All Images by Peter “Straight Shooter” Roebuck Words by Darren “The Digger” O’Dea
CAMERON Gessner tall and lean is the “BIG” winner of the 33rd Annual Scardifields Smash Repairs King of Wings that was run and won at the Perth Motorplex on Saturday night.
Gessner won the 40-lap feature race from David Priolo, Brooke Tatnell, Shaun Bradford and Californian Kyle Hirst with the winning margin being 2.258 seconds.
He grabbed the lead in the dying stages as leader and polesitter David Priolo suffered front axle damage and was lucky to keep going, holding on for second place.
It was a good turnaround in form for the Cowara Motorsport crew that has been plagued with bad luck at the start of the season.
Gessner claimed a second in his heat race and then another second in the A Dash to start the main event from P3.
Priolo was quick all night and that started with the best lap in qualifying that was enough for him to win the Vortex Wings front wing for this round, despite tagging the wall only three laps into the session and finishing qualifying on the infield with a broken diff.
The team replaced the car’s rear-end in time for Priolo’s heat race where he finished fourth before he won the A Dash, earning the right to start from pole.
Tatnell only arrived in Perth around 2pm on raceday after a long journey from America that was filled with dramas, taking the former national and WSS champion nearly 50 hours to get to his final destination.
But the dramas didn’t end with flights that were turned back and lengthy stopovers, as the Krikke Motorsport machine suffered engine problems in the first heat.
Tatnell pulled the car to the infield and when they returned to the pits the team replaced the engine.
They had to dig deep and qualify for the main event from the Midpack Madness where he finished third behind Hirst and Brad Maiolo with only the top six qualifying for the 40-lapper.
It was one hell of an effort to convert a P21 start into a podium finish.
There were plenty of incidents in the stop-start final that was punctuated by an infield pitstop at midrace distance.
Jeff Leisk and Kris Coyle were both out of the contest on the first lap, rolling over in separate incidents that saw Lee Nash lucky enough to have a front tyre changed after also being involved in the main straight incident with Leisk and Carl Dowling.
Gessner led the pack away for the second 20 laps from Priolo, Ken Sartori, Jason Kendrick and Shaun Bradford, but Sartori, who started from P2 in his first race in more than two years, didn’t take his position and parked the Watsons Express Transport #50 on the infield.
Ryan Farrell, who had been in sensational form in the first three rounds of the AHG Sprintcar Series, was a no-show in the 2nd half of the 40 lapper after spinning to the infield three laps prior to the mid race pitstop break.
There were some great moves throughout the pack with plenty of slide jobs and fierce side-by-side racing keeping everyone on their toes.
Hirst did a great job in heavy traffic to get into fifth after starting from P19.
Mark Wells started from P9 and finished sixth while the top 10 was rounded out by Daniel Harding (started from P13), Jason Kendrick (started P4), Shane Norris (from P12) and Bradley Maiolo (who rocketed through traffic from P20).