By Brett Swanson
THE recent Bob Hickson Memorial/Southern 2000 season ending sedan stoush at Nyora raceway became the race of the season with 48 laps of brilliant speedway action between ultimate winner Ty Galley and the extremely unlucky Steve Laidlaw.
The young tyro and the nationally crowned veteran put on a thrilling display reminding everybody just why we love dirt track speedway racing.
For 48 of the 50 lap final event Laidlaw and Galley fought it out tooth and nail while slicing through extremely heavy lapped traffic.
Both drivers led at various stages only for Laidlaw to suffer a mechanical malady just two laps short of taking the chequered flag in the memorable memorial event.
All other runners were virtually forgotten by mid race distance despite the close attention in the early going of pole-sitter Leigh Bourke, Brenden Miller, Matt Nelson, and Wayne Ramsdale.
Despite almost inverting his Commodore late in the going Brenden Miller grabbed second after the demise of Laidlaw, with some compensation for the Laidlaw family as Scott Laidlaw completing the podium ahead of Wayne Ramsdale and Wayne Hurford.
“It was an absolute joy to race against Steve (Laidlaw) like that,” Galley said.
“He is one of the absolute best there is and it was a real shame that he fell out of the race there right at the end.
“We made it one of our season goals to run this 50 lapper and we’ll take the win but I can’t tell you how good that race was and how good it was to race so close and hard with a man I respect so much.”
For his part despite the crushing finish after such a strong showing Laidlaw was magnanimous in his praise for Galley and the emotion in his voice reflected real joy and pleasure for ‘the kid’s’ win rather than anger and frustration at what could have been for himself.
The season ending Unlimited Sedan action kicked off with Nelson beating Galley to the opening heat win and then Lucas Conder won the second heat after Daniel Stewart pulled in while leading comfortably.
Steve Laidlaw won the third heat from Miller and Bourke stormed to the win in Heat 4 from the last starting position.
Veteran Des Birkin then thrilled the crowd when he rolled in the fifth heat after contact with Scott Laidlaw.
The action continued in this heat when Allen Perkins and Sam Williams slammed the wall together and Perkins was black flagged. The heat was declared early with Galley getting the win ahead of Nelson.
Wayne Ramsdale then won the next heat from Conder as a number of other drivers failed to finish.
Miller then beat Steve Laidlaw to the chequers by a very narrow margin in the penultimate heat and Bourke won the final heat after Travis Ramsdale hit the back straight wall curtailing the heat early.
In the non-qualifiers event, drivers had the option to take the money or qualify onto the back of the main event and it was Hurford who won from Travis Ramsdale, veteran Ray Gould, Kellie Atkins, Corey Horter and Jacob Blencowe.
Will Van der Ark was the race’s first retirement when he tipped the Miles Motorsport entry upside down on the opening lap.
Twenty-three cars started the 50 lap Bob Hickson Memorial/Southern 2000 with local veteran Gould being the only driver in the field who had actually raced against the race’s namesake.
The huge field battled through the opening two corners before Peter Cox hit the wall in turn three forcing a complete restart. Following this the field successfully completed the first lap with Steve Laidlaw leading before Darren Skilton spun.
On the restart Galley jumped to second place commencing the almost race long battle with Steve Laidlaw.
In the VSC Junior sedans, Ally Morrison unselfishly gave up her car in a heat race so that Shaniiq Rowan could have a drive.
Shaniiq and her sister Kiarah had both travelled from Swan Hill to race but when Shaniiq’s car failed on the dummy grid she was left without a drive.
Step in the Morrison team who offered Ally’s car so that at least Shaniiq got one race.
“She (Ally) looked at it and thought how bad would Shaniiq feel after travelling all the way from Swan Hill and seeing her sister race and not get to drive herself, so she offered her a heat race in her own car,” explained a magnanimous father Dale Morrison.
In the main event it was Ally Morrison getting the win from Kiarah Rowan and Ally’s own sister Holly Strickland who was making her debut.
The only heat not won by Morrison was won by Kiarah Rowan when Morrison had given up her car.
The 120occ Juniors saw Current Aussie Champion Brock Atkins in the borrowed car of Seth Bent and he quickly adapted to the track and the car winning the opening heat before Caleb Lincoln won the second heat by a narrow margin and then took the last heat as well by a bigger margin.
In the final, Lincoln upset the national champ by taking the win after Atkins led early but couldn’t maintain the pace finishing second just ahead of his younger brother Todd Atkin who was followed by Jack Ramsdale, Seth Bent, Zoe Young, Rhi Campton and Chloe Sheerman.
The other class in action was the Ladies races which saw Amanda Burrows take the win from Sarah Price and Tegan Bullard. Burrows and Bullard had shared the earlier heat wins.
The Nyora Speedway club thanks all officials, club members, sponsors drivers, teams and fans for their support throughout the 2014/15 season and look forward to seeing you all again as part of the planned action packed 2015/16 season.
Check out the new website at www.nyoraraceway.com.au or check for updates on Facebook.
Nyora Raceway is located on Grundy Avenue, Nyora.