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 www.highlinemagazine.com.au

Enjoy and please share widely. 

R.I.P John Surtees

A statement from the Surtees Family

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our husband and father, John Surtees CBE.

John, ‪83, was admitted to St Georges Hospital, London in February with an existing respiratory condition and after a short period in intensive care he passed away peacefully this afternoon. His wife, Jane and daughters, Leonora and Edwina were by his side.

John was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. He was also one of the true greats of motorsport and continued to work tirelessly up until recently with The Henry Surtees Foundation and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit.

We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his amazing life. He has set a very real example of someone who kept pushing himself at his peak and one who continued fighting until the very end.

We would like to thank all the staff at St George's Hospital and The East Surrey Hospital for their professionalism and support during this difficult time for us. Thank you also to all of those who have sent their kind messages in recent weeks.

Funeral details will be announced in due course.

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.

Thomas is the Master

The Wingless Sprints returned in big numbers to Sydney Speedway with throttle stomper Dean Thomas taking an emphatic win. Jason Bates and Daniel Flood rounded out the top three.

Like the Late Models, the Wingless main event ran virtually trouble free and put on a good show. Harley Smee and Mark Blyton completed the top five. There was a heart stopping moment for Mark Blyton when his son, Marshall, bicycled in front of him. Marshall recovered to finish seventh.

There was heartbreak for both Sean Mayo and Sean Dicker when both of them became tangled up on the opening lap and being forced to retire.

A Main Results:

1. Dean Thomas

2. Jason Bates

3. Daniel Flood

4. Harley Smee

5. Mark Blyton

6. Troy Carey

7. Marshall Blyton

8. Leighton O’Brien

9. Jarrad Rust

10. Peter Granger

11. Jamie Dicker

12. Darryl Marshall

13. Sam Louttit

14. Jamison Blyton

15. Zac Pacchiarotta

16. Nick Tatnell

17. John McRae

18. Wayne Arnold

19. Darren Dalton

20. Kristopher Johnson (DNF)

21. Michael Sammut (DNF)

22. Sean Mayo (DNF)

23. Sean Dicker (DNF)

24. Mitchell O’Brien (DNF)

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.

Kane shines but Grimson and Doherty push hard

Queensland sedan star Darren Kane scored a convincing win in the 40 lap NSW Dirt Muscle late Model Championship at Sydney Speedway.

Kane took the lead around mid-race distance and survived a number of late race restarts to record the championship win.

The opening twenty circuits ran uninterrupted and at one stage looked like the forty laps would run non-stop, however yellow lights peppered the final run home.

Second to the line was Darryl Grimson and veteran David Doherty came home in third. Defending NSW Champion Ben Nicastri placed fourth and Clayton Pyne finished a creditable fifth.

Earlier in the night Victorian competitor Gary Bryans needed medical attention.  After taking the green in his first heat of the night, Bryans felt uneasy going down the back straight.   He returned to the pits where his crew and onlookers could clearly see he was suffering from heat exhaustion.  

It had been a 40 plus day and the heat hadn't dropped by race time.  Gary spend 3 hours receiving medical attention and on return to his car and looked remarkably better.  We wish him and his family a safe drive back to Victoria.

The Late Model A-Main results were:

1. Darren Kane

2. Darryl Grimson

3. David Doherty

4. Ben Nicastri

5. Clayton Pyne

6. Nathan Disney

7. Daniel Barton

8. Brad Giffen

9. Jessica Cassidy

10. Ed Borg

11. Bruce McKenzie

12. Tim Bink

13. Michael Hickey (DNF)

14. Barry Kelleher (DNF)

15. Robert Carrig (DNF)

16. Joel Carrig (DNF)

17. Wade Carter (DNF)

18. Katelyn Hickey (DNF)

19. Todd Bayley (DNF)

20. Ryan Fenech (DNF)

21. Daniel Moon (DNS)

22. Gary Bryans (DNS)