Monte Motorsports driver James McFadden dominated the field in the 30-lap final at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway to claim his first South Australian Sprintcar Championship. After moving up from the bronze shootout to the pole position McFadden capitalised on his front row start to win the OTR / Hungry Jacks Murray Bridge supported finale ahead of Brad Keller and USC SA Series points leader Robbie Farr, who recorded his third successive podium result at the South Australian venue this season.
“It feels pretty good to win tonight; the track was really tough. To know we have a pretty good set up for these conditions will give us great confidence when we come back in a few weeks’ time. To be honest the Shootout was where we really struggled last season and to move up through each stage with a fast car was a real improvement, that was probably where the race was actually won” added McFadden shortly after the win.
Keller was also pleased with the result knowing he too had a good car under him. “That’s two podiums in a row here so I can’t thank my team enough. I think we were as quick as James at times, but he got through the lapped traffic really well so full credit to him”.
Following Farr across the line was Mount Gambier’s Steven Lines with Ryan Jones continuing his impressive USC SA season stealing fifth away from Californian Cory Eliason on the final turn. Victorian Jye O’Keeffe had a solid night to finish seventh with Keke Falland, Luke Dillon and Jamie Cobby, who was making his first start of the season, completing the top 10.
The feature saw a number of “big name” casualties including Tim VanGinneken, Jamie Veal and Matt Egel. Veal and Egel ended up rolling their machines in separate incidents after making contact with the outside wall while VanGinneken spun into the inside wall on the exit of turn two while running in a podium position.
The night was also a tough one for several other drivers including Jake Tranter, who crashed during the bronze shootout ending his night. During the B-Main New Zealander Brett Sullivan rolled after hard contact with Aldo DePaoli while Terry Pitt and Adrian Cottrell also rolled over in a multi car accident in turn four.
With a one heat format being utilised due to the large car count there were only four heat races with the first four drivers across the line in each heat getting the direct transfer into the A-Main. Heat one saw Robbie Farr defeat Jake Tranter, Luke Dillon and Jamie Cobby in a heat race that was interrupted by a rain after four laps. Luckily it was only a passing shower and didn’t hold up the evening too long.
Heat two saw Steven Lines, James McFadden, Todd Wigzell and Sam Putland book there spots in the main while Tim VanGinneken, Brad Keller, Ryan Jones and Cory Eliason progress. The final heat of the night went to Chad Ely with Keke Falland, Jye O’Keeffe and Matt Egel also progressing.
After missing a direct transfer due to contact with Lachlan McHugh on the opening lap of heat four Jamie Veal made it in the final after finishing second in the B-Main behind Brock Hallett while Steven Caruso and Justin Sloan, who got the better of Ricky Maiolo in a great battle, also tagged onto the back of the Championship decider.
Earlier Steven Caruso set the fastest lap during qualifying for Flight 1 while Brad Keller was the quickest of Flight 2.
The next meeting at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway will be this Saturday night (December 9) with the running of the 2017 Formula 500 King of the Bridge, with a whole host of interstate competitors set to take on the locals. A full action-packed support program will feature Wingless Sprints, Super Sedans, AMCA Nationals, Modlites, Street Stocks and Junior Sedans.