Originally written by DEAN MILLARD
SOUTHERN 500 Speedway’s annual caravan race once again produced the carnage the crowds have grown to love over the years.
A big crowd braved what threatened to be a wet and wild night of weather to watch the 20-lap smash and dash, with Portland driver Chris Wilson surviving to take the chequered flag. Of the eight cars that started the race only two remained after 18 laps, with Wilson taking the honours over another local boy in Paul Domburg, with Steven Logan rounding out the placings. While the crowd loved the result it was the crashes that really got them going, with the drivers providing plenty of entertainment with some very aggressive driving. Kym Barclay found himself the best seat in the house to watch the race early on when he smashed into the wall, and not being able to get out was forced to sit out his race exactly where he hit. Anton Domburg was another to come to grief, spectacularly rolling his car before climbing on top of it to wave to an appreciative crowd. The other feature race on the night saw the first ever quarter midgets event in Victoria, featuring local girl Kristy McLean and Australian number one Mark Garey. The track was a bit too rough for the suspension-less midgets during the heats due to earlier racing and rain, resulting in some cautious racing and slower speeds. But with the surface being re-graded at the conclusion of the heats the final saw the drivers going all out, thrilling and stunning the crowd with their amazing speed for such a small vehicle. McLean had a final to forget, with mechanical failure forcing her out of the race. In the end though it probably would not have mattered, as no one got anywhere near Garey who scorched the track to be a convincing winner ahead of Chris Green and Clive Johnson. Twelve cars contested the AMCA’s series round, with South Australian Mick Brougham taking home the major points ahead of Victorians Chris Best and Brett Neylen and Tasmanian Darren Clark. Local driver Adam King had also been racing well on the night in this class, but unfortunately crashed out in the final. Local fans can expect to see more out of town drivers coming to test out the track in the lead up to the Victorian titles there on February 17, when more than 50 cars are expected to compete. Local driver Bob Wilson scored his first senior win in a final when he thrashed the field in the standard saloons. Wilson’s main challenger on the night was Matthew Domburg, who pushed the young driver for most of the race, but the margin blew out at the end when Domburg spun out to see Wilson win by half a lap. Domburg finished in second position ahead of Kevin Humphries. Eleven cars raced in the production sedans, and while Steven Logan took line honours he was relegated to second position for cutting the pole line, giving Darren Pumpa the win, with Ian Calderwood finishing third. Only two cars raced in the limited sportsman’s class, with Graham Dycer finishing ahead of Jenny Godfrey. The next meeting at the track is on January 20, with the King of the Ring in the standard saloons and 1200 Juniors’ Autobarn series also running on the night.