LUKE SEARLE and PAUL MORRIS won a remarkable Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour at Mount Panorama, passing defending winner Chaz Mostert’s Ford Focus RS in the closing five minutes to take a thrilling victory.  

The Roadchill Express BMW chased down and passed Mostert and Nathan Morcom’s Ford Focus RS after a pulsating battle throughout the closing half-hour, Mostert clinging on to the lead after withering Searle’s attack before ultimately succumbing in the closing five minutes when Searle passed at the inside of the Chase.  The Focus RS lost 5th and 6th gear which slowed the car on the straights.   

Both cars broke the lap record within the race’s final four laps as they battled for the lead, lapping faster than they both qualified – Mostert breaking the lap record on the 110th of 112 laps.

The result delivered Searle and his long-running family racing team their biggest ever racing result, and etched Morris’ name into the Bathurst history books as the first driver ever to win three Mount Panorama ‘majors’.

His Six-hour win joins his previous successes in the Bathurst 12 Hour and Bathurst 1000 races.

“I don’t know where that little Ford found its legs at the end there. Chaz was driving the wheels off it; we were driving the wheels off it. Someone said we were in the 25s. Wow… I have no words,” Searle said.

“I had to get him. I was putting it all on the line, so I had to get him. I wanted Paul to get the triple, it was always in my mind; get him the triple. I was up the inside of him and I started looking around for yellow flags because it was too easy, so I started looking around for yellow flags. He lost sixth gear or something, so that’s a shame.

“Paul was phenomenal in the middle stint, he didn’t put a foot wrong. I can’t say anymore.

“To win at Bathurst is the pinnacle in anyone’s career, be it this race or another Bathurst race. Bathurst is just phenomenal. When you’ve done a lap like we were doing at the end there, you know what it’s all about.”

Morris said he was thrilled to add the Bathurst 6 hour crown to his remarkable CV – especially the chance to do it with a family friend.

“As we flew down in the chopper me and Bairdo were talking about it going ‘yeah, it could happen’, so it was in the back of my mind. It was a pretty cool feeling to be able to do that,” Morris said.

“To do it with Luke is really cool. I’ve been friends with their family a long time and I rate him as probably one of the best drivers Australia’s had – but he’s just slipped through the net. You could put in a GT Car or any car and he just goes. He was the right man to have at the end of the race, that’s for sure.”

Defending winners Mostert and Morcom finished second, fighting their way into contention after starting only 16th.

Mostert’s drive at the end was particularly breathtaking as he hauled the Focus on lap record pace – despite dropping fifth and sixth gear at the very end.

“It was probably one of the most hectic races I’ve had around here,” he said.

“Back in ’14 chasing Whincup, obviously this time being on the opposite end of the stick. Those boys definitely deserve it 100%, they pushed us hard all day. At the end of the day we were second best today. But a great effort from the team to win last year, to release a brand new car this year and the lead-up, the practices, the qualifying, all those kind of things where we just had little errors and then to put it all together in the race is just awesome. I’m pretty sure the boys are going to enjoy a beer tonight, and maybe a sleep.”

A controversial finish for the final spot on the podium saw Jim Pollicina and Ryan Simpson finish third – after the Duvashen Padayachee / Ben Porter / Rob Woods Mercedes was penalised for an earlier pit stop infringement.

The winners completed 113 laps, while the race featured 11 safety car interruptions following another bruising day on the Mountain.

The pulsating race saw 18 lead changes across its duration and the early Safety Car interruptions saw nearly 20 cars remain on the lead lap for most of the race’s first half.

The big contenders again fell early, with the pole-sitting BMW M4 of Grant and Iain Sherrin dominating the race’s first 13 laps before a technical issue dropped them three laps from the lead while effecting the repair.  

They then launched a major comeback drive, remarkably getting themselves onto the lead lap before a puncture again dropped them out of contention in the fifth hour.

An unknown technical issue ruled out the David Wall / John Bowe Mitsubishi Lancer in the second hour, while an enormous engine failure and fire ended an otherwise strong day for the Garth Walden / Craig Baird Mercedes AMG A45 in the final 30 minutes.

The car was running fourth in the closing stages before the enormous failure saw the car stop on the finish line, bringing out the race’s final Safety Car and setting up the grandstand finish.

The CXC Global Racing EVO of Dylan Thomas and Tim Slade were another high-profile non-finisher, out with engine failure after just 20.

Following the penalty to the No. 29 Mercedes, Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey finished fourth while Karl Reindler and Andrew Richmond completed a remarkable comeback from a qualifying disqualification to finish fifth.

