Victorian Chris Bellman successfully defended his “King of the Bridge” crown at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway on Saturday night (December 9) as he led all 20 laps after starting from the pole position. Second place went to Angelo Karoussis, who was the only other previous “King” in the field, with Dion Bellman and Jack Bell completing the podium.
“This is a really cool race to win. To get another one of these trophies, and the crown and the cloak is fantastic, that’s why we keep coming back. The local club and the Murray Bridge Speedway really put in a big effort into this race and I can’t thank them enough. I have also got to thank my crew and especially my Dad who drives the truck everywhere” added Chris as he accepted the massive winner’s trophy.
For Karoussis it was the second time he had been the runner-up to Bellman in a feature race this season, having been beaten by him at the Tolmer Speedway last month.
“I just needed another five laps, I was catching him in the lapped traffic, but I just ran out of laps” he conceded.
Bellman now joins Karoussis as the only two-time winners of the race.
Fifth place went to Matthew Symonds with Ash Sinclair making it five Victorians in the top six. Patrick Merritt, Steven Van Ginneken, Corey Jones and Joe Mercorella rounded out the top 10.
Earlier the heat winners were Merritt, Karoussis, Chris Bellman and Symonds while Chris Bellman won the top 8 dash.
The only real incident of the night occurred on the opening turn of the first heat when rookie Nathan O’Shae rolled ending his night early.
The night also saw a huge support program with Wingless Sprints, Super Sedans, AMCA Nationals, Street Stocks, Modlites and Junior Sedans.
After sitting out the early part of the season to concentrate on his Cycle Speedway duties, where he secured the World Championship, Joel Chadwick made a triumphant return to the Wingless Sprint ranks as he drove his new Australia #1 Triple X Chassis into victory lane. Second place went to Anthony Tapley with William Caruso, Jake Ashworth and Aaron Doe completing the top 5.
After electing to start a quarter of a lap behind the rest of the field Dave Gartner and Ryan Alexander couldn’t run down Paul Blenkiron in the non-stop 20 lap Super Sedan final but Gartner came extremely close as he failed by just over a half a second.
Jake Armstrong was a dominant winner of the AMCA Nationals final winning by over four seconds while Carey Weston continued his recent form in the Street Stocks as he defeated Darren Thorne and Tony Prideaux in a race that saw a majority of field finish the race on the infield.
The Junior Sedans had two features with Matthew Richter winning the “B Grade” final while Heath Thorne led home Aaron Tranter and Drew Flatman in a front wheel drive trifecta.
In the final class, the Modlites, Danny Prade won the reverse grid final over Justin Plaisted and Graham Knuckey but the race will be long remembered for a massive barrel roll on the front straight by Nathan Launer after contact with Andrew Launer. The contact saw both cars roll over with Andrew’s #85 machine rolling at least six times but luckily both drivers emerged from their race cars.
The next event at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway will see a new tradition begin with the opening round of the 2017/18 World Series Sprintcars tour on Boxing Day. The following night will see Round 2 conducted on what will be a massive two nights of Sprintcar racing that will include four American drivers along with the best drivers from around Australia.