Press Release by Speedway Sedans Victoria
33 year old Mechanic Chris Blyton from Dubbo has won the SSA Production Sedan Victorian Title at Timmis Speedway, Mildura in an exciting final from Queensland’s Joel Berkley and Stephen Laidlaw from Victoria.
Blyton started from position four in the final lining up behind Hamilton’s Ben Barker, Doc Bailey from ACT and Queensland’s Joel Berkley who elected to start from the outside lane.
At the drop of the green it was Berkley that took the lead initially only to be followed by a series of yellows which saw Trevor Mills push up into turn four with steering problems and also Dehne Sparrow having a similar incident at the opposite end of the track and also retiring infield during these stoppages were Scott Hawkins, John Calderwood and Wayne Bourke.
At the drop of the green Berkley again commanded a good lead streaking away and looking like the form he had displayed in the heats throughout the night with the car looking fast early.
Eight laps in and Berkley realized that the moisture was starting to come up through the track and it was developing three definite racing lines and all of a sudden he was being challenged by Travis Hutchison and Chris Blyton with Doc Bailey also vying for a position when Doc Bailey inadvertently tagged the back of Hutchison’s Commodore causing him to be relegated to the rear of the field.
Berkley admitted after the race that he never expected the track to have so much in it much less moisture still coming through during the final. “I watched the V8 Dirt Modifieds and they were bringing up dust, I thought it would go slick!” stated Berkley.
It wasn’t long after the restart that Berkley’s challengers succeeded in taking the lead with Blyton having made the pole line work for him. Blyton said afterwards, “I looked at the track from the start and I knew that the pole line would work for me.
My car worked great down there and was the best it has ever felt.” All of a sudden the lead car was unclear as the three drivers Berkley, Hutchison and Blyton all started working three very different lines on the race track.
Blyton on the pole, Berkley oathe high line and Hutchison through the middle and depending where you were looking who was leading. By lap 15 Hutchison had also enjoyed a stint in the lead.
All the while Doc Bailey had been working his way from the rear and was overtaking Horsham’s Steve Ellis when his car got loose and they both tangled resulting in Bailey spectacularly rolling taking Ellis’ car with him as Ellis’ car almost leap frogged over the other car as they were rolling launching high into the air and both landing heavily.
Both drivers exited their cars with assistance from the track crew shaken but okay.
Another restart and Hutchison took the lead once again with Blyton snatching it back shortly afterwards.
Rosedale’s Stephen Laidlaw started to make his move and was up to third place as Berkley struggled to find the sweet spot for his car. Laidlaw moved to pass Hutchison along the back straight when a small mistake from Hutchison saw him kiss the back fence and then bounce off Laidlaw onto the infield and unable to restart.
Blyton’s car was now getting faster posting two of the fastest lap times in the last half dozen laps and he crossed the line 2.644 seconds ahead of Joel Berkley followed by Stephen Laidlaw.
Laidlaw had opted to substitute into his daughter’s Commodore after the first round of heats as his car had mechanical issues. Ben Barker placed fourth, Corowa’s Jack Bear was fifth, Ryan Queale sixth and Alex Cheney rounded out the finishers in seventh place.
Blyton was thrilled with his win and repeated that it hadn’t really sunk in.
He had made the decision to travel to the Victorian Title as he had never been to Victoria and the Mildura track was one of three tracks that he had always wanted to race on with the other two being Perth Motorplex and Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba .
With his partner and daughter away in Newcastle at a cheerleading event, his father was unfortunately unable to accompany him for the first time after injuring himself, Chris still decided to travel down from Dubbo with his one pit crew, Matt.
Another string to his bow was being awarded Best Presented Car as judged by the Scrutineers on the day for compliance and appearance.
A Main, 35 Laps- 1. DBO91 Chris Blyton, 2. N1 Joel Berkley, 3. RD30 Stephen Laidlaw, 4. HA13 Ben Barker, 5. CR19 Jack Bear, 6. HO27 Ryan Queale, 7. WSC16 Alex Cheney, 8. SB7 Travis Hutchison DNF (24), 9. HO74 Steve Ellis DNF (19), 10. ACT4 Doc Bailey DNF (19), 11. HO6 Graham Gerlach DNF (8), 12. G10 Trevor Mills DNF (1), 13. L27 Wayne Bourke DNF (1), 14. P13 John Calderwood DNF (1), 15. L5 Scott Hawkins DNF (1), 16. HA91 Dehne Sparrow (1).