by Geoff Rounds
JAMES Wren has begun his Victorian Wingless title defense in superb fashion by taking out the opening round of the series at Avalon Raceway on Saturday night.
Wren, of Ballarat was dominant all night with a win and second in his two heats and started from pole and was never headed during the 20-lap feature. He was chased hard and challenged on the final lap by Cobden’s Rhys Baxter who eventually finished second and third was Wren’s cousin Sam Wren.
Under threatening skies, 30 cars provided a night of solid pace and tight racing by the popular wingless class and it was also a record-breaking track surface with Wren setting a new 20-lap record of 5.06.081.
Baxter had his Cool Chassis car in hot form in the earlier heat races too, setting a new 10-lap record of 2.32.310 only to have it lowered minutes later by a very quick Adrian Densley in a time of 2.31.114.
Wren said moments after the win it was the perfect start to the eight-round Parr Motorsports Series he’d hoped for.
“This is exactly the start and the way I did want to start the year in the series,” Wren said.
“All night the car felt great. It’s exactly the same car and package we had as last year so I’m rapt. It’ll be a tough series and tonight proved that. I knew Rhys (Baxter) was right there on that last lap so he’ll be hard to beat all season.
“We got the job done in round one and that’s a good start to try and win back-to-back championships for us.”
Baxter was upbeat up his season’s chances despite not stealing an unlikely win.
“I had a good go at James right at the end but I was down low he was up high and I got the traffic stop me. That’s racing though. My car’s been great tonight and the front row starts meant everything tonight.”
All heat winners in the Wingless class came from the front row and they were James Wren, Rhys Baxter, Adrian Densley and Luke Cole in a night where no serious crashes or rolls happened.
Ash Booker of Beaufort won his second consecutive Jason Glynn Memorial and took out the second round of the GP Midgets Masters Series backing up his win in the opening round at Wangaratta last month.
Booker was brilliant all night winning all heats and came from pole position to win the 10 lap final defeating Australian champion Scott Saville and Garry Cassidy.
The AMCA’s final was a matter of survival with 15 cars greeting the starter and just five finishing the 10 lap feature race.
Victorian champ Jamie Collins showed a patient drive to win the final when he drove around Tim Reidy with five laps to go. Collins hung on for a deserved win from Reidy with Steve Lodwick in third.
Mark Carlin again showed his dominance by winning the final of the Modified Productions while Shaun Henry was too good in the large field of Street Stocks.