Reindler started the race from 59th position after having his qualifying time removed due to a ride-height infringement, but stormed through to have his car second by his first pit stop.

Scott Bargwanna / Paul Lane / Trevor Symonds HSV Commodore won Class A2, and finished 12th outright.

Jack Perkins and Leigh Burges won B1, their BMW 335i finishing a strong 8th outright.

Brian Walden / Michael Auld and Richard Bloomfield defended their Class B2 victory, bringing their SS Commodore home in 27th outright.

Todd Hazelwood and Rob Rubis won a pulsating battle for Class C, their BMW winning the class by just 1.6s over the Cox / Gosling BMW.

Chris Reeves and Chris Sutton also went back-to-back in Bathurst wins, taking Class D by 5.7 seconds over Jimmy Vernon and Mark Caine’s similar Toyota.

John McCleverty, Brad Zacka and Michael Zacka won the Invitational class, finishing 21st outright.

64 cars started today’s race – a record field for an endurance race at Mount Panorama, eclipsing the previous record of 63 set at the 1969, 1978 and 1984 Bathurst 1000 races.

The event announced a three-day attendance of 17,487 – up 8.2 per cent on 2016.


1.       Searle / Morris (BMW M135i) 113 Laps
2.       Morcom / Mostert (Ford Focus RS) + 9.6s
3.       Pollicina / Simpson (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS) + 23.97
4.       Lynton / Leahey (BMW 1M) + 41.485
5.       Richmond / Reindler (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS) + 43.759
6.       Woods / Padayachee / Porter (Mercedes AMG A45) + 55.419
7.       Alford / Eddy (Audi TT RS) + 1 Lap
8.       Burges / Perkins (BMW 331i) + 1 Lap
9.       Abela / Hill (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) + 1 Lap
10.   Kavich / Kavich / Pilkington (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) + 1 lap

A1. Searle / Morris (BMW M135i)
A2. Bargwanna / Lane / Symonds (HSV GTS)
B1. Perkins / Burges (BMW 335i)
B2. Walden / Auld / Bloomfield (Holden SSV Redline)

Highline Magazine Edition 15

Welcome to edition 15 of Highline Magazine and if you’re a speedway sedan fan, this issue is for you.

We’ve covered the recent history making Late Model Sedan Championship in big, illustrated fashion (40 pages) plus there’s Grant Woodhams’ reflection and recollection back on the 1986 Grand National Sedan Championship – the precursor to the modern Late Model Sedans - with some cracker photos courtesy of the Tony Loxley collection.

We’ve also got a story some competitors didn’t want us to run on the burgeoning use of the CT525 crate motor in Late Model competition.

There’s a great self-penned story on how the doyen of Australian speedway media, Mr Dennis Newlyn, got his start and some of his more memorable early moments and personalities.

Please visit

Enjoy and please share widely. 

Francis claimed NSW Compact Speedcar Title

Rod Francis claimed his second NSW Compact Speedcar Title last night at Goulburn Speedway leading from green to checkers after qualifying off pole for the 20 lap MOTOGENN supported final.

It was not an easy win for Francis by any means with another former state champ, Rob Eyeington, right on his tail for the full distance. Eyeington had started outside Francis as 2nd highest point scorer.

Mark Heaton had to do it the hard way after being relegated to the rear after an early race incident that saw Victorian champ, Justin Paull ride out a massive end for end roll down the front straight. Heaton passed Alan Day on the last lap to claim third spot on the podium.

Justin Paull's ventures to Goulburn haven't been kind, but back in the pits after the final he made it quite clear that this track wasn't going to get the better of him and he is determined to come back and "beat this place".

With the weather throwing up all sorts of challenges in the lead up to this meeting the track was in surprisingly great shape for the first round of heats.

Craig Hickey made his intentions clear with an all the way, comfortable win in heat one. Stewart Henderson was under no pressure claiming 2nd with Bruce Adams getting quicker by the meeting placing 3rd.

Steve Zarb brought on the yellows after 3 laps into heat 2 after driving head long into the turn 2 wall. The car sustained enough damage to put him out for the night. When the race resumed it was Mark Heaton assuming the front running holding out a fast finishing Rob Eyeington and Rod Francis to take the win.

Rod Francis made some minor changes to the number 4 machine for the 3rd heat and set a blistering pace out front taking the black and white easily ahead of Mark Heaton and Dan Biner.

