South Australian hero Steven Lines cemented himself and the WA-based Halls Motorsport Team as the Sprintcar entity to beat in this season’s 2013/14 World Series Sprintcars Championship at Avalon on Dec 30th.
Lines charged to victory in a comprehensive demolition of the opposition in Round 4 of the Championship in front of a lock-out crowd at Geelong’s Avalon Raceway. The Spirited and unassuming Lines took the chequers and $10,000 winners cheque by a country mile ahead of nearest rival Robbie Farr and current Australian National Champion James McFadden in the 35 lap final.
Lines qualifying time trial of 12.556 was 12th on the list – ½ a second behind quick timer Robbie Farr (12.080). Lines put in a solid performance in his heats but found the going a little tough due to the time trial result – having to come from the Bronze Shootout to ultimately win the Gold Shootout and claim the privilege of pole position.
Beside him on the front row was another South Aussie, Brad Keller who achieved this accolade via an almighty qualifying performance. After finishing 3rd in the opening round of WSS at Adelaide’s Speedway City, the highly underrated Keller Team have gone from strength to strength.
South Australia’s Dylan Jenkin elected to run his provisional rights after mechanical woes and started at the rear out of P21. Three Americans were in the field to make things difficult – Shane Stewart P20, Brad Sweet P14 and Kyle Hirst P7.
With formalities and the 4-wide out of the way it was time to get down to business. At the drop of the green flag Lines stamped his ascendancy on the race early and immediately shot to the lead. Brooke Tatnell battled wheel to wheel with Robbie Farr while Darren Mollenoyux and Trevor Green had a racing incident “coming together” out of Turn 2.
Molly was forced out with steering issues while Green restarted but elected to pull infield after restarting and travelling another 3 laps. Green philosophical about the situation stated the #4 was wounded and a risk to himself and all other competitors.
Back underway again and American Brad Sweet tagged the wall and brought on the yellows with 9 laps down. He was sent to the rear and in a commendable effort lived to race again and worked his way back up to P7 when the chequered flags came out.
Lines continued to clear out but Brad Keller tried everything to stay in touch – A momentary slack attack from Keller saw his #19 tag the wall and Farr shortly afterwards assumed 2nd place. Sixteen laps down and the greatly improved Mitch Foster spun the ACT4 in turns 3/4 and Kyle Hirst, Gary Brazier and Grant Anderson had nowhere to go. Open Red conditions prevailed but Foster was out.
Hirst and Brazier valiantly re-joined the field only to retire 2 laps late with wounded race cars. Ando with a cable tied front wing and steering damage lasted another 7 laps before surrendering.
Shane Stewart started moving forward on the cushion and engaged in a ripper battle midfield. Likewise James McFadden started his own personal war with Brad Keller for 3rd place and with 8 to go wrested 3rd off the impressive Keller.
Meanwhile Lines continued to increase his lead over 2nd placed Farr by the length of the straightway. His driving through traffic was like a hot knife through butter. He crossed the flagstand 100m ahead of Farr and the charging “Hi-Liner” McFadden. There was no answer for Steven Lines and the Halls Motorsport/Bridgestone Tyres Albany/Wilson Trailers #3 KPC – an absolute demolition in front of the best Drivers this country has on offer. Behind McFadden was Keller, Tatnell and Shaun Dobson in P6. Rounding out the top 10 was Brad Sweet, Luke Dillon, Shane Stewart and Stephen Bell.
Interestingly Robbie Farr made the decision to play his Double Points Joker card and with his Quick Time, heat performances and overall 2nd placing for the round has catapulted himself into the WSS points lead.
Farr’s lead is anticipated to be short lived, as this year the ECP Driver is not contracted to the Series and the Team has elected to head North to Sydney and Brisbane, reducing their capability to build more points.
The points for the top 5 Drivers after 4 rounds are:
- Robbie Farr 1181
- Stephen Lines 1140
- Brooke Tatnell 1052
- Luke Dillon 1036
- James McFadden 984
The first American is Shane Stewart on 845 (P8)
Earlier in the program the C-Main was won by Tasmania’s Kurt Luttrell from the luckless Nick Lacey.
The B-Main included some pretty big names including, Jamie Veal, Luke Dillon Darren Mollenoyux, Randy Hannigan, Stephen Bell, Trevor Green, Shane Stewart and Ian Madsen. Ultimately it was Dillon securing the victory from Veal, Mollenoyux, Bell and Stewart taking the final transfer.
Round 5 WSS will be a cracker at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway on Jan 1st.