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Wingless wizards headed to Sydney for Aussie title

Almost 100 of Australia’s best Wingless Sprint men and women racers will contest the 2017/2018 Australian Championship at Sydney’s Valvoline Raceway this Friday and Saturday night.

Led by defending National champion Joel Chadwick from South Australia the veritable ‘who’s who’ field will converge on the wide open expanses of the 460m clay-way nestled next to the M4 motorway near Parramatta.

History will show that the Wingless Sprint ranks have been the most rapidly expanding category in Australian Speedway and this weekend’s title will be further evidence of that.

They’ve literally just exploded throughout the country.

Certainly it’s the comparative cost-effectiveness has played a major part in the category’s growth.

Without the cost of anywhere from $25,000 to $80,000 for a Sprintcar motor the wingless sprint seems to give drivers the open wheel thrill without the huge investment in horsepower.

The cars also aren’t hard on tires.

And the thrifty teams will use second hand rubber from Sprintcar teams which also makes things financially more manageable.

The motors themselves are not high maintenance (comparatively) and they’re also extremely affordable from a wreckers or parts hotline if you happen to detonate your own.

The absence of a top and front wing makes maintenance and cleaning a lot easier than a Sprintcar and there’s also the added expense of tearing those wings up when you roll over.

But having said all of that, most Wingless Sprint drivers will tell you that their Ultimate goal is to race Sprintcars and to some degree the Wingless class is a path towards doing just that.

There are a handful of drivers who run both Wingless and USC Sprintcars.

Sydney drivers Dean Thomas and Jason Bates are two.

Thomas will be the first one to admit, he’s infinitely more competitive (and often has been more fortunate) in the Wingless than in USC.

Thomas believes that most of the title contenders will come from NSW but also casts an eye towards Victorian Luke Weel, West Aussie former National champion Daniel Hartigan and current Aussie champion Joel Chadwick.

“It’s hard for NSW guys to win here, so anyone from interstate is going to have to really work for it. It’s going to be a great title,” Thomas explains.

Former NSW champion Jason Bates has a similar mindset.

“My dream is to race USC Sprintcars and that’s why we’ve done it again this year but realistically to run at the pointy end of that field takes a far bigger budget and spares inventory than our little family team has,” says Jason Bates, “the Wingless budget is manageable for me and it allows me to travel all over Australia and race with people I regard as my friends.”

Pressed on whom he ranks as the biggest title threats Bates is coy however.

“I don’t think you can break it down into any single contenders,” he says, “there are at least 20 guys who can win this race. That’s the beauty of Wingless. Last weekend in Mount Gambier for the Sprintcar title there was realistically five or six guys who could win. This weekend in Sydney there are twenty. That’s what makes it such a challenge.”

One of Bates’ best mates is also one of his biggest rivals.

South Aussie firebrand and current Australia #1 after the win last year in Tasmania Joel Chadwick actually stays with Bates and his family in St. Clair when they race in Sydney.

Chadwick concurs with Bates on the depth of the field this weekend, though he would go one step further and single out several contenders.
“Luke Weel will be fast out of Victoria and he’s raced in Sydney this year to improve his speed, Mark Blyton has been fantastic this year, Luke Redpath from Tasmania is always fast and Matthew Iwanow from WA seems to having a great year as well. You couldn’t possibly pick a winner.”

And that, above all else, is probably the beauty of the Wingless ranks in Australia.

There are hundreds of them, with drivers ranging from rookie teenagers to experienced veterans, wheeling them around all states and territories in the country.

Make no mistake though, as much as they are ‘fun’ they’re also a major handful and can get you into a huge stack of trouble in a heartbeat.

“You have to respect these cars,” says Thomas, “they can bite you if you just wheel one in to the corner and hope for the best. They’re pretty stable until you ride a wheel or hook a rut and then they can get upside down big time.”

This weekend’s two-night Australian Wingless Sprint Championship has attracted a stellar crop of some 97 cars with possibly up to a quarter of those having a legitimate shot at the podium or a Championship win.

Whoever comes out of this weekend with the #1 on their tail-tank will have the pride of being an Australian Champion, have a nice big trophy and some prize-money.

But there will also be the satisfaction of conquering a field of almost 100 cars on one of the toughest tracks in the country.

Gates open: 2pm
Action starts: 5pm
Location: Valvoline Raceway – 21 Wentworth Street Clyde
(02) 9637 0411
Facebook: Valvoline Raceway
Adults: $30
Pension: $20
Juniors: $15 (13-15yrs)
Family: ($70) 2 adults and 2 juniors
Kids 12 and under: FREE
Demolition Derby SATURDAY ONLY
Support Classes:
Friday, February 2 – Wingless Sprints – Lightning Sprints
Saturday, February 3 – Wingless Sprints – Fender Benders – Demolition Derby
Nominations for the event are:
N2 Robert Mazzer
V2 Travis Millar
W3 Matthew Iwanow
NX3 Mitchell Pyne
N4 Jason Davis
V4 Carly Walsh
S4 Travis Beasley
N5 Mark Blyton
S5 Joel Chadwick (A1)
NX5 Max Risbridger
NX6 Warren King
N7 Jeff Neve
NX9 Andrew Seery
T10 Luke Redpath
N10 Geoff Piekar
V11 Matthew Symons
NX11 John Newman
N12 Brock Gardiner
N14 John McRae
VX14 Shaun Lyness
N15 Jamison Blyton
N16 Ashleigh Jack
V16 Wayne Logue
V17 Andrew Hibbert
N17 Lawrence McDougall
Q18 Brody Thomsen
N19 Cody Boulding
NX21 Kyle Ionn
N21 Sean Dicker
NX22 Jake Ionn
V23 Mathew Balcombe
NX24 Kyle Angel
S24 Aaron Doe
N27 Parker Eveleigh
V28 Luke Weel
V30 Tony Moule
N31 Jason Martin
NX31 Joel Rhind
N32 Wayne Arnold
V33 Luke Storer
V35 Glenn Watts
S35 Mitchell Brome
N35 Sean Mayo
V36 David Cook
NX36 Michael Butcher
N37 Simon Bestmann
N38 Michael Santin
N40 Lou Pacchiarotta
N41 Jason Bates
N42 Zac Pacchiarotta
W42 Mitchell White
V43 Daniel Storer
N44 Natasha Herne
N45 Troy Carey
VX46 Michael McDonald
S46 Spencer Taylor
S47 Anthony Tapley
V48 Michael Skene
NX48 Tyson Williams
N50 Graham Flood
N51 Dean Thomas
N52 Steve Thomas
V52 Scott Irons
N53 Jeffrey Thomas
N56 Michael Gray
N57 Harley Smee
N58 Luke Sayre
N60 Daniel Flood
N61 Peter Granger
V64 Brittany Kuypers
V67 Chris Halesworth
S69 Brad Beasley
V70 Aron Lawrence
NX71 David Eggins
N72 Coby Elliot
NX72 Troy Baker
N74 Mitch Manning
W77 Daniel Hartigan
V77 Alex Thomson
VX77 Travis Evans
N78 Drew Hillman
V79 Clint McLaren
N80 Trent Martin
V83 Todd Hobson
N83 Darryl Marshall
N84 Jarrod Rust
N85 Brian Briton
N86 Nick Tattnell
T87 Brad Walkley
N89 Jacqui Salmon
N94 Shane Chppindale
V95 Geoff Cook
N97 Brad Mock
V98 Peter Logue
N98 Leighton O'Brien
Q99 Glenn Wright
N99 Mitchell O’Brien

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