All Images compliments of Gary Reid
Words by USCPR, minor edit P Griffin
It was a mixed bag of contrasting fortunes for the six USC Chase Championship contenders at Valvoline Raceway on the weekend …..and a win for defending champion Jamie Veal sees the points situation tightening substantially coming into the final round next Saturday night (April 8).
Disappointments presented for 1st and 2nd placed Chase contenders Robbie Farr and Sam Walsh coming into the fifth round last night, while strong finishes for Shaun Dobson and Max Dumesny now sees the title open up considerably.
Matt Dumesny too, who led for several laps of the 35-lap A-Main Saturday night (1st April) ended up with several unplanned events hampering his Chase aspirations after going into the round in fourth place.
Jamie Veal’s win was far from an easy affair for the Warrnambool hero with Matt Dumesny serving it up to the #35 SWI Engineering Maxim until the young Sydneysider jumped the cushion in turn three and four and then half spun back on to the track.
With the front wheels high in the air Matt Dumesny came into the path of the hapless Sam Walsh (running in third at the time) and the pair became locked together bringing on the cautions.
Tragically for Walsh, who earlier had bettered his own one-lap track record in qualifying in the #92 Rocket Industries GF1 with a stunning 11.500s lap, his car was too badly damaged to restart.
This caused a major speed bump in Walsh’s path to possible Chase victory with the further agony of knowing that series leader Robbie Farr would later finish in a disappointing 9th position.
Veal was rock solid with the Jeff Judd/Dylan Buswell spannered #35 and racked up his 14th career victory at the VR clayway.
The fact that his beloved Essendon Bombers AFL Team looked well placed to record their second consecutive win not long after he crossed the line was not lost on the Victorian superstar.
“I really can’t thank these boys enough,” he explained, “Matty (Dumesny) did a great job there and I had to really keep him in my sights in the traffic. It’s great that we could come up with the win and let’s see what happens next week I guess.”
Tasmanian Shaun Dobson was speedy and consistent in the Quantum Quartz / Essendon Ford #21 to finish in a healthy fourth position behind USC podium debutant Jay Waugh in third.
Canberra based expat Kiwi Waugh paid tribute to his family members, friends and partner Kaara stating ‘this is a great result for our little team to get this third place. It was great to run up the front with these guys and I hope it continues.”
James Thompson was resilient and effective in the Stahlwille Tools #22 for his stout second place despite battling effects of the flu.
“I’m feeling really under the weather tonight it’s so good to get a result like his for all our team. The wheels never fall off this car, the boys always give me such a great car.”
Thompson also paid tribute to the track staff for the wide and racy surface.
“My hat’s off to the track guys here, this place was old school Parramatta and it was a pleasure to race on. I know that they’ve had a huge job getting the place ready with all the rain but it was back to its best tonight.”
Max Dumesny was his typical rock-solid self in the Valvoline Maxim slipping silently into the top six and garnering some critical points to overtake son Matt in the Chase points coming into April 8.
Max Johnston wheeled the Airplant Services #38 to a stirring top-five finish showing everyone how keen he was to be back behind the wheel after the interminable two-month lay off with Sydney’s unseasonal wet weather patterns.
Jackson Delamont ran a strong seventh ahead of VR debutant Darren Mollenoyux from Victoria (keeping him in the hunt for a possible top five Chase result) over Robbie Farr in ninth and Michael Pickens tenth in the Style Homes / Century Batteries Eagle.
For Chase points leader Robbie Farr, a critical jumped cushion in turns three/four whilst haggling near the front proved costly as the #7 ECP/Hi-Tec Oils Cool dropped several positions to only just remain inside the top ten.
Michael Pickens came from the B-Main to run a creditable top ten in his VR Sydney Sprintcar debut and show his undeniable quality in an unfamiliar package owned by Sid Moore and spannered by Brett Morris.
Remaining finishers were Toby Bellbowen 11th, Darryl Campbell 12th, Daniel Sayre (who was a lively customer and ran within sight of the top five for some time) 13th, Danny Reidy 14th, Matt Geering 15th, Kim Becker (who ran as a two-car team with son Jesse who made his first USC A-Main appearance) 16th and Warren Ferguson 17th.
DNF’s were Ben Atkinson, Alex Orr, Jesse Attard, Jordyn Brazier, Guy Stanshall and Matt Dumesny.
Guy Stanshall unfortunately had the biggest exit from the A-Main when he made contact with Ben Atkinson and flipped many times into turn three before thankfully emerging unscathed.
Heat wins went to Jamie Veal, Matt Dumesny, Ben Atkinson and Shaun Dobson.
The C-Main win went to James Duckworth with Adam Hourigan also making the transfer.
The B-Main went to Darryl Campbell with Michael Pickens, Alex Orr and Kim Becker also making the transfer to the A-Main.
Official results in the A-Main were:
1. Jamie Veal
2. James Thompson
3. Jay Waugh
4. Shaun Dobson
5. Max Johnston
6. Max Dumesny
7. Jackson Delamont
8. Darren Mollenoyux
9. Robbie Farr
10. Michael Pickens
11. Toby Bellbowen
12. Darryl Campbell
13. Daniel Sayre
14. Danny Reidy
15. Matt Geering
16. Kim Becker
17. Warren Ferguson
Next weekend Saturday April 8th sees the Grand Final of the USC Chase and also the ultimate Sprintcar Challenge NSW Final at Sydney Valvoline Raceway.