By Geoff Rounds
Steven Lines showed patience to eventually romp away with his third consecutive Routley’s Fireball Derby and third straight win in the Eureka Garages and Sheds Series at Avalon Raceway on Saturday night.
Lines’ blistering start to the 2013-14 season has now yielded seven victories and two second placings from nine feature race starts.
He was superb in the 30 lap final to win from Tasmanian Shaun Dobson and reigning Australian Sprintcar champion James McFadden and has jumped to second in the close-fought Series.
Lines was again close to perfect all night with a heat win and a fifth but it was his stunning display in the pole shoot out that continued his march to victory.
He was the last of six cars to set the field for the top six in the final and did it in a time of 11.644 seconds eclipsing Dobson’s quick 11.672.
It was Dobson who wheel-standed to the lead in the feature and held sway until Carl Ludeman rolled in turn one. At the restart Lines’ patience paid dividends as he swooped under Dobson on lap six and was never headed for the remainder of the journey.
Back in the field McFadden was in a stoush for third with with Simpson’s John Vogels while Jamie Veal withdrew with brake problems.
Darren Hickman drove strongly for fifth to hold out Daniel Pestka and Nick Lacey while Californian Kyle Hirst came from fifth in the C main to finish eighth in the A Main and Brett Milburn and Mike Van Bremen rounded out the top 10.
The B Main was farcical and would be flagged away in a single file formation due to three huge crashes in turn one at each attempt.
Chief steward Peter McKenna said it was the first time in more than 40 years of speedway that he had to make the decision to start a race in single file.
“We had no choice. They were all being a bit silly. We had to do something drastic or I was going to declare the race,” McKenna said.
Simpson drivers Tim Rankin and Brendan Balcombe came off the front row but Rankin would be sitting in the middle shortly after with wrecked cars, as would Grant Anderson and Mitch Foster. Attempt two saw James Hennessey crash and lose his front end while the third restart had Liam Williams career into the turn one wall. No laps were yet completed and six cars were already out of the 16 starters.
Geelong’s Domain Ramsay eventually won from Jackson Delamont, Hirst and Balcombe. Eureka Series leader Jeremy Cross who won the C Main dropped vital points as he pulled in two laps from home with engine problems and fire under his car.
Heat wins went to McFadden, Hickman, Ludeman, Williams, Rankin, Ensign, Veal, Balcombe, Lines and Nash.
Eureka Championship standings: Cross-1379, Lines-1197, Van Bremen-1111,
Dobson-1098, Milburn-1089, Lee-1089, Ramsay-1060, Vogels-983, Hennessey-980, Williams-939.
The Super Rods final was a superb two-way battle between Dale Walsh and Michael Coad with Walsh taking advantage of Coad’s near spin on lap 12 to win and set a new 15 lap record of 3.14.68.
The next race meeting at Avalon raceway will be the Sharp Cranes Sprintcar Gold Cup on December 26.
By Geoff Rounds