Avalon Raceway – Sprintcar Invitational Jackpot – Oct 15th 2011 – Second Washout in Two Years

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 nomination list for the $10K to win Sprintcar Invitational Jackpot was strong and had representation from five states/territories of Australia

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!

This shot at 5 pm - Who would possibly think rain might be on the way !

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.

The Water Truck was deployed early on - In the end it would be a trivial exercise

Colin Bulmer (Car and Team Owner) feeling confident that Ryan Farrell (left) would be there at the pointy end of the night driving his brand new V2 Eagle

One hour later Colin Bulmer looks worryingly at the clouds - Colin asks himself "Will Ryan Farrell get to drive my new beast"

Yep ! - The weather does not look flash !

The rain is acommin' - Clouds advance from the south west at a high rate of knots

Steven Lines completes the intial A Qualifier 25 lapper and comes home in 2nd - the crowd prepare for the rain in a mighty scramble

Brett Milburn was on fire and took first place in the A Qualifier driving the V68 PARR Motorsports entry. Can you believe it ? ..... this was the only race we got in for the night

A Qualifier Winner Brett Milburn V68 about to put a move on the V44 of Ron Dalton

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.

The "Die Hard" fans hang-in awaiting Gavin White's announcement (go or no-go)

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.

In the end it CRASHED DOWN ..... it got REALLY WET !!!!!!!!

"Mmmmmhhhh - Looks like we're outta here". James McFadden came all the way from Queensland for the Avalon Raceway Sprintcar Invitational Jackpot and only got to do hotlaps before the rain came

Avalon has grappled with bad weather in the last few seasons - Maybe this pit sign needs to also say "Rain means No Race"

All the Kids still prayed for an end to the rain and resumption of racing

It was "Game Over" at 8:45 pm - but 'lil friend Jay Stock hoped with all his might there was still a chance the show would still go on !

Here’s an irony for you …….As I write this, it is nearly midnight and the sky is as clear as a bell – I can see the stars above, the skyline of Melbourne City and the “Sodium Glow” of Geelong – Geelong is close to Avalon Raceway (The Place of Pace).
The day has ended,  just like it started – it’s only the in between bit that caught us out !
We will have to wait until next season to see the unique format that is part of Avalon Raceway’s Sprintcar Invitational Jackpot – a race that has been washed out more times than it has been run (once run, and twice washed out ).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply