Formula 500s action
IT'S SO long since the cars were rolling around the Rockhampton Showgrounds, race track patrons could have been forgiven for thinking they had come to the wrong meeting.
Sure, the track looked the same but the noise and smells were totally different as it was the Formula 500s that enjoyed the centre stage.
These little cars may be powered by a motor bike engine and screech around the track on an ear-splitting high pitched note from their high revving engines, but with each car's lack of weight they are seriously quick.
Apart from the event being the Queensland Titles, it was run in conjunction with the Allan Saunders Memorial.
Saunders was a crowd favourite in Rockhampton speedway until his machine crashed at the showground with the injuries sustained by Saunders leading to his death.
That was 40 years ago but a few of the older speedway fans will have felt a touch of nostalgia on Saturday night as Saunders' original car was back in working order and led the Formula 500 field on to the track.
The Formula 500 boys, and girls, did not let the crowd down with 2010 Queensland Title holder Dale Shilleto very quick in the heats.
Unfortunately for Shilleto, he was not the only one.
By the time the starting line-up had been finalised for the feature race, Shilleto was sitting behind the lead cars, one of which was the young speed king Charlie Brown.
Brown made it look easy with a start-to-finish win where he managed to keep away from any trouble for the whole 25 laps, even when he got back into the traffic while lapping slower cars.
There was one moment of total chaos when Nathan Pronger clipped the wall and drifted, side on, into the middle of the track leaving David Baxter with nowhere to go.
Four cars were involved in the melee with Pronger and Baxter damaging their cars too much to continue.
Meanwhile, Brown kept on eating up the track and took the chequered flag ahead of another young driver Brock Hallett with Shilleto settling for third.
There was no title up for grabs but the Super Stocker drivers relished the opportunity to race after so much of the season was washed out.
The Twenty/Twenty event, with a main and second driver, proved to be successful with Justin Smithwick and Matthew Williams taking the honours.
Damien Arnold had fancied his chances and even though he and co-driver Craig Torr raced well, winning a heat each and also gaining a second each, they could not hold off the challenges in the feature race.
After leading off at the start their car was soon back in third spot and looking slightly worse for wear with a back panel swinging wildly.
Worse was to come as a spin took them back to fourth where they remained.
“It was good clean racing, just a couple of little bingles,” Arnold said.
Anthony Ohl with Chris Pendry came second and Jeff and David Ohl third.