Chris Paolini proved that being consistent and staying out of trouble while fast reaps rewards as he took home the Presidents Cup on Wednesday night at Archerfield Speedway. Paolini has been having a great year so far and continues to gain momentum and constantly being up near the front.
Clear blue skies greeted the cars as they filed into the pits and after drawing marble grids set about working out their plan of attack. Format was a little different from the normal night with three fifteen lap heats with points accumulated on finishing plus passing. Simple recipe go fast as possible but must finish….simple really??
Heat 1 got underway with the track having had a number of events already on it and a dry line starting to show itself. Dave Swan was on pole with Robbie Stewart out of 2. Stewart got the jump at the start with Byron Schmoll going with him. Barry Gibbes moved into third with Dave Collins making moves from the back. However lap 8 would bring out the reds as Collins hooked the cushion which sent the #21 skywards and over and out of the race. Dave was fine and the car wasn’t too badly damaged and would return for heat 2. At the green Stewart lead away but this time Schmoll would drift right up to and almost into the turn 2 fence, he saved it but would lose several spots. Stewart went on to take the win from Gibbes, Emma Harris, Wayne Corbett, Schmoll, Paul McMannim, Swan, Sarah Walker, Chris Paolini and Audie Malt. Along with Collins, Cameron Pesschier and Kyle Collins did not finish with Pesschiers night over with a hole in the engine!!
The drama was set to continue in heat 2. Dave Collins and Audie Malt led the field away with Collins grabbing the lead and Gibbes jumping from grid 4 to second place. Caution came out as Stewart was facing the wrong way after spinning in turn 2 and the field would set for the restart. The restart wouldn’t get out of turn 2 as Collins spun in front of the field leaving Gibbes no where to go but into him with McMannim piling into Gibbes. Car scattered everywhere like ten pins with thankfully nobody rolling over. Collins and McMannim would restart however Gibbes’ car had the front end knocked out of it. Third time lucky and this time Wayne Corbett grabbed the lead and bolted shadowed the whole way by the #41 of Harris with Paolini in third. McMannim’s race would be short lived as his car started smoking and on lap 5 his engine expired ending his night. Collins was still circulating altho the damage to his car was having an obvious impact. Corbett took the win from Harris, Paolini, Stewart, Walker, Swan, Collins and Malt. McMannim, Gibbes and Kyle Collins DNF.
The format was designed to make the night interesting and that it was. Leading into the last race Stewart, Corbett and Harris were the top three but there was another couple of twists to come!! Stewart would start on pole as a result of other cars out for the night so that moved the inside row up with Corbett and Harris also in the front two rows. Harris and Corbett swamped Stewart at the start however coming out of turn four for the first time both their races would end. Corbett would end up taking a wild ride up along the crash fence as the two cars touched while Harris was left with a flat right front. Corbett would extract himself unhurt but with some work to before the next meeting. At the restart Stewart led the field away but the big mover in the field was Gibbes out of grid 10 who’s crew plus numerous other teams crews had thrashed to get the car back on track after heat 2. He was running the high line realising he was still in contention now after what had happened. Gibbes was in second after 3 laps and chasing Stewart who looked to be comfortable in first….however there was yet another twist as Stewart only needing to finish started to slow as Gibbes passed him and disappeared. Stewart’s race would end as he lost fuel pressure and pulled infield. Meanwhile Dave Collins was going toe to toe with Paolini for second place and would get Paolini on the last corner of the last lap. Fourth home was Malt, Walker and Swan. Corbett, Harris and Stewart were DNF’s.
So after all the numbers were crunched Chris Paolini stood at the top of the table winning the cup with 78 points, Gibbes second with 76 points and Corbett in third with 70 points. The format for the night was definatly a winner and proved yet again just how competitive and close the racing has been this year. Thankyou once again to Sandra Stewart for your efforts and also our Driver Rep Peter Plesschier.