Willis wins 100-lap by a split second
IN one of the best races ever seen at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway, Kevin Willis took out the 100-lap Australian Wingless Sprintcar Grand Prix in front of a big crowd.
Mitchell Randall came back from the brink of disaster earlier in the night and finished second in the marathon, with David Eggins third.
In a blanket finish, the first to third placegetters were separated by only 0.7 of a second.
The 100 laps was run without a stoppage in a race time of 24 minutes 49.49.9 seconds and, adding to the exciting spectacle, there were a number of lead changes throughout.
Hard luck man was Mick Santin, who led with seven laps remaining before he ran out of fuel.
Randall was the emotional story of the night after he took a big dump in the fourth heat and required ambulance attention.
Shaken, he escaped injury but his car was severely damaged.
In a wonderful exhibition of sportsmanship, many of his rivals and their crews rallied to help Randall and his team rebuild the car using borrowed race parts in order for him to race in the 100-lapper.
An emotional Randall on the trophy presentation dais thanked those who assisted.
Randall was one of the stars of the race after he moved from 14th position to be fourth at the 40-lap mark. He then moved into further contention for his runner-up result.
Mitchell Haynes battled side- by-side with Willis in the early laps as Haynes led.
Haynes then retired to the infield and Willis took over the front-running.
Santin then staked his claim for victory and moved into the lead at the 64-lap mark.
Santin's race was run after the 93rd lap and Willis regained the front-running, which he held to the chequered flag from Randall and Eggins.
Bad luck befell front-row starter Robert Mazzer, who was a casualty before the race began with a drive- line failure on the parade lap.
Willis was top pointscorer from the qualifying heats with 77 points from Mazzer (76), Eggins (74) and Haynes (72).
Cameron Nixon and Mitch Gowland (both on 68 points) completed the first three rows.
Before rain curtailed the Friday night action, Mazzer established an eight-lap track record with a time of 1 minute 52.788 seconds in his first heat.
Reverting to 10 lap heats after the opening round, Haynes set a 10-lap record of 2 minutes 24.350 seconds.
Competing in the Saturday heats, Haynes lowered his previous night's record by almost another four seconds, clocking 2 minutes 20.530 seconds.
Another man in record- breaking mood was Kurt Wilson.
Wilson reduced his own eight- lap record in the Litre Sprint action on Friday night when he stopped the clock at 1 minute 39.835 seconds.
Wilson also recorded the fastest lap in a Litre Sprint at Lismore after he put down a time of 12.190s.