By Geoff Rounds
Daniel Pestka and Shaun Dobson emerged the big winners at the opening night of the traditional three-round Easter Sprintcar Trail at Avalon Raceway supported by Camden Neon Signs.
Pestka did everything best of the 59 starters all evening to come off the front row in the Matt Eastham-owned machine to win the 30-lap final from a fast-finishing Jamie Veal and Trail legend Max Dumesny.
For Dobson, the keys to the Essendon Ford Fiesta were his, when his only challenger for the Avalon track championship, Brett Milburn crashed hard into the turn three wall and out of the chase on lap 20.
The sprintcar A-Main took four attempts to be flagged away after false starts and a series of crashes and rolls marred the start.
Polesitter Pestka outgunned fellow front-rower Steven Lines and the two cleared out while Veal ran the highline to execute a superb pass to race to fourth from eighth inside the opening lap.
Lines then passed Pestka for the lead a lap later and on the same lap, tagged Peter Mills trying to execute a very tight move on the back straight and sent Mills flipping out of the event. As Mills’ car was being dragged off the speedway, Lines’ right rear slowly went flat, he would also be out of the race.
“I got a run at him and it was tight I know, I didn’t give him enough room and I’m sorry for what happened,” Lines said.
Pestka again led the race at the restart and six laps later Veal had moved to second and was racing hard to chase down the leader.
On lap 20 Milburn met his demise and missed the opportunity to drive home the new car.
“I went in hard on the right. We’ve done a great job to be in this position all year and well done to Dobbo. We’ve done as good as we could,” Milburn said.
The final 10 laps went without drama and the defending Easter Trail champion, Pestka would prevail in a resounding victory over tough and seasoned competition.
“That track was hooked up, it was great for me. I was happy to get to the lead early and stay there and it was credit to Matt and the crew the way the car was set up tonight,” Pestka said.
The other top drives of the race was the charge from 18th to fifth by Grant Anderson while rookie Luke Walker finished 10th from starting position 16.
Earlier in the evening other highlights were Matt Dumesny setting the fastest time in time trials, Kristy Ellis recording a career-best drive to hold Max Dumesny at bay for 10 laps to win a heat race while Luke McCutcheon, in just his third sprintcar race posted his first win in the Dave Challons-owned machine.
The 3CS/Mixx FM Super Rod Stampede was won by veteran Howard Stansfield who held off the exciting Michael Coad for the entire 10-lap final with Leigh Podger in third.
Before racing commenced longtime Avalon official Robert Miller was awarded for his 25 years of service to the venue, while David Dickson of Essendon Ford and Dominic Sabatino of Eureka Garages and Sheds were each presented with the prestigious Drew Family award for their valued services to speedway racing at Avalon Raceway in front of a packed and appreciative crowd of around 4000 fans.
The busy 2013-14 Avalon Raceway season ended with a demolition derby and huge fireworks display. The Drew Family would like to thank all sponsors, drivers, teams, officials, volunteers and race fans for their support and look forward to seeing everybody back for the 2014-15 season.