by Geoff Rounds
DARREN Mollenoyux and Matthew Reed will both be looking for repeat performances as they defend their Victorian sprintcar titles this Saturday night at Avalon Raceway presented by Belmont Diesel Services and Eureka Garages and Sheds.
Mollenoyux ended a frustrating 26-month drought with the biggest win of his career — the Open 410ci Victorian Sprintcar Championship last February and is hoping history repeats.
“It’d be nice to go back-to-back that’s for sure,” Mollenoyux said.
“There’s some tough opposition there again but we’ll go there and treat it like another normal night of racing.”  
Mollenoyux edged out fellow Warrnambool driver Tim Van Ginneken and Melbourne’s Mike Van Bremen by less than a second to win last year and says he enjoys racing at the Avalon venue.
He time-trialed 36th of 52 at the recent round of World Series Sprintcars at Avalon back on December 30 and fought back hard to make the A Main final with two heat wins.
“We struggled a bit early during World Series but by the end of the night we got things sorted and got into the feature which was a pretty good effort from my whole team.”
Mollenoyux will have strong opposition from 41 other entrants with the in-form American Kyle Hirst a main danger and is fresh from a win at Simpson Speedway last weekend. Shaun Dobson of Tasmania, a recent winner at Avalon and sixth at WSS will also be keen to take home the coveted Victorian crown.  
Other strong hopes will be Nick Lacey, John Vogels, Stephen Bell, Darren Hickman, USA’s Randy Hannagan and current Victorian Sprintcar Racing Association championship leader Jeremy Cross will again travel down from Dubbo to compete.
Matthew Reed’s chances of winning another state championship will depend on the other 23 cars in the field and how they, just like the 410 open class fare in their one time trial and one heat race as per the cut-throat format again.
Reed who is a multiple SRA open class series champion set his 2013 win up by grabbing pole in the all-important dash to start from pole and was never headed in the 25-lap journey to win from Shane Heathcote and Brenton Farrer.
An interesting sideline to this year’s racing will be watching the three drivers who will be doing “double-duty” by racing in both the open and 360 events. These will include American Geoff Ensign, current Australian Wingless Sprints champion Brett Milburn and the popular Eddie Lumbar.  
With nearly 70 sprintcars in the pits again at Avalon and the prestigious President’s Cup and Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic majors just around the corner this will be the final hit-out to fine tune their machines.
Public gates open at 3PM with hot laps from 6PM and racing from 7PM.
Adults $25
Child 12-16 $10
Child 5-11 Free with an Adult
Concession & Disabled $20
For more info contact Jeff Drew 0418 160 985 / Geoff Rounds 0413 024413.