Luke Dillon on his way to winning this third Battle of the Bridge (Phil Michell Photo)
Luke Dillon debuted his brand-new race car in style last night (October 13) at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway as he became the first three-time winner of the prestigious Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge. After starting on the outside of the front row Dillon raced past early pace setter Chace Karpenko on lap 5 and from that point he drove a smart race on the bottom groove to put his name into the record books as the winner of the 100th Ultimate Sprintcar Championship A-Main.
“This is a great way to get our season underway. In the past we have always had a fast car in time trials, but we haven’t had a winning car at the end of the night. Tonight, we had both. I must thank my guys for putting together a great new car” added Luke on the podium.
In what was a career best drive Sydneysider Jessie Attard, who started from position 9, drove his way to second in a magnificent drive on the slick track to record his first USC podium with defending USC SA Champion Robbie Farr settling for third.
On the podium Attard was lost for words as he accepted this runner-up Gator wing panel, but he was full of praise for his make shirt crew members, Bruce Linigen and Trevor Green. Up until Friday morning Attard was heading to Brisbane to race but the late decision to head to Murray Bridge really paid off for the quietly spoken teenager.
Fourth place went the way of Matt Egel, who charged through the field late while Brad Keller drove his new #19 Cool Chassis into the top 5 ahead of Daniel Pestka. After winning the Pole Shuffle, in what was a spirited battle with Luke Dillon, Chace Karpenko faded back to eventually finish seventh in his Murray Bridge debut with Steven Caruso, Brock Hallett and Ryan Jones, who had a tough night, completing the top 10.
The traditional South Australian Sprintcar season, opener doubled as Round 1 of the Shadetec Ultimate Sprintcar Championship SA, with a field of 20 cars in attendance therefore the field was split into two heat groups. The night began with Time Trials, that were conducted in hotlaps, with qualifying being dominated by the interstaters with Robbie Farr and Chace Karpenko setting the fastest times.
The opening round of heats saw an inverted top 6 with Matt Egel winning the opening heat, The season didn’t get off to a great start for budget racer Nick Rachwal who rolled in turn three on the opening lap ending his night. Heat 2 saw Todd Wigzell, the Grandson of Bill Wigzell, hold off a determined Ryan Jones in a great drive.
The second round saw the driver’s line-up according to their Time Trial results with Luke Dillon and Chace Karpenko taking the heat wins from the front row.
In the support categories the Super Sedan feature saw Kym Jury cause a huge upset in the Super Sedans, Robert Heard was victorious in the Speedcars, Ben Hall edged out Melissa Crouch in the V6 Sprints while Heath Thorne beat his Brother Nathan in the Junior Sedans.
The next meeting at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway will be on October 20, 2018 with a Club Event featuring Wingless Sprints, Formula 500’s, Junior Sedans and Classics.