An enormous field of Australian, NZ and USA Sprintcar giants will converge on Sydney’s iconic Valvoline Raceway this Friday and Saturday for the running of the most prestigious race of the season each and every season.
The Scott Darley Challenge honours the memory of a popular young racer who was tragically killed racing a Sprintcar in 2008 and ever since drivers from all over the world have been determined to line up in it and possibly score the lucrative win.
“The prizemoney is excellent,” says USA based Sydneysider Brooke Tatnell who flies back into Sydney tomorrow (Wednesday) “in fact it’s the richest possible payout in the country, but it’s not about that. This race is about honour. And remembering. And respect. You can’t buy those things.”
Tatnell, a multiple Australian and World Series Sprintcars Champion and living legend who grew up racing at the then named “Parramatta City Raceway” has put together a crack team based out of Mount Gambier in South Australia.
This weekend he’ll face the team he previously raced for, Krikke Motorsport, for the first time since leaving the team at the end of the previous season.
Not someone who ever needs extra determination to win the second-generation racer who leaves the deep snow and sub-zero degree temperatures of Minnesota in the USA is naturally fired up to make his home town visit successful.
Tatnell has joined forces with Ashley and Ray Scott in Mount Gambier and re-enlisted a potent piece of the package in his previous crew chief (mechanic) Pete Caporn from Bunbury in Western Australia.
“We’re a bit of a mix and match team aren’t we,” grins Tatnell, “our mechanic is from WA, our team is from South Australia and I’m a Sydneysider living in America. No matter where we’re all from though we all have one thing in common and that’s the desire to win. And the desire to win this weekend first and foremost.”
Tatnell, whilst fired up to race against his own team and their new driver Jamie Veal, is under no illusions though that there are some seventy others he must also face on the 460cm Parramatta clayway.
“The quality of the field is really testimony to the esteem that surrounds this race,” Tatnell admits, “you only have to look at both the number of entries and the achievements that many of them bring to the table to see that. Everyone wants to be here.”
Tatnell’s words ring true as just on cue the 2016 Knoxville Nationals winner Jason Johnson from Louisiana makes a last-minute entry.
“Our schedule just kinda freed up,” Johnson admits, “so we thought let’s go to Sydney and run the Darley. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing but it’s a great race and there’s a ton of good cars there. It’s never easy at Parramatta though.”
Every State and Territory is represented in the Australian line up plus New Zealand resident racer Dean Brindle and six American stars – five of which are making their 2017/2018 Valvoline Raceway debut.
Teenager Buddy Kofoid has been at all of the events over December 26 to January 1 but after a successful race at Murray Bridge in South Australia last weekend he’s back in Sydney to be joined by Californians Carson Macedo, Geoff Ensign, Dominic Scelzi, Pennslyvania’s Logan Schuchart and Louisiana’s Jason Johnson.
Returning to the foray also are World Series Sprintcars Champions James McFadden, David Murcott, Steven Lines and Jamie Veal, and also multiple Australian title holder Kerry Madsen who (like Tatnell) is also on a brief trip back to Sydney to contest this weekend and selected other major races in January.
The defending champion of the race is Tasmanian star Shaun Dobson who powered away to a sensational win last year to score an historic landmark victory for drivers from the Apple Isle and record one of his career best moments in the process.
With veterans, rookies and newcomers alike entered into this Friday and Saturday night’s event the public is assured of some heart stopping competition and some raw emotion on the line with each passing lap.
“Every one of us wants to win the Scott Darley Challenge,” admits Tatnell, “we’re here to compete and line up in the honour of the event but we all want our name on that trophy. It’s not just a race to any of us.”
FRIDAY – SATURDAY NIGHTS: JANUARY 12/13
Gates open 2pm Action from 5pm
Adults $35 Pension $25 Juniors (13-15yrs) $20 Family Pass (2 adults 2 juniors) $80 Kids 12 and under FREE when accompanied by an adult
Location: 21 Wentworth Street, Clyde NSW
www.valvolineraceway.com.au or like Valvoline Raceway on Facebook.
Support Classes: Legend Cars (Friday) Street Stocks (Saturday)
USC SPRINTCAR ENTRIES:
A 1 Madsen Kerry USA 1 Schuchart Logan (USA) D 2 Atkinson Ben W 2 Veal Jamie NQ 3 Lines Steven Q 3 Hoffmans Karl NQ 4 Walsh Michael NQ 5 Reidy Danny N 5 Thomas Dean V 5 Dumesny Max NS 6 Geering Matt Q 6 Rowell Steven Q 7 Farr Robbie NS 7 Williamson Callum N 10 Stirton Luke USA 11 Kofoid Buddy (USA) N 12 Jeffrey Thomas N 14 Gordon Peter NS 14 Seton Robert NS 15 Cassidy Daniel N 16 Sayre Daniel W 17 McFadden James N 18 Stanshall Guy N 20 Little Troy N 21 Brazier Garry NS 21 Brazier Jordyn VA 21 Dobson Shaun N 22 Thompson James NS 22 Cassidy Jess NZ 22 Brindle Dean N 24 Skipper Blake V 25 Lee Jack W26 Jason Johnson (USA) N 32 Ferguson Warren NS 35 Anthony Kaitlyn Q 36 Gee Mitchell Q 37 Ensign Geoff (USA) S 37 Kelly Terry V 37 Anderson Grant N 40 McInerney Chris N 41 Lawler Jeff Q 42 Bonsey Kristy N 43 Orr Alex N 45 Thomas Matthew S 45 Tranter Jake Q 46 Menz Dylan N 47 Dumesny Marcus N 48 Delamont Jackson NS 48 Darcy Blake N 49 Madsen Ian N 52 Attard Mark N 53 Attard Jessie N 54 Tunks Grant V 55 Tatnell Brooke N 56 Saller Mick N 57 Dumesny Matthew NS 57 Scorgie Brendan N 61 Matchett Michael N 64 Sheedy Shane N 68 Duckworth James N 71 Ohehir Courtney N 73 Salmon Darren N 78 Wright Andrew N 81 Lagerlow Graham Q 81 Jennings Kris N 83 O'Neill Peter Q 83 Murcott David N 84 Freeman Paul W 87 Dowling Carl N 89 Wilmington Braydan NS 91 Street Chris N 92 Walsh Sam U 97 Scelzi Dominic (USA) W 97 Wormall Mitch N 99 Macedo Carson (USA)