STEAD RETAINS NSW FOUR CYLINDER SEDAN TITLE BY DENNIS NEWLYN BEN Stead, driving a Honda Prelude, successfully defended his New South Wales Four Cylinder Sedan Championship in a rough and tumble title decider at Hession’s Auto Parts Grafton Speedway Saturday night, February 10.
Gerry Flood (Ford Cortina) was placed second and Sarah Deuchar (Sigma) took third in a title which saw only four cars finish the 30-lap final.
Hard luck story of the race was Tim Weir who led for most of the distance after he started from the pole position. He never put a wheel out of place but it all came to nothing as he battled for the lead toward the latter stages with Stead.
Weir came off second best as he spun and lost all chance of winning. The attrition rate was extremely high and the non-finishers included pre-race favourties Trent Dhu (Ford Telstar) and Luke Watt (Toyota
Corolla) who were forced out on lap one and six respectively.
The first of several yellow light caution periods occurred only three laps into the final when a yellow was called for debris on the track. At the restart Weir led away again as Daniel Smith and Hayden Turned ran closely near the head of the field. Then another yellow with 24 laps remaining was thrown for Shane Laurie who came to a halt on the track after a spin.
As the race settled down interest focused on several drivers – Bevan Burton, Deuchar, Stead, Weir and Jamie Marsden – as they battled for upfront positions. Then Smith hit the safety fence and brought on the yellows for another race interruption. Marsden came to the infield and his title hopes ended in drama after officials ruled him out for working on his car.
At the resumption Stead loomed up on the tail of Weir and this was where the state title was won and lost in the remaining laps.
A coming together between the two front runners meant the race was all over for Weir as he spun to the infield with a flat right rear tyre.
The pattern and running order remained unchanged as the race ran out the remaining laps and Stead kept the state number one on his car for another season.
Stead and Weir were the top contenders following the heats after they both posted two wins. Other heats were taken out by Marsden and Flood.
Stead posted the fastest lap of the race when he put down a lap speed of
80.326 km/h, while he also recorded the fastest lap time (17.927 seconds).
Other category main event winners were: Street Stocks (David Putsey), Production Sedans (Mark Quirk), Juniors (Sam Mooney), AMCAs (Shane Newstead), Wingless Sprints (Jacob Jolley), V8 Dirt Modifieds (Brent Hall).