Story & photo by Les Taylor
The fourth round of racing for the 2014-15 speedway season at the Kings Auto Parts Cullen Bullen Raceway with over ninety drivers involved turned into a history making sensation.
Hosted by the Portland District Motor Sports Club the forty three event program just managed to conclude before the 10pm curfew and featured the debut of the amazing Legend cars with nineteen drivers set to face round seven of the LubeAlloy Country Series.
The Legends, powered by 1250cc Yamaha engines and based on American cars of the 1930’s and ‘40’s with running boards, were broken up into two main groups and a development group with a further twelve drivers competing.
Their racing was super close with many wheel hopping incidents and power charged spinouts but it was Glenn Philpott who truly mastered the tricky Cullen Bullen oval to take out the fifteen lap feature just ahead of Bryan Neal and ACT champion Robbie Rowlings.
Neal won two of the lead up heats while Tyson Moon, Glen Arnold, Michael Hebditch and Robbie Rowlings posted one victory each and the good news is that the Legend cars have promised to return to the humble little speedway next year.
Even more history was created when Sue Hardy, daughter of legendary Bart Wilkinson, drove his personally engineered and hand built BKW Special Micro Midget for two laps as pace car leading up to the ten lap memorial race named in his honor for Grand Prix Midgets.
Wearing her father’s original helmet and replica jacket Sue proudly lead the field for the warm up lap in a race that highly entertained the almost record number of spectators lining the fences.
Heat winners included Cory Tatarko, Stuart McMahon and NSW Champion Scotty Moir but it was Tatarko who eventually won the Bart Wilkinson Memorial from a determined Janelle Saville who diced her way into second place from the ever sideways Kel Macklin.
Secretary Sue Healey dominated the first two heats of the Tony Scott Plant Hire Four Cylinder Sedans before handing the hot Honda over to new owner Spud Elliott of Queensland who posted a second placing before winning the feature race from Orange driver John Spicer in a Laser and young Mitchell Brown of Bathurst in Ford Telstar.
Spirited drives came from Travis Spicer and Kevin Coleman both of Orange chased by Craig Priestley in a Laser.
The Atlantic Performance Oils Series Production class saw some tremendous dices throughout the field but it was Chris Warnock of Mudgee who won the feature race in his Falcon from Shane Duggan and Kevin Sawdy both driving Commodores.
Duggan won two heats in the lead up clashes with David Rapely of Orange the other victor while strong challenges came from Kevin Spencer, Scott Bradley, Mitchell Duggan, Phil Noy and Mel Priestley.
The Coates Hire RSA Street Stock Class always produces ground pounding racing and this time out it was Sydney’s David Giffin who claimed victory in the feature race after narrowly winning a heat.
Kevin Blackley was second in the feature driving the wheels off his Ford in the chase with youngest son Andrew while eldest son Martin won two of the previous heats.
Strong challenges came from Portland newcomer Darren Quinn, Jodie Blackley, Phil Clark and Paul Keavey of Sydney.
The Stones Pest & Weed Control Junior Class gave the experienced Shanyn Duggan a clean sheet of wins over Dylan Quinn while new drivers Natasha Spicer, Tarah Swadling and Amber Culverson continue to get faster and faster while Sarah Bradley made a dashing debut in her Corolla.
Unfortunately Bek Giffin, daughter of hard charger Raymond was forced to retire her Laser after clouting the unforgiving Armco fence in the first heat.
Portland’s very own Rob Stephenson drove like a man possessed to claim heat three and the feature of the Stones Pest & Weed Control Quarter Midgets chased by heat one winner NSW Champion Darren Todd and Brett Muller.
Also in the thick of the wheel to wheel action was heat two winner Brett Hall, Chris Davis, Dean Muller, Terry Bond and Jamie Dicker.
The Royal Hotel Cullen Bullen Microsprints gave us four different winners in this amazingly close racing category.
Lachlan Isaacs, Paul Curran and Mitch Isaacs each won a heat while Brett Sainsbury blazed to victory in the feature from Curran and Mitch Isaacs while Rhys Marchant, Marcus Gibbons, Peter Priest and Ernie Havas weren’t far from the action up the front.
Rounding out this amazing program were the Atlantic Performance Oils Go Karts with Australian champion Ayden Elliott victorious in two heats, Andrew Beattie took the other while Jason Beattie won the feature from brother Andrew with Elliott third.
At the drivers briefing before the meeting started, a special presentation was made, with a rousing round of applause, to a surprised Ray and Kevin Blackley for 24 years of outstanding service to the Cullen Bullen Raceway and Portland Districts Motor Sports Club.
Results of the pointscore held over three by eight lap heats and one ten lap feature were as follows:
Tony Scott Plant Hire Four Cylinder Class: 1st Travis Spicer Laser Orange, 2nd Mitchell Brown Telstar Bathurst, 3rd Kevin Coleman Corolla Orange.
Stones Pest & Weed Control Juniors: 1st Shanyn Duggan Honda Portland, 2nd Dylan Quinn Honda Portland, 3rd Tarah Swadling Mirage Orange.
Coates Hire RSA Street Stock: 1st Kevin Blackley Falcon Cullen Bullen, 2nd David Giffin Commodore Sydney, 3rd Andrew Blackley Commodore Cullen Bullen.
Atlantic Performance Oils Series Production class: 1s Shane Duggan Commodore Portland, 2nd Kevin Spencer Torana Mudgee, 3rd Kevin Sawdy Commodore Portland.
The 2014-15 speedway season continues at the Kings Auto Parts Cullen Bullen Raceway on Saturday 28th February commencing at 4pm.