Kerry Madsen wins historic Australian Sprintcar Championship
Kerry and Ian Madsen’s history-making 1-2 in the Rod Bowen’s Prestige Smash Repairs Australian Sprintcar Championship was the culmination of what was a dramatic, at times controversial, physically demanding and spectacular three days of competition.
Concreting his reputation as “corporate Kerry” the winner made a duly modest speech from Victory Lane thanking everyone who had made his career to date possible, in particular thanking car owners Keneric Racing principals Bob and Pete Gavranich.
“Bob and Pete have elevated my career to a different level,” he conceded, “without them I couldn’t have achieved the things I have. So many of our partners with Keneric have combined to give us some really special moments and opportunities over the last few years. I can’t thank them enough. To win here in Sydney is cool. It was a really tough title with the different track surfaces we faced and the standard of the cars. I’m really sorry about what happened with James (McFadden), I should have given him more room than I did. I’m sorry that it played out like it did.”
The historic 1-2 was arguably more fitting as it coincided with the 18-year anniversary of their Mum who passing away on that very day back in 1998.
An emotional Joe Madsen paid tribute to his wife and the mother to his boys as title sponsor Rod Bowen as he surprised Kerry and Ian on the podium.
Three different nights presented three very different racing surfaces, challenging the science of the racecar technology and the crew chiefs that dictate the set up, the strengths and weaknesses of the drivers and the resolve of the track crew who worked 18-hour days to provide the combat arena.
Over 100 cars entered for the three nights with 79 lining up for the final night.
Withdrawals before the day itself included hard chargers Danny Reidy and Steven Lines who looked at the challenge ahead of progressing through ‘the alphabet races’ and thought better of it.
The format at times was difficult to interpret and explain to fans (and seemed to change a bit) and teams alike but typically the cream ultimately rose to the top and the make-up of the A-Main was largely what most people expected.
The title set a record for 6 female racers, the most in any title previously. SCCA President Kathy Kelly proudly announced the statistic at the final night of the title to the drivers meeting and was clearly chuffed about the situation.
Disappointment met three of the highest profile players in the Championship A-Main.
Jamie Veal seemed poised to strike from his third row starting spot in the SWI Engineering Maxim but a rare driveline failure saw the #35 grind to a halt before the form up lap robbing the fans and Veal himself from a legitimate shot at the title.
Max Dumesny withdrew with a flat left rear tyre only two laps into the event after contact in an incident involving Daniel Sayre and Brad Maiolo.
And James McFadden, certainly a joint-favourite, suffered a flat left front tyre on the Milwaukee Tools Maxim after contact with Kerry Madsen whilst battling for the lead.
Brooke Tatnell appeared to be on a trip to podium valley but Robbie Farr had other ideas and eased the #7 ECP Cool into the third spot behind the brothers in front.
“We all grew up racing around this place as kids,” Farr would later explain, “Kerry, Brooke and myself. Ian has paid his dues too, the pair of them (Madsens) are as good as anyone in the world on their night so its no disgrace to run third in a race like this.”
NSW drivers filled the first 11 positions across the line with Gold Coast teenager Lachlan McHugh being the first interstater across the line in 12th in what was yet another impressive result for the talented second-generation racer.
Jordyn Brazier’s growth as a racer in the last three weeks was clearly evident as the fourth-generation speedster looked rapid all weekend to eventually finish fifth and lock down a career best finish in the Cobra Bins #21.
Proud parents Garry and Kerrie beamed with pride in the pits after the event amongst a sea of Brazier well-wishers.
The new engine program obviously sees Jordyn in a very positive frame of mind and his driving has improved dramatically.
Jackson Delamont and Jordyn Brazier raced side by side for many laps and the two good mates were clearly chuffed about the battle, as was Jackson’s proud Pop “Mad” Harry Delamont.
“It was great watching the pair of them race like that. Jackson has really got going again like we know he can. It’s been a great weekend for us.”
A record 50/50 payout saw the lucky crowd member pick up over $9,000 and three other lucky winners pick up $1000 vouchers towards a set of American Custom Racing Wheels for their road cars.
Grant Anderson was again consistent in the #37 WASP / Bandag entry but again ruing his qualifying that unfortunately prevents him from starting closer to the front. “If I qualified better I wouldn’t have to pass so many cars. I just have to get that part of my racing sorted.”
He came from the eleventh row of the grid to run a strong eighth.
Budget family racer Grant Tunks did his father Bob – the Grand Marshall of the Championship – proud with a stirring performance under the radar as usual to run from 16th to 10th by the fall of the chequers.
An obviously satisfied Tunks smiled to family and friends around him as leaned back on his trusty Flair Dancewear Triple X.
Sam Walsh moved his Rocket #92 from the ninth row of the grid to an eventual 11th place finish but the last few weeks have clearly been one of frustration for the rapid Sydneysider with three main event wins to his name considering he was – prior to Christmas – one of the hot favourites for the title.
