Rhys Heinrich Wins National Title Thriller
Rhys Heinrich has won the SRE, Speedway Sedans Australia, National Street Stock Title at the Lucas Oils Kingaroy Speedway, in front of a massive crowd at the Showgrounds.
In one of the more extraordinary races seen in a National Street Stock Title, this one had it all, with more twists and turns than you could imagine.
It started with last years top two on the front row, with Anthony Beare again taking pole position for a National final, with Brad McClure starting on his outside, with the race being conducted in a clockwise direction, for the fourth year in a row. John Lodge and Mark Jennings would start on row two, while Robbie Faux and Lenny Bates would start on row three.
The race would be led by Anthony Beare in the early stages, with the race being run at a hectic pace, with drivers running three wide through the formative laps.
The first piece of drama would occur on lap four when Rhys Heinrich was sent to the rear of the field, after spinning by himself, at the finish line. At the same time, Michael Clark, who advanced from the B Main, would retire with a flat tyre. Dale Riley Jnr would also retire after just three laps, after qualifying sixteenth.
Upon the resumption, Beare continued to lead McClure, while behind the duo, any number of drivers would hold down third place in a spectacular race, with Lenny Bates, John Lodge, Robbie Faux and the Lodge for a second time, all being in third place within the first ten laps, in a race of ever changing fortunes. Lap nine would see Stephen English sent to the rear of the field for spinning, and Jason DeGoldi retired with over-heating issues at the same time.
In a great battle behind Beare, who again cleared away after the resumption, Robbie Faux moved to second place, deposing McClure back to third, as Jamie Oldfield moved to fourth on lap fifteen. The first four places were all National Title holders, having won ten of the last twelve titles, something that was going to hard to overcome for the remainder of the field.
Jamie Oldfield started to really make his presence felt on lap seventeen when he moved to third place, after starting from position nine. McClure had now dropped to fourth place, as Oldfield challenged Faux for second place. The battle raged for several laps before Oldfield got the better of Faux, moving to second place, as the West Australian then set out after Anthony Beare.
The pair have had some legendary battles across the years, and Saturday's nights A Main provided another highlight reel, as the pair traded the lead for numerous laps, with Oldfield passing Beare at one stage on the outside to take the lead, with the near capacity crowd roaring their approval. Oldfield held the lead for a brief period before his race was over with power steering issues, allowing Anthony Beare to re-take the lead, and again have a chance to become the first driver to win three consecutive titles.
The battle continued for the minor placings, with Beare a considerable distance ahead of the field, with the demise of Oldfield. Robbie Faux had moved to second place, while John Lodge had moved to third and Rhys Heinrich was fourth, a remarkable effort after being sent to the rear of the field, soon after the start.
Robbie Faux would be the next to succumb, retiring from the race while in second place, as the hot conditions continued to play havoc with man and machine. John Lodge moved to second ahead of Lenny Bates and Rhys Heinrich in a four way battle for the minor placings.
The drama though would not end their, with lap thirty seven being on of the most crucial laps in recent titles. The race would be brought to caution with three laps remaining, with saw Mick Dann and Jamie Lock watch the concluding stages from the infield. Anthony Beare's car was also showing signs of distress, emitting smoke, which the drivers behind became aware of as the race was ready to resume. As the field moved down the back straight to take the green, Beare blew a tyre and he immediately withdrew, handing the lead to Heinrich in one of the most remarkable comebacks ever seen.
Heinrich held the lead for the final three laps, downing Lenny Bates and John Lodge in a thrilling finish, with just 0.102 separating the pair. Mark Jennings and Brad McClure would finish fourth and fifth respectively, with Morris Ahearn sixth, Steven Gartner seventh, Craig Buchanan eighth, and Stephen English finishing ninth and the final finisher. Craig Buchanan's driver was full of merit after winning the B Main, the South Australian finished a credible eighth.
Heinrich was in disbelief with his victory, admitting to spinning by himself. "Luckily we did it early (referring to the spin which sent him to the rear), I had confidence before the race that we could win, as Robbie Faux won from that position in a previous title" Heinrich said.
A Main - 40 Laps: 1. S46 Anthony Beare, 2. V54 Brad McClure, 3. N76 John Lodge, 4. N11 Mark Jennings, 5. V16 Robbie Faux, 6. V74 Lenny Bates, 7. S32 Steven Gartner, 8. V43 Jamie Lock, 9. W29 Jamie Oldfield, 10. V5 Mick Dann, 11. S49 Rhys Heinrich, 12. Q88 Nathan Barbeler, 13. V34 Morris Ahearn, 14. Q22 Stephen English, 15. S132 Andy Maxwell Jnr, 16. T75 Dale Riley Jnr, 17. S47 Craig Buchanan, 18. V98 Michael Clark, 19. Q63 Jarrod Peacock, 20. V57 Jason DeGoldi
1. S49 Rhys Heinrich, 2. V74 Lenny Bates, 3. N76 John Lodge, 4. N11 Mark Jennings, 5. V54 Brad McClure, 6. V34 Morris Ahearn, 7. S32 Steven Gartner, 8. S47 Craig Buchanan, 9. Q22 Stephen English, 10. S46 Anthony Beare (37 laps), 11. V5 Mick Dann (37), 12. V43 Jamie Lock, (37), 13. V16 Robbie Faux (31), 14. W29 Jamie Oldfield (29), 15. S132 Andy Maxwell Jnr (19), 16. Q63 Jarrod Peacock (19), 17. Q88 Nathan Barbeler (15), 18. V57 Jason DeGoldi (8), 19. T75 Dale Riley Jnr (3), 20. V98 Michael Clark (3). Time: No Time, Winning Margin: 1.595, Fastest Lap: 17.707 S46 Anthony Beare