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It’s been a busy time for some and a relaxing time for others this off season and with less than a week to go until the 2018/19 season kicks off for the Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association we thought it’d be timely to look at not only who the nominations for Round 1 of the Masters Series are but also who the contenders for this season might be. This season Ballistic Performance Parts have again thrown their support behind the VGPMRA in supporting the Masters Series for the 4th year in a row. Round 1 will see a field of 10 strong competitors nominated and fans won't be left disappointed. Jason Crawford is still licking his wounds from last season’s defeat to Trevor Perry and is motivated more than ever to go one better this year and notch up his 2nd Masters Series Championship. For those that don’t know Jason is an easy-going funny man but under that, is a fiercely competitive guy who strives to get the most out of the car every time he hits the track. This season he once again will be piloting the V50 Pitstop Mowers Stinger Chassis powered by a R1 Yamaha. Over the last few seasons in GP Midget racing Jason has had some good battles with several drivers in the class but none more so than Lisa Chalcraft who isn’t afraid to hold her ground and fight for a position or two. Last season Lisa racked up the miles as she travels all the way from northern NSW for each round. This season she continues to show her commitment to the club and the sport, when she racks up more miles to power the Gulf Western Oils V15 rocket again. Hot on their heels will no doubt be Dennis Myers who over the past few seasons has only run selected events due to family commitments, although he is lightly raced over the last few seasons his upgrade last season to a new Perry Bros Chassis has given the old boy a renewed energy and the Super Balance Automotive V11 is again expected to be found battling it out somewhere at the front of the field this season. David Bacon is another driver not to count out as he continues to improve every time he hits the track. Farmer Dave as he’s better know in the pit circles had some reliability issues at the start of last year but became a consistent performer throughout the year earning him the B-Grade Championship and a 5th place in the overall standings. This season he’ll have the blue Perry Bros Chassis back in action and is expected to give his rivals a good scare. Chris Fowler will debut his HMJ Chassis and engine package this week, the car that has been built by Danny and Ross Stainer should see Chris back at the front of the field this season after a season to forget last year. The sister car to the Victorian Champion’s will be the first time the team have utilised a R1 Yamaha package deciding to make the move from EFE Suzuki’s the team has run for the past 8 seasons.

Speaking of Engine upgrades that's exactly what Sean Denning is hoping will see him competing towards the front of the pack. Sean has the only independent suspensioned car in the field this coming Saturday night, a recent testing session showed the team still have a few things to tweak with the new R1 Yamaha, but if they can sort the problems out he could well put a cat amongst the pidgeons, something the diehard GP fans would love to see.

The Coyote Racing team of Shawn and Andrew Ward return again this season with slick new paint schemes. You certainly won't miss these guys on the track. Shawn Ward with his V44 Perry Bros Chassis could pose a threat if he can overcome his reliability issues of last season and Andrew who is only relatively new GP Midget racing has his V88 Stinger Chassis looking a treat and is keen to get some more laps under his belt and continue improving. If looks are anything to go by Mr. Tyre Shine himself Troy Buis will have his V5 Stinger Chassis turned out in pristine condition as always for Wangaratta this Saturday night. Troy started off slowly in his rookie season however improved greatly throughout the season showing his consistency. The car has shown a lot of potential in previous seasons so he'll no doubt be in some important battles throughout this season. From across the border the NSW #2 of Janelle Saville has nominated for the event looking to get some laps in at Wangaratta ahead of this season's Australian Title in March. Janelle is a proven performer and consistent podium placegetter in NSW, she leaves nothing left in tank when she hits the track and she'll be out to snatch a victory from the Victorian's come feature race time.

At the start of this article we said it’s been a busy time for some in the off season, well this next driver is not quite what we were meaning, he’s been busy but that has nothing to do with racing. Travis Florimell will again be behind the wheel of the V81 green machine, although by all reports it’s still a brown/clay colour from last season. Travis has been busy with his business TM Lineboring & Engineering who this season have come onboard to support a couple of events for the VGPMRA. Unfortunately Travis will be missing in action this Saturday night due to work commitments however TM Lineboring & Engineering are the feature supporter of Round 1 of the Ballistic Performance Parts Master Series. We'll also be hearing more from TM Lineboring & Engineering later in the season as they continue their support of the VGPMRA as the feature supporter of Round 8 of the Masters Series which doubles up as the Wangaratta Cup.

Travis stepped up to the plate last season and found some strong reliability and speed in his Stinger chassis towards the end of the season. Unfortunately, as Travis would say he’s got a magnet stuck to his car when he found himself attracting unwanted cars last season but he’ll certainly be at the pointy end of the field again this season.

Another notable mention that will be missing from the field on Saturday night is without a doubt one of the quickest cars of last season which was the Victorian Champion Danny Stainer. Driving the Mark Shiells owner V51 which is a HMJ Chassis built by Danny and Ross Stainer, equipped with an R1 Yamaha he will definitely be hard to beat again this season. Danny is coming off an illness which is why he'll miss round one but this could open the door for his rivals, not that Danny has rivals, to get the jump start in the point score on him.

No matter where you look throughout the field the teams have been raising the bar over the past couple of years and this year looks to be just as exciting. Some teams have gone for new engines, others have gone from carbie to fuel injection, whilst others have stuck with what they know works well. The vibe around the club is fantastic with a few fresh faces stepping up to help with various jobs around the club. We have some new and long-time club sponsors returning for this season which is great to see, and they will be promoted throughout the season.

We have a full race calendar this season with 10 Ballistic Performance Parts Masters Series Rounds, 1 non-championship round, 4 blue ribbon events on top of the Victorian Title and Australian GP Midget Title, it’s all set to be a cracking season. All the action kicks off on this Saturday night, November 4 at Wangaratta Speedway. The Victorian Grand Prix Midgets Racing Association thank club supporters:

Ballistic Performance Parts

TM Lineboring & Engineering

Super Balance Automotive Shepparton


Pitstop Mowers

Vern & Jackie Parker Photography

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