For the second night in a row, Callum Williamson was the top dog when the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series rolled into the Perth Motorplex Speedway.
On Saturday night the defending series champion won round 7 of the overall series that was also round 3 of the Speedway Australia Speedweek and as a result of the two wins and a second, he is leading the Speedweek points at the halfway mark.
Williamson took the latest win from Daniel Harding and Brad Maiolo, in an epic dog fight with Harding that saw the duo trade blows on countless occasions, putting on an absolute sensational show for the appreciative crowd.
The winner admitted to being totally exhausted at the completion of the final, saying he was pushed to the absolute limit by Harding who was relentless in his attacks.
For Williamson it has also been an emotionally draining time as he only drove back from Geraldton on race day after spending time with his heavily–pregnant wife Sharnee who is due to give birth to their first child very soon.
As the field went four wide for the parade lap at the start of the feature race Matthew Cross made his way to the infield work area as the team dealt with a suspected electrical fault and he managed to take his spot at the rear of the field before the race commenced.
At the green light Harding and Williamson went at it, running side by side for the first couple of laps before Williamson got the upper hand.
At the same time Maiolo and Dayne Kingshott were also forming the start of what would be a race-long battle that also saw them push each other to the absolute limit.
A couple laps into the race and Williamson had the upper hand and after just a handful of laps he was into lapped traffic with Harding, Maiolo, Kingshott and Kaiden Manders all in hot pursuit.
With 10 laps in the books Williamson had opened up a handy lead and a couple of laps later Jason Kendrick, who started in position 11, was up to P8 before he hit the back of Taylor Milling’s car on the back straight, seeing him drive into the work area for some adjustments before resuming from the rear of the field for the restart.
Just prior to Kendrick going to the work area he was hit from behind (as he slowed) by Jack Williamson who sustained nose wing damage and also headed to the work area.
The next time away Callum Williamson grabbed the hole shot but he was then passed by Harding on the next lap, just before Trevor Jolly spun in turns 1-2.
Harding, who was now in the lead, was running a lower and defensive line before Williamson put in a big move with 12 laps to go to retake the lead.
The front duo was pushing hard when Jaydee Dack and Matthew Cross came together in the first turns and only some great driving saw Williamson find a small gap between the two damaged cards as he tried to avoid the carnage.
With six laps remaining Williamson led away Harding, Kingshott, Maiolo and Manders and three laps later he had a sizeable lead.
Maiolo then went under Kingshott for third and after they ran side by side for a couple of laps, he managed to consolidate third spot.
Harding pushed as hard as he could to try and peg back the gap to Williamson but to no avail.
Despite missing out on his second feature race win of the year, he said it was a fun race and he enjoyed the combat with Williamson.
For Maiolo it was a welcome return to form after he has struggled in the first handful of shows for the 2021-22 season.
His confidence was also given a boost earlier in the night when he took a heat race win.
For the second night in a row Kingshott was the quickest in his qualifying group and quickest overall to be the Victory 1 Performance Quick Timer, thanks to a 13.530 second circulation.
Kendrick was second overall and quickest in the second group with a 13.602 second lap.
After Williamson and Maiolo claimed a heat win each, Williamson then won the A Dash from Kingshott and Ryan Lancaster, while Harding won the B Dash from Maiolo and Andrew Priolo.
Trent Pigdon won the Midpack Madness from Cameron McKenzie and Dack.
Kingshott held on for fourth after starting from p3, while Manders, who started from p8, crossed the line in fifth.
Kris Coyle was one of only two drivers to play their Joker card on the night and he finished sixth, banking some solid series points.
Andrew Priolo started from position six and finished seventh, while Milling, who started p10, finished eight.
Kendrick managed to claw back some ground after going to the rear of the field at one point, to finish ninth, after initially starting from p11 – and as a result is this round’s Kincrome Hard Charger.
Pigdon had a good recovery to claim 10th after earlier in the night having issues in qualifying and then racing in the Midpack Madness where he started the main event from p13.
Jason Pryde started from p9 and finished 11th, while Lancaster struggled after starting from p5 and crossing the line in 12th.
Cameron McKenzie was 13th after starting p13, Jolly was 14th after starting 16th and Jack Williamson, the other driver to play his Joker, started p12 and was the last finisher in 15th.
Teams now have a tight turnaround, as they are back at the Perth Motorplex, Sunday, January 2, for the next round.
There are only two more opportunities drivers have to play their Joker hand – at Ellenbrook Speedway weekend on January 8 – and then back at the Motorplex on January 15.
Despite struggling in the past two rounds, Kendrick is still the leader in the overall Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series points.
Williamson has moved into second overall but is still 26 points adrift of the lead, while Milling is third, Priolo is fourth and Kingshott rounds out the top five.
However when it comes to the points in the Speedway Australia Speedweek Series, it is Williamson who is the driver to beat, holding down a 14-point lead over Harding, Kingshott, Milling and Kendrick.
An overall $20,000 prize purse will go to the drivers who contest all six rounds, with $10,000 of that going to the winner.