Rain. That was the talking point as drivers and crews were making their way down to Rosedale Speedway for the first outing for the 2015/2016 Victorian Compact Speedcar season. However, after about half an hour of drizzle the skies cleared up and a great nights racing was had!
Despite the small car count of 6 cars, Rosedale Speedway were keen to have us at their opening meeting and Heat 1 kicked off with Geoff Meyers moving from second into the lead around the outside of Will Van der Ark. However, Van der Ark didn’t stay in second for long as trouble soon struck the Robin Crawford owned #18. Oil was coming from somewhere under the bonnet onto the exhaust and Van der Ark headed for the infield. Meyers increased his gap over Louis Rodrigez who was now in second place and had a small lead over the battling duo of Chris Curren and Rodney Howie. These positions stayed the same as the chequered flag dropped. Non finishes in Heat 1 were Keith Astrella (jumped out of gear), Justin Paull (diff issue) and Van der Ark (suspected motor damage which saw him out for the night)
Heat 2 saw Meyers off pole with Howie in second and whilst they launched at the flag fairly evenly, Meyers was the first to turn 1 with Rodrigez hot on his tail. Astrella, with his car staying in gear, sped past Howie down the back straight and headed off after Meyers and Rodrigez. It only took another lap and Astrella was past Rodrigez and heading after Meyers. And so began a great battle with Meyers launching off the turns well but Astrella gaining massive time diving late into turns 1 and 3. With 2 laps to go Astrella slid under Meyers going into 2 but was unable to hold the position and Meyers got much better traction down the back straight and managed to hold on to take out the heat win from Astrella, Rodrigez and Howie.
The final heat had many talking with Astrella and Rodrigez off the front row and Meyers coming from the rear. Could Meyers rein in the ever improving Rodrigez and Astrella? A great start was had by Astrella but contact was had in turn 2 which was lucky not to cause any damage between Astrella and Rodrigez. Astrella’s car jumped out of gear and caught the committed Rodrigez by surprise which also allowed Meyers to slip underneath the carnage and race away for another heat win.
The final race saw Paull and Curren return after fixing problems with their cars. Meyers and Rodrigez led the field away and Paull was into third place by turn 3. Astrella seemed to be having issues with his car and was not as fast as he had been in the heats (he later retired.) Paull appeared too had fixed his few issues from the heats and was flying until lap 5 when he decreased his pace after running high in turn 2 (it was later found that his throttle body was slipping). The driver of the final was Howie. He was flying! Having returned after 7 years (I was moving house and found the car in the back of the shed so thought I’d bring her out!) he was having a great battle with Curren for most of the race. The final results were a win for Meyers, second for Rodrigez, third for Howie, fourth for Curren and Paull rounded out the field.
All drivers commented on a great nights racing on a wonderfully prepared track and refreshed facility. Rosedale have put in a massive effort over the off season and their tighter programing also saw all the cars loaded up by 10.30pm. We look forward to returning for the Curren Memorial on 20 February 2016
With the first race meeting complete the Compacts look forward to Darlington on November 14. More care are expected for Darlington as time simply ran out for some competitors to get them on to the track for Rosedale.