Tasmania’s Callum Harper is the 2017 Lucas Oil Australian Late Model Champion after a dominant display on night number two at Sungold Stadium, Premier Speedway, Warrnambool.
Harper started the 40-lap feature event from pole-position after he managed to win the starting order defining Pole Shuffle, when he was-able to end the barnstorming run of Craig Vosbergen who was seemingly untouchable throughout the pole shuffle before Harper put an exclamation mark on his right to be the outright favorite for the Championship decider.
After several first lap incidents, the first that saw turn four of Sungold Stadium resembling a car park, with as many as ten cars all involved in some minor fashion.
Once the race proper was under green flag conditions it was Vosbergen who would hold sway over Harper and the rest of the field for the first eight laps before Harper could arrest the situation and lead for the first time on lap nine.
Behind the lead duo it was action stations as Michael Holmes (W91), David Doherty (N25), Ben Nicastri (N99) and Bruce Mackenzie (N6) all waged war as Paul Stubber also began to reel in the front markers.
A succession of caution flags saw the demise of the likes of one of the pre-race fancies in Jamie Oldfield, while Luke Raymond was another that would be forced to watch on from the in-field, joining early retirees Tim Bink (N41), Night One Feature Winner David Robertson (X4) and Carter Armstrong (Q35).
Meanwhile out in front it was all Callum Harper and as the laps began to wind down the current and defending Australian Super Sedan Champion looked set to achieve a rare double. As the race entered the final ten laps it was Harpers race to lose as Doherty found his way to second, but without any real answers to the charge of Harper.
The exciting Paul Stubber who started from position nine kept on keeping on, persevering throughout the main event and managed to claw his way to third in the dying laps.
Vosbergen’s gallant run was coming to an end as a coveted podium finish began to elude him and as the checkered flag fell for Harper, it would be the young Tasmanian claiming the Australian Championship from Doherty and Stubber with Vosbergen being forced to settle for fourth with Ben Nicastri rounding out the top five.
Michael Holmes (W91) was sixth across the line, with 2015 Australian Champion Darren Kane (Q36) finishing seventh, Bruce Mackenzie (N6) eighth, the N12 of Darryl Grimmins (ninth) with Daniel Barton being the first Victorian home in tenth.
They were followed by the winner of the Velocita Racewear Hard Charger Award Winner Veronica McCann (W50) who started from position 21, having transferred from the B-Main, before eventually finishing in 11th.
McCann was followed across the line by Clayton Pyne (N9), Cameron Pearson (V10), Mick Hetherington (V40), Jay Cardy (W52) with Stuey Hill (S4) the last of the finishing cars in 16th.
Retirement were recorded by Kye Blight (W41), Nathan Disney (N11), Ryan Fenech (N29), Jamie Oldfield (W51), Luke Raymond (S5), David Robertson (X4), Carter Armstrong (Q35) and Tim Bink (N41).
Earlier in the night the final five heats were contested on what was racy Sungold Stadium surface that can only be described as a total contrast to the night one surface.
The heat wins and some invaluable points went the way of Jay Cardy (W52), Daniel Barton (V25), Darryl Grimson (N12), Craig Vosbergen (W8) and the N99 of Ben Nicastri.
The B-Main was won by Veronica McCann (W50), who was joined in transferring to the A-Main by Cameron Pearson (V10), Mick Hetherington (V40) and Luke Raymond (S5).
On the same program current Australian Junior Sedan Champion Angus Hollis showed exactly why he carries the A1, with an impressive display in taking out the 20 lap final in the prestigious Neville Pike Cup.
Hollis was joined on the podium by Ricky Cornwell in second place while Jackson Lunt was again impressive in taking home third place.
Earlier in the night heat race wins went the way of Hollis, Cornwell and Jye Irving while Hollis confirmed his status as the leading Junior Sedan pilot of the night with a second heat race win.
The Junior B-Grad final was also a hotly contested affair with Darcy Wilson doing everything right in claiming the feature race win from Cody Reed and Rhys Meakins.
Reed and Wilson were the two B-Grade heat race winners.
A strong field of Street Stocks were also on hand to fill what was a busy night of racing, with their annual Go-Switch-Go event attracting a healthy field of 30 plus cars.
The twin 15 laps events were held on a slick racing surface at the completion of the Late Model Feature Event and saw Michael Clarke produce an impressive drive to take the win from early race leader Anthony Beare with Darryl Atkinson home in third.
The next event at Sungold Stadium, Premier Speedway, Warrnambool will be held on Sunday March 12 and will feature a round of the Eureka Sprintcar Series which will also double as the Round 2 of the USC Chase, while joining the Sprintcars on the program will be Legend Cars and V8 Dirt Modifieds.
Web: www.premierspeedway.com.au Twitter: @sungoldstadium Facebook: Premier Speedway Instagram: @premierspeedway