Baxter races to Avanats victory

by Geoff Rounds

FORMER go-kart ace Rhys Baxter displayed a calculated drive to pocket $1000 first prize in the annual Avanats for Wingless Sprints at Avalon raceway last Saturday night presented by Hot Country FM.

Baxter, 24, of Cobden driving a Cool Chassis came was one of 152 cars in the busy pits across five classes and came from grid position two to defeat pole sitter and dominant early race leader Luke Weel of Simpson with Camperdown’s Phil Micallef in third.

Both Baxter and Weel were the real standouts all night with Weel being the fastest in time trials while Baxter was fourth overall of the 51 car field presented by Salt Electrical.

The pair had nice runs through their heats with top three placings in both of their heats to advance to the top of the points and then waged a two-car battle over the 20-lap final. Weel went to a handy lead early in the journey but Baxter displayed patience to pass on the inside on Weel with five laps to go and was never headed.

“I was pretty happy with that tonight,” Baxter said.

“Luke and I have raced together for many years in go-karts as juniors so it was good we both raced hard for the win. He’s hard to pass and doesn’t make many errors when he’s out in front, I’m pretty rapt to finally get a win as I’ve been close of late.”

Heat wins went to, Luke Weel, Glenn Jones x2, Phil Micallef x 2, Peter Green, Alex Thomson and James Wren.

James Wren of Ballarat was fourth in the A Main final and won the Wingless Sprints track championship at Avalon Raceway ahead of his cousin Sam.

The final round of the Victorian Modified Production Association Multiskill Series attracted 35 cars and produced a great tussle for the overall feature win with Geelong’s Ash Parkinson eventually getting the victory driving his VR Commodore to the lead inside the final two laps.

Parkinson raced from his starting position of fifth to pass race leader Russell Bent of Nyora and was never headed while popular Bendigo driver Graham West finished third from eighth in his neat Torana.

The Street Stocks final was declared due to time constraints but not before Rick Swasbrick lead all laps and was chased hard all the way by runner-up Shaun Henry.

An 11-car field in the Super Sedans saw Trent Wilson grab a lucky win when tear-away race leaders David Mackenzie and Pete Nicola both failed to finish. Wilson won from Neil Witnish and Mick Nicola Snr.

The opening round of the Barry Reidy Memorial for AMCA Nationals was also a shortened race and was won by Tim Reidy who led all the entire 10 lap journey from Mick Jackson and Trevor Thierry.

Avalon Raceway’s final meeting will be the traditional opening night of the annual Easter Sprintcar Trail on Good Friday, April 18. It will see one of just two lucky drivers drive away in a new Ford Fiesta from Essendon Ford as the winner of the 2013-14 track championship. Tasmanian and newly crowned Eureka Garages and Sheds champion Shaun Dobson leads on 860 points from Brett Milburn on 840 and the pair will again race to the end to decide who gets the keys to the new Ford.

Website: avalonraceway.com

For more information: Jeff Drew 0418 160985 / Geoff Rounds 0413 024413.