TOUGH ROAD TO PODIUM
Author : Jeff Pistola
Matt Egel and Downing Brothers Racing endured a tough night en route to a podium finish in the 2017 SA sprintcar championship held at Murray Bridge Speedway on February 25.
Seeking a third State title victory, Egel enjoyed initial good running in the orange #S97 Cool, recording ninth fastest in the time trials, before finishing third and second in his respective two heats.
Following the top eight dash, Egel qualified to start from P4 in a 20-car field fronting up in the 30-lap chase for the crown, however, challenges arose from the very first corner.
Working forward from his outside position, Egel rode a wheel and spectacularly flipped the car into a position which left it hanging from the safety fence in turn 1.
It resulted in a 20-minute delay as the car was carefully removed from the fence which also needed some quick repair work.
The Downing team worked feverishly to get the #97 back in racing shape, receiving great assistance from Marcus Dumesny, but it appeared a lost cause as the race restarted before repairs could be completed on the infield.
However, luck was on Egel’s side as another race stoppage on the first lap and the accompanying red light, enabled the repairs to be finished and the Penfield racer rejoined the race at the rear of the field without dropping a lap.
What unfolded was a remarkable drive, as after getting a feel for the repaired car in the early stages, Egel began to work the high line and reel in the field.
In one of the best drives seen at the venue in many years, Egel spectacularly carved his way forward, and at one stage took over second running, before being forced to settle for third place behind defending champion Robbie Farr and Ryan Jones – a brilliant result given the opening incident.
“Well that night was certainly different,” reflected Egel post-race.
“From tearing the fence down in the feature to making the podium ... what a night.
“I can’t thank the Downing Brothers team enough for a brilliant effort on getting the car back on track.
“I am very lucky to have this team behind me and backing me 100% ... they just never gave up and kept thrashing.
“A big thanks must also go to Marcus Dumsney for helping get us back out in the action.
Egel’s next engagement is likely to be the Ross Wright Memorial and USC SA grand final and USC Chase Round 1 meeting at Murray Bridge on March 11.
Matt Egel and Downing Brothers acknowledge their generous supporting sponsors for the 2016-17 season: Mainline Dynolog Dynometers, National Karate, Vins Buses, Moore Mechanical, Plaza Auto, Regency Shower Screens, Optimal Air, Infinity Signs, East Coast Logistics, James Rosenburg Racing, Cool Chassis, Taylor Made Wings, Reynella Raceway, Hooligators.