• In what was one of the most dominant displays seen at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway in several years New South Welshman Ben Nicastri won the inaugural 25 lap Late Model Madness finale by over three quarters of a lap over runner-up Brad Smith. In what was an entertaining season ending event the double feature night also featured the Modlite “Madness” with Whyalla speedster Andy Maxwell Jr winning the 20 lap reverse grid A-Main.

    With both the Late Models and Modlites coming off their State Titles the night prior at two separate venues the fields for both classes were boosted by a number of interstate competitors therefore there were great fields and really entertaining racing.

    The Late Model nomination list was the biggest ever seen at Murray Bridge with 14 drivers in the pit area representing four Australian states and one international driver as New Zealand’s Kristen Vermuelen made her Murray Bridge debut.

    But despite the tough competition it proved to be the Ben Nicastri show as he was in a class of his own on the slick race track. Despite not winning a race earlier in the night Nicastri had the hot set up when it counted as his car appeared to get faster and faster as the race progressed and he went on to win for the second night in a row after winning the State Title the night prior.

    Runner-up Brad Smith looked as if he would be the man to beat after winning both his heat races and setting a new 6 lap track record in the dash but it wasn’t to be. Third across the line was an impressive Mark McCarthy with Tim McPherson and Matt Crimmins completing the top five. Mount Gambier’s Stuey Hill, Luke Raymond, Dean Hickey, Vemuelen and Steve Vaughan rounded out the top ten.

    The Modlites had their biggest ever field of cars at the Murray Bridge venue with the 1000cc pocket rockets putting on a great show. In the reverse grid final it was Andy Maxwell Jr who was far too good for the opposition as he won by a handy margin. Second place went to Brett Chadwick who was borrowing the #13 machine of Jake Lewis after a steering failure during the heat races destroyed his car. Third went to New South Wales State Champion Rob Swain ahead of Michael Cowland, Tony Hardy, Brad Foregeard, Mark Martin and Ty Forrestal.

    Cory Hodgson proved how easy it is to go from hero to zero in this sport as he rolled his machine during the heats and took no further part in the meeting just 24 hours after winning the South Australian Championship at Waikerie.

    In what was a big season finale the event also featured the Murray Bridge Junior Sedan Championship and the final rounds of the Track Championships for Wingless Sprints, AMCA Nationals, Street Stocks and V6 Sprints.

    The Murray Bridge Junior Sedan Championship final ended in controversial fashion as the results were altered after a late race altercation between the top three competitors. As Kooper Greig, Nathan and Heath Thorne approached the white flag three wide all three competitors made contact with the placings changing dramatically as a result. Post race the contact was deemed to be avoidable therefore Heath Thorne was awarded the win with Ashlee McEwin and Thomas Richter being elevated to the podium. Nathan Thorne would therefore finish fourth ahead of Drew Flatman, Mikayla Maxwell and Kooper Greig.

    Jake Ashworth continued his recent form in the Wingless Sprint category as he claimed the final after starting from the third row. After leading the race in the early stages Brett Ireland had to settle for second, after Ashworth made the winning pass on the outside, while fellow Murray Bridge based racer Robert Heard on the podium in third. Rookie Joel Heinrich continued to impress as he finished fourth with Anthony Tapley completing the top five in what was a close contest for the entire race journey.

    In the Street Stocks it was all Nigel Reichstein as he not only won the final feature event of the season but also the Track Championship as he led home a determined Paul Hayes and Matt Maynard while Brock Lane defeated a small field of V6 Sprints to claim his first ever feature event in the class. The final section on the night, the AMCA Nationals, contested night 2 of the MA Motorsports / Bob Jane T-Marts Modbury Trophy with Jake Armstrong winning the 20 lap race and the overall series ahead of Mildura’s Darren McCarthy and Steve Letts
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