Last nights meeting was all about honouring a true champion and legend of our club and our class, Alan Streader. We were so privileged to have Alan in attendance last night to witness a fantastic finish to the 17 lap feature raced in his honour.
Mark Heaton took out the win in a very tight battle, particularly over the closing 3 laps, finishing marginally in front of Shaun Robinson and Louis Rodriguez.
Alan was particularly emotional when he was presented with an embroidered red scarf honouring him.
With four visitors from Victoria adding to an already healthy first meeting roll-up of New South Wales drivers the anticipation was enormous. Things weren’t looking too good on the weather front with dark clouds and the threat of rain all around the race track and surrounding areas greeting the teams as they rolled into a bursting at the seams Parramatta pits, but befitting a meeting of this stature the show was to go on.
Nature is the perfect water truck and rain in the days leading up to the event meant the track was as racy as you could ever want with lines from top to bottom. The laps times were as fast at the beginning of the night as they were at the end.
The first meeting woes affected several drivers, succumbing to varying mechanical problems. Oddly enough clutch issues stood out as the number one culprit. Add to that a couple of electrical faults depleting the field before the start of the feature.
Our man of honour Alan Streader had a very comfortable seat in the corporate box, joining him were his two sons, who had travelled down from Queensland and his daughter from Kangaroo Valley. Beside him were some of his closest Speedway family including former Aussie Champion, Ronnie Hutchison. Ronnie was instrumental in getting Alan to the track and back home again.
There was Col Barr who towed his replica TQ down from Queensland for the event. Col raced against Alan back when we were known as TQ’s at Windsor Speedway in the early 60’s. Ash Kindred, Clarke Wheeler, Ray Scarborough, Richard Stott and Gordon Callaghan, who owns Alans last Compact, a car he plans restoring before round 2, were representing the Vintage Compact Speedcar Club. Sitting just in front was Steve McEvoy, chassis builder to the stars. He built cars for the likes of Rob Worthington, Skip Jackson, Rod Bowen, Steve Brady and many other champions.
Setting the nights fastest time was Shaun Robinson recording a 15.763 on his way to winning heat four. Shaun’s performance on the night came as a real surprise as we had only seen him at two race meetings last season. The first of these he blew an engine in a big way at Nowra before travelling down to Swan Hill in Victoria where he unceremoniously backed the car into the wall. Lets now hope he can continue his winning ways as the season continues to unfold.
It was no surprise to see two of Victoria’s best, Butch Hutchinson and Louis Rodriguez on the pace early. Louis started with a second in heat 1 before greeting the checkers first in his second heat. At the fall of the checkers in the feature a half a second separated Louis from the winner. Butch had two podium places in the heats and was running very strongly in the feature challenging for the front spot before a slipping clutch forced him out.
Former Aust 1, Justin Paull had one of those nights were nothing went right as did Mark Hutchinson who had all sorts of problems with the ex-OZ 1 car of Peter Robotham.
Joanne Heaton was having her first meeting at the wheel of a Compact, though gear box problems saw her unable to front for the final.
Club president, Andrew Coppock had his best ever meeting, finally putting behind him the dramas of the past two seasons. Andrew was never outside the top five and picking up fifth in the feature.
The recipient of an invitation to take part in the Speedway Australia “Rising Star Program” last season, Ethan Brown, just got quicker and quicker, culminating in an outstanding fourth place finish in the feature.
The winner of the highest finishing “Rookie” award presented by our friends at L.A. Racing Lubricants was Jamie Candy. Jamie also improved all evening setting a faster lap time each time he went out. A fine 3rd placing in a heat and 6th in the feature gets him off to a great start in what will be a tough battle for the Rookie of the Year Award.
Steve Zarb looked impressive all night never outside the top three, that was until the feature when he tipped it on its lid while battling for a top three spot. It was a gentle roll with no real serious damage.
Canberra’s Kyle Sharpe showed some real pace challenging, on several occasions, some more fancied competition. His feature ended after running over the back wheel of another car executing a couple of twists with pike down the front straight.
Nathan O’Brien had an outstanding season 2018-2019 and was heading in the same direction with 2 thirds and a second in the heats that would have had him starting towards the pointy end in the feature before a bent rear axle forced him to retire before the race began.
Starting his second season of racing, Andrew Burnham missed the first heat with a broken gear selector. Not a part that many would carry with them but thankfully Mark Heaton did. Mark was happy to offer up the part to get another car on the track. Andrew recorded a couple of forth placings in his 2 remaining heats. Running well in the feature early before a broken rod end on the rear suspension put him out of the running.
First time Compact racer, Matthew Wark from the Central Coast had plenty of dramas starting with a blocked fuel filter then ending with some electrical issues. The former Super Kart racer is not deterred and is super keen to get the better of this dirt thing.
Scott Saville was just not able to get his machine to fire. It had his full attention all night. Once he gets this thing going expect to see some action from the former GP Midget Australian Champion.
Alan Day had a real challenge on his hands trying to figure out an unusual, in Compacts, engine. A V Twin Suzuki. Hopefully they will work it out as this thing sounds sweet.
Stewart Henderson spent more time in the pits than on the track with what appeared to be a continuation of last season’s issues.
Another in the hunt for Rookie of the Year honours is young Jack Stokes. Very impressive in his first outing picking up a fine fifth placing and setting a super quick time of 16.103 on the way. Jack, from down Nowra way was another to fall victim of a fried clutch.