After dominating the feature event last night prior to a magneto failure James McFadden bounced back tonight at the 7mate Northline Speedway to win the Pope 65 Bob Ekins Sprintcar Memorial. After securing the pole position after winning the pole shuffle McFadden elected to take the “Pope Challenge”, that paid an extra $4000 if he won, therefore he started the 30-lap final from position 11. As the chequered flag fell he claimed $9000 for his nights work as he defeated Dave Murcott and Ben Atkinson in what was an entertaining A-Main.
McFadden became the first driver to win the Pope 65 Race after accepting the position 11 challenge.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the current World Series Sprintcars Champion as he clipped the wall with two laps remaining losing his brakes and breaking the Jacobs ladder therefore he just managed to limp the #17 Monte Motorsports Maxim across the line.
“I must thank everyone involved in organising the race. The challenge made the race a lot of fun, giving us something else to race for was really neat” added McFadden as he collected his unique 65 trophy on the podium.
“The facility and the atmosphere here is great. The hospitality is fantastic and hopefully the event will continue to grow and hopefully we can get a few more World Series teams up here in the future. The way the track is right now it is definitely the most racy track in Australia” he added.
After starting from position 11 McFadden got to the lead on lap 13 passing early race leader Dave Murcott. From this point the only chance that Murcott had to get the lead back was with five laps to go when Jason Gebert, who was running seventh, hit the wall bringing out the final caution of the race.
After changing an engine prior to the B-Main, where he finished second, Warrnambool racer Tim Van Ginneken put on a real show to finish fourth ahead of Rusty Hickman, who inherited a front row start after McFadden relinquished the pole position.
Defending race champion Chace Karpenko finished sixth with Mitch Wormall, Glen Sutherland, Kaiden Manders and Tony Moule completing the top 10.
Earlier the heat winners were Karpenko, Atkinson, McFadden (2), Hickman and Jake Smith while Ryan Davis, Van Ginneken, Jake Beard-Miller and Paul Drew, who is driving a 360ci Sprintcar, transferred from the B-Main.
Heat 6 of the night saw a big accident involving Danny Porter and Luke Oldfield with both cars rolling hard on the back straight.
Next Friday and Saturday night will see the Chariots of Thunder Series come to a close with the running of the Northern Territory Sprintcar Title.