Harper Leads After Opening Night

Callum Harper leads the Speedway Sedans Australia, Repco/Penrite Australian Super Sedan Title, after the opening night at the Rockhampton Showgrounds in Queensland.

Harper leads Dave Gartner, Steve Latham, Darren Kane and Brad Wicks leading into night two.  Ten drivers would win the twelve qualifying heats contested, with just Dave Gartner and Steve Latham winning two heats on a very even night of competition.

The opening heat would see Brodie Boss hit the fence on the opening lap, putting the youngest driver in the field on the grass, to watch a complete restart.  Callum Harper and Lachlan Onley would start on the front row, but no-one could predict what would follow, with Callum Harper systematically demolishing the opposition, with a comprehensive victory.  Matt Williams would come from position seven to finish second, with Onley finishing third.  Williams would be penalised a position after the race for a passing move earlier in the race, relegating him to third, and elevating Onley back to second.

Heat two would see Gordon Shaw lead through the first eight laps, under enormous pressure from Dave Gartner, who moved to second after six laps. Shaw would spin though in turn two resulting in a four lap restart.  This would be the first in a whole spate of stoppages including three stoppages on the final lap, including for Robbie Hawkings in turn four, and a three car pile-up in turn two, which involved Damien Arnold, Leigh Williams and Justin Smithwick.  Dave Gartner survived all the final lap stoppages to defeat Hawkings, Steve Jordan, Leigh Williams, Justin Smithwick, Damien Arnold and Kyall Fisher, with the six drivers crossing the line all within 1.664 seconds of one another, in a blanket finish.

Wayne Randall would lead all the way in heat three, but never would be under pressure throughout from Peter Nicola, with Randall winning by a car length.  Des Korn and Darren Saunders swapped positions several times for the minor placings, with Korn getting the better of Saunders and the fast finishing Steve Latham.

Brad Wicks had an impressive victory in heat four, starting from position four, but quickly assumed the lead and held it to the chequered flag.  Darren Kane who started from position eight very quickly moved to third, and was elevated to second after Josh McLaren was sent to the rear of the field for spinning.  Wicks held off Kane in the final four laps, while Matt Pascoe and Mick Nicola who joined the battle for the lead, finished third and fourth respectively.

Dave Gartner won a thrilling heat five, with 0.748 separating Gartner, Matt Williams and Wayne Brims.   Gartner, who started from position four, made a great outside pass to take the lead, but a three car incident on lap eleven, involving Justin Smithwick, Brodie Boss and Dempsie Pails, bunched the field for a two lap run to the flag, resulting in the close finish.

Jason Campbell had a convincing victory in heat six, after starting on the front row. Callum Harper also was impressive, coming from position six to grab second while Grant Shaw took third place.

Heat seven would see an eight car pile-up in turn two, with only Steve Latham and Ian Brims not involved. After the subsequent mess was cleared, Ashley Peall would sit the remaining laps on the infield, with Latham and Brims finishing ahead of Mick Nicola after the resumption.

In the closest margin of the night, Steve Jordan held off Darren Kane by 0.120 after twelve laps in a great race.   Despite the result being close, the race was also kept close by several stoppages, including for Brendan Doyle and Des Korn.  Victorian Brad Wicks would finish third.

Heat nine had plenty of drama, with Mark O'Brien rolling over after another multi-car incident, with eight cars directly or indirectly involved.  Grant Shaw would be impressive in taking the win, which also included a stoppage on lap nine when Dempsie Pails required assistance off the track. Darren Saunders would hold off the challenge from Wayne Randall in the concluding stages in another close finish.

Steve Latham pulled off a great last lap move to win heat ten, and to take his second victory of the night, passing Leigh Williams.  The pair were engaged in a great battle through the twelve lap event, with Darren Kane and Brad Wicks swapping positions also in the concluding stages, with Kane finishing third.  The race was also tinged with controversy when Matt Williams was deemed to have spun in turn two.  He showed his displeasure to officials when he went infield and withdrew from the race.

Ian Brims will be kicking himself for a very long time, after having a commanding lead in heat eleven.  Brims would spin on the final lap and would eventually recover to finish seventh, losing 28 points in the process, and a position within the top ten. The battle between Callum Harper and Sean Black which had been raging for numerous laps, all of a sudden became a battle for the lead. Black would win narrowly over Harper with Craig Torr third.

Mick Nicola appeared to have the final heat all sewn up, having a comfortable lead with a few laps remaining, but Lachaln Onley stormed home, making for a thrilling finish with Nicola holding victory by a mere 0.159. Des Korn would narrowly down Dave Gartner, Justin Smithwick, Robbie Hawkings and Brodie Boss in a close finish.

In what will be an intriguing final night, points leader Callum Harper will start from position seven, with Australian Champion Matt Pascoe (17th) and Brad Wicks (5th) starting on the front row.  Second placed Dave Gartner will start from position five in heat sixteen, which will see Peter Nicola (13th), Steve Jordan (7th) and Jason Campbell (9th) all start in the front half of the field.  Steve Latham who is currently third on points, statistically has the easiest heat with just Craig Torr within the top twenty starting ahead of him.  Darren Kane, who didn't win a race on the opening night, also has a tough assignment, also appearing in heat sixteen, along with Gartner, Nicola, Jordan, Campbell and Mick Nicola in what promises to be a great race to round out the qualifying heats.

Listen live via Speedway Sedans Australia site. www.speedwaysedans.com

Sunday, 27 March 2016 - Channel 1
Australian Super Sedan Title Heats & Finals
4.00pm WST, 5.30pm CST, 6.00pm EST, 6.30pm CDST, 7.00pm EDST

Speedway Sedans Australia is Powered by Streaming Australia

OFFICIAL POINTS
1     T22     Callum Harper (T1)     92
2     S8     Dave Gartner         89
3     T8     Steve Latham         85
4     Q36     Darren Kane         79
5     V17     Brad Wicks         76
6     V3     Michael Nicola         76
7     Q10     Steve Jordan         76
8     N17     Lachlan Onley         73
9     Q97     Jason Campbell         70
10     Q33     Wayne Randall         69
11     Q7     Grant Shaw         65
12     Q26     Sean Black         61
13     V2     Peter Nicola (V1)     58
14     Q3     Matthew Williams     56
15     Q61     Des Korn         51
16     Q29     Darren Saunders     51
17     A1     Matt Pascoe         49
18     Q4     Leigh Williams         49
19     Q23     Craig Torr         49
20     MK5     Robbie Hawkings     46
21     N111     Wayne Brims         43
22     Q76     Ian Brims         42
23     Q5     Gary Pagel         40
24     Q63     Justin Smithwick     39
25     Q15     Gavin Northfield     33
26     M5     Craig Shaw         33
27     Q41     Kyall Fisher         24
28     Q39     Bob McCosker         23
29     Q77     Dempsie Pails         21
30     Q8     Brodie Boss         20
31     Q12     Damien Arnold         20
32     Q96     Joshua McLaren         19
33     TV31     Wesley Hose         18
34     Q11     Ashley Peall         18
35     V5     Michael Wicks         16
36     Q99     Mark O'Brien         15
37     GL3     Graeme Elliott         15
38     Q31     Brendan Doyle         15
39     M8     Gordon Shaw         5
40     Q25     Darren Hawkings     4