IAN LOUDOUN REIGNS SUPREME AT “THE WARRNAMBOOL CLASSIC”

Words and Pics by Paul Griffin

If you’ve read the previous “Quickie Post” you will know that  Sydney’s Ian Loudoun won the 40th Lucas Oil Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic on Saturday night at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway – Sungold Stadium.

"THE CLASSIC" is often compared to the Knoxville Nationals

Here’s the detailed wrap-up of the race:

Ian Loudoun did it in comprehensive style and cemented himself as one of the county’s leading drivers. Loudoun has always been a good driver, winning heats and the occasional feature, but this was by far the biggest win of his career. What makes the Loudoun victory all that more worthy of accolade is that it was executed with strong resistance from 86 other drivers. Many of those drivers being this nation’s best, as well as 14 American
Aces – most of whom are professional racecar drivers.

Brilliant Drive - Sydney's Ian Loudoun took victory in "The Classic" over Craig Dollansky and Kerry Madsen

Ian Loudoun left most of the field behind like a blur in the A-Main

The line-up after two nights of racing that comprised Qualifying, 4 rounds of heats and E, D, C, and B-Mains was: Craig Dollansky, Ian Loudoun, Kerry Madsen, Daryn Pittman, Robbie Farr, Jason Kendrick, Jason Johnson, Trevor Green, Brooke Tatnell, Ryan Farrell, Kyle Larson, James McFadden, Danny Reidy, Dylan Jenkin, Carl Dowling, Jamie Bricknell, Shane Stewart, Cameron Gessner, Grant Anderson and Ian Madsen. America’s Jason Meyers and local Victorian Ricky Barrand were the two reserves that were ultimately not called upon.

So the stage was set. The weekend’s twenty best cars rumbled around for the traditional 4 wide salute with fireworks, then reformed two abreast in their allocated spots and went racing.

The 4-Wide Salute to the Crowd was orchestrated to fireworks

At the drop of the green, Loudoun surprised many spectators by out-dragging pole sitter Dollansky into turn one. As always with Sprintcar Racing, it was frantic into the first turn with everyone wanting the same piece of real estate. It was a sea of dust and jostling wings. All cars made it through and set sail for 40 laps of the Premier Clay and their chance to bag $40,000 to win.

Kerry Madsen started out of a very handy position 3 but kissed the wall early and slipped back to 6 th. Meanwhile Dollansky was trading bows with Daryn Pittman to the point where both cars touched, unsettling Dollansky momentarily.

Cameron Gessner brought on the reds with 5 laps down after tripping over the narrow cushion and inverting the #68 in turn 2. Jason Johnson also retired at the same time with a flat right rear after brushing the wall on the main straight. Young USA Ace Kyle Larson exited the event one lap later after tearing out his front end in an altercation with the fence.

Jason Johnson from America is always a threat but copped a flat right rear early

At the restart it was Loudoun, Dollansky, Pitman, Farr, K Madsen, Kendrick, McFadden, Tatnell, Larson, Reidy, Stewart …..and I missed the order of the rest.

One lap later Danny Reidy looped his NT#5 in turn 1&2 and was sent to the rear.

On the restart Madsen and McFadden engaged in a “Battle Royale” for several laps, with McFadden then suddenly pulling infield (10 laps down) with the car on fire – a fuel nozzle had worked loose and sprayed raw fuel in the cabin. McFadden quickly exited the cab and Fire Crews ran to extinguish the blaze. The fire was out in a nanosecond – Good work guys !

James McFadden suffered an on-board fire and had to settle for a DNF

By this stage Shane Stewart had chipped away and got himself up to a creditable 7th after transferring from the B-Main and starting up the back. Still with plenty of laps remaining, was my Dark Horse prediction of a Stewart victory going to come off ??

Stewart was looking strong and moved up another spot while Tatnell was drifting uncharacteristically backwards. Danny Reidy pulled in with 16 laps down and joined the DNF club. Ryan Farrell was also to retire soon after.

I had a feeling in my bones that Shane Stewart was going to be the Dark Horse - He did well but coming through the B-Main is pretty hard in this stellar field

Ryan Farrell driving the Bayaire Industries V2 ended up with a DNF

Dollansky was getting serious and started applying pressure to Loudoun. The pair waged a ripper battle out front for several laps. The crowd was on the edge of their seat. With 12 laps to go the order was Loudoun, Dollansky and Madsen. David Anderson had come from nowhere after experiencing engine woes and qualifying through the B-Main and was running in 4th. Then came Pittman, Farr, Tatnell, a slipping back Stewart, Kendrick and Trevor Green.

Grant Anderson (V37) wound the wick up in the A-Main after suffering niggling engine woes earlier in the day - here the Team try to sort the engine out

With 8 to go Dollansky places 2 feet on the accelerator and pulls up beside Loudoun on the exit to turn 4 – was this the moment the crowd was anticipating ? The cars are level.

Loudoun doesn’t wilt and noses ahead. He drives a superb race to keep the charging Dollansky at bay and grabs a 2 car gap through traffic. Dollansky realises “the time in now” and with 3 to go closes again for the kill. Dollansky is right on Loudoun’s tail tank but the New South Welshman is up to the task and holds off a very determined Dollansky with a fast finishing Kerry Madsen claiming 3rd.

Sydney's Ian Loudoun was consistent all weekend. He came third in the preliminary night Saturday, and saved his best 'til last for the A-Main on Sunday. Well done Ian, you made us all Proud !

Ian Loudoun spent considerable time observing the mid arvo track prepartion session to gain an insight into achieving the ultimate set-up. IT WORKED !

Words can’t describe it here on the internet. It was thrilling, it was nerve racking, it was a CLASSIC Classic. Absolutely awesome !

When the DVD comes out, you’d better grab a copy, even if you went to the Classic. There was so much going on, there is no way any one of us absorbed it all.

The final placings were:

  1. Ian Loudoun (AUST)
  2. Craig Dollansky (USA)
  3. Kerry Madsen (AUST)
  4. David Anderson (AUST)
  5. Darren Pittman (USA)
  6. Robbie Farr (AUST)
  7. Brook Tatnell (AUST)
  8. Shane Stewart (USA)
  9. Ian Madsen (AUST)
  10. Trevor Green (AUST)
  11. Jason Kendrick (AUST)
  12. Dylan Jenkin (AUST)
  13. Jamie Bricknell (AUST)
  14. Carl Dowling (AUST)

DNF’s were Ryan Farrell, Danny Reidy, James McFadden, Kyle Larson, Jason Johnson and Cameron Gessner.

OTHER POINTS OF NOTE:

Premier Speedway – Sungold Stadium did a great job in the running of the 2012 Classic given the extreme temperatures. It was particularly hot and windy on Night 2 and that  certainly translates to any Curator’s nightmare. The event was run smoothly and swiftly, especially given the number of heats and mains over both nights. Well done !

It was a capacity crowd on both nights and the venue handled the “people” demands with consumate ease.

The 2012 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic reminded me of my recent Stateside Trip culminating in the Knoxville Nationals – “All Sprintcars” and plenty of continuous action. Both Premier Speedway and Ian Loudoun need to take a bow !

The Track prep by the Curators resulted in the best possible outcome given the hot windy conditions - Well Done Premier !

The Program ran efficiently both nights - Constant Sprintcar Action ! (How Good). Officals on and off the track did a superb job

The FLEX Motorsport Team of Sheldon and Nathan Brady from Western Australia picked up the best presented Team and Car(s). The commemorative trophy is made of a section of wood from the original Premier Speedway fence.

The Flex Motorsport Team from WA took out the best presented Team/Car(s) award

The "Best Presented" award is commemorated with a wooden trophy that is made from part of the original Premier Speedway fence

USA Driver Paul McMahan helped out the commentary team of Wade Aunger and Gavin White from the E-Main onwards – adding expert comments that complimented the standard broadcast perfectly. It added another dimension to the night and brought a professional racer’s knowledge to the table.

USA Ace Paul McMahan had a dreaded run and in the end helped out with expert Driver comments over the PA - Great concept !

Robbie Farr was awarded to Ian Sheppard Memorial Trophy for the most consistent Driver in the Presidents Cup (Avalon Wed night), The Kings Challenge (Mount Gambier Fri Night) and the Grand Annual Classic (Sat & Sun night).

Robbie Farr in the Q7 took out the Ian Sheppard Memorial trophy

Albury’s David Anderson took the SKWID Signs “Hard Charger” award coming from a 5th starting position in the B-Main, then 19th in the A-Main to a super credible finish of 4th in The Classic.

After huge engine dramas, Grant Anderson (V37) recovered to come a mindblowing 4th in A-Main - thereby securing the SKWID SIGNS "Hard Charger" Award - Ripper effort Ando !

And now for some more pictures of “The Classic”:

Ian Loudoun and Crew had his N18 Blackshaw's Motor Body Repairs entry set-up perfectly for the A-Main

Ian Loudoun, the proud recipient of that $40,000 cheque is flanked by 2nd place Craig Dollansky (left) and 3rd place Kerry Madsen (right). Also joining the celebrations are two representatives of Lucas Oils - Naming Rights Sponsor for the 2012 Classic

The temperature soared to over 35 celsius which made it really hard on the track. Umberellas were a nessesary crowd fashion item to keep the sun at bay

The Classic this year welcomed 14 visiting Americans - the flags flew in their honour and also the competing Aussies from all states and territory of Australia

The Flex Motorsports Team have great looking cars

Local Victorian Driver Ricky Barrand in the V61 entry did an awsome job amongst some hot competition to earn the right to be 2nd reserve - 1st reserve was Jason Meyers from America. The A-Main got a clean start and their services were not required

Young Jason Kendrick (WA11) has really matured as a Driver and mixed and matched it with some of the sports elite - He came home in a very respectable 11th position in "The Classic"

Mitch Foster driving the V21 found that the rubber-down track was a great way to consume tyres. Most teams grappled with this in the heat of the day

Craig Dollansky's DB Goodyer Developments #7 crossed the line in 2nd

Kerry Madsen drove really hard and came 3rd in the A-Main

Those top wings certainly add a touch of colour !

Ian Loudoun (Right) and Craig Dollansky share a few words on how the track is shaping up during its preparation session on Sunday afternoon

Daryn Pittman drove a solid race and came in 5th. Pittman, like several other Americans brought his own racing machine across from America to know what he was working with

Tim Shaffer driving the Q36 Reeve Kruck Titan Garages entry is the third driver the car has had in the past month. Shaun Dobson and Matthew Reed have each had seat time too. The team battled a mystery fuel starvation issue - They even bolted Garry Brazier's (N21) spare tail tank and lines into the car in a hope of eliminating the drama. Here Shaffer "smokes" it in hot laps with Ian Madsen in hot pursuit

Wade Aunger gets the crowd rockin' with a mexican wave synchronised to the race pace of a second round heat

The heat of the day turns to a beautiful balmy feel when the sun dipped below the grandstand - the track was "rubber down" but the relief in temperature was going to make things a whole heap better

Drivers and Crew mill around the pit white board that tells them whether they made the E,D,C,B or A-Main cut

The crowd disperses after Victory Lane presentations and goes to check out the "artillery"

 

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