Broken wall ends speedway meet
WHEN V8 AMCA National driver Mike Callaghan took to the wall he didn’t just end his own night’s racing.
Two-thirds through the night’s event and Callaghan went high on the track, probably looking for better traction, only to send one wheel up the wall.
That action got his car into contact with the safety fence resulting in the flattening of five support poles.
The damage was too much for repair crews to complete within the timeframe for racing at Rockhampton Showgrounds and that forced organisers to reluctantly abandon the meeting.
“It was disappointing,” Rockhampton Saloon Car Club publicity officer Mark Hogan admitted.
“From the crowd’s point of view they pay their money to see a program of racing to about 10.30pm.”
Hogan explained that the major concern of the club is safety.
“The safety of the public and competitors is paramount,” he added.
Consequently continuing racing was not an option.
At the time Callaghan took to the wall in the 14th event on the program, the racing schedule was already running late due to a serious accident in the Formula 500s that injured driver Tony Frew (see Page 4).
Despite the shortened program the crowd did get the opportunity to witness some mayhem with the hardest working driver being the operator of the tow truck.
Some drivers found it more difficult than others to conquer the slippery track with numerous cars spinning out of control
The Fender Benders enjoy slipping and sliding their way around the track no matter which direction they race and even though nominations only amounted to nine cars, the action was close with great battles involving Heath Simpson, Milton Trembath, Beau Saunders and Clayton Crouch.
Saunders was a winner of two of the heats while Simpson took another before racing ended.
The opening race of the V8 AMCA Nationals was conducted in such a frantic manner you’d have thought it was the final feature event of the year.
Of the 10 starters only five were still on the track when the chequered flag was produced.
Series leader Dave McKie’s evening ended on the first bend as a pile-up took him and a few others out of the race. Steve Bichel won the heat from a determined Rene Frenken.
This year the most spectators get to see Danny Lennon’s car is when it is on the back of the tow truck and being taken back to the pits for repairs.
On Saturday Lennon made an early move through the field to get into third place and was racing past the grandstand when his car emitted a sad mechanical sound which forced him to the middle of the track with a broken tail shaft.
Australian number one Chris Ohl was also meant to be up there with the leaders, but he ended his evening talking to Lennon in the middle of the track.
While those were the Super Stocker disaster stories, the action on the track centred on wily veteran Jeff Ohl.
As cars slithered their way around the circuit, fighting for a race line, Ohl went to the top of the track and blitzed the field, winning both his heats.
Hogan admitted that Ohl, in his six-cylinder car, had shown up the V8s in the field on the wet track, but was disappointed he hadn’t had the chance to have a crack at him in the longer feature race where the track would have been drying.
In the Formula 500 Rocky Resort Queensland Stampede, racing didn’t disappoint with the small cars bringing a different sound to racing in Rocky.
These vehicles don’t lack pace, something that belies their engine sound which is closer to that of a remote control racer.
Shaun Eyres showed he was quick with a start to finish heat win while 19-year-old Kristin Brown showed her class with a heat win.
As heats were also won by Dale Shilleto and Nathan Pronger the feature was shaping up to be a massive race.