CURRENT National Street Stock Champion Anthony Beare issued a warning that he's going to be the man to beat once again at next year's Australian Title after winning the local round of the MJS Street Stock Series on the weekend.
Beare finished second in his first heat behind the NSW11 of Rhys Heinrich before bouncing back in his second race to claim victory over Jayden Edwards, driving the SA87. He then went on to win the final, signaling his dominance on the track where the Mental Racewear SSA Australian Street Stock Title will be held in March next year. Winner from last round - Mark Jennings was un- usually quite early in the night - finishing in fifth place in both of his heats. But he later set a cracking pace in the B Main - breaking the lap record for Street Stocks at B and S Earthworks Timmis Speedway with a time of 17.469 - as he drove his way to a start from towards the back of the A Main.
As predicted local Corey Sandow was extremely competitive in his initial outings - finishing in third place in his first heat and following it up with a second in the next.
Rhys Heinrich started off pole for the feature event with Beare alongside him while Darren Brumfield started from position three and Sandow out of fourth position.
Beare would eventually take the feature win, with Sandow crossing the line in second and Steve Gartner - who transferred to the A Main from the B Main - making massive ground to finish third.
Fresh from the Round Two victory Beare said his night of racing was nearly over before it started.
"I got a flat tyre (in the first heat) which destroyed a drive shaft and my spares were no good, so without Darren Giacometti lending me one I wouldn’t have been able to race the next heat," Beare said.
It meant that Beare and his Number 46 crew were even more delighted to take the final win.
"Yeah, obviously we were happy, to get a win with a field like that," he said.
"(We are) still looking for some pace before the Title. I think the track will be totally different come March and a much higher car count."
Going into the Title as defending Champion Beare said he didn't take much confidence from it.
"The only confidence I have is that it’s an automatic start being defending Champion," he said.
"There will be a lot of cars and the track will be different with the car count, but it’s always good to turn laps and get a win."
He said being current Australia One everyone seems to want to judge their own pace towards him a little but it is also an advantage because drivers tend to be more concerned about him and his car rather than their own.
The Number 46 - highly distinguishable by its fluro pink design - is a relatively new car.
"I thought it was going to be the same from VY to VE but only thing the same is the engine," Beare said.
"It has made me think outside the square and find pace in different ways which has helped."
Local race fans can expect to see Beare back on track at Timmis Speedway for the Paige McCarthy Memorial to be held Saturday, January 26 next year for one last hit out before the Australian Title in March.
MJS Street Stock Series spokesman Richard Parsons said conditions for Saturday night's racing were challenging - but he thought the track held up really well.
"And the spectators really showed up in numbers to support it," Parsons said.
"Yes, it was hot but so was the racing."
Parsons said the normal heavy hitters in Beare and Rhys Heinrich were again impressive, but he was particularly impressed by the SA97 of Darren Brumfield and Ballarat 48 of Mick Clarke, who both showed great speed all night.
"The track was juiced up at the start of the night which caught a few drivers out but as the night went on the track widened up and you could pass top and bottom," Parsons said.
"The final was one of the best finals I have seen for some time.
"It was hammer down fast with Rhys and Beary off the front. Rhys just pushed a bit hard in turn one and looped it in front of the field but continued on despite front end damage.
"From then on people thought ‘how far could Beary win by’ but along came local lad Sandow and Darren Brumfield to put pressure on."
Unfortunately for Darren Brumfield, his steering rack let go towards the end of the race, ending his hopes of a podium finish as Beare, Sandow and Steve Gartner took the Top Three placings.
"Beary's drive was simply brilliant. He drove to the track conditions and stayed out of trouble," Parsons said.
"We can't thank the Mildura club enough for the track. The racing was awesome with some close finishes.
"It always provides top class racing there and a lot of drivers got to bank some information for the Aussie in March." In other racing Saturday night Adelaide's Jack McCarthy claimed the Wingless Sprint feature, holding off a hard charging list of local drivers including Brad Beasley, Jay Brown and Jason Bolitho.
The 27 year old took a step back from racing Sprint Cars two years ago, deciding to build a Wingless.
"I’ve raced at Mildura a few times in a couple of different classes, it’s always fast but can be very unforgiving if you aren’t committed," McCarthy said.
"It can be slick or rough, so it’s becomes a drivers track rather than a horsepower track some nights. It usually dishes up some good racing and will favors the brave."
McCarthy said he was very happy with how his car felt and ran on Saturday night.
"Our night was great, started off with a heat win and some fast pace, only had to tweak a few things," he said.
"We qualified off P1 (position one) for the final and ran away with the win.
"The local guys at Mildura are always relatively quick and obviously have a home track advantage; however we were always coming to win and with the track being aggressive and the high line working it really suited my driving style.
"We were able to capitalize and move around, be patient and know where to pick them off through the heat races.
"Clean air is always a bonus, so come final time we were rewarded with a front row start and put down some fast clean laps and got the win."
McCarthy set a new eight lap track record on Saturday night, recording 2:07.305 with the old record 2:08.529.
In the JSPA Series Winchelsea's Mitch Glynn took the honors in the Top Stars division. Glynn, who is current Australia Number Four, hadn't raced at Timmis Speedway before Saturday night.
"I really enjoyed the track," the 17 year old said.
"It was a very fast track I am looking forward to racing there again." Glynn broke both the one lap and 15 lap record on Saturday night - smashing more than 30 seconds off the later.
After two heat wins and a second place Glynn started off pole for the final.
"I lost the start and was running second for four laps," Glynn said.
Deciding he had to make a move, Glynn said he took the high line and was able to regain the lead. He held onto the lead for the rest of the race, crossing the line before Kasey Garlick and Brad Gartner.
"It was a great race and an awesome win," he said. In the New Stars local Carter Metcalf took the win from Jaxon Vella and Will Shore in his racing debut.
The next meeting at Timmis Speedway is Saturday, January 5 and will feature the Australian Sprintcar All Stars, the VMPA Tritech Lubricants Series and Late Models.