We trecked down to Avalon Raceway for the Sprintcar Invitational Jackpot – only a 40 minute drive from where we live. The race was heralded as the best 2011/12 Sprintcar Opener on the East Coast of Australia, and rightly so. The best local drivers and hotshoes from five states of the nation had assembled for the showdown and a chance to bag a cool $10K to win, plus share in a further purse of over 20 GEES.
The Drew Brothers of Avalon Raceway had hatched a plan with a very, very different race formate. Something that challenged the norm, and I have to say…. I really liked the look of the concept ! Personally I had never seen such an idea. I am sure it’s been done before, but I hadn’t come across it (more on the actual format later).
The race format was originally invoked in 2009 and Max Dumesny took the inaugural victory driving as a “Wildcard” entry. The same format was wheeled out again last season, but the “Thunder Gods” asserted their influence and a rain-out prevailed.
Could the very same “Thunder Gods” rule again in season 2011/12 ?
Nup, ……… don’t think so; it was all blue skies and Tee Shirt stuff we we arrived!
What started as a perfect Victorian Spring Day with the mercury showing a pleasant 22 Degrees Celsius was to change later that evening. The “Thunder Gods” once again intervened – it was around 8pm, shortly after the A Qualifier (25 lap) race had finished and the B Qualifier (25 lap) race was forming up. At that point it looked like it was “All Over Red Rover”. But we all hoped and waited with crossed fingers in anticipation.
Indeed at 8:45pm, and after agonising over the Weather Radar and local conditions for 45 mins, Track Annoucer Gavin White declared over the PA that the evening was over. We all knew that was going to be the case, ……….. but the “die-hards” who stayed back were anxiously waiting and praying for a miracle.
I will explain more about the curious, but loveable race format when I update this post with a special interview that I conducted with one of the BIG interstate guns. The format is almost upside down in thinking when you first look at it, with two “big lap” races to start with. It ultimately ends up with a final TOP 10 who race in a 12 Lap A Main for $10K to win. COOL !
I admired the “break-away” format. Dare to be different I say – I really liked that sort of “out there” approach that The Drews ! (Promoters of Avalon) had placed before us. It’s just a pitty we couln’t get the meeting in.