As the 98 machine of Rob Eyeington drove under the checkered flag there were simultaneous accidents at opposite ends of the track. Craig Hickey hit the turn 3 - 4 wall and rolled while in turn 2 Brad Forgard rode a wheel and had a ride on the wild side. Alan Day placed 2nd with Bruce Adams given 3rd. Forgard was attended by the ambos back in the pits with a suspected broken collar bone. Hickeys night was also over with too much damage to make a return.

Justin Paull had a disappointing start to the night breaking a throttle cable in his first heat and the repairs made not making it thru his second heat. He recovered strongly winning heat 5 by about 50 metres over Dan Biner and Rod Burns.

The final heat and Rod Francis bagged his second heat win to top the points going into the final. Rob Eyeington chased hard but couldn't get close enough to the winner and had to settle for second. Alan Day was again consistent in placing 3rd.

The NSW Compact Speedcar Club would like to thank MOTOGENN who's valuable sponsorship of this meeting is greatly appreciated. Thanks to the Saville clan for the BBQ at the end of the night. To all the volunteers and officials a special thanks, without you all this would not happen.

Mills the master again.

Echuca’s young veteran Travis Mills won his second consecutive Speedcar feature and third for the season last night (25th March) at Nyora Raceway on a hooky but testing track.

Local Pakenham ace Paul Farrell pushed hard all night for second place and is re-emerging as a threat as the team are now getting on top of some previous handling issues an in a topsy-turvy race that saw many issues pole sitter Matt Papa came home third after being sent rear of field and being involved in a number of incidents.

The Sydney based two-car Syndicate Racing Team of Dan Biner and Jamie Hall experienced their first hit out at Nyora and finished 4th and 6th respectively separated only by Jack Day. Biners’ result could have been much better except for some bad luck and a couple of incidents.

After last week’s emotional Skip Palmer Memorial a number of teams were missing from the show but the little cars were still packed with plenty of excitement.

In the opening heat Biner led after Papa and Grant Patton clashed and spun on the second lap. Biner went on to take the win from Ash Booker who just held on to beat a recovering Papa.

Heat 2 went green to chequer with Mills scoring from Farrell and Joe Lostitch.

The tight track was causing problems for many drivers and heat 3 had a few issues including a spin by Biner on lap 2 followed by a spin by Booker on the restart that also caught out Day and Craig Smith.

Mitch Whiting (MWI MidWest Imports V17) then slowed and retired on the restart and a couple of laps later the same thing occurred to Patton. On the last lap Biner was running second only to spin leading to the race being declared with Papa scoring the win from Booker and Smith.

As was the pattern, heat 4 went trouble free with Lostitch leading a tight trio of himself, Farrell and Mills across the line.

Papa had shown good speed all night and started the main event from pole with Mills (Redline Engineering/Dutton Garage V10), Lostitch (Kerby Kerb V22), Farrell (Essendon Ford/MWI MidWest Imports #V2), Booker (i Saw Concrete/Frankies Garage/Power Racing V59), Craig Smith (Parken Engineering V88), Biner, Hall, Toby Smith, Patton (Mech-N-Air/Klasev Building Group V0), Day (bjs Motorsport/Cazberg Earthworks V8) and Amber Ghent completing the field. Troy Woolley in the Griffiths #57 should have started but his dry sump tank had become dislodged and was dragging on the ground.

At the start Papa spun in turn 1 and a huge melee ensued with the luckless Craig Smith t-boning Papa hard as Booker, Lostitch, Biner, Patton and Toby Smith were all involved.

Both Smiths were out as was Lostitch. With some man power, Biners’ side nerf was pulled off the tyre and he was able to restart. Incredibly so was Papa who appeared to have no damage at all.

For the compete restart Mills now had pole from Biner(?) Day, Farrell, Patton, Papa, and Ghent.

On the start Biner got the jump and led Mills and Farrell, but Mills was applying maximum pressure and eventually Biner spun while leading in turn 4.

Mills was now leading from Farrell and Day until Patton spun again.

The next stoppage was for Patton again who after recovering to 4th place got loose and hit an infield marker tyre in spectacular fashion.

The final laps thankfully ran without issue as Mills took the win from Farrell, Papa, Biner, Day and Hall.

Brown bags 2nd Avalon win. Trio of tumbles.

16 year old Sydney schoolboy Kaiden Brown vanquished the demons of a nasty wreck a fortnight ago to score a hard fought win in the final points paying event for the Victorian Speedcar Drivers Association of Victoria at Avalon raceway last night (April 1st).

Brown was made to work hard for his second victory at the Geelong venue while Tasmanian Champion Joe Lostitch stormed home in the last 100 metres to grab second from Glen Shaw in a thrilling finish.