There were two father-son combinations in the A-Main field, those being Garry and Jordyn Brazier and Max, Matt and Marcus Dumesny.
This must certainly be a record of some form.
It was nearly a case of Max having three sons in the field, as Mitchell looked a possibility to make the transfer from the B-Main before being caught up in a huge wreck for Troy Little.
Troy Little was taken to hospital after the crash with acute pain in his upper back that was later diagnosed as a compressed T7 vertebrae.
He was released late Sunday afternoon and many agreed the scary altitude he achieved could have made the injury far worse.
It was also Troy’s second flip of the night getting the #20 inverted in turn one and two during his earlier heat too.
The big crowd on hand to see the final night despite sweltering summer conditions was a just reward for the effort the venue put in in the lead up and during the title.
Bob “The Streak” Blacklaw was a proud proud man as he unveiled and paraded his gorgeous Johnny Anderson Sprintcar in the Australian anthem parade lap and earlier that day at the Calcutta at the Mercure Sydney Parramatta.
A ‘surprise’ phone call from interstate derailed James McFadden’s car owner Luch Monte’s effort to ‘own’ his driver at the Saturday morning Calcutta.
McFadden’s previous car owner Scott Milling pulled out a hefty $6,000 to pinch JMac at the last minute, much to the chagrin of Monte at the time. Fellow front row sitter Kerry Madsen also received a $6,000 investment that netted the successful bidder over $8,000 when Kerry got the win.
The stirring rendition of the Australian anthem sung by Sydney vocalist Nathan Brake was truly memorable yet again.
It was Brake’s second appearance at VR and he was truly outstanding once more.
Sydney livewire Darryl Campbell was able to slip into the A-Main in his role as first reserve when Jamie Veal was unable to start and the always affable Campbell made the most of it shooting from 24th on the grid to an eventual 16th place in the Eagle Products #28.
Two times Aussie Champion David Murcott and recent Scott Darley Challenge winner Shaun Dobson had two very disappointing coming together moments over the weekend. Firstly on preliminary night they clashed with both having to DNF as a result and then in a bruising moment in Championship night B-Main Dobson spun the #21 coming out of turn two where he was collected in a sickening impact by the hapless Murcott trying to avoid the contact.
The Aussie title weekend marked the final appearance of the #11 Australia Wide Towing entry with Matt Smith behind the wheel.
The Barry and Vivienne Lewis owned team has now been sold and the versatile Smith will concentrate on the upcoming Australian Speedcar Championship.
Speaking of Vivienne Lewis, the amazingly hard working member of the SANSW and Life Member announced her retirement from the admin of the sport leaving a huge void for future seasons.
Interested onlookers and also crew members over the weekend included Touring car / Supercar wheelers Glen Seton (crewing on the Lachlan McHugh team) Steven Johnson (looking at potential future Sprintcar drive opportunities for next season) and Network TEN Motorsport host and self confessed Speedway supporter Greg Rust.
Heat winners were:
1. Matt Dumesny 2. Darryl Campbell 3. Garry Brazier 4. Ian Madsen 5. Ian Loudoun 6. David Murcott 7. Shaun Dobson
The E-Main Results
1. James Duckworth 2. David Craft 3. Brendan Scorgie 4. Jamie Matherson 5. Graham Lagerlow
The D-Main Top Ten
1. Matt Geering 2. Alex Orr 3. Guy Stanshall 4. Kyle Caunt 5. Jimmy Matchett 6. Jamie O’Neill 7. Jason Gebert 8. Jason Pryde 9. Braydan Willmington 10. Terry Kelly
The C-Main Top Ten
1. Troy Little 2. Toby Bellbowen 3. Bryan Mann 4. Max Johnston 5. Darren Jensen 6. Lynton Jeffrey 7. Jamie Maiolo 8. Alex Orr 9. Mitch Wormall 10. Thomas Jeffrey The B-Main Top Ten 1. Garry Brazier 2. James Thompson 3. Grant Anderson 4. Ben Atkinson 5. Marcus Dumesny 6. Allan Woods 7. Darryl Campbell 8. Mitchell Gee 9. Kelly Linigen 10. Jack Lee
A-MAIN Results 2017 SCCA Rod Bowen’s Prestige Smash Repairs Australian Sprintcar Championship
1. Kerry Madsen 2. Ian Madsen 3. Robbie Farr 4. Brooke Tatnell 5. Jordyn Brazier 6. Jackson Delamont 7. James Thompson 8. Grant Anderson 9. Ian Loudoun 10. Grant Tunks 11. Sam Walsh 12. Lachlan McHugh 13. Matt Dumesny 14. Warren Ferguson 15. Ben Atkinson 16. Darryl Campbell 17. Brad Maiolo 18. Marcus Dumesny DNF 19. Allan Woods DNF 20. James McFadden DNF 21. Garry Brazier DNF 22. Jake Tranter DNF 23. Daniel Sayre DNF 24. Max Dumesny DNF 25. Jamie Veal DNF