Missile on target
By BRUCE MAXWELL
MARK 'The Missile' Robinson was right on target at Bartercard Lismore speedway on Monday night to win round one of the Southern Cross Ten Mr Modified Series.
Robinson, in the Valvoline entry, took the overall points lead in the prestigious series with arch rivals 'Lightning' Luke Oldfield and Stuart 'The Hitman' Hearn in second and third.
Robinson's season didn't get off to the best of starts, an engine failure in practise for the season opener saw him in a borrowed car and then a drive shaft failure followed at the next Lismore outing.
So it's fair to say he was due for or change of luck and it happened with 11 laps remaining in the second leg of the 50-lap final.
Race leader Luke Oldfield (Quantum) was leading by half a lap with Robinson in second unable to close the gap, followed by Hearn (Farmer Charlie) with 11 laps left.
Then the first stoppage occurred when rookie Matty Wright lost his front suspension on turn three.
As leader Oldfield rolled around under the yellow light, it was the fans who first noticed his right rear was flat. Luckily, under the Mr Modified rules, drivers can pit on the infield and Luke did just that.
Mark Robinson all of a sudden found himself in the lead with Hearn in second and Oldfield who had pitted relegated to the rear of the field, setting the stage for a thriller finish.
As the 'old firm' of Robinson and Hearn resumed their duel for the lead 'the kid' charged from the rear.
With 12 cars between Oldfield and a podium finish he started cutting them down one and two at a time until an incident involving Dennis Mazzer and Phil McNamara brought the field to a halt once again.
Robinson had held off every charge by Hearne to hold onto the lead but for Oldfield it looked a distant chance. He was eighth with only four laps left.
As the green flag dropped Hearne desperately tried to snatch the lead from Robinson but the Australian champion was up to the challenge.
To win the big shows in a fire-breathing, alky burning V8 Dirt Modified on a bumpy, demanding clay race track takes a tremendous amount of talent and an awful lot of courage.
Bartercard Lismore Speedway is known as 'the home of the Brave' for good reason; it's fast and a tough race track to master.
On Monday night the current Australian champ Mark Robinson won round one, his credentials established many years ago. Former Aussie champ Stuart Hearn finished second; his courage and ability have never been doubted.
On Monday night young Luke Oldfield, who had the fans on their feet cheering when he crossed the line third, endorsed his credentials as a future champ.
The stage is set for round two at Grafton!
Jimmy Knight dedicated the AMCA Feature race that he won to former AMCA racer Andrew Walker who was tragically killed a week ago. Neil Wallace was second, from Paul Smith.
Greg Worling led all the way to win the Production Car feature from fast finishing Jason Jolley and Gavin Fletcher.
Kyle Armstrong took the feature from a strong Junior field, ahead of Max Clarke and Melina Rachow.
Steve Cox picked up another win in the Four Cylinder feature with the Gamble brothers, Matt second, and Tim third.
Matt Egan won the Limited Sedan feature from Quinton Clarke and Greg Moss, while Steven Quirk won the Stockers feature, ahead of Jason Green and Jamie Smith.