High temperatures, a cool change, howling winds and rain showers all in one afternoon still couldn’t derail Mount Gambier’s Steven Lines as he produced another flawless performance at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway to romp to victory in the 44th Fireball Derby Saturday night. Lines backed up his November win at the venue to extend his lead in the Essendon Ford Sprintcar track championship while David Murcott and Jamie Veal rounded out the podium finishers in what was an excellent night of racing.
With the event also carrying Eureka Garages and Sheds Sprintcar series points, Lines now has three wins and a runner up finish in the last four rounds of the championship, clearly displaying his early season prowess.
Setting the fastest time in the Top 6 Pole Shootout enabled Lines to start from pole position and he quickly jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag from Mike Van Bremen, Darren Mollenoyux , Trevor Green and David Murcott.
The opening laps were halted on a number of occasions firstly for Peter Milnes who damaged his right rear tire when he bumped the wall in turn 2. Shortly after Mollenoyux spun out of contention while running strongly in third, he would restart from the rear of the field. John Vogels sustained front end damage at the same time eliminating him from proceedings.
Despite the stoppages Lines extended his lead at each restart while the battles that raged behind were simply spectacular.
Joint state champion Stephen Bell started sixth and was charging around the outside groove forging his way forward thrilling the fans in the process only to loop the car in turn 4, also sending him to the rear.
Visiting South Australian Luke Dillon was also making the outside groove work early as he started from ninth and would eventually be stuck in a great battle with Matthew Reed as they attempted to run down the leaders.
Eleventh starting Jamie Veal was also on a mission as he was carving his way forward particularly late in the race when drove by Dillon, Reed, Green and Van Bremen on his way to an excellent podium finish.
With the 30 laps complete Lines recorded another strong result as Murcott climbed into the runner up spot late in the race while Veal got to third. Tenth starting Reed finished fourth ahead of Van Bremen who was running second for most of the main in an excellent performance. Dillon followed in sixth ahead of Green, Bell, Brad Warren, Glen Sutherland, Domain Ramsay, Mollenoyux, Brett Milburn and Jack Lee.
Joining Milnes and Vogels with non finishes was Jake Tranter and Dennis Jones.
South Australian rookie Jake Tranter stormed to the B-main win following his excellent heat race performances that included a win over Steven Lines. Following Tranter into the final was Jack Lee, Brad Warren, Dennis Jones, Brett Milburn and Domain Ramsay. Keke Falland spun out of contention while in a transfer spot in what was a non stop 15 lap event.
The C-main was won by Quentin Tanner from Taylor Milling, Ash Scott and Liam Williams while Wayne Rowett also advanced as Robbie Farr would be a non starter in the B-main allowing five cars to advance from the C-main.
Darren Mollenoyux opened the night with a solid heat race win but not before rookie Will Carroll had the lead but pulled out with mechanical issues mid race. Luke Dillon and Carl Ludeman won the next two heats respectively before Jamie Veal and Glen Sutherland won heats four and five.
David Murcott won heat 6 in a canter while Peter Milnes saluted in heat 7. Robbie Farr crossed the line first in heat 8 only to be demoted two places at the conclusion ensuring Stephen Bell would get the points. John Vogels won the penultimate heat before Tranter proved to be a popular winner of the tenth and final heat when he outrun Steven Lines.
The V8 Super Rods produced an excellent feature with Jason Kavanagh edging out Daryl Nelson in a memorable 15 laps that saw the pair run side by side and duel for the lead more most of the journey. It was a popular finish for the class that continues to provide excellent racing.
Next Event; Wednesday December 26th – Sprintcar Gold Cup
Website; www.avalonraceway.com
For more info contact Jeff Drew 0418 160 985 / Gavin White email gwxp@speedway.net.au