There will be an unprecedented level of competition that we will witness during this year’s Late Model racing season. Not only is the quality of cars racing as good as you will see anywhere in the world there are numerous drivers who have either raced Late Models this year in the USA or spent time crewing for some of the high profile professional teams. All that experience will translate into high speed action at an intensity level we have never seen before.
Craig Vosbergen dominated the ProDirt series points last year however the result was not easy as there were still seven different round winners. Brad Blake claimed his fifth Australian title and former Australian title holder, Marc Giancola, blitzed the field to win the WA title. Other names to look out for are Warren and Jamie Oldfield with new Rocket Chassis cars together with former Australian champion Brad Ludlow, Michael Holmes, Mat Goodlad, Jay Cardy and last year’s Kalgoorlie round winner Lee Watt.
This group will not have it all their own way with Phil Zuidema, Jamie Moon, Jason Moyle (the latter two campaigning new Revelution Race cars), Nat Muir and Jason Oldfield having demonstrated the speed and experience to win races last season.
As well as the influx of new cars the return of talented drivers like Paul Stubber and Veronica McCann Pickersgill will add another dimension to the battle for supremacy. In reality the level of competition is such that there are definitely over 15 drivers capable of winning a feature race and any winner willquite rightly be able to hold their head high.
Consistency and an unprecedented level of competition are the common themes in a survey of some of the leading contenders for Late Model honours in the upcoming 2014-15 speedway season.
Current state champion Marc Giancola believes it will be necessary to string together a series of strong results and always be a threat at every meeting. “The bar has been raised by more teams with very good equipment this year and it will be harder than ever to win a race. We obviously want to win some races but consistent reasonable results will be needed.” said Marc
Matt Goodlad had a standout year in 2012/13 winning the drivers driver award and placing second in the Prodirt Series. He sees the coming season being very tough with so many quick drivers in very good equipment. “We have put a number of updates on the car searching for more performance but there will be 12 to 15 guys capable of winning on any night. Consistency will be the key at the end of the year.”
Former State and Pro dirt Series champion Warren Oldfield and his brother Jamie can’t wait to get into action with their new Rocket Chassis cars. Warren’s is powered by a 430 ci Chev whilst Jamie’s is fitted with a 430 ci Ford engine. The cars were put through their paces at a recent practice session at Pithara Speedway. Each driver clocked up around 50 laps to ensure they are as prepared as they can possibly be. “I expect to see even more different winners this year so it is going to be tough. The biggest challenge will be racing against the professional USA drivers at the USA Invasion Tour in January. Just being competitive with them will be hard.” said Warren.
Michael Holmes has been a regular podium finisher at national and state level competition but has no illusions about how difficult Late Model racing will be this season. “With the number of new cars this year and fewer rounds of the Racin Prodirt series it will be tough to get into the top 5. I expect at least double if not three times as many drivers to do the whole series so if we do half as well as last year we will be happy. The level of competition will be much harder and some of the guys that have done well in the past may struggle. The quality of equipment is very high so getting the setup right will be essential.”
Craig Vosbergen dominated the Late Model Hoosier Prodirt series last year and also won the Perth Motorplex driver of the year award. Craig also had a stellar run in the USA this rearreaching 14 “A” Mains out of 19 race meetings against the best drivers in the world. Even with this background Craig sees the coming season being a stern challenge. “We had a pretty good run last year but in reality that doesn’t always happen. Work may interfere with the timing of some race meetings. Every year the competition and racing improves and races regularly go green to chequer these days. Everyone is getting better at setting up their cars and the development series has done a lot to lift the standard of racing. It will be a big ask to back up on what we achieved last year. I will be happy to be competitive at each round.” said Craig.
Five time and current Australian Champion Brad Blake is still on a high after winning the title in Mt Gambier earlier this year. “You never expect to win a fifth title but to do so after the personal difficulties the previous year was really satisfying. Late models are going ahead in leaps and bounds. Craig Vosbergen, Marc Giancola and the Oldfield brothers will be hard to beat. Anyone who wins a feature race this year will be able to hold their head high.” said Brad
The RACIN Prodirt Late Model series gets under way at Ellenbrook Speedway at 4pm on 11 October 2014.
LATE MODEL RACING WA is supported by RACIN Tyres and Accessories, Hoosier Racing Tire, Rocket Chassis, Octane Race Products, Southside Engine Centre, Able Finance, Ozmine Drill Consumables, Panelworx Bunbury, XLI, Immaculate Custom Trailers, Lucas Oils Brad Ludlow, Forma-tel, Cardy Racing Components, Couplers Malaga, Snapon Kalgoorlie, HTEC Bunbury, Ultra Tune Morley, Global Testing Services, GMHCarpentry, Speed Torque, Stix FX, Empire Graphics, Collie Machine Shop, Kart World Belmont, Dirt Track Nutters, Western Process Controls.
By Ray Hale for LMRWA