Sports Reports: Murray Bridge Speedway draws record field on 2021-22 opening night

Plus the latest from Murray Bridge Rifle Club and Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association.

This post includes contributions from MMS Media, Murray Bridge Rifle Club’s Daniel Irvine and Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association.

The South Australian speedway season has got underway on a cool autumn evening at the Murray Bridge Speedway with an all-sections event and a demolition derby.

The main events on Saturday night’s racing program were the wingless sprints and round one of the Modified Sedan State Series.

A record opening night field of 25 wingless sprints ventured to Murray Bridge for six heats, a B-main and a 25-lap final.

In a fantastic kick-off, the race lead changed on five occasions and went flag to flag, with Mount Gambier’s Kirby Hillyer defeating Hayden Vickers, Ryan Alexander, Matthew Kennedy and pole sitter Mitchell Broome.

Hillyer’s race time of 5:59.794 smashed the existing 25-lap track record of 6:30.753, set by Joel Heinrich in 2019, by more than 30 seconds.

Ryan Furler, Cory Hodgson, Tyson Martin, Brent Fox and Michael Spoljaric completed the top 10.

Prior to the final, the six heat winners were Broome, twice, Furler, Vickers, William Caruso and Hodgson, with the final heat being the best of the night as Hodgson held out Alexander and Kennedy in a race-long battle, with the top three crossing the line just 0.543 of a second apart.

After dropping a heat, Anthony Tapley was forced into the B-main, which he won easily ahead of Caleb Evans, Tamika Pitcher and debutante James Rodda.

Tony Hardy was the dominant winner of round one of the Modified Sedan State Series, leading all 15 laps.

David “Snowy” Hartman made a successful return to speedway competition with an impressive runner-up result in his modified sedan debut, while Rob Uren, Brandon Elphick and Justin Demaine rounded out the finishers.

Demaine and Hartman shared the heat wins while Bronte Perkins won the preliminary feature.

The opening round of the South Australian Formula 500 State Series featured nine cars in action, with heat wins going to Whyalla’s Angelo Karoussis and Bordertown’s Patrick Merrett.

After two solid heat results, a second and a third, local Corey Jones looked set to claim the main event until a late race caution bunched the field.

On the restart Karoussis pounced, leading the final two laps to steal the win.

Brendan Zadow completed the podium ahead of Richard Schmidt, Nathan O’Shea and Simon Reichelt.

Nigel Reichstein opened up his winning account with a hard-fought win in the street stock final, with Phil Watson, Michael Brown, Anthony Buchanan and Craig Buchanan completing the top five in the 13-car lineup.

Phil Watson and Carey Weston, with two, were the heat winners.

A small field of super sedans was also on hand to complete the racing program, with only three cars making it to the finish line in the 15-lap finale.

Drivers raced in honour of the late Graham Cowland and Tony Orlando, both former racers.

In a twist of fate, both of their racing numbers were represented in the field by Shane Lambe (42) and Mitchell Rigney (99).

Kym Jury secured the victory over Rigney and Sarah Pope.

Earlier, Paul Blenkiron and Kym Jury shared the heat victories.

The demolition derby attracted more than 20 competitors and after all of the crashing and bashing it was Mason Forgan from Team Roadkill who was the last one standing.

The next demolition derby will be on Australia Day.

The early season action will continue this Saturday night, October 2, with the running of the annual Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge for 410-cubic-inch sprintcars.

The field will include the likes of defending champion Matt Egel, former race winners Luke Dillon and Ryan Jones, Brad Keller, Brock Hallett, Daniel Pestka and Steven Caruso.

Rob Paech shines as rifle shooters contest toughest distance

Shooters say that if anything can go wrong then it generally will at 1000 yards.

This past Saturday at the Deed Range at Monarto, that was pretty much the sum of the day for most members of the Murray Bridge Rifle Club as they tested themselves from the longest distance in our sport.

A stiff right wind with tricky variation left many getting up after their round scratching their heads in disbelief, with more than a few cross-firing onto neighbouring targets. 

Seemingly immune from the troubles of the day was Rob Paech, whose superb 98.08 for the day, including the only possible shot, was marred only by a single “bird” which flew in with an unnoticed wind change.

His remarkable score gave him both the off-rifle win and the handicap win by significant margins, as the next best, Greg Traeger, could only manage a 92.04.

Gordon Harrison and Andrew Heard both made excellent recoveries in their second rounds, moving from a 38 and 40 to a 46 and 48 respectively.

In F-class the highest score registered was a 57.03 from Adrian Conlon; paired with a 56.01 it gave him the top off-rifle win in F-open by two points from Ian Elston.

F-standard was won once again by Frank Marshall, who struggled to come to terms with the conditions on a number of occasions but still managed 103.03, including a 55.03 in the second round.

Nicole Edwards registered a 99.01 for FTR.

The F-class handicap award was a tightly fought contest in the end, with Peter Byass claiming the win by 0.7 points from Elston, who was only one point ahead of third-placed Conlon.

Amongst the woes of the day was Daniel Irvine, whose 65 didn’t even give him a chance to win the lucky wheel at the presentation as the wheel didn’t have scores that low on it.

Also going home empty handed was Brad Kirpensteyn, who was forced to retire after his ammunition didn’t agree with the club rifle.

This week those who wished they had gone home empty handed but instead took away Magpie Awards for their classes were Jasamine Irvine, with three birds, counting out veteran Gordon Harrison for the TR prize; and in F-class the unlucky Wayne Halliday, who racked up an impressive six birds in his 75.

Next week the club will travel to Kapunda to compete in an interclub shoot before returning on October 9 to compete at 400 metres.

Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association doubles results

Swanport five sets, 58 games def Mobilong four sets, 48 games

Player of the match: Gerry Korzeba

River Aces six sets, 59 games def Twin Bridges three sets, 45 games

Player of the match: Anne Howell

Murray Bridge News is happy to share news, results or photos from sporting clubs throughout Murray Bridge and the surrounding region, free of charge. Email or call 0419 827 124.

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