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Victorian Grand Prix Midgets and some of their New South Wales counterparts gathered at Wangaratta City Raceway for the annual Victorian state title on the 6th of April and after heavy rain in the lead up to the event, the Victorian Grand Prix Midget Racing Association was pleasantly surprised that the Wangaratta Speedway Club had not only produced a race track, they were wrapt that the track was locked down and fast from the drop of the first flag.

Twelve starters lined up for heat race number one with Johnny Rouse in pole position joined by Alex Hudson-Myers, Jack Ward, Terry Brown, Adam Buckley, Shawn Ward, Chris Fowler, Gary Bowyer, Travis Florrimell, Peter Robotham and Matt Kamolins in position order. Benalla racer Jack Ward had mechanical issues and was unable to start whilst Hudson-Myers shot to the race lead with Brown and Fowler in tow. On lap three, drama for the Australian champion Robotham as he tried a inside pass on the Bowyer car in turn two and hit the windrow on the pole line sending the car in the air getting stuck on the windrow, spinning to miss the action was Florrimell.

Both Robotham and Florrimell restarted with Hudson-Myers leading lap three from Brown, Fowler, and Buckley. At the halfway mark of the ten-lap heat race Hudson-Myers was still in front of Brown, Fowler, and Buckley with Bowyer in fifth followed by Robotham, Florrimell, Kamolins, Shawn Ward and Anthony Lea the former Australian champion of the 22/23 season. Robotham’s machine would succumb to engine gremlins on lap nine and his ‘Pitstop Mowers’ team parked the car up for the night. Hudson-Myers would win from Brown, Fowler, Buckley, Bowyer (NSW # 5 - Arjan Motors), Kamolins, Florrimell, Ward and Lea.

Lining up for heat race number two was Fowler, Bowyer, Florrimell, Lea, Kamolins, Rouse, Hudson-Myers, Jack Ward (VIC # 4 – Boardy’s Graphix), Brown, Buckley, and Shawn Ward. Bowyer the freshly crowned New South Wales champion lead Fowler on lap one with Rouse losing his left rear wheel putting him out of the race. Jack Ward pulled infield with electrical issues affecting his cars performance needing to be sorted out.

Bowyer led away again at the restart after Rouse’s car was removed with Hudson-Myers (VIC # 11 – Automotive Superbalance) hitting a rut on the exit of turn two sending him flying into the fence where he connected and rolled the car over, his night was also done taking a second pre-event favourite out of contention. On the next re-start hitting the same rut, Florrimell also went flying into the same fence causing his drive chain to come off sending him packing to the infield to watch the rest of heat two.

Bowyer picked up where he had left off and led Fowler, Kamolins, Brown and Buckley as lap three and four entered the books. No change to the lead on lap five the halfway mark of the race with Lea and Shawn Ward behind Buckley in sixth and seventh. On lap nine drama for Bowyer as his clutch let go and he pulled infield handing the certain victory over to Fowler he led Brown, Buckley, Kamolins, Ward (VIC # 44 – Dominant Detailing) and Lea to the finish.

After all the drama of heat two, seven cars lined up for heat three with Kamolins, Shawn Ward, Buckley, Brown, Florrimell, Fowler and Rouse managing to hit the track for a start. Kamolins the second of the ‘Pitstop Mowers’ team drivers led Buckley who had won recently at Goulburn Speedway on lap one. Brown moved into position three on lap two with Buckley hounding Kamolins. On lap five Kamolins still held the lead with Buckley, Brown, Florrimell, Fowler, Ward, and Rouse in tow. Fowler picked off Florrimell (VIC # 81 – Stinger Chassis) on lap six and then picked off Brown on lap ten as the chequered flag waved the drivers to the finish with Kamolins picking up the ‘W’ over Buckley, Fowler, Brown, Florrimell, Ward and Rouse.

A fifteen-lap title race awaited the remaining drivers in a position to make a start with Fowler the top point scorer securing the pole position start from Brown, Kamolins, Buckley, Shawn Ward, Florrimell, Rouse and Lea. NSW # 7 – Pulford Air and Gas) Brown from the drop of the green jumped to the front beating Fowler back to the start line to end lap one. After Fowler hit the infamous turn two rut and careered towards the fence and brush against it, Kamolins made a lap two pass on Fowler whilst Buckley was in fourth spot as the lap finished. By lap four Fowler had moved back to second whilst mechanical issues with the (NSW # 7) car of Lea seen him lapped on lap four.

As lap eight finished Brown (VIC # 88 – Mooroopna Mobile Engineering) was still leading Fowler, and Buckley who had moved into third several laps earlier. Then came Kamolins, Ward, Rouse and Lea determined to be a race finisher as the field lapped him a second time. Rouse then came unstuck on lap eleven as he went around the outside of Lea rolling around on the pole line to make a pass. Just as Rouse did this his left rear wheel broke sending him spinning in turn one in front of the race leaders Brown and Fowler leaving both cars with nowhere to go. Brown’s car connected with Rouse’s (VIC # 32 – Rouse Motorsport) whilst Fowler backed into Brown’s car. The stoppage claimed Brown and Rouse curtailing a possible first state title to Brown with just four laps to go. Brown’s car sustained fuel tank and left rear shock damage and could not restart and was re-instated to the front of the field having not caused the stoppage.

On lap twelve having led the one lap Fowler’s (VIC # 13 – R & P Stainer Grinding) luck run out with his front right steering breaking leaving him driving with only one front wheel to steer with and as a result slowed him down as he tried to get his car to turn. Buckley ripped pass into the lead and soon after Kamolins passed Fowler also. Contact on lap fourteen between Ward and Fowler resulted in the Stewards placing the cause of contact on Fowler, sending him to the rear of the field for lead lap cars.

Kamolins on the restart made a last gasp effort to get up the inside of Buckley (NSW # 67 – Beesafe Travel) to try and snatch the lead of the title race, however Buckley remained calm and was too good and finished off the race as the new Victorian champion. Kamolins finished second with Ward, Fowler, and Lea the five to finish.

The Victorian GP Midget Racing Association was thrilled to see so many kids coming down to see their racers for posters and to see the cars. They would also like to thank the visiting NSW drivers and look forward to competing with them again soon.

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

VGPMRA thanks V&J parker speedway photos for the access to these promotional images. Please support them by making contact for Image purchass and DVD copies.


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