Speedway: Hardy by name and nature
QUEENSLAND driver Matt Hardy took out a thrilling AMCA Sedan national championship final over 40 laps at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway on Saturday night.
Victorian Tim Reidy for the second consecutive year was the runner-up, with New South Wales' Geoff Hayes third.
Hayes was the big mover, having qualified in ninth position from the heats.
Defending Australian champion Mark Lincoln had a night to forget. After a tangle he was an infield spectator along with Tim Gamble and Paul Reeves in his first heat.
Lincoln then struggled with a miss in the motor for the rest of the night and was never in contention.
A big crowd watched the national title, which attracted entries from across Australia.
As an indication of the fierce competition, all heat winners recorded times under the previous 10-lap record.
The fastest and new record holder was Stuart Hall, whose time was 2m30.951s. The previous mark of 2m38.981s had been held for four years by Brayd Stephenson, who now races in the V8 Dirt Modified category.
Points after the qualifying heats: Steve Potts (Qld) 139, Matt Hardy (Qld) 134, Tim Reidy (Vic) 128, Stuart Hall (NSW) 126. These top four scorers made up the first two rows for the title final.
n the B Main, the first four placegetters qualified for the 40-lap feature along with Lincoln, who started in 21st position as the defending champion.
There was a spectacular crash in the B Main when Tasmanian Rodney Bassett and Paul Reeves came together.
Reeves' car was launched into the air and was ultimately left hanging from the safety fence. Both drivers were uninjured.
The first 14 laps of the final saw Steve Potts lead from Hardy, Reidy and Hall.
Hardy moved around Potts on the 15th lap then, with five laps to go, Potts became a spectator and Hayes claimed third spot.
The final laps involved a great race to the flag with Hardy holding on to win.
In the Wingless Sprintcar feature, Robert Mazzer led every lap to claim the win from Steve McInnes and Kevin Willis.
The Driver To America series was completed with the trip going to Mitchell Randall of Casino.
Randall, who has had an outstanding season in the Wingless division, came through the junior ranks to AMCA Nationals then on to Litre Sprints.
He has been consistent throughout the series as a podium contender at every meeting.
Chasing him to the wire was veteran Mick Santin, who finished runner-up.
In the National 4s feature race, the car of Ben Scully (No25), who had been fight- ing for the lead, bicycled then flipped violently.
The car finished up with an end-for-ender before it landed upside down.
At the time of the crash he had been involved in a hectic front-running battle with Ben Smith and Matthew Layton, who went on to win the event. Scully escaped injury.
Other main event winners were Ryan Green in the production sedans and Luke Gray in the street stocks.
WHAT A SEASON FINALE!
NEXT weekend will be the final fixture of the season at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway.
A two-night spectacular will be highlighted by the Trevan Ford Australian Modified Sedan Championship.
Organisers have received an entry list of 70 cars for the national title.
A barbecue will be held at Paul O'Neill's Lismore Nissan and Kia dealership on Saturday morning, with race cars displayed at Lismore Nissan and Andrew Bing's Trevan Ford dealership.
Racing will start at 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.