RUSHWORTH Speedway provided a great night's entertainment on Saturday with sedans, big V8's and little pocket rockets all featuring on the most important club night of the season.
A hectic night of action ended with Bendigo's Adam Box victorious in the Paul Benton Memorial for the first time; Jason Crawford the winner of the Ironbark Classic for grand prix midgets; and the women putting on a classic race of their own with Belinda Chalcraft taking a feature race win.
The Goulburn Valley open saloons and production sedans combined to compete for the Paul Benton Memorial, to honour a former club president of the club, and Box made his intentions clear from the start with victory in heat one by a huge margin.
Jay Nicolaisen, who won the open saloons at the last show, served up a win in the second before Paul Lamb won heat race number three to ensure all the top drivers had one win apiece.
In the fourth qualifier, Box set the fastest one lap time of the night for the saloons with a 19.206 in winning the race, while Nicolaisen won the next and Box made it a clean sweep for his qualifying with a win in the sixth.
Behind the big three of Box, Nicolaisen and Lamb in the qualifying was Braiden Simmonds, Jaiden McCann and Mark Bergman to make up the top six as the field lined up for the 20-lap feature event.
Box, Nicolaisen and Lamb went at each other lap-after-lap once the green flag unfurled and, in particular, Nicolaisen and Lamb got really close to each other.
As the race went on Nicolaisen increased the pressure on Box and looked for room to pass down low and up around the outside before the checkered flag unfurled with Box finishing just ahead of Nicolaisen and Lamb, all three separated by less than a second.
Bergman finished in fourth and Troy Britton in fifth.
In the Ironbark Classic for the motorbike engine-powered grand prix midgets, six qualifying races sorted out the field for what would be an inversion draw final.
Janelle Saville, the defending champion, and Jason Crawford topped the qualifiers after Trevor Perry, Saville, Crawford, Chris Fowler and then Saville and Crawford again won the qualifying races.
Perry set the fastest one lap time of 16.455 in the first qualifier, with Crawford completing the fastest 10-lap race as the winner in race three with a time of three minutes 0.280 as the overall time.
Crawford then inverted the field, with himself from eighth and Saville in seventh alongside, while Perry did not start the final due to some engine issues that were not worth the risk in competing.
The 20-lap final began with Katandra's David Bacon leading early before Mooroopna-raised Lisa Chalcraft moved to the lead.
Saville moved through the field with Crawford following her and by lap five, she was chasing Chalcraft who had a handy lead.
Fowler was the first of the top drivers to pull out of the race before Saville followed a few laps later.
Louis Rodriguez, from Kyabram, was the next to go, and on lap 17 after a caution light brought the field back together, Crawford rounded up Chalcraft and took the race lead.
Crawford went on to win from Chalcraft, rookie Shepparton raised driver Alex Myers, Bacon and Travis Florrimell.
Visiting dirt modified action was the second quickest class of the night with Micheal Ardley in the first race clocking a 17.181 lap time on his way to a win.
Zeke Edwards then cleaned up from that moment winning the second qualifier, then the third and finally claiming a win in the final ahead of Darryl Hickson, Steve Hopkins, Ardley and Steve Lodwick.
Another Chalcraft, this time Belinda figured in the action in ladies saloon competition, with her and great mate Felicity Roycroft at each other most of the night.
Roycroft won the fastest race of the night in the best conditions, winning the first qualifier with a one lap time of 20.642 on the way to a race time of three minutes 30.767, as she took victory in the first heat.
Chalcraft then won the second and third ahead of Roycroft, with Kelly Lamb in third on both occasions.
The final race was a classic between Chalcraft and Roycroft, with Lamb right behind both all the while.
Roycroft looked for passes through turn three and four right through the race and kept the pressure on at the other end of the track also.
But at the end of 12 laps, Chalcraft finished .290 of a second in front of Roycroft, Lamb, Jas Bergman and Rhiannon Alexander.
In junior sedan racing, Bradin Claridge won all four races, clocking a faster time in each race through the evening.
Claridge timed with 20.543 in the final for a single fastest lap and took the win from Keiden Britton, Connor Claridge, Jordan Simmonds and Liam Tooby.
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