Pagel upsets sedan stars
By BRUCE MAXWELL
GYMPIE's Mark Pagel upset an impressive line-up of Super Sedan stars to claim the inaugural Grenville Anderson Memorial race, presented by Valley Longwall Drilling, at Bartercard Lismore Speedway on Saturday night.
One of the best arrays of Super Sedans seen outside a national title contested what has been affectionately dubbed 'the Grenville'.
As expected with so many 'name' drivers in the field the action was fast and furious through the heats for the coveted pole position.
Tasmania's Jarrod Harper was the first casualty in heat one when he tangled with Darrell McKeown in turn four. Harper was less than impressed with McKeown's driving style.
Little-known Mark Pagel turned out to be the quiet achiever and top-scored through the heats to claim pole for the 50-lap feature.
Wayne Randall started alongside Pagel on two and made his bid for the lead as the green flag dropped but Pagel held on, which allowed Jamie McHugh, who started on three, to move into second and apply the blowtorch.
However, Pagel was not about to be overawed by names or reputations and fought back to not only hold the lead but open a small gap.
As the battled raged behind him, Pagel carefully picked his way through the lapped cars.
In one of the most bizarre incidents witnessed in a race Keith Sims brought on the first and only caution on lap 24 when his fuel cell shot out from under his car across the track.
With Sims left scratching his head and the tank removed, Pagel once again lined up on pole with lapped car Alan Baker as a buffer, followed by second-placed McHugh then Randall, Kane, Brims and Smith.
As the green flag dropped for the restart Pagel simply drove away from the field.
McHugh was struggling with a race car that was getting harder and harder to drive and was forced to run tight and low on the track to hold onto to second which gave Randall (third), no chance to pass.
"I was too young to race with Grenville but I did watch him and he was great, so I'm honoured to win this," said a modest Pagel.
The Super Sedans may have been the headline act but the support divisions provided plenty of action with no less then four cars rolling on the night.
Dan Giselle and Mykel English rolled in the Junior feature race in separate incidents. The race was declared after the English wreck, with Ben Glass first, Phoebe Grant second and Kyle Armstrong third.
Microsprint driver John Vansgiersburgen was also lucky to walk away from his race car after he rolled in the main straight.
Les Nelson went on to take the win and the NSW Title with Steve Ellicott second and Steve Caunt third.
But the wreck of the night went to Craig Mellor who launched his Commodore into the air on the approach to turn one and into a series of barrel rolls along the safety fence before crashing upside down onto the track.
Miraculously, Mellor was basically unscathed and walked away from the wreck.
In a fast and furious feature race Queensland's Gary Brown survived a race of attrition to claim victory from John Swarbrooke and Brett Baron.