All Photos by Peter Roebuck
Cameron Gessner scored victory in the running of the 20th Annual Bonza Bradford Sprintcar Classic at the Perth Motorplex on Saturday December 8 in front of a huge crowd. Across the line for 2nd were Jamie Maiolo and Ben Ellement. In another good performance, Mick Goode came home in 4th while the ever improving Lee Nash took 5th place honours in front of Ryan Farrell.
Gessner started in P2 on the front row with Ryan Farrell for the 30 lap A-Main after earlier setting third quickest time in his qualifying group (Group 3) and 6th quickest overall. With a reasonable time trial, a heat win and 2nd in the Gold Dash, Gessner was looking one of the top contenders.
Farrell shot to an early lead at the start of the race and took just 3 ½ laps to come up on the tail of the field. David Priolo came out of 4th place and was thrilling the crowd with wheelies on the hooky Kwinana straights. Priolo got a massive amount of bite coming out of turn 4 and pulled a monster wheelstand in the Roush-Yates Ford-powered Budget Forklifts #8 Cool down the mainstraight in the early stages of the race but then slide across the track and came to rest on the infield.
Dayne Kingshott had a big moment with 17 laps down and crashed out in a big way for the 2nd time in his last two outings.
Bad luck struck both Shaun Bradford and Ryan Farrell. Bradford while running with the leaders had sustained a broken Jacobs Ladder from contacting the wall and Farrell’s car slowed and stopped during the push off lap for the Kingshott induced restart, forcing him to the rear of field. With a third race distance remaining, that would make it impossible for Farrell to take victory. Bradford persevered with the damage to his rear suspension and resumed racing on the restart.
Gessner and Bradford fought tooth and nail in a spectacular display for several laps, with all eyes on young Shaun Bradford to see if he could win the race in honour of his late father Bonza. Bradford tried so hard – a brilliant effort in a car that was very much injured. Gessner was able to claim fresh air in front after the intense battle and in the dying laps, Jamie Maiolo sensing Bradford’s mechanical handicap, slipped past Bradford with one lap to go. Bradford finally succumbed and was unable to finish the race with a failed differential.
As they crossed the line it was Gessner, J Maiolo and Ben Ellement.
At the start of racing Lee Nash set the quickest time by a country mile with a blistering 13.766 sec, next was Ben Ellement (14.177), Mark Wells (14.186) Ryan Farrell (14.230), and David Priolo (14.327) rounding out the top 5.
Heat wins went the way of Cameron Gessner, Shaun Bradford, Ben Ellement and Lee Nash. The Bronze & Silver Dash was taken out by David Priolo, while Ryan Farrell prevailed to win the Gold dash and pole position.
MMS Civil 360 Power Series
It was a huge night of Sprintcar Racing at Kwinana, as the MMS Civil 360 Sprintcar Series also separately ran their Round 3 of their Championship with 25 cars nominating. Several Open Drivers car-hopped from their 410 rigs to their 360 machines.
The 20 lap A-Main was taken out by Ben Ellement from Mark Wells and Jake Beard-Miller. David Priolo was involved in a vicious accident with only a handful of laps remaining in the feature which saw his #8 Budget Forklifts entry tangle with Ellement, slamming into the backstraight wall a full race speed and eventually coming to rest upside down with a jammed throttle. Fortunately Priolo emerged unhurt from the wreck to the applause of the large crowd and was soon to “car-hop” into his 410 racecar for the Bonza Bradford Sprintcar Classic Final. Other “car-hoppers” included Mark Wells, Robert Watson Jnr and eventual winner Ben Ellement.
Ian Woods driving for Texanne Racing was 5th on points coming into the round, and was looking to secure further valuable points to move up the ladder, After a 4th in his first heat, the Team was out of P10 in the feature and had sorted their set-up for the rough track and confident of moving forward for a podium place. Unfortunately a 20 cent O-Ring let go in power steering during the A-Main as Woodsy was starting his forward thrust and he was forced to retire to the infield.
Heats went to David Priolo, Ben Ellement (x2) and Greg Fisher. Heat 3 saw an almighty wipe out by #49 Ryan Schlam. Fortunately Ryan was OK, but the same couldn’t be said for the car.
Between the 360’s and 410’s, over 50 cars competed at Kwinana last Saturday. The four-wide salute was a classic with all cars circulating in the two separate classes together with the legendary John Day utes.
Round 4 of the MMS Civil 360 Power Series will be run at the Perth Motorplex on January 5th.
Thanks to Peter Roebuck for all photographic images