Vogels started from 2nd pole for the 25 lap final alongside top pointscorer Darren Mollenoyux with Domain Ramsay and Mathew Reed filling the 2nd row. The final placings after 25 gruelling laps were Vogels, Ramsay and Reed.
Mollenoyux was anxious to get going at the fall of the green and forced a restart as he smashed the loud pedal and jumped the start.
On the restart Mollenoyux shot to an early lead and looked the goods. Vogels settled into second and Mike Van Bremen snuck through for third. Tim Rankin brought the yellows on after just 3 laps with a spin to the infield on turn 4. Rookie Liam Williams driving the Bruce Stephens Racing (BSR) V91 ART clipped the slowing Rankin and suffered a deflating left front tyre.
Williams was to restart and ran effectively the remaining 22 laps with no air in the tyre, coming an impressive 11th in the 360 powered unit.
A couple of laps later Nick Lacey exited the race after he brought down the yellows after tagging the Turn 3 wall as a result of steering (drag link) failure.
On the restart Mollenoyux had all the answers and opened up a good 10 car lead on Vogels, with Van Bremen holding 3rd and Domain Ramsay and Matthew Reed having a great battle for 4th place.
By lap 10 Mollenoyux had snuck up on lapped traffic while Vogels had starting to whittle away at the straightaway lead that Mollenoyux had created. Mollenoyux was finding it a challenge to get past Liam Williams as Williams continued to drive a brilliant race – in a 360 and with what was now a completely flat left front.
Mollenoyux made the move on Williams and Vogels went right with him. With seventeen laps down Vogels was starting to fly and launched the V70 Total Dairy Service/Mainline Dynalog entry into the lead. Unfortunately Mollenoyux had sustained a flat right rear in the racing process and slowed noticeably. It was devastating for the in-form Mollenoyux as all he could do was coast around with back markers now lapping him.
Meanwhile Vogels continued to cut through traffic until Steve Caunt in the spectacularly prepared NSW #9 spun on turn 3-4. Foster and Brad Warren also exited the race.
On the restart with 5 laps remaining it was Jonny Vogels from Domain Ramsay, Matthew Reed, Mike Van Bremen, Tim Van Ginneken, Glen Saville, Glen Sutherland, Darren Hickman, Dennis Jones, Brett Milburn, Liam Williams, Peter Milnes and Steve Caunt.
Vogels was a clear winner as he crossed the line from the much improved Domain Ramsay and Matthew Reed. Reed was lucky to hang in there in the dying moments as his top wing had taken a whopping whack and the sideboard was peeling back like a sardine tin.
Torque Tube Media caught Johnny Vogels up shortly after he took victory. Click the following audio link for the interview:
A massive field of forty cars had descended upon Dave Robert’s Heartland Raceway facility to do battle, with quite a few new Rookies in the field. For the majority of Teams it was their first race for the season. The cars were gleaming and the new livery and looked awesome.
Earlier in the evening Heats where taken out by Domain Ramsay, Dennis Jones, Johnny Vogels, Mollenoyux (x2) , Hickman, Van Bremen, Saville.
Liam Williams in the 360 BSR did a great job all things considered. In his first race of his Rookie season, he pulled a very difficult heat line up with big name drivers like Vogels, Nick Lacey, Saville and Sutherland all ahead of him. (Williams was off the rear each heat because of the Rookie status).
Williams drove a stunning B-Main to qualify for the Feature. He started out of position 12 where he worked hard to surge forward to finish an incredible 4th place in the 6 car transfer. At one point he had got past Steve Caunt for 3rd but lost that spot with a couple to go.
Due to time constraints the C-Main and Top 6 shootout were dropped.
The next round of SRA Eureka Garages and Sheds Series is this Saturday night (10th) at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway.