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Geelong’s Chris Fowler has finally got ahead of recent mechanical breakdowns to take out a second career Wangaratta Cup at Speedway Wangaratta on Saturday night when he was able to defeat former Australian champion Trevor Perry and current Australian champion Rod Saville from Goulburn in a terrific finish.

Drivers competed in three qualifying race events in the TM Lineboring supported event with each of the eleven drivers starting together.

Mark Blackeby who had recently moved himself into second place in the Ballistic Performance Parts Masters Series began in pole position in the first qualifier with Travis Florrimell, Trevor Perry, Lisa Chalcraft, Sean Denning, Rod Saville, Troy Buis, Jason Crawford, Chris Fowler, David Bacon (#36 DB Cleaning & Kanga Hire – Yamaha R1) and Danny Stainer the starting line-up.

Florrimell got a great start whilst Blackeby, Perry and Chalcraft found out that three side by side down the front straight sometimes ends in tears with Blackeby suffering a broken rear stub axle. Florrimell led Perry, Saville, Fowler and Stainer (#51 R & P Stainer Grinding – R1 Yamaha) at the finish of lap one. Stainer ripped past Fowler and then Saville on lap four into third place whilst Bacon had an engine explosion putting him out of racing.

Perry moved to the lead on lap six, Stainer into second on lap eight and at the end of ten laps it would be Perry, Florrimell, Stainer after being put back a place, Saville, Fowler, Crawford, Chalcraft, Buis (#5 V & J Parker Photography – Yamaha R1) and Denning.

A smaller field greeted the start in heat two with Blackeby, Bacon and Buis not greeting the green flag. Saville began from pole position with Fowler, Crawford, Perry, Chalcraft, Florrimell, Stainer and Denning (#52 Truck Moves – Yamaha R1) the line-up.

Saville made the most of the front row start leading lap one and two before Perry took the lead on lap three from Saville, Fowler, Florrimell and Stainer. On lap five Florrimell passed Fowler as Stainer broke down on track as his chassis broke. The race continued with Perry at the front and he went on to win from Saville, Florrimell, Crawford, Denning and Fowler with Buis discovering later he had a faulty fuel pump switch which didn’t allow him to start and Chalcraft (#15 Jacobsons Transport – Suzuki GSX 1100) not finishing as she exited the race on lap eight.

All nine starters in the third qualifier finished the race with Denning, Fowler, Chalcraft, Crawford, Perry, Florrimell, Saville, Blackeby (#10 Spitfire Restaurant & Bar Rosebud – Yamaha R1) and Buis the starting grid. Fowler took control on lap one with Crawford, Florrimell, Perry and Denning the first five across the line on lap one. Saville started to move his way forward and on lap five Florrimell took the lead from Fowler as he led Fowler, Crawford, Saville and Perry (#55 Perry Bros Chassis – Suzuki GSXR 1000).

Florrimell maintained his ascendency through to the finish picking up the win from Fowler, Saville, Perry, Crawford (#50 Pitstop Mowers– Yamaha R1), Blackeby, Denning, Chalcraft and Buis.

The Wangaratta Cup feature event over fifteen laps began with top qualifiers at the rear of the field and this created an order of Blackeby, Buis, Chalcraft, Denning, Crawford, Fowler, Saville (#1 Saville Racing – Kawasaki 1200), Florrimell and Perry.

An unusual start attempt occurred when Saville spun after his steering wheel came off at the first attempt, he was able to click it into place and re-start. Blackeby had a terrific start in the final with a lead on lap one carried through to lap two as Chalcraft, Crawford, Fowler and Saville followed. Chalcraft took the lead on lap three however her time out front was short as Crawford moved to the lead on lap four as she dropped a chain on the track putting her out of the race.

Fowler was in second from lap four with Chalcraft's demise. After a tight battle between Crawford and Fowler, on lap seven Fowler moved to the lead after he moved to the lower line of the track and found some drive with Perry working his way through eventually reaching second spot by lap ten. The positions with five laps to go were Fowler, Perry, Crawford, Saville and Florrimell (#81 TM Lineboring & Engineering – Suzuki GSXR 1000).

As the laps ran down Perry stuck the nose of his car up along the outside of Fowlers machine in another great battle before Fowler (# 13 Ballistics Performance Parts– Yamaha R1) negotiated the backmarkers of Buis and Blackeby better. The very last lap was not kind to Crawford in third place when the gear shaft broke on his car putting him out of the race, Fowler went on to win from Perry, Saville, Florrimell, Blackeby and Buis. Fowler and Perry now have two wins a piece in the race that has been running for six seasons with two wash outs on the other occasions.

The Victorian Grand Prix Midgets association thank Club Supporters:

Ballistic Performance Parts

TM Lineboring & Engineering

Super Balance Automotive Shepparton

Pitstop Mowers

Jacobson Transport

AJ's Motorcycle Parts and Apparel Shepparton

Vern & Jackie Parker Photography

Rock Solid Productions

Written by

Dean Thompson

DMT Sports Media

For Victorian Grand Prix Midget Club

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