by Geoff Rounds
American drivers Kyle Hirst and Geoff Ensign have raced to emphatic victories in the two Victorian sprintcar championships on offer at Avalon Raceway last night.
Californian Hirst was brilliant from grid position 11 and moved through traffic with ease to storm to the lead from race leader Mike Van Bremen on lap 17 of the 30 lap Open title race.
The American was never headed despite late race stoppages and held off a fast-finishing Nick Lacey of Melbourne who was brilliant racing to finish second from ninth and Brett Milburn grabbed third after also leading early.
Hirst said he now had some of the biggest races in Australia as his target, such as the prestigious President’s Cup and Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in late January.
“That was awesome for me and my team but I’m here to really do well in the big races in the next two weeks,” Hirst said.
“Things are all rolling alone pretty well at the moment. We’re having a blast and every time we race it’s no easy deal. I’m expecting that I’ll need to lift my game for those big payday races and when the big-time drivers are back.”
Defending champion Darren Mollenoyux had a sweet and sour night after capturing the fastest time of 12.088 seconds of the 45 entries and then was relegated to rear of field for a racing incident in heat one and decided not to compete for the remainder of the meeting.
Pre race favourite Shaun Dobson’s hopes evaporated when he rolled in turn one while running mid-pack in the race and retired while Jeremy Cross finished fourth and 2012 state champ Stephen Bell came from fourth in the B Main to grab fifth in a typical stirring Bell drive. Polesitter Will Carroll fell back off the pace early and managed ninth with Van Bremen salvaging seventh placing.
Hirst’s fellow Californian Geoff Ensign really delivered on his racing nickname “the human highlight reel” by blitzing the field and taking the lead of the 360ci state title and making it a night to remember for the American brigade.
Ensign who had just finished 10th in the Open final drove a near-perfect race, and despite late-race challenges from defending champ Matthew Reed who was top time-trialler and from position 11 nearly added to his state title wins, the American prevailed.
Milburn started seventh was steady and challenged for the lead mid-race but couldn’t quite match the pace of the likeable American, but did find himself on the podium at night’s end to the delight of the large Avalon crowd.
“That track was real racy and I just tried to keep my momentum going throughout the race and that helped me in the end, I just hope I can keep it rolling,” Ensign said.
The next race meeting at Avalon Raceway is the $10,000 to win Essendon Ford President’s Cup for sprintcars on Wednesday, January 22.
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For more info contact Jeff Drew 0418 160 985 / Geoff Rounds 0413 024413.