Originally written by SIMON BAMPFIELD
AN experienced and talented field will contest the production sedan Victorian State Title at Southern 500 Speedway Club tomorrow (Saturday) night.
The star-studded line-up is headlined by current Victorian and New South Wales champion Trevor Mills.
He is the one to beat tomorrow night, but there is a long list of drivers more than capable of dethroning Mills.
Stephen Laidlaw not only has experience at the Southern 500 Speedway Club, but he has a more than impressive resume when it comes to National and State Titles.
He has amassed one of the greatest careers in speedway racing, holding the Australia number one in 2001-02, 2002-03, Victoria number one in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06, NSW number one 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, Victoria number two in 2008-09, SA number two in 2006-07 and NSW number three in 2004-05, 2007-08 and 2008-09.
It shows just how consistent Laidlaw has been in the last 10 years in the sport and a victory tomorrow night wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Chris Lack won an Australian Title in 2009 and if he can recapture that form his speed could become and big factor.
Rounding out the National and State Title holders in the field are two drivers that have tasted success at Southern 500.
Bob Bailey won it last time the Victorian title was here in 2009 and he has also been SA number one as well.
Portland’s Adam Wilson won the Victorian Title at Southern 500 Speedway Club in 2006-07.
He has proven to come up big in the big races so he is definitely considered a contender.
Darren Pumpa is the other local driver that is considered a big chance to go home tomorrow night with the number one plate.
“At the moment Darren Pumpa would be leading our progressive points so between him and Adam Wilson they would be the main contenders from the locals, but there is a lot of talent in there to get through,” Southern 500 Speedway Club secretary Trevor Logan said.
The field of 15 will be split into A and a B heats with each driver getting three heats and there will be a 30-lap final.
Drivers that have nominated are: Trevor Mills, Chris Lack, Bob Wilson, Adam Wilson, Michael Pickles, Brenton Mills, Jacob Mills, Bob Bailey, Andrew Cunningham, Wayne Burke, Darren Pumpa, Steven Logan, Stephen Laidlaw, Daniel Creek and Paul Whyte.
There are 11 nominations in the standard saloons as drivers prepare for the upcoming Victorian Title.
“We have gained a couple and this is their last run before the Victorian Title.”
Rosedale’s Shane Stewart will join a host of local drivers in Matthew Domburg, Greg Hutchins, Matt Hollis, Stewart Dart, James Ellifson, Nathan Hutchins, Don Johnston, Sandy Sutherland and Ray Hammond.
There are also a couple of first time speedway drivers with Mark Hann and Darren Brough in the field.
“They will share the driving, which is great to have new members and they are really looking forward to it.”
Classic hot rods have a field of eight drivers and the field is Jamie Pridham, Graham Dycer, Dennis Bald, Allan Howden, James Juri, Phil Williams, Mark Huthesson and Ron Taylor.
At the interval the Southern 500 Speedway Club will hold the burn out competition.
Tomorrow night there will be six entrants, being Brad Frost, Luke Reid, Jamie Marshall, Trevor Newton, James Parks and Greg Holland.
The burn out competition is always looking for more people to enter and if anyone is interested they can contact Brett Parks.
Overall it is a jam-packed night of quality racing and with the weather looking okay it is a great time to get along.
“It should be a big night of entertainment, there is no doubt about that.”
Pit gates will be open early because the standard saloons have their scrutineering starting at 2pm.
Spectator gates open at 5pm, racing starts at 6pm.