Again another stout field of over 20 racers were in the pits including Sydneysiders Brown and the two car Sydicate Communications team of Jamie Hall and Dan Biner. It would prove to be a bitter sweet night for the Syndicate team with Biner grabbing fourth while Hall took home a destroyed car after a flip into the turn three catch fence.

Halls wreck was the first of three with two of them involving the Sydney team. In the second even bigger flip of the night Grant Patton (Mech-N-Air/Klasev Building Group V0) rode out a series of flips in the same corner after contact with Biner while dicing hard for position. The final flip of the night was for Glen Wiles who was accidentally upended when he and Travis Mills made contact down the front straight in the feature while Mills was trying to lap Wiles. Thankfully in all three incidents the drivers were all okay.

A few drivers had issues in hot laps including Justin Paull who was making his debut in the Paul Jordan owned Speedcar. The current Victorian Compact Speedcar Champ bounced back to put in some solid heat race results while adjusting to the heavier, more powerful machine.

Domain Ramsey led 3 quarters of the opening heat before Mills made the winning pass with Justin McMinn 3rd.

Wiles and Lostich both tasted the turn 3 wall in heat 2 after contact as Brown scored a confidence boosting win from Biner and Keith Astrella.

Patton came from towards the rear of the field to win heat 3 as Matt Papa and Paul Farrell made contact with Papa also tagging the wall. Farrell rallied from the restart to grab second ahead of Shaw.

Heat 4 saw the demise of Hall in the aforementioned flip after contact with McMinn. Lostitch drove a heady race to withstand the pressure of form racer Mills with McMinn 3rd.

Papa redeemed himself in heat 5 winning from David Alford and Ramsey who’d come from the back after an earlier spin.

The final heat saw the Biner-Patton clash and roll and Farrell led the heat until the last lap when Brown made the winning pass. Shaw was again solid in 3rd.

With an inverted 8, the line-up for the 30 lap final saw McMinn on pole from Shaw (SP Valves and fittings supplies/Atlantic Performance Oils V72), Biner (Syndicate Communications N62), Ramsey (MidWest Imports/Indy Race Parts V71), Papa, Farrell (Essendon Ford/MWI MidWest Imports #V2), Mills (Redline Engineering/Dutton Garage V10), Brown (TFH Hire, Rondalee Fabrications #97), Lostitch (Kerby Kerb V22), Ryan McKenna (Surfcoast Tree Service/Angry Ant Mini Loaders & Wood Chippers V14), Wiles (Trueline Engineering V5), Jack Day (bjs Motorsport/Cazberg Earthworks V8), Toby Smith, Alford (Alfie’s Excavation & Plant Hire/TEH Transport Equipment Hire V18), Paull and Amber Ghent.

Into the first turn and Papa was a little loose and Mills couldn’t avoid tagging Papa who spin into the infield tyre marker and out of the event.

With McMinn leading from Shaw and Ramsey the next issue was lap 3 when Farrell closed on Mills too quick and tagged him only this time Farrell lost out spinning into the wall and flattening a tyre.

On lap 5 Lostich had a half loose and Astrella struck him and retired.

At this stage Brown was still back in 6th while McMinn led.

With a few consistent laps being laid down Mills was on the charge and by lap 8 was up to 2nd but just 6 laps later his race was over after the contact with Wiles eliminated both and ended Mills’ chances of a hat-trick of wins.

McMinn was doing a great job out front and on the restart came a couple of enthralling laps as he and Ramsey went side by side for a couple of laps which allowed Brown to close in and then sweep past into the lead. Just after this McMinn had a half loose and couldn’t avoid the infield tyre marker ending his race.

Brown the led the remaining 13 laps to the chequered flag while behind him things were unsettled. Ramsey gave up 2nd place with a spin on lap 19 and then Lostitch found his speed and started to move forward grabbing second on the line from Shaw, Biner, a recovered Ramsey, Alford and Day.

In victory lane the young tyro was quick to thanks his sponsors, crew and family before packing up and hitting the road back to Sydney in time for a Monday morning school exam.

The next event for the mighty midget speedcars is scheduled for April 29th at Avalon Raceway with a possible show at Nyora on April 22nd still to be confirmed.

Mills Skip’s to Speedcar Memorial

Victorian Ace Travis Mills won the inaugural Skip Palmer Speedcar Memorial last night (November 18th) at Avalon raceway and promptly handed back the unique, one of a kind trophy, to Skip’s step dad and former car owner John “Flux” Fitzgerald in a magnificent gesture.

