Rushworth wowed in final race for the season
Rushworth Speedway’s final race meeting of the season included two important club memorial feature events and the final chance for club class drivers to earn points towards the end of season championships.
A host of visiting classes made the day a huge one for the club, with almost 100 competitors at the event.
The Standard Saloons were competing in the co-major event of the day for the Goulburn Valley Auto Club, the Paul Benton Memorial in honour of a former club president.
In a borrowed race car from Portland, Morris Ahearn from Bendigo took wins in two of the three heat races, with Micheal Fleming-Robertson winning the other. In a terrific final, Ahearn finished in front of Corowa’s Micheal Fleming-Robertson, Ballarat’s Lachie Chivers, then Tim Hutchinson and Sam Rundell.
Co-main event action was also from the Victorian Speedway Council Ladies Open Sedans in the Margaret Beattie Memorial race where there were also six qualifying races. A granddaughter to Margaret, Belinda Chalcraft, won all three of her qualifiers and her best friend, Felicity Roycroft, won two, with Zoey Salau from Swan Hill winning the other qualifier.
The 20-lap final began with Chalcraft, Roycroft, Salau, Chelsea Hodge, Jacquie Fitzpatrick and Kelly Lamb in the top six starting positions. When the green flag unfurled Fitzpatrick moved forward two spots on lap one into third.
At the halfway mark, Fitzpatrick was the first of the favoured race drivers to pull out of the race with mechanical issues. Roycroft led Chalcraft, Salau, Hodge and Lamb. Ten laps later as the chequered flag flew Roycroft took the win by half a second.
Steve Lodwick, Dean Heseltine and Paul Sullivan all won heat qualifiers in the AMCA Nationals before the feature event over 12 laps was led start to finish by Heseltine to defeat Steve Lodwick, Sullivan, Rodney Bassett from Tasmania and Grant Cullinger.
Across four heat races the Compact Speedcars qualified for the President’s Cup feature event, with Justin Paull winning heat one and Daniel James from Kilmore the second and third heats, with Michael Conway taking victory in the last qualifier. The feature race was full of action, with crashes and breakdowns and eventually Joe Lostitch winning from Mark Cecil, Mark Hutchinson, Tania Hallett and Matt Papa.
Sports Sedans competed across six heat races. Corey Knox from Bendigo started the day with a win in heat one, Bradin Claridge from Kangaroo Flat the second then Knox took a second victory. Rhys Meakins from Kilmore won heat four, Felicity Roycroft from Kialla won the fifth then her brother Matthew Brooks took the final heat race. Knox then went on to win the feature in front of family friend Bradin Claridge and Roycroft.
In local club class action Shane Hutchins was the winner of the Goulburn Valley Production Sedans from Shane Hutchins, Jason Ahearn and Andrew Ahearn, and in Goulburn Valley Open Saloons Keith Simmonds was once again the winner from Scott Smith and Matt Smith.
The final local class that competed was the Goulburn Valley Juniors, and Connor Claridge took victory in front of Michael Sayers and Anthony Hanson.
Ashley Booker made a clean sweep of the Grand Prix Midgets Masters series round winning all three heat races before winning the final in front Mark Blackeby and Benalla racer Shawn Ward.
Goulburn Valley Auto Club will return to racing in October.