Sports reports: Joel Chadwick slides to state title at Murray Bridge Speedway

Plus rifle shooters have a tough day.

This post was contributed by MMS Media and Murray Bridge Rifle Club’s Daniel Irvine.

Joel Chadwick has captured his fourth South Australian Wingless Sprint Championship in the most spectacular fashion at the Murray Bridge Speedway, with a last-corner slider on Joel Heinrich.

After starting from position six for the 30-lap decider on Saturday night, Chadwick stormed his way into second early and then set out after race leader Heinrich.

The duo put on a titanic battle throughout the final 10 laps, with Chadwick finally getting the better of Heinrich in one of the best finishes to an A-main at the venue in several seasons.

Despite Chadwick being the dominate force in the wingless sprint class in South Australia in recent years, the result clearly meant a lot to the former Australian champion, as he was quite emotional at the post-race presentation.

“Before the race I didn’t think that I had the speed to win tonight,” he said.

“Joel (Heinrich) and Ryan (Alexander) were so fast in the heats, but we made a few changes and the car was as good as I have ever driven.

“As I began to close in, I was thinking ‘I have a shot here’ and we got there.

“I have got to thank my wife Alisha, my crew and all of my sponsors.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win these big races and I’m ecstatic that I achieved what I set out to do.”

For the second time in his career, Heinrich was the runner-up in the South Australian Championship, this time by a mere .126 of a second, with Victorian Glenn Watts rounding out the podium after capitalising on a late caution that set up a two-lap sprint to the end.

Jake Ashworth had a solid night as he finished fourth after starting on the fourth row, while Alexander completed the top five – he had been set for a podium result but fell back two spots in the run to the flag.

Dubbo veteran Mark Blyton had a frustrating run as he failed to move forward as expected; he finished sixth with Harry Ross, Luke Weel, Ash Cook and Tyson Martin completing the top 10 in the 20-car main event.

Among the hard-luck stories in the main event were former Australian champion Alex Ross and Jack McCarthy, who were racing for third with three laps remaining only to be involved in an incident with the lapped car of William Caruso, ending their chance of a great result.

In all a total of 47 cars fronted for action with the field split into four groups, therefore the night consisted of eight heats, a C and a B-main prior to the championship finale.

There were eight different winners in the heats, with New South Wales racer Jack Grey, Heinrich, Watts, Mitch Broome, Jason Bolitho of Victoria, Tyson Martin, Alexander and Victorian Ash Cook winning a heat each.

In the C-main, former Australian street stock champion Rhys Heinrich and Bronson Mauro joined the B-main field while Murray Bridge resident Brent Fox, Victorian Luke Weel, Caruso and rookie Jacob Childs transferred into the main.

Rhys Heinrich came up one spot short of doing an alphabet run as he finished fifth in the B-main.

The modlites produced some clean and fast racing, with Michael Miller triumphant in their 20-lap feature, with Justin Chadwick in second and Scott Webb in third.

In the street stocks, a solid drive from Carey Weston earned him the feature win ahead of Bailey Heinrich and Sam Brumfield.

Wingless sprint action will return this Saturday night at Murray Bridge Speedway with the running of the Wingless Sprints 60-Lapper.

Formula 500s, street stocks and classics will also be on the program.

Heat, wind and range combine to give riflers a hard time

On Saturday the 20th, 13 members turned out at the Deed Rifle Range to contest round 21 of the Murray Bridge Rifle Club championship at its longest range, 1000 yards.

It was a very difficult day for all involved as the right wind from Lake Alexandrina, although providing relief from the heat, made the unforgiving range even more punishing.

Veteran shooter Gordon “Harro” Harrison described the day as “character building”, adding that “a lot of shooters had character coming out of their ears” by the end of it.

Harro could attest to that personally, collecting the unusual distinction of having the highest centre-bull (V) count for the day and winning the “magpie” award as well as, eventually, the handicap award in target rifle.

The scores seemed to reflect the conditions of the day across the board, with scores in the white – ones and twos – almost as frequent as the dreaded “birds”, or threes, and there were certainly no possibles shot.

One of the highest notes of distinction for the day went to Terry Brown in F-open, for being the only shooter not to stray into the three-ring or worse.

His consistency paid off as he was able to claim the top off-rifle score in F-class with a stand-out 109.02, 10 points clear of second place.

His dominant performance also resulted in him claiming the handicap prize from Nicole Edwards in second. 

The woes for the day continued as the top F-standard shooter for the day was Dave Hindmarsh with an 88.00, only a point ahead of target rifle top scorer Rob Paech, who had a score of 87.01, ahead of TR handicap winner “Harro” on 85.05.

In F-class the magpie award was closely fought, with David McDonald narrowly claiming the prize from Mark Nesti by a count-out with three “birds” apiece.

Next week’s range will be at 500 metres.

Members are hoping for a slightly easier time to allow the wounds of 1000 yards to heal.

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