“I feel privileged and honoured to have won the first ever Skip’s race but I think it is only fitting that this trophy be given back to Fluxy (Fitzgerald)” said Mills in a magnanimous from the heart moment when presented with his first place trophy (see photo below).

Mills’ comments summed up exactly the feeling amongst most of the field who either knew young Skip personally and/or raced both with and against him.

Completing the podium was runner up Michael Stewart in Ben Dillons #SA9 and Domain Ramsey in his own #71.

For the first time in possibly decades, there were more Speedcars competing in Victoria than there was open class Sprintcars with a stellar field of 25 cars on hand.

The action started right from the first lap when sentimental hopeful David Alford in Fitzgerald’s V18 when he spun and the car fell over onto its side. Queensland’s Anthony Chaffey (JDS Motorsport & Racing V26) was also caught up in the incident but all cars restarted with Grant Patton (Mech-N-Air/Klasev Building Group V0) going on to take a narrow win from rookie Mitch Whiting (MWI MidWest Imports V17)and Justin McMinn (McMinn Motorsport V12).

Heat 2 was a straight forward affair with South Australian Brett Ireland (C1 Speed/The Speedway Shop SA83) scoring in a non-stop affair from Glen Shaw (SP Valves and fittings supplies/Atlantic Performance Oils V72) and newly crowned and inaugural Tasmanian Champion Joe Lostitch (Kerby Kerb V22).

Paul Farrell spun early in heat three in his Tim Fisher owned Essendon Ford/MWI MidWest Imports #V2 but then shortly after the restart Ryan McKenna rode out a wicked flip in his Surfcoast Tree Service/Angry Ant Mini Loaders & Wood Chippers V14 after he got high on the back straight and turned the car off the wall but down onto another car. McKenna was okay but his once pristine car was out for the night. The race which had been a beauty at the front was declared early with Mills (Redline Engineering/Dutton Garage V10) getting the win from Andy Pearce (Lucas Oil V15) and Matt Papa (V25).

Whiting cemented his burgeoning promise with the win in heat 4 from Ramsey (MidWest Imports/Indy Race Parts V71) and Stuart Ferguson (Bass River Motors V4).

Heat 5 went to Mills from Luke Ferguson (Bass River Motors/Atlantic Performance Oils/Alpine Water Cartage V44) and Pearce.

Heat 6 finally saw Stewart finish a heat and win in the Mainlne Dynolog Dynamometers/Devil Race Karts SA9 from Ashley Booker (I Saw Concrete/Frankies Garage/Power Racing V59) and Papa.

21 cars would take the field for the first ever Skip’s Race with Mills on pole from Whiting, Ireland, Pearce, Booker, Patton, Papa, Luke Ferguson, Ramsey, Shaw, McMinn, Stewart, Lostitch, Stuart Ferguson, Alford (Alfie’s Excavation & Plant Hire/TEH Transport Equipment Hire), Farrell, Craig Smith (Parken Engineering V88), Glen Wiles (Trueline Engineering V5), Jordan McKay (V.E.K. Tools/Penrite N41), Jack Day (bjs Motorsport/Cazberg Earthworks V8) and Ben Moulden (Westside Meat Australia/MidWest Imports V21).

Into turn 1 on the opening lap and Whiting spun with Patton getting caught up but just behind them a bigger melee was occurring that saw Farrell roll over. More than half the field was caught up in this action which included Smith, Lostitch, Wiles, Stuart Ferguson, Moulden, McKay, Alford, Day and Shaw. Whiting, Patton, Farrell, Wiles and Shaw didn’t make it back for the complete restart.

When racing got away Ireland led the first lap but Mills quickly took over on lap 2 and was never again headed. Behind him however, were some great battles as Stewart was working his way through. Lostitch spun on lap 4 and Day did the same on lap 12 as Stewart and Ramsey were in a fierce battle for second place.

On lap 16 Papa spun and Alford, Stuart Ferguson, Pearce, McMinn and Day were all involved so the race was declared due to time concerns with Mills scoring the win from Stewart, Ramsey, Ireland, Booker, Papa, Lostitch, McKay, Day, Smith, Alford, Stuart Ferguson, McMinn and the non-finishers of Pearce, Moulden, Luke Ferguson, Alford, Patton, Shaw, Farrell and Wiles.

Once presentations were over a free BBQ was held followed by a sombre moment when most competitors and Skip’s family joined together on the infield to spread Skips ashes.

R.I.P Skip.