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Sports Reports: Callum Harper takes out speedway’s revived Fireball Challenge
Plus the latest in Murray Bridge lawn tennis and rifle shooting, and Murray Towns Cricket.
This post includes contributions from MMSS Media, Graham Buttle, Daniel Irvine and the Murray Towns Cricket Association.
Murray Bridge Speedway has hosted more than 110 competitors over 38 events on Saturday night, with the Fireball Super Sedan Spectacular and the South Australian V6 Sprint Championship being the main events.
In addition, the night also featured a round of the state series for formula 500s, the Speedcars SA Blackjack Series, the final club show for wingless sprints before the Australian Championship next month, street stocks, junior sedans and AMCA nationals.
For the first time this season the super sedans took centre stage with the running of the Fireball Spectacular, in which Tasmanian Callum Harper was on fire as he remained undefeated throughout three heats and the 30-lap final.
Second place went to SA champion Mick Nicola junior, with New South Welshman Tyson Moon rounding out the podium.
For the second year in a row and the fourth time in his career, Nick Hall was crowned the SA V6 sprint champion.
After trailing Damien Eve for the opening three laps, Hall took the lead on lap four and from that point was never headed.
Eve finished runner-up for the second year in a row while Chris Quinton finished third in a surprising result.
Yet again the wingless sprints were out in force with 36 local drivers in the pit area.
With such a large nomination list the field was split into four heats per round with 8 heats in total for the night. Winners included Tyson Martin (2), Jack McCarthy, Ross Miller, Ryan Alexander, Rhys Heinrich, Hayden Vickers and Joel Chadwick.
South Australian champion Tyson Martin started on pole for the final with Rhys Heinrich alongside.
After 18 laps, Heinrich pinched the lead with a bold move coming off turn four and went on to win his first wingless A-main at Murray Bridge in dramatic fashion, ahead of Martin and Jack McCarthy.
For the first time this season the speedcars made an appearance at Murray Bridge, with the Blackjack Series attracting a field of eight drivers from three states.
Ghent was a convincing winner of heat 1 ahead of Andy Pearce and local racer Robert Heard while heat 2 went the way of Nick Parker ahead of Matt Jackson and Ghent.
Victorian Dillon Ghent started the final from pole position and led early, only to spin in front of the field on turn four, resulting in a pile-up that involved four of the seven cars.
With the field drastically reduced, the race was postponed, allowing for repairs, and re-run later in the night.
Nick Parker led all the way in his V39 Baretta with Andy Pearce and Matt Jackson rounding out the podium.
The Formula 500 State Series round featured its biggest field of the season.
Brendan Zadow greeted the chequered flag first ahead of Dean Cottrell and Angus Hollis.
After a lengthy drought, local Craig Buchanan drove into victory lane in the street stock division after fighting off a determined field.
Second place went to rookie Drew Flatman in his Magna while third went to an impressive Aaron Tyler, who led a majority of the 15-lap finale.
The junior sedans were split into top and new stars for the heats before the fields combined for the final, which Aaron Tranter won ahead of Ky McEwin and Lucas Warnett.
The feature event for the AMCA nationals was easily secured by Jake Armstrong, ahead of Mildura’s Darren McCarthy, while John Stumann, who led the race early, faded back to finish third.
The Australian Wingless Sprints Championship will be the next event at Murray Bridge Speedway on March 4 and 5.
Finals beckon in pennants and junior lawn tennis
Finals will begin this Saturday with Postel v Schools and Sportsmen v Swanport, with the winning team from both matches progressing to the grand final on March 5.
Schools (four sets, 37 games) defeated Swanport (four sets, 33 games)
Sportsmen (five sets, 47 games) defeated Postel (three sets, 40 games)
Finals will also begin this Saturday for the junior competition.
Good luck to all the participating teams.
In division one it will be Avoca v Swanport, with the winner to play Coorong next week in the grand final.
In division two, Sportsmen v Murraylands and Schools v Banks, with the winners to face off in next week’s grand final.
Swanport (eight sets, 54 games) defeated Sportsmen (four sets, 35 games); MVPs Edward Rigney, Israel Honeychurch
Murraylands (seven sets, 58 games) defeated Banks (five sets, 51 games); MVP Harry Rigney
Coorong (six sets, 51 games) defeated Schools (six sets, 60 games); MVPs Max Loller, Emmanuel Slattery
There is still a great opportunity for any person interested in a game of tennis to come and enjoy an afternoon of tennis.
Please register at 1pm on Sunday at the lawn tennis centre at Sturt Reserve, Murray Bridge.
McDonald, Traeger and Casley excel on the range
It was a warm and sunny day at Monarto on Saturday as the Murray Bridge Rifle Club shot the next round of its club championship from the relatively close range of 400 metres.
Initially it seemed like ideal conditions for some good scores with very little in the way of wind.
However, that was not to last, as a subtle swirling wind picked up, ostensibly from the right, but it seemed as if the flags were not always a reliable indicator, with many turning their attention to the mirage for a better guide and working hard to keep their shots in the middle.
Not all were successful in that endeavour but among those who certainly were was David McDonald, who shot a 59.05 and 58.03 to win the top off-rifle award in F-open by a mere two points from Mark Nesti.
Competition was also close in the handicap, where Wayne Halliday pipped McDonald at the post by 0.2, ensuring that the spoils were shared.
It was a tight competition in target rifle also, as the overall winner was decided on centres, with Greg Traeger’s 49.04 in the second round allowing him to edge out fellow A-grader Robert Paech 95.07 to 95.04.
Traeger’s score, however, was enough to give him the handicap prize from Daniel Irvine, 107.0 to 104.7.
The honours in F-standard this week went to Peter Casley, who scored 102.01 to finish three points ahead of his nearest competition, Gordon Harrison.
Casley also managed to win the dreaded Magpie Award for F-class, scoring one bird in the difficult conditions.
Irvine also lost a shot to the wind, straying into the three-ring just the once, but it was enough for him to claim the award in TR.
Next week shooters will hope for much nicer weather as they shoot from the most challenging range of 1000 yards.
Murray Towns cricket results
Monarto 2/75 defeated Jervois 73
Mypolonga 6/154 defeated Mannum 153
Tailem Bend 6/87 defeated Wanderers 83 (D Perks 5/7)
Meningie 4/214 (C Taarnby 73*) defeated Perponda 53 (T Bradley 9/27)
Karoonda 5/225 (C Ballard 85*, N Neumann 72) defeated Ramblers 154 (D Abeynayake 56)
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