Victoria’s Peter Nicola heads to victory in the 2022 NSW Late Model Championship at ECS. Photo by:“Crashy”
NICOLA IS STATE TITLE ACHIEVER AS JOLLEY WINS NSW WINGLESS CHAMPIONSHIP
Peter Nicola achieved a milestone career moment after he won the New South Wales Late Model Championship, while Jacob Jolley overcame several restarts and took out the Wingless Sprint state title at Eastern Creek Speedway, Saturday night, May 28.
Nicola now joins Scott McPherson as a back-to-back winner in the Late Model era of the NSW Championship after he led runner-up Daryl Grimson and third-placed Joel Carrig to the chequered flag.
Second generation driver Jacob Jolley, whose father Jason is a former Australian Modified Sedan Champion, was kept up to the task as he staved off the opposition throughout a gruelling Wingless Sprint title decider while Daniel Storer and Daniel Sayre filled the minor placings.
NSW Wingless top three from left to right: runner-up Victorian Daniel Storer, winner Jacob Jolley and third-placed Daniel Sayre. “Crashy” photo.
The night was marred by a big crash involving defending NSW Wingless Champion Luke Sayre in an earlier heat.
Sayre’s car lost a wheel entering turn one at full pace. The car dug in and executed a series of violent rolls. Ambulance personnel and ECS crash crew took some time to release a dazed but conscious Luke from his car before he was taken to the track’s medical centre prior to being transported to hospital.
According to today’s (Sunday) report, Luke was discharged from hospital shortly after 1am Sunday. He’s badly shaken, knocked around with bruising, but the good news is all scans came back clear. The Sayre family wish to send a huge thank you to ECS crash crew members and medicos for their wonderful care and attention to detail.
Nicola, who won the 2021 NSW Late Model Championship at Dubbo’s Morris Park Speedway, was just relieved to get the 2022 victory. “I tell you what, it was a tough race,” he said, “but we got there and we made it for the win. I am really pleased and thanks to my crew and all involved with our team.”
Nicola earned his front row starting spot in the final after he progressed through the Bronze, Silver and Gold shoot-outs – and in the process put down one of the fastest laps of the night at 14.259 seconds for a speed of 116.137 Km/h. Nicola shared the front with Todd Bayley who took out the Gold Shoot-out. Bayley raced to the lead from the outset of the 25-lap championship decider with Nicola, Grimson and John Lodge Junior in hot pursuit.
The pattern of the event developed early as the top runners went for broke. Nicola soon after took up the front running and then Grimson charged into second as he displaced Bayley to third, followed by John Lodge Junior, Callum Harper and Ross Nicastri as front runners. The major incident of the race occurred 12 laps into the event when Lodge and Harper had a big coming together on the main straight. Lodge was more than apologetic to Harper, who earlier put down the fastest lap of the title at 14.440 seconds (114.681 km/h), following the incident. Lodge reported a bolt broke in the steering wheel mechanism “and I literally had no steering,” he explained. Harper admitted “I was hanging out for a yellow, but I did not want it to be me.”
Another restart occurred a lap later after Steve Caunt hit the fence. Nicola was quickest out of the blocks at each restart. Joel Carrig had made good progress in the latter stages of the title and passed Bayley for third. Nicola ultimately took a deserving win from Grimson as Carrig was a praiseworthy third.
For Grimson, this race marked his sixth podium title result but he is still to pick up a NSW Championship in the Late Model era in a long career that traces way back to the Grand National Sedan days at Sydney’s Liverpool City Raceway.
Hard luck man, Tassie’s Brad Smith, scored two Late Model heat wins but lost out following an encounter with the concrete wall in the Gold Shoot-out and did not start in the final. The man who earned the quickest Late Model lap of the night was Ross Nicastri following his opening heat victory when he put down a 13.877 second lap and speed of 119.334 km/h. Harper also recorded a heat win.
Meanwhile Jacob Jolley was more than pleased after his Wingless Sprint state title victory.
“There’s a really good field of cars here tonight and the title was a tough race. It was very busy in the early laps before we got to the lead.”
The final commenced on a dramatic note with a pileup in the opening lap in which National Champion Kyle Mock’s car took a couple of quick-snap rolls. This incident involved several cars, and eliminated major contenders Mock and Jason Bates. A disappointed Bates later disclosed “I think we could have won that one.”
When the race settled down, they all had to catch Jolley who picked his lines carefully. Previous heat winner John Egan headed the chasers followed by Daniel Sayre Mark Blyton while Daniel Storer loomed into contention. A yellow was thrown after Bayley Goodwin had an encounter with the main straight concrete wall and joined a growing list of withdrawals on the infield.
Jolley was made to work hard in the latter stages as Storer closed but then lost ground in the last few laps when Daniel Sayre moved in on Storer in a battle for minor placings in the run to the chequered flag.
In addition to Mock, Egan NT’s Daniel Goldini, Jolley and Daniel Sayre were heat winners. Tyson Martin took out B-Main One and Paul Freeman won B-Main Two.
Troy Dawes impressed in the RSA Sedan heats with two victories, while ultimate main event winner Shane Carlson also scored a heat result as Chris Marino emerged the other heat successor.
Raymond Kime picked up a heat win before victory in the AMCA main event, while the Formula 500 Juniors turned on some fast racing as their feature race was won by Kobi Wright who also was an earlier heat winner.
The track surface in some areas was inconsistent due completely to the water access drainage blockage problems in recent weeks, though the night’s racing was always fast and entertaining. (ECS Media Release by Dennis Newlyn).