REDLINE Raceway continued its habit of running big time events when they played host on Labour Day weekend to the annual King of the Mount for Street Stocks which this season was settled over two days along with supporting events, one of those was the Late Model Sedan Firecracker 5000.
After two days of action for the Street Stocks the fi nal became a event between two men Anthony Beare the defending back to back King of the Mount and Mark Jennings, both South Australians and both from around Mount Gambier, the rest of the feature fi eld were having great battles, especially the battle between 3rd back to the middle of the pack.
Twenty heat race events in total were run with Jennings qualifying at the top of the list of around fi fty entrants.
Night one heat racing started fi fteen heats and a preliminary feature race and it was a great night for Jennings taking out the fi nal on night one ahead of Brad McClure and Jason Degoldi both club members at Redline and Mick Clark and Dale Blomeley members of the local Ballarat Club.
Earlier Jayden Edwards, Anthony Beare, Degoldi, Lenny Bates, Blomeley, Shaun Henry, Beare again, Clark, McClure, Jennings, Daryl Atkinson, Andy Burgoyne, Shane Roycroft and both Jennings and McClure won the heats.
A best one lap time by Lenny Bates of 16.840 in heat four would stick for the rest of the weekend whilst Jennings picked up the closest heat win when he won by just .198 in heat fourteen.
Andrew Jordan, Corey Sandow, Atkinson, Darren Forrest and Dave Barrie won the final five heat races on day two before C Main and B Main races for the lower qualifiers gave them another shot or two at advancing to the final, Edwards, Daniel Drewett, Henry, Jordan, Roycroft and Dylan Campton progressed into the King of the Mountain race from the B Main.
The King of the Mount had a terrific start running for a number of laps before caution laps came into play in the first twenty laps as the competitors ran in a clockwise direction. It was when the race went the other direction in the run home the yellows kept coming. In the first half of the race Jennings started well however eventually Beare secured a comfortable lead.
When the race switched around Jennings put all sorts of pressure on Beare for the lead in the initial stages. On lap twenty nine Bates who was in a terrific tussle for a podium place tangled with Darren Giacometti. Giacometti end up crunching the wall and the way the stewards called it, Bates had squeezed Giacometti for room and Bates found himself being sent to the back of the field for the pending restart.
Beare from this point really stamped his authority on the race and was visibly better through traffic and went on to record a win in his third King of the Mountain in succession with Jennings second, Atkinson, Sandow and then Drewett rounding out the top fi ve.
On night one of the two days the Sprintcars came to town with new Victorian Champion Mark Laity leading the nominations and Dennis Jones one of the more well known Sprintcar races in Victoria in the fi eld.
Laity won the first heat of four with Gerry Hoekstra the second then Alistair Bastian and Wayne Nicholls. Nicholls won the fastest heat race over ten laps recording 2 minutes 26.785 in one of three of the heats to go non-stop without a caution period.
A roll over in the feature put Dennis Jones out of the race and the demise of Hoekstra who looked like he was going to charge on to a win changed the complexion of the race as Laity stormed to a second feature win in a row after having never won in a Sprintcar prior to his recent Victorian title success. Bastian fi nished second then came Adam Greenwood, Jason Langdon and Dillon Siely.
On night two the Late Model Sedans came from Mildura and Sydney or just from home to compete in the Firecracker 5000. Time trials began the evening with hot shot, Cam Pearson winning the time trails in an almost track record time for Late Models.
Graham Forte, Gary Bryans, James Cornfoot and Fiona Verhoeven were all very quick.
Pearson then won the fi rst qualifying heat race with a ten lap time of 2 minutes 20.407 by almost ten seconds and in the process booking a 13.382 second lap, still not good enough to be the new track record missing out by just .03 of a second. Brock Edwards, New Zealander Kristin Vermulen and Tasmanian Brad Smith won the heat races.
A twenty five lap final produced some very fast action, with great enter and exit speed of turn two by Pearson and some loose car handling skills as drivers spun time and time again.
Eventually Pearson did take the win from Forte, Verhoeven, Danny Amato and Vermulen.
The crowd was delighted at the speed, the way the car moves and the sound of the big Late Model Sedans and they will be back, bigger and better.
V8 Thunder Sedans supported the first night of racing with Steve Hodder too good in the final for Shane Stephenson and Greg Raggatt after earlier winning two heats.
On Sunday the Sports Sedans competed with Alexandra racers Shane Kruger and Jack Van Bremen the top drivers. Van Bremen won his first two heats of three and Kruger won his last two heats of three. Lucas Conder and Steve Kershaw won the other two qualifi ers for the final.
Kruger was tremendous in both the tough turn two and the very fast and flowing three to four at the top end of the track and he was in front of the field and putting a decent distance back to them when Tom McKenna crashed in a big way in turn one which left stewards calling a end to the program. As it turns out whilst everybody was leaving and the crash crew attended the accident scene, it was discovered the back pain McKenna was suffering was due to damaged vertebrae which the specialists confirmed at the hospital.