The opening event on the 2018/19 Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway calendar (Sunday September 30) saw the Wingless Sprints make their season debut with a competitive field fronting for action with Matthew Kennedy opening his season in style with a convincing win in the 20-lap finale. After qualifying on the pole Kennedy was never headed in the A-Main as he drove to an impressive win over Joel Heinrich and Jake Ashworth.
In addition to some of the best drivers in the State one of the most pleasing aspects of the 15-car field that assembled at Murray Bridge was the number of rookies that had moved into the class with six drivers displaying ribbons on their roll hoops. The new drivers included former Junior Sedan competitor Tamika Pitcher, Latisha Helyar, who was returning to the sport after a short stint in Formula 500’s, Patrick Monaghan (Street Stocks), Nicole Southby, Mike Fox and Kirby Hillyer.
Going into the event Joel Heinrich was full of confidence due to his recent seat time on the black top racing his Aussie Racing Car where he had been recording some fantastic results including remaining undefeated at the recent Supercars event at The Bend Motorsport Park. But his recent circuit racing results didn’t transfer into a win on dirt, but he was still upfront every time he hit the track recording a third and a second in his heat races prior to his runner-up in the main event.
The night started with a convincing win to Kennedy in heat 1 as he gapped the field by over 5 seconds to win over Ashworth and Heinrich with Brett Ireland in fourth. Ireland would continue his form into heat 2 as he would secure a front row start for the main event with a heat win over Heinrich and Kennedy. The final heat of the night would see Cody Atkins, who was returning to the class after moving into the 360ci Sprintcar ranks, win the heat with Mick Barker and Ashworth banging the front straight wall and each other’s wheels as they charged towards the chequered flag in a dramatic finish. �Heat three would also see the red light come on for Jamie Crafter who backed into the turn one wall hard.
Following the heat races Kennedy was the top qualifier ahead of Ireland, Ashworth, Heinrich, Atkins, Barker, Greg Cunningham and Mike Fox. As the green flag fell Kennedy cleared out on the field and was never headed but the battle for second was a good one with Heinrich finally getting the better of Ashworth in the lapped traffic. The only real incident of the final came on lap 13 when Jack McCarthy, who had an opening night to forget, charged his way into the top five from the back only to have his night end against the wall after contact with Kirby Hillyer in turn three as they battled for fourth.
Hillyer would hold onto fourth ahead of Cunningham, Atkins, Ireland, Barker, Nicole Southby and Latisha Helyar.
The next appearance of the Wingless Sprints in South Australia will be on Saturday October 20 at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway.