Mark Puts The Heat On

Australian Compact Speedcar Title Shoalhaven Diesel Tech Nowra Speedway,
20-4-19

Mark Heaton, N#26 won last weekend’s Australian Compact Speedcar title at Nowra Speedway. He started out of Pole Position after scoring 2 wins and a second place in his heat races.

The feature race ran 25 laps flag-to-flag, without stoppages and Heaton was never seriously threatened. In winning the title, Heaton, became the first NSW driver in 19 years to stand on the top step at the Australian Title. The last NSW driver to win A1 was Tony Absom in 1999.

Defending champion, Victoria’s Justin Paull, was the best of the rest but he had to watch as Heaton motored off into the distance.

Heaton was in a class of his own and even when lapping the tail-enders towards the end of the feature, he seemed to unerringly pick the right line whereas Paull was baulked on a number of occasions.

Filling the final spot on the podium was NSW’s Ayden Elliott. For a relatively new driver in the division, Elliott was all class, scoring two 3rd places in his heats and easily taking 3rd place at the end of the feature.

As always, there were the customary hard luck stories.
Rob Rawlings Snr was certainly a hot favourite, scoring a win, a 2nd and a 3rd in his 3 heats. But, towards the end of his last heat, smoke was seen coming from the engine of the #15 car and he was a non-starter in the feature with a blown engine. Once again the curse of having the title decided on the one night hit Rawlings hard.

The grid for the feature was Heaton, Rawlings Sr, Paull, Elliott, Hudson, Francis, Rodriguez, O’Brien. Then Lahiff, Unwin, Hutchinson (B), Zarb, Allen, Hutchinson (M) and Brown.

Victoria’s Gary Hudson, who has come so close to an Aussie title on so many occasions, should also have been a favourite. A brand new car and a good lead-up to the event meant that he was in the fame. But the night just never went Gary’s way and, apart from a win in his first heat, he never looked like lifting the #1 plate.

Others who figured well in the heats but couldn’t carry the form through to the final were Victoria’s Louis Rodriguez, veteran driver, Rod Francis and Nathan O’Brien.

But the night belonged undoubtedly to Heaton. He has been the form driver of the division this season and justice was probably done with him taking “the big one” given his excellent season in the lead-up to the title.

The track was in perfect shape with all of the drivers complimenting the track curator at Nowra for preparing a surface worthy of a title meeting.

A big crowd enjoyed the spectacle and the celebrations in the Compact Speedcar pit were loud and long and filled with good humour.

Congratulations to the NSW club for staging a meeting worthy of an Aussie title and congratulations to Mark Heaton, a thoroughly deserving A1.

Write up courtesy of Phill Hall