LAST Saturday night’s meeting at Falcones Bread Nowra Speedway was the NSW Title for the compact speedcars.
Fourteen of the 19 entrants last Saturday night were driving a bike-engined car and the top three positions in the title race were all bike-powered cars.
Defending champion, Queensland’s Gary Hudson, was driving the #69 car fitted with a ZX10 Kawasaki engine that had been dynoed during the week at 190bhp.
The heat races were frenetic as they always are at a title meeting with every driver riding the fine line between going as hard as they could to ensure a good grid position for the 35 lap feature race but not going so hard that they ran the risk of binning the car or blowing up the engine.
One who fell victim to the slippery conditions early was Victoria’s Robbie Gordon, who tripped and fell in between T1 and T2 when he strayed up track into the greasy stuff and hit the wall.
Amazingly, the car was not seriously damaged and, as the track dried and the racing line improved, Gordon suddenly emerged as the hot favourite, even shading Hudson in the eyes of some of the pundits.
His DNF in the early heat race penalised him to a lowly starting position in the feature and, with Hudson being on the podium in every heat, he ended up starting off pole.
Trying for his third successive title at this track in three years, Hudson was right where he needed to be.
As soon as the race started, Hudson set about establishing his lead and Gordon started carving through the field.
As with many title races, there were a number of stoppages in the early going as jockeying for positions while trying to make sure the leader did not get too far away caused some errors.
One who became a victim to the ever-present risk of open-wheel racing was Brisbane’s Emma Harris, who ended up on her side after a tangle with local driver, Tony Auselbrook.
As the race neared its conclusion, the number of stoppages ensured that, at each restart, Hudson’s carefully grafted lead was trimmed.
Lurking in the minors was fellow Queenslander, Wayne Corbett and the NSW pair of Alan Day and Craig Hickey.
But there was always going to be fireworks as Gordon came storming through the pack into second.
Hudson and Gordon then engaged in a war on wheels for several laps with the lead changing constantly.
A brutal inside pass by Gordon on Hudson in T3 saw them tangle and the race stopped again as the melee was sorted out.
At the restart both Gordon and Hudson were sent rear of field for their multitude of indiscretions.
This left Corbett in the box seat but not entirely safe.
Day, who has already scored a number of feature race wins this season, was glued to the tail of the Q10 car and looking for a chance to pass as the laps quickly dwindled away.
But it was not to be.
A piece of debris had damaged Day’s right rear tyre and he had to slow and preserve the tyre.
Despite this, the experienced Day kept his cool and collected second ahead of Hickey, who had driven quickly and sensibly all night to be in the box seat when it mattered.
Supporting categories on the night were Modified Production Sedans, which saw Canberra’s Wayne Olive drive the program, winning all three heat race and the feature.
Second in the feature was Allan Marskell, with Darryl Moon third in his Cortina.
Junior Sedans was similarly dominated by Marulan’s Braydan Willmington, winning the heats and the feature.
A big field of Wingless Sprintcars also featured on the program with their feature race being won by Daniel Sayre from Mark Blyton and Graham Flood.
Microsprints were a bit thin on the ground but still provided some good racing. Mitch Isaacs won the feature race from Rhys Marchant and Stephen Broadley.
The other division racing was the Legends Cars and their feature was won by Brett Mitchell, with Brad Giffen taking second and Michael Hebditch in third.
This Saturday night racing returns to Falcones Bread Nowra Speedway with the feature category being the Modified Production Sedans.
The NSW Title for this division will be decided with drivers from Queensland and Victoria set to face off against a strong field of NSW drivers.
Gates open at 3pm with racing kicking off from 6pm.