Despite a slight electrical issue and a blistered tyre Echuca’s Travis “Squizzy” Mills put in a storming drive to win the 73rd Victorian Speedcar Championship at Warrnambool’s Sungold Milk Stadium Sunday night January 7th.
Mills proudly joined his illustrious John and set history as the only father and son duo to have both won dual titles.
Michael Stewart, who’d flown in from New Zealand earlier in the day also put in an awesome drive and even threw in a shot at taking the lead following a late race restart but was unable to run down the race long leader.
A couple of Troy’s came next with Troy Jenkins working hard after an almost race long battle with pole sitter Reagan Angel and then in fourth was the other Troy, Troy Ware, whose top 4 result was outstanding considering he rolled during hot laps and then failed to complete his first heat. Wares charge from 18th to 4th also earned him the Permatex Hard Charger Award.
The previous night’s Super Series round at nearby Mt Gambier unfortunately culled a few cars from the entry list but it was still a great field of local and interstate racers champing at the bit to cut some quick laps around the high-banked venue.
Engine starts and hot laps caused some issues with Queenlander Ware the biggest casualty when he tagged the turn 3 wall and rolled. Ash Booker (i-Saw concrete) also had an engine miss-fire and Domain Ramsey had an issue with a push car and his rear nerf bar.
The opening heat however proved to be a great start to the night’s racing with Nick Rowe running the bottom groove while Stewart was on the wall with Ben Hall also in the mix in an awesome 3 car dice until Stewart made a slight error on the last lap that allowed Todd Wigzell to grab 3rd behind Rowe and Hall.
Heat 2 saw a couple of non-finishers but it was rising star Angel who took the win from Brett Ireland and Grant Patton.
As mentioned before, Ware dropped out of heat 3 on lap 1 but nothing was as dramatic as Adam Wallis (Boss Chassis) leading for the duration only to slow to a stop on the final lap allowing Mills to win from Andy Pearce, Ramsey and Jenkins with no other finishers.
Heat 4 saw another roll over when Luke Ferguson who’d spun in his earlier heat, spun again but this time added a roll over to the scenario. Wares’ fraught night continued when unbelievably while leading comfortably on lap 6 he spun!! Jenkins assumed the lead but Ireland was able to pass him for the win with Ramsey and Nick Parker in a close fight for third.
Nick Rowe tried to race heat 5 with a flat front right tyre before giving it up as Pearce took a nice win from Mills and the tight pairing of Stewart and Matt Jackson.
Tasmanian Champion Joe Lostitch looked good for the win in the final heat until Angel (UniCote/Tuff Buckets Aust) grabbed the victory off the last corner with Wigzell back in third.
Angel’s two wings, I mean wins, secured pole position for the 30 lap feature with Mills (Sacrifice Sccoters/Dutton Garage) alongside ahead of Pearce (Lucas Oil), Ireland (The Speedway Shop), Jenkins (BOC/Pirtek), Wigzell GJ Earthwork/Breakaway Concrete Cutting), Hall, Lostitch (Kerby Kerb), Stewart Kelley Body Works), Ramsey (Indy Race Parts), Parker (Permatex), Patton (Mech-N-Air), Rowe (lightning Karts), Jackson (Quick Time Titanium), Chris Nankiville (50fifty co), Dillon Ghent (Abrasive blasting service & supplies), Jack Day, Ware (Troy Ware Constructions), Brad Day (Cazberg), Justin McMinn, Ferguson (Bass River Motors), Robert Heard (Devil Race Parts) and Scott Doyle (Beestons/MudBuddy) whose car had refused to fire all night and would do the same for the feature leaving 22 cars to take the green.
Mills made the best start and set off on his course to victory slowly leaving Angel and Jenkins behind in their own battle as Stewart and Ware started their climb towards the podium.
Within 7 laps Mills running the top of the track was into lapped traffic which was predominantly running the bottom groove. By this time Stewart had worked his way to 2nd and looked to be marginally quicker through turn 1 and 2 than Mills running even higher on the track than the race leader. The time sheets however would reflect that Mills set the fastest lap being the only driver to go sub 14 seconds.
Just as the race was looking like going a scintillating 30 laps non-stop, Pearce and Heard brought things to a halt with a clash in turn 4.
On the restart with 11 laps to run Mills was leading Stewart, Angel, Jenkins Wigzell, Hall, Parker, Ware and the rest of the runners.
As the field tore into turn 1 Stewart drove to the bottom pulling almost evenly alongside Mills but couldn’t hold the car on the bottom and get the drive off the corner to move into the lead leaving Mills at the front and that was as close as he got even through another restart just 4 laps later when Parker stopped.
Over the final seven laps Stewart pursued Mills but to no avail finishing a mere 0.408 seconds behind with Jenkins next ahead of a relatively satisfied Ware, Angel, Wigzell, Jackson, Lostitch and Hall all on the lead lap. A lap down came Patton, Nankiville, Jack Day, Ghent, Brad Day, Heard and Ferguson.
Mill’s title capped off a great weekend having won the SSS round the previous night at Mt Gambier and now leading that series as well.
Keep up to date with any late nominations or changes via the Victorian Speedcar Drivers Association Inc Facebook page or the club’s website – www.vsdaspeedcars.com
VSDA 2018 race calendar (subject to change)
January 13 Avalon - G-Town Rumble/Rd 4 Track Championship
February 9/10 Murray Bridge SA – Australian Speedcar Championship 24 Bairnsdale
March 17 Avalon – Skips Race/Rd 5 Track Championship. 24 Redline – Bill Evans Classic
April 7 Wangaratta 21 Avalon – Round 6 Track Championship.
Further details and a complete list of nominations can be found on the VSDA Facebook page – Victorian Speedcar Drivers Association Inc.