GOING FOR IT: Jai Stephenson’s 45 car resisted all the challengers, taking him to his first national title at Avalon Raceway in Geelong, Victoria. Photo: Ben Graham.
GOING FOR IT: Jai Stephenson’s 45 car resisted all the challengers, taking him to his first national title at Avalon Raceway in Geelong, Victoria. Photo: Ben Graham.

Jai crowned V8 Dirt Modifieds champion

AUSTRALIAN champion Jai Stephenson took out the 2015 V8 Dirt Modifieds Lord Mayor's Cup at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedwayon Saturday night.

The opening fixture was watched by a big crowd as Stephenson took the chequered flag ahead of Queensland driver Dallas Czerwinski and third-placed Tony Dunn.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell was in attendance to officially open the season.

Stephenson was all conquering in the main event and never eased off the pace once in the lead.

In fact, he recorded the fastest lap of the 30-lap event when he clocked a blistering 13.536 seconds on the final circuit.

The race was not without incident.

Brayed Stephenson spun on lap seven and was sidelined with damage.

Then, with 10 laps remaining, Andrew Pezzutti, who was placed second at the time, crashed into the fence after an attempted pass by Sam Bruggy went wrong.

Contact was made and Pezzutti careered heavily into the concrete retaining wall.

From the outset and as the race settled into a pattern, it was obvious Jai Stephenson was the man to beat.

Queenslander Kevin Britten, who only recently returned from a racing stint in the United States, emerged as highest point scorer from the heats on 97 points.

Next best was Scott Quirk on 94, while six drivers finished equal third from the qualifying heats on 91 points: Andrew Shilleto, Jai Stephenson, Sam Bruggy, Brayed Stephenson and Andrew Pezzutti.

An interesting feature of the parade lap was former top Modified driver Neville Pezzutti driving the V8 Dirt Modified raced by multiple Australian champion Mark Robinson.

The car, decked out in Castrol Edge colours, was on hand as part of the formal introductions and welcoming of Castrol company representatives in attendance after the naming rights sponsorship announcement last week.

It's a congested leader board in the V8 Dirt Modified Driver to America series with five drivers - Andrew Firth, Jai Stephenson, Phil McNamara, Tim Luscombe and Brent Hall - sharing top spot.

Meanwhile, six cars tangled at the start of the Wingless Sprintcar feature race.

Matthew Wright came off the worse for wear after he rolled his car, while Mick Santin, who missed the crash, copped a black flag from officials for speeding on the red light.

It was a rough and tumble main event after leader Mazzer clipped a lap car and caused a chain reaction further back in the field.

David Eggins, running second, ran into the tail of Mazzer, whose car finished upside down.

Race officials were forced to declare the event and went back to the last recorded lap to determine the final placings, with Mazzer taking the win from Eggins and Mitchell Randall.

Mazzer, who travels from Brisbane to compete at Lismore and Grafton, also won both his heats.

Maryborough driver Terry Leerentveld continued his great run of success at Lismore.

Leerentveld, who took out the Australian Mod Lite Championship at the venue last season, won the 20-lap feature race.

The event ran flag-to-flag and Leerentveld established a race record for the distance.

Other main event winners were on Saturday night were Jay Waters (Street Stocks), Nick Chilcott (Production Sedans), Geoff Hayes (AMCAs) and Luke Watt (National Fours).



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