Eastern Creek Speedway inaugural Sprintcar feature race winner Jamie Veal Photo: Anthony Sneddon.
By Dennis Newlyn
Eastern Creek Speedway is open for business!!
A capacity crowd welcomed the next chapter in the long history of Sydney oval track racing which traces back to the 20s.
It was two years and five days since Sydney fans last attended a Sydney speedway fixture after Parramatta City Raceway closed its gates for the final time on March 7, 2020.
The wait was finally over.
The traffic line outside the venue and the spectator queue at the public entrance gates clearly signalled the speedway community were ready for a new beginning.
The night had a bit of everything – thrills, spills and the adulation that once again speedway was up and running in the biggest capital city of Australia.
The track was officially opened by multi TV Logie and Walkley Award winner for news and current affairs, Steve Raymond (OAM) who is, to this day, recognised as the doyen of race commentators with a magnificent career extending as far back as the 60s at the Sydney Showground Speedway. He also commentated at Westmead, Liverpool and Parramatta venues during his time behind the microphone. Raymond was accompanied in the opening ceremony by Motor Sport Chaplain, the Reverend Garry Coleman, before Co-promoter Kathy Kelly cut the ribbon between two Sprintcars to herald in the new era.
The originally scheduled 35 lap Sprintcar main event was declared near half distance due to time curfews, but it was Australian Champion Jamie Veal who will go down in history as the first-ever 410 Sprintcar feature race winner.
Also going into the record book with that honour are Lightning Sprint Gold Cup victor Tyler Stralow, National Wingless Sprint Champion Kyle Mock and Australian Super Sedan titleholder Matt Pascoe.
The Sprintcar feature race got off to a rough and tumble start after Grant Anderson was sidelined from the event early. Other early exits were Sam Walsh, Brendan Scorgi and Jessie Attard.
The top three in the main event – and ultimate placegetters – Veal, Lachlan McHugh and Robbie Farr set a cracking pace at the head of the field.
Lapped traffic came into play early and this was where McHugh closed in on leader Veal, while Farr also narrowed the gap on McHugh.
However, several stoppages ultimately brought on the red light for the final time at the 17 lap mark.
For Veal, it was a special moment in his career as he drove into victory lane to park his 410 Sprintcar at a spot in history. “I am so delighted to win here at this awesome venue,” he enthused.
“He was really quick,” McHugh said during the trophy presentation following his runner-up finish, in reference to Veal’s super-fast performance. Veal posted the quickest lap of the race with 12.581 seconds for a speed of 131.627 km/h.
Farr was happy with his third “but I was right there at the restarts but just could not get past Lachlan. But it’s awesome to see such a big crowd here and we like to put a show for everyone,” he added.
The top ten were rounded out by fourth-placed Jordyn Brazier, followed by Matt Dumesny, Ian Madsen, Jackson Delamont, Daniel Cassidy, Warren Ferguson, while Luke Geering finished tenth.
It was a tough night for Marcus Dumesny who walked away unscathed from a wild ride following a spectacular crash in turn one.
Sprintcar heats were taken out by Ben Atkinson, McHugh, Farr, Aaron Kelly and Veal.
Blake Skipper won the C-Main, while Jy Corbett took out the Last Chance Showdown. Ian Madsen was the winner of Dash One and Grant Anderson Dash Two.
Ian Madsen was overall fastest in qualifying time trials with a one-lap time of 11.743 seconds and a
speed clocked at 141.02 km/h.
For Queensland young gun Tyler Stralow it was back-to-back successes in the Lighting Sprint Gold Cup. The Syndicate Communications sponsored 26th running of the Gold Cup was the first of the main events for the night – and that meant even so much more for Tyler who was over the moon just “to be the first ever (main event) winner at Eastern Creek Speedway.”
Australian number one AJ McTaggart was second and Jordan Binskin third
Kyle Mock had to work hard for his win in the 20-lap Wingless Sprint feature race after a battle with Mark Blyton who was later a victim of lapped traffic.
Mock had to also contend with runner-up Bailey Goodwin as the race unfolded but Mock got the upper hand when it mattered most in the remaining laps to the chequered flag. Jason Davis was third.
The Super Sedan main event was highlighted with the battle at the head of the field between winner and Australian Champion Matt Pascoe and former national titleholder Callum Harper.
Both went hard at it lap after lap as Harper pushed the high line to the limit and was right there with Pascoe.
Again lapped traffic was involved as both rolled the dice in a thrilling feature race. Harper lost a little ground toward the end of the event that he could not regain on Pascoe. Brad Pascoe kept it in the family with a third placing.