The Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association competitors all headed to South Gippsland to do battle for the Victorian title on February the 10th with ten competitors moving through scrutineering, as usual the event had its share of race day heartbreak and drama however there could be no denying Danny Stainer who won all three qualifying heats before clinching the big win in the title race.
The Anchorage & Abba Boarding Kennels & Cattery’s supported Victorian title was a hard fought affair with three very fast drivers trying to fill one spot on the top of the dais, in the end Stainer came out the big winner.
With three heats in total and all racers competing in all three racing began with Chris Fowler, Stainer, Shawn Ward, Travis Florimell (# 81 TM Lineboring & Engineering – Suzuki), Sean Denning, Lisa Chalcraft, Mark Blackeby, Jason Crawford, David Bacon and Trevor Perry as the line up. There was one problem though, the Australian and New South Wales champion Perry, was not able to take the line up as he was late to the venue and needed to be scrutineered before competing.
Stainer lead lap one from Florimell and Fowler (# 13 Ballistic Performance Parts – Suzuki), Crawford from sixth moved to fourth by lap two. A number of drivers were lapped by lap nine. Crawford passed Fowler and at the chequered flag Stainer picked off the win from Florimell, Crawford, Fowler, Chalcraft, Blackeby, Ward (# 88 Fry’s Service & Repairs – Suzuki), Denning and Bacon.
Chalcraft started the second heat from the pole position with Blackeby, Crawford, Bacon (# 36 DB Kanga Hire & Cleaning – Yamaha), Fowler, Stainer, Ward, Florimell, Denning and Perry the line up. At the first attempt to start the race Blackeby and Stainer touched wheels as they headed through turn one with Blackeby getting out of shape, Florimell tried to avoid the stricken machine however Blackeby and Florimells cars locked wheels sending Florimell into the air and crashing breaking the rear axle on his machine and tearing the rear wheel out of the Blackeby (# 10 Kyabram Steel & Fabrication – Yamaha) car whilst Perry narrowly avoided the crash. Florimells race meeting was over.
At the restart and from sixth to first Stainer led Chalcraft (# 15 Oil Hydraulic – Suzuki), Crawford, Fowler and Bacon. Crawford moved up ahead of Chalcraft on the second lap Perry moved into fifth behind Fowler whilst Ward pulled infield with a broken CV joint putting him out for the night also.
Perry (# 1 Perry Brothers Chassis – Suzuki) moved forward to fourth then third on laps six and seven however run out of laps to move further forward with Stainer picking up win number two from Crawford, Perry, Chalcraft, Denning, Bacon and Fowler who dropped back from the front end with fuel issues managing to cross the line for qualifying points.
Denning (# 52 AR Suburban Fencing – Yamaha) began the final qualifier in pole position with Bacon, Crawford, Stainer, Chalcraft, Fowler and Perry who began all night at the rear of the field after missing the pre event scheduled scrutineering session.
Crawford (# 50 Pitstop Mowers – Yamaha) got the best of the start with Stainer, Denning, Chalcraft and Perry following through on lap one as the top five runners. Denning spun out of contention on lap three and didn’t refire as Chalcraft moved up into third before Perry passed her on the next lap.
On lap eight Stainer moved passed his team mate Crawford and two laps later the chequered flag waved welcoming Stainer, Crawford, Perry, Chalcraft and Bacon as the finishers. After the race a check of Dennings car confirmed the machine had a bent front end as a result of contact during the race between his car and Perry’s whilst Fowlers fuel pressure issues continued.
With the qualifiers in the books the points tallied up to award Stainer (# 51 R & P Stainer Grinding Services – Yamaha) pole position in the fifteen lap Victorian title with Crawford alongside, then Chalcraft, Perry, Bacon, Fowler, Denning and Blackeby.
In a busy start to the race Stainer led Crawford, Perry, Chalcraft and Bacon past the flagman on lap one. Fowler dropped to the rear of the field and then out of the race on lap two again with fuel pressure issues.
Perry made a pass on Crawford into second on lap nine after contact was made between the two on more than one occasion. Perry made his move through turn three as the two traded paint all the way up the front straight. At this time the leaders were also passing Bacon, Blackeby and Denning as Perry started to catch up with Stainer, Perry circulating in the 15 second bracket and the only driver doing so at this point.
The race settled down and then Stainer on lap fourteen moved put a lap on Chalcraft and the chequered flags dropped on lap fifteen with Stainer the all the way winner from Perry, Crawford, Chalcraft, Bacon, Denning and Blackeby.
A protest from Crawford in third against Perry in second was unsuccessful.
After the race Stainer thanked car owner Mark Shiells and the team. "Thank you to Mark, his crew and my family for their support with racing this season. When dad and I built this car for Mark we knew we would be competitive. We have been right out of the box with only a few meetings held. It is an honour to be Victorian Grand Prix Midget champion along with all those other great races previously who have won. Thank you to Nyora for having us and well done to the other placegetters."
The Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association had support from Anchorage and Abba Boarding Kennels and Cattery’s and really appreciates their support for the title.
The Victorian Grand Prix Midgets association thank Club Supporters: Ballistic Performance Parts Anchorage Boarding Kennels & Cattery ABBA Boarding Kennels & Cattery Oil Hydraulics Jacobson Transport Super Balance Automotive Shepparton Pitstop Mowers Rock Solid Productions Vern & Jackie Parker Photography
Written by Dean Thompson DMT Sports Media For Victorian Grand Prix Midget Association
Stainer in the 51 passes Chalcraft in the 15 car (C) Random Panda Photography