CARNAGE AT WANGARATTA WHILST FOWLER TAKES AN EARLY LEAD IN CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENCE
Saturday night saw the Victorian GP Midget season kick off with plenty of action for the big crowd in attendance. Chris Fowler has kicked off his Ballistic Performance Parts Masters Series defence in perfect style and capitalised on a depleted field of cars to take an early lead in the series. Heat 1 action began the night with Jason Crawford on pole with Mark Blackeby on his outside followed by Chris Fowler, Lisa Chalcraft, Chris Carr and Terry Brown, whilst Luke Stanley would have to wait til heat two for his debut with clutch issues stopping his attempt to get his night off to a good start. Crawford made the most of the front row start leading the first lap whilst Fowler had moved to second followed by Blackeby, Carr, Brown and Chalcraft who had slipped from the second row. Lap 3 saw Chalcraft get one spot back from Brown to move into fifth place. By lap 7 Crawford had a commanding lead on the field and put a lap down on GP midget rookie Terry Brown #V88 whilst a good battle was forming for fourth place between Carr and Chalcraft. Chalcraft got the better of Carr on lap 8 to take fourth place. Crawford saw out the remaining laps to take the heat win from Fowler, Blackeby, Chalcraft, Carr and Brown. Mark Blackeby started heat 2 from pole with Fowler on his outside followed by Crawford, Chalcraft, Brown, Stanley and Carr. The first attempt at a start was halted when Chalcraft spun on coming off turn 2 leaving Crawford nowhere to go in the slippery conditions and made contact, however both car were able to restart. Fowler got the jump on Blackeby for the second time and led them away from Blackeby, Chalcraft in third with Crawford all over her tail looking to find a way past, then Carr, Stanley and Brown. By lap 3 Chalcraft had found her way past Blackeby for 2nd whilst the following lap Crawford and Blackeby came together in turn one in a big way resulting in Blackeby making hard impact with the wall whilst Crawford amazed the crowd with his acrobatics in the air with a quadruple somersault that would impress even the toughest of Olympic judges. Both drivers got out and walked away a little sore and sorry for themselves however, that was the end of both of those cars for the night with Blackeby's chassis going to the speedway heavens and Crawford's also suffered substantial damage. On the restart, Fowler led Chalcraft, Carr, Stanley and Brown with 4 laps remaining the positions didn't change until the final lap when Stanley looped it giving up a place to Brown. Final places were Fowler, Chalcraft, Carr, Brown and Stanley. Heat 3 saw Fowler and Chalcraft off the front row, then Stanley and Carr with Brown out of fifth. Fowler led them away at the green with Chalcraft chasing hard, Carr, Stanley and Brown. On lap six Stanley moved up to third and was starting to get a handle of the V78. At the checker it was Fowler, Chalcraft, Stanley, Carr and Brown. Although at Stanley came to halt after crossing the line with some smoke out of the exhaust and a noise in the motor which was a suspected valve spring which ended his night prematurely. A depleted field of cars hit the track for the final with Terry Brown improving throughout the night on pole, Chalcraft moved up on his outside as Carr didn't take his place with a fuel issue, and Fowler started out of third. Chalcraft got the jump on Brown at the green and Fowler followed suit, leaving Brown in third. As Chalcraft crossed the line to complete the first lap her car errupted into a fireball and she promptly exited her car safely. On the restart Fowler continued to command the lead although Brown was only a car length or two behind, Fowler crossed the line at the conclusion of six laps the victor from Brown who was stoked to gain a second place in his first meeting in the GP Midgets. Club President John Fowler commented after the racing, "I was really impressed with the 3 new drivers tonight, they certainly didn't look out of place and with a bit more seat time and car development they will be giving the older club members something to think about." He also went onto say "Wangaratta Speedway did an fantastic job tonight, the track was probably the best we've seen it and we're looking forward to getting back here later in the season with some better car numbers."
The GP Midgets are currently restocking their inventory and will be back out in force in 2 weeks time at Rushworth Speedway for Round 2 of the Ballistic Performance Parts Masters Series. The Victorian GP Midget Club would like to thank all their supporters:
Ballistic Performance Parts Automotive Super Balance Shepparton TM Lineboring & Engineering Pitstop Mowers AJ's Motorcycle Parts & Apparel Jacobsons Jackie & Vern Parker Photography