• With close to fifty cars, it is a bold move to pick two drivers who you think will be at the pointy end of the Speedway Sedans Australia, National Super Sedan Title.

    The numbers though, speak for themselves.

    There is no doubt Matt Pascoe is in the form of his life, with the Queensland based driver having won 35 Feature Races in the past three seasons, for a career total of 63. In arguably the strongest state for Super Sedan racing, Pascoe has won five of the last six Queensland Titles, including the last four, along with winning the prestigious Grand Prix and Grand National events in Tasmania. The defending Champion has won three National Titles, all in the last seven years, and to cap it off he has also twice finished third and once a runner-up in the past eight seasons, which indicates he will be very tough to beat this weekend.

    For many years Darren Kane was unstoppable. Kane, also based in Queensland, was on par with Pascoe three years ago for Feature wins, with Pascoe having 38 and Kane 34. In the last three years Kane has amassed 11 Feature wins in the Super Sedan category, however, when it comes to Titles, Kane can never be discounted having recently won the South Australian Title at Mt Gambier. Darren Kanes figures are remarkable, and to some extent he holds a record that he probably doesn’t want, third five times in the last six seasons, but it does highlight how he can never be discounted in major events. In the previous four Queensland Titles, Kane has finished second to Pascoe twice and third twice. Kane has also finished on the Podium at this event for the last six seasons, something no other driver in history has done. Kane won in 2017 and in the other five titles around that year, he has finished third. In total he has finished third six times, twice a runner up to go with his three Title victories.
    Between the pair they have won the event six times, something that simply can not be over-looked.

    There are numerous other contenders for this event, but there is one, above all else, many would love to see win the title. By his own admission, he should have won the 2010 edition at the now defunct Speedway City in a rain affected event. Dave Gartner from South Australia, also finished second in 2016 and 2017 and has been a long time advocate for Super Sedan racing in South Australia, traveling massive distances to compete around Australia. In his native South Australia, Gartner has been successful six times in State Titles, more than any other driver, while being on the podium a further five times. He has won Titles in Victoria and Western Australia, and podiumed in New South Wales and Queensland, yet the top step has always eluded him Nationally. He has finished third in the previous two state titles held at the Mt Gambier venue. If Gartner was to win his 38th Feature Race win since 2011, I am sure every driver in the pit paddock would be there to congratulate him.

    Two time National Champion, Callum Harper is another who can’t be discounted. Harper has had an interrupted season, culminating with one of the most spectacular Super Sedan crashes in recent times at Hobart. This reflects in his numbers with just the one Feature win this season, while in the previous four seasons he amassed 38. Harper has podiumed at three of the last four National Titles, with Albany in 2017 being a year where the then defending Champion struggled after a crash in his opening heat race. The four times Tasmanian Champion, who recently finished second to Darren Kane in the South Australian Title, will again be a driver to beat.

    Ryan Alexander hasn’t had as much track time as normal, however, he is a very talented driver, who burst on to the National Super Sedan scene at the National Title in Albany and has been prominent ever since. Finishing fourth in the South Australian Title recently, it is hard to believe this will be his seventh season in Super Sedans, having won 28 main events. Although statistically it shows that Alexander has never podiumed in the event, he has always been prominent and can’t be discounted as a contender.

    One of the most decorated and distinguished drivers in the field is Mick Nicola Snr, who could be likened to a bottle of wine, getting better with age. Despite having won the third of his National Titles way back in 2003, and having not been on the National Title since 2005, Nicola Snr has won seven Feature events in the last two seasons, the same amount that he had won in the previous six seasons prior to that! His best State Title result this year was third behind Pascoe and Kane in the Queensland Title, and won last seasons NSW Title, and there is no doubt Nicola Snr will be prominent across the course of the two nights. Nicola is one of a very small group of drivers who have podiumed in every State of Australia.

    For the first time in a long time, outside of a West Australian National Title, this will be the strongest representation of West Australian drivers in the event, with five drivers coming from the West. Four of the five have raced on the east coast this season, and all have shown great car speed at one point or another. Statistically though, the West Australians are up against it, with Kodee Brown in 2014 being the lone victory in the event since John Singleton’s victory in 1989 and Allan Blake in 1977. Chris Pavlovich, the WA Champion, statistically has the best record with 21 Feature wins in the previous three seasons, but having not raced at Mt Gambier of against drivers from the East Coast may be a telling factor. Gary Higgs has been impressive in a new car this season, but a spectacular crash at Hobart altered the teams plans, robbing the veteran West Australian an opportunity of racing in the SA Title, and valuable track time.

    So many other drivers can lay claim to the title, but ultimately only one driver will stand on the top step after forty laps unless we have the first ever dead heat, with the closest result ever recorded being in 2012 when Jarrod Harper won at Archerfield by 0.461. Queensland drivers have won 10 of the last 16 National Titles, Tasmanian 5 and Western Australia 1, will the Sunshine State dominance continue?

    Photo courtesy of Angryman Photography
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