Rushworth Speedway action thrills locals

By Shepparton News

Rushworth Speedway action on Saturday provided a great night's entertainment with sedans, big V8s and little pocket rockets on the most important club night of the season.

Adam Box was victorious in the Paul Benton Memorial for the first time, Jason Crawford the winner of the Grand Prix Midgets Ironbark Classic and the women put on a classic race of their own with Belinda Chalcraft taking a feature race win.

The Goulburn Valley Open Saloons and Production Sedans combined to compete for the Paul Benton Memorial, honouring a president of the club, and Box made his intentions clear from the start with victory in heat one by a huge margin.

Jay Nicolaisen served up a win in the second and then completing the big three Paul Lamb won heat three to ensure all the top drivers had one each.

In the fourth qualifier Box set the fastest one-lap time of the night with a 19.206 in winning the race, while Nicolaisen won the next and Box made it a clean sweep for his qualifying with a win in the sixth.

Behind the big three in qualifying was Braiden Simmonds, Jaiden McCann and Mark Bergman to make up the top six as the field lined up for the 20-lap feature.

Box, Nicolaisen and Lamb went at each other lap after lap once the green flag unfurled and in particular Nicolaisen and Lamb got really close to each other.

As the race went on Nicolaisen increased the pressure on Box and looked for room to pass down low and up around the outside before the chequered flag unfurled with Box finishing just ahead of Nicolaisen and Lamb, all separated by less than a second.

In the Ironbark Classic for the Grand Prix Midgets six qualifying races sorted out the field for what would be an inversion draw final.

Janelle Saville, the defending champion, and Jason Crawford topped the qualifiers after Trevor Perry, Saville, Crawford, Chris Fowler and then Saville and Crawford again won the qualifying races.

Perry set the fastest one-lap time of 16.455 with Crawford completing the fastest 10-lap race as the winner in race three with a time of 3:0.28.

Crawford then inverted the field with himself from eighth and Saville in seventh, while Perry did not start the final due to some engine issues.

The 20-lap final began with Katandra’s David Bacon leading early before Mooroopna-raised Lisa Chalcraft moved to the lead.

Saville moved through the field with Crawford following her and by lap five she was chasing Chalcraft who had a handy lead.

Fowler was the first of the top drivers to pull out of the race then Saville followed. Louis Rodriguez from Kyabram was the next to go and on lap 17 after a caution light brought the field back together, Crawford rounded up Chalcraft and took the race lead.

Crawford went on to win from Chalcraft and rookie Shepparton-raised driver Alex Myers.

Visiting Dirt Modified action was the second quickest class of the night with Michael Ardley in their first race clocking a 17.181 lap time on his way to a win. Zeke Edwards then cleaned up from that moment winning the second qualifier, then the third and finally claiming a win in the final ahead of Darryl Hickson, Steve Hopkins, Ardley and Steve Lodwick.

Another Chalcraft, this time Belinda, figured in the action in Ladies Saloons with her and great mate Felicity Roycroft at each other most of the night.

The final was a classic between Chalcraft and Roycroft with Lamb right behind them.

Roycroft looked for passes through turn three and four right through the race and kept the pressure on at the other end of the track also.

At the end of 12 laps, Chalcraft finished .290 of a second in front of Roycroft and Lamb.

In Junior Sedan racing Bradin Claridge won all four races going faster in each race.

In the final Claridge timed with 20.543 for a single fastest lap and took the win from Keiden Britton, Connor Claridge, Jordan Simmonds and Liam Tooby.