The Northline Speedway Season So Far…..
Ben Atkinson celebrates victory earlier this season (Northline Speedway Photo)
As we enter the 2017 Chariots of Thunder Series here at the 7Mate Northline Speedway, with the biggest field of Sprintcars seen in Darwin since the 2015 Australian 360ci Sprintcar Championship, I thought it would be timely to look at the results of the opening four nights of competition already seen here this season.
The opening night of the season, on May 13, saw 9 cars front for action with Western Australian Jake Beard-Miller starting on the pole for the feature event but it Chace Karpenko who walked away with the feature win ahead of last season’s Chariots of Thunder Champion Jason McIver and Beard-Miller.
June 3 saw the Sprintcars return for round 2 of the 7Mate Track Championship with 9 cars once again in the pit area but after a disappointing end to round 1 Ben Atkinson bounced back as he clean swept the evening winning both heat races and the A-Main. Chace Karpenko continued in impressive early season form as he finished in the runner-up position with Jason Gebbert, who missed the opening night completing the podium.
After a short break Round 3 was staged on July 8 with the competition stepping up with 13 drivers nominated including young Western Australian hot shot Kaiden Manders, who dominated the 360ci Sprintcar class last season in his home state. The field also included rookie Lenny Cole who was making his Sprintcar debut.
The three-heat format on the night saw Jake Beard-Miller, Jason McIver and Chace Karpenko take heat wins but it was the consistent Kaiden Manders who started on the pole for the feature event. But when the chequered flag fell it was Ben Atkinson who charged to his second win in succession after starting from position five. Jason McIver held on to second after starting on the front row while Jake Beard-Miller continued to impress with third in his NT11 entry.
Round 4 of the Track Championship, held only recently on July 29, once again saw the competition step up with the addition of veteran racer Danny Porter in the field. The 14-car field was shortly reduced to 13 during the opening round of heats as Western Australian Kaiden Manders crashed hard bending the chassis.
Heat winners on the night were Jason Gebbert, Ben Atkinson, Damien Thorne and Jake Beard-Miller.
Following the heats Atkinson and Gebbert would share the front row but they would both end up parked up on the infield as they made contact while battling for the lead. The recipient of the demise of the leaders was Jason McIver who snuck on by to take the win with Damien Thorne recording a career best finish in second with Steven Ling having his best run of the year completing the podium.
So that is just a quick rundown of what we have seen at the 7Mate Northline Speedway this season and the competition and action is about to step up over the next 5 nights with over 30 of Australia’s best Sprintcar drivers set to contest the 2017 Chariots of Thunder Series.
Article by Phil Michell Motorsport Media for the official Chariots of Thunder Magazine.