Blake Fletcher has dominated the Junior Sedan proceedings this weekend at the McD Contracting, Esperance Speedway, winning Saturday’s Round 5 of the JSRA Country Super Series, along with Sunday’s Overall Top Star Points. To add to the excitement, the local driver, who was filling in as a reserve for Team Australia, also crossed the line first in the final of the Team Australia vs Team New Zealand, Teams Challenge.
The event which was proudly sponsored by Rohan and Raechel Fletcher from SOS Welding, attracted good nominations for both nights of racing. To add to the excitement, six of New Zealand’s best Ministock racers were in the field, driving totally unfamiliar cars for the first time. Ryan Marshall, Samuel Ashton, Caleb Ashton, Alana Buckthought, Jayden Fraser and Chris Kernohan took to Esperance Speedway for the first time in the Australia Junior Sedan and surprised many with their pace early in the night.
On Saturday, the battle for first position was on from the very beginning in the New Star division. Jhy Pack, Kayne Dellar, Brandon Buszan and Montana Pack were all in with a chance of taking out the fifth round of the JSRA Country Super Series. Kayne Dellar would claim the first heat, before Buszan claimed both the second and third.
Come feature time, the race was on from the drop of the green flag, however it was Buszan who made the best of the start and would ultimately open a handy buffer for the entire race, as the rest of the field battled for minor positions. Buszan would be too strong, defeating Kayne Dellar and Jhy Pack.
A field of nineteen Top Star Junior Sedans converged on the South-Coast venue, with the six kiwis in the field. Bryden Southwell, Seth Hinsey, Blake Fletcher and Jackson Derrick would each win a heat throughout the night, while Luke Malcolm would cross the line first on two separate occasions, earning some valuable series points.
With a full field for the twenty lap final, there was no doubt that any of the drivers were in with a chance of victory. Blake Fletcher and Luke Malcolm would start from the front row, however it was Bryden Southwell that would make a brilliant start, quickly moving into second. Blake Webb would also make a great jump, passing a number of cars heading into turn 1.
Bryden Southwell would soon find himself in the race lead, however this would be short lived as Luke Malcolm moved passed, into the lead. Southwell’s race would soon be over, as he suffered a flat front tyre. Blake Fletcher soon started to make his intentions on the race lead known, as he applied immense pressure to Luke Malcolm’s Mitsubishi Lancer.
The race would soon have its first major incident, with the leaders getting caught up with a lapped car. This would bring about a single file restart, where Malcolm and Fletcher would resume their battle along with Dylan Parkes. The action would soon heat up, as Malcolm and Fletcher both dived underneath a slower car, resulting in a yellow light. Officials relegated Malcolm to the rear, where he decided his race was run.
Blake Fletcher would then hold off a late race charge from Collie’s Seth Hinsey who was slowly but surely chipping his way through the field. As the field came to the chequered flag, Blake Fletcher would prove too strong for Seth Hinsey and Dylan Parkes. Blake Webb who has had a consistent season, finished fourth, the first time off the podium for the season.
Come Sunday night, the main event would be the Teams Challenge. With six Australians and six Kiwis set to do battle, the heat races got underway. Australian captain Blake Webb’s night and weekend would soon come to an abrupt end, hitting the term 4 concrete wall and pit gates, damaging his Daihatsu Charade significantly. His sister Tanika would then take his position in the team.
The Australian’s would win each of the heat races, giving them a choice of inside or outside pole position for the final. With grid positions set, the final got underway with great pace, which soon came to a spectacular end with Alex Swift hitting the concrete wall, before being collected by a number of cars, ending with the Fletcher owned Daihatsu Charade rolling down the back straight.
After a red light stoppage the race resumed, with NZ drivers Jayden Fraser and Chris Kernohan taking it right up to Australian’s Blake Fletcher and Hayden Moritmer. As the race continued, Australia’s hopes were looking dull, as Tanika Webb and Jackson Derrick both retired from the event. Their fellow Aussies were racing hard at the front of the field, with Luke Malcolm making it an Australia Top 3. Kiwi racers, Fraser and Kernohan also had a scary moment, making contact with each other and the concrete wall. They were able to continue, though needed to regroup to defeat the Aussies.
As the race came to an end, Blake Fletcher defeated Hayden Mortimer and Luke Malcolm, with Team New Zealand Captain, Chris Kernohan finishing fourth. Even with a number of drivers on the infield, the Australian’s had enough points to secure the Teams Challenge Title for 2018.
Earlier in the the night, Team New Zealand had their own race over 6 laps. It was hard fought, however Chris Kernohan would secure the bragging rights as top Kiwi, defeating Jayden Fraser and Ryan Marshall.
New Stars and Top Stars also competed throughout the night, with final positions being awarded on total points. The results were as follows:
1st Jhy Pack – 128 points
2nd Kayne Dellar – 123 points
3rd Montana Pack – 97 points
1st Blake Fletcher – 128 points
2nd Bryden Southwell – 118 points
3rd Izak Davies – 80 points
The JSRA cannot thank the entire JSRA committee, along with the Esperance Speedway Association for their assistance and cooperation organising and running this huge weekend. Another huge thank you also goes to the Fletcher Family from SOS Welding for their support of this round of the JSRA Country Super Series.
Attention will now turn towards the Australasian Championship this weekend at the Moora Speedway. Further details will be supplied later in the week.