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The Goulburn Valley’s Rushworth Speedway welcomed the Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association for the ninth annual ‘Ironbark Classic’ with new Australian champion Peter Robotham having the opportunity to compete for the first time in Victoria since winning the national title in New South Wales against stiff competition that included two time Ironbark Classic winner Chris Fowler, local hot shot Alex Hudson-Myers, and a host of other keen class members looking to secure their best result of the season.

Three heat races were scheduled and despite an emergency delay for somebody requiring attention in the crowd, the Goulburn Valley Automobile Club managed to provide three heat races and the feature for the Midgets which was much appreciated by the state committee.

Drivers lined up for heat one of the night with Jack Ward, Fowler, Terry Brown (# 88 – Aust Clean – Stinger), Hudson-Myers, Johnny Rouse, Matt Kamolins, Paul Perry, Robotham, Mark Blackeby and Shawn Ward forming up for eight laps. Leading lap one Fowler took advantage of his front row start with Hudson-Myers (# 11 Automotive Super Balance - PBC) moving into second place with Robotham behind. A lap two incident for Perry seen his car smash the concrete wall in turn one and his race was done.

The top trio continued on their way at the front of the field after the restart whilst Jack Ward and Kamolins traded positions before Shawn Ward came into the picture and passed his son Jack. At race completion Fowler claimed the win ahead of Hudson-Myers, Robotham, Brown, Kamolins, Shawn Ward, Jack Ward (# V4 – Dominant Detailing– Anskaitis), Blackeby and Rouse. Fowler was fastest with a 17.061 single lap time his best of the race.

Rouse a rookie for the season who no longer was starting from the rear of the fields started from pole position in heat two with Kamolins, Perry (# V36 – DB Cleaning and Kanga Hire – PPC), Robotham, Blackeby, Shawn Ward, Jack Ward, Fowler, Brown, and Hudson-Myers completing the line-up. Kamolins the more experienced of the front row starters shot off into the lead for lap one as Shawn Ward pulled infield with fuel tap concerns on his race car. Australian champion Robotham moved to the race lead on lap two with Kamolins and a fast-moving Fowler the top three and Perry in his repaired David Bacon owned race car in tow.

Big trouble came by the way of Hudson-Myers on lap six of the race with the chain coming off his race car and at the same time the car sustained damage to the engine and clutch leaving the team out for the evening on one of their best tracks as far as results are concerned. They were not the only one to suffer chain issues in tough conditions as Perry a lap latter had his chain dislodge. Robotham continued on his way to lead Fowler, Kamolins (# 5 – R & P Stainer Grinding Services – Stinger), Brown, Jack Ward, Rouse and Blackeby to the finish line clocking a 17.146 fastest lap time along the way.

The third and final heat race order was Shawn Ward, Blackeby (# 10 – Spitfire Restaurant Bar and Grill – Stinger), Robotham, Brown, Fowler, Kamolins, Jack Ward and Rouse and it would be Terry Brown who has been the cat amongst the pigeons this season as far as pace and consistency, who would take control of the race. Robotham slotted into second with Shawn Ward third on lap one. Contact between Kamolins and Blackeby on lap one would see Blackeby exit the race with a broken Jacobs Ladder.

Brown led Robotham (# 1 – Pitstop Mowers – HMJ) and Fowler for three laps before Robotham moved to the front of the race. The race made it to lap seven before a spin to Kamolins ahead of Jack Ward left the latter stranded and crashing into the stricken Kamolins machine. Ward ended up with a broken left rear wheel and damaged suspension. Robotham claimed the win ahead of Brown, Fowler, Shawn, Rouse (# 32 – Rouse Motorsport – Stinger), and Kamolins with Jack Ward unable to restart. Robotham was fastest again with a 17.699 as the track continued to drop away.

With damage through the night taking a toll on the field for one of the VGPMRA premier events of the season, only five cars made it to the green flag for the feature event. With top point scorer’s starting at the back of the field, Robotham, Fowler, Brown, Shawn Ward (# 44 – Bordy’s Graphics – Pearce), and Rouse all greeted the flagman.

Fowler (# 13 – John Fowler Racing – HMJ) from fourth flew to the lead with Robotham in tow, then Brown, Rouse, and Ward. A turn four spin on lap five to Ward halted the race and stacked the field for a restart. Fowler continued to lead from Robotham and Brown. Lap times continued to drop away, and Fowler set the fastest in the final stopping the clock at 18.180. Fowler pulled out a gap on Robotham and as the field hit the finish line an almost five second margin between Fowler back to Robotham confirmed victory for a third time in the Classic to Fowler. Brown finished third with Rouse and Shawn Ward rounding out the results.

Johnny Rouse has moved to six in the ‘Stingers Chassis’ Masters Series point score in his rookie season, Fowler and Robotham are still separated by just a single point. Fowler becomes the winningest driver of the Ironbark Classic with Janelle Saville behind him with two wins.

Top five in the Stinger Chassis Masters Series standings

1. Chris Fowler – 233 points

2. Peter Robotham – 232

3. Terry Brown – 164

4.Shawn Ward – 125

5.Alex Myers - 110

Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association supporters:

Stinger Chassis

Pitstop Mowers

Automotive Super Balance

DMT Sports Media

Jackie & Vern Parker DVD & Photography

Napier Photography

Written by

Dean Thompson

DMT Sports Media

For Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association

Images supplied by media partner Napier Photography. Louise was available at Rushworth on Saturday at the latest GP Midget event. These and other great images available from Louise for your purchase.


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