe 6th, Luke Storer 8th, James Wren 11th & Langdon in 13th all got to pack up and watch the final.

    Overall a great title for Victorians with the win ratio & the amount of drivers in a non-home state title that qualified for the two main races being quite successful, a couple of top five places in the main race is great, a podium somewhere would have been sensational.

    The Victorian Wingless Sprintcar Club congratulates those who had a successful weekend and look forward to racing back down south starting from this weekend.

    Written by
    Dean Thompson
    DMT Sports Media
    For Victorian Wingless Sprints
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