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 www.valvolineraceway.com.au 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
21 Wentworth St, Granville, SW Sydney Australia