Over the past two weeks the race fans at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway have been treated to two entertaining nights of Late Model racing with two different main event winners in the latest South Australian Late Model Association (SALMA) sanctioned events.
Prior to his victory at the Valvoline Raceway last Saturday night Ryan Alexander was victorious at MMS on February 2 while Mat Crimmins drove his bright green #10 Rocket into victory lane as he defeated his rivals last Saturday night after leading all 20 laps.
On February 2nd the night started in spectacular fashion as before a lap was even completed Steve Vaughan’s evening was over after he rolled his #67 machine in turn four. As the green flag came out for heat 1 Queenslander Brett Watson spun in front of the entire field with Warrnambool’s Fiona Verhoeven and Vaughan making contact with the spinning car with Vaughan flipping over the front of Verhoeven’s #8.
Ryan Alexander would go on to win both heats of the night, but he had to work extremely hard for his second preliminary win as he only got by Mat Crimmins on the final lap. Roger Oliver would also put in a nice drive to finish third as he just held out Mark McCarthy in a great battle.
Going into the 25-lap final Alexander was a hot favourite but he came up one spot short as Mark McCarthy made a last lap pass for win the decider in dramatic fashion. Alexander would finish second ahead of Jason Robinson, Verhoeven, Watson, Roger Oliver and Mat Crimmins.
After running in fifth position during the early stages of the race Robinson put in a magnificent drive on the low groove to challenge for the lead eventually making the pass on Alexander on lap 12 before being repassed four laps later. Robinson would fall back a further spot to finish third, but his performance proved that his win at the Timmis Speedway in his previous start was no fluke.
The following week the field once again comprised of nine drivers but with Alexander racing in Sydney he was replaced by Whyalla rookie Andy Maxwell Jr, who had missed the event a week prior.
After their issues the week prior Watson and Vaughan would once again encounter dramas in heat 1 after Watson who was leading at the time would make contact with Vaughan on the front straight with Vaughan retiring out of the race due to the damage. Watson would be sent to the rear of the field. Mat Crimmins would go on to win the opening heat ahead of Jason Robinson and Andy Maxwell Jr.
Heat 2 would prove to be an all the way win for Maxwell Jr with a fired-up Vaughan, who set the fastest lap of race, finishing second ahead of Mark McCarthy and Roger Oliver.
Therefore, the line-up for the A-Main would see Maxwell Jr and Crimmins on the front with Robinson, Mark McCarthy, Vaughan, Oliver and Fiona Verhoeven. For the second week in a row veteran Cary McCarthy would fail to start the main event while Watson was also a non-starter.
Despite the race providing an exciting end to the night the top three positions wouldn’t change from lap 1 with Crimmins getting the jump over McCarthy and Maxwell Jr. But Crimmins would come under fire for the lead on several occasions with McCarthy finding the bottom line to his liking throwing out the challenge for the lead lap after lap.
Crimmins would go on to win his first feature event of the season by less than a second over McCarthy, Maxwell Jr, Oliver, Verhoeven and Robinson.
This weekend Four SALMA Members will participate in the 2019 Australian Late Model Championship at the Valvoline Raceway with Ryan Alexander, Steve Vaughan, South Australian Champion Robbie Farr and Brett Watson making the trek to Sydney to compete.