08/02/15…Pam Franz…courtesy of www.speedwaysedans.com
In what can only be described as a thrilling finish, Matty Smith has tonight won the Queensland Junior Sedan Title at the Gatton Speedway, by the closest winning margin of all time for a Junior Sedan Title.
The margin of 0.066 eclipses the National Title margin of 0.113 in 2009, with Smith getting revenge over both Brock Atkins and Jack Gartner, who finished ahead of him at the Natioanl Title a month ago. This time the same pair would finish second and third, in a thrilling climax.
Brendan Learoyd and Smith would start on the front row, with Smith getting the best of the start, from Carter Armstrong and Brooke Etherden
Matty Smith and Brendan Learoyd had opened up a large lead in opening stanza of the race, leading the chasing pack by more than three seconds.
Armstrong, Etherden and Atkins were separated by 0.400 as the battle for the minor placing’s hotted up, early in the final.
The caution lights came on for the first time on lap five when Robbie Hawkings spun, and he was sent to the rear of the field.
On the resumption Smith and Learoyd again started to open a gap on the remainder of the field, as the battle continued for the minor placing’s.
Smith, started to open a gap on Learoyd as ten laps were completed, as the battle continued to rage for the minor placing’s, with Casey Collins moving to fifth as the Australian Champion, Brock Atkins went wide.
Yellows were activated for a second time when a crash involving Ben Holmes occurred in turn one on lap eleven. At the same time Brooke Etherden and Brendan Learoyd both retired.
The Australian Champion on the resumption found himself in second place, after passing Casey Collins and Carter Armstrong, as the race made the half way mark.
Matty Smith meanwhile, had moved well clear leading by 4.899 seconds.
Kye Walters came from nowhere (started eleventh) to move to second place, over Brock Atkins, who quickly took the place back as Jack Gartner moved to fourth, in a race of ever changing fortunes, as Carter Armstrong went from second to fifth in a matter of moments. Armstrong spun soon after, bringing on the yellow lights with eight laps to go, with Smith’s massive lead reduced to nought.
On the stoppage, Kye Walters suffered a flat tyre and was forced to retire from the event.
Matty Smith would lead Atkins and Gartner on the restart, all three of whom finished on the National Podium only a month ago.
On the resumptions Smith and Atkins cleared out to battle out the last eight laps. With the margin a mere 0.226, the yellows came on again as Carter Armstrong spun for a second time in turn two, leaving the race with a six lap run to the flag.
Casey Collins and Josh Fraser moved past Carter Armstrong with five laps remaining.
Atkins took the lead with three laps to go, as the pair ran side by side in a thrilling finish. In a final twist the yellows came on with two laps to go when Josh Fraser was spun while in position five, with Carter Armstrong deemed the primary cause.
In a thrilling finish, Smith went back under Atkins on the last lap, and in the closest finish in Junior Sedan history, Smith won by 0.066.
“Long way back from 12th, back tyre didn’t have much left in it, long way up here, last minute decision, but it was worth it”, said a happy Jack Gartner.
“It has been a great run, and no better bloke to be beaten by than Matty (Smith)”, said runner up Brock Atkins.
“That was just awesome, I didn’t think I was going to get Brock back, but the slightest mistake and I was there to get him back, just can’t believe it”, said an elated Matty Smith.
A Main GRID – 25 Laps: 1. G9 Brendan Learoyd, 2. CR36 Matty Smith, 3. RK2 Brooke Etherden, 4. C21 Carter Armstrong, 5. BB21 Casey Collins, 6. A1 Brock Atkins, 7. C43 Joshua Schultz, 8. B38 Maddi McGee, 9. B48 Casey O’Connell, 10. C50 Ardie Jonic, 11. V46 Kye Walters, 12. S17 Jack Gartner, 13. W5 Josh Fraser, 14. RK52 Daniel Johnson, 15. C9 Joel Berkley, 16. MK41 Josh Hawkings, 17. CR68 Nic Moncreif, 18. B49 Cody O’Connell, 19. MK5 Robbie Hawkings, 20. B18 Ben Holmes.
1. CR36 Matty Smith, 2. A1 Brock Atkins, 3. S17 Jack Gartner, 4. BB21 Casey Collins, 5. W5 Josh Fraser, 6. C43 Joshua Schultz, 7. CR68 Nic Moncreif, 8. C50 Ardie Jonic, 9. MK5 Robbie Hawkings, 10. B38 Maddi McGee, 11. C9 Joel Berkley, 12. RK52 Daniel Johnson, 13. C21 Carter Armstrong, 14. MK41 Josh Hawkings, 15. B49 Cody O’Connell (22 laps), 16. V46 Kye Walters (17), 17. B48 Casey O’Connell (17), 18. G9 Brendan Learoyd (10), 19. RK2 Brooke Etherden (10), 20. B18 Ben Holmes (10). Time: No Time, Winning Margin: 0.066, Fastest Lap: 20.389 A1 Brock Atkins