BAYPARK OPENING NIGHT
After what seemed the longest off-season in the history of off-seasons we are back! The traditional start
to the season is Baypark on Labour Weekend so why mess with tradition? A windy night kept the temperatures
low as racing resumed in front of a pathetic crowd even by Baypark standards. Track conditions I'm pleased
to report were very good. Yes there were a couple of spots to avoid entering the turns but they were avoidable
and the rest of the track offered different lines for drivers to experiment with.
A field of 16 Sprintcars highlighted the show. On pole for the feature was 22a Dean Brindle as top qualifier
88m Keaton Dahm opted for the outside. 3nz Jamie McDonald and 6m James Dahm were the second row. 54a Michael
Pickens and 1nz Jamie Larsen were row three. If anyone else was to be a factor perhaps 66m Skinny Colson
could find some form from grid 10 or a little further back 21w Stephen Taylor had shown promise in the
second heat after what appeared to be an absurd relegation to the rear for a first lap racing incident. After
the initial start was called back we got to racing.
Keaton Dahm got the jump to lead away as the field settled into place. 21a Kerry Brocas who performed above
expectations on the night quickly advanced into the sixth position, creating a gap up the inside of Larsen and
moving the national champion wide. Two laps in we had our first stoppage as McDonald lost power coming
down the front straight, an electrical issue the suspected culprit. Pickens doing well to avoid the stricken
3nz entry. From the restart the battle of the race unfolded. Keaton Dahm streaked away with brother James
in the second running spot. Brindle though had other ideas and threw a big slider on James Dahm into
Brindle slid in front of J Dahm only to see Dahm cut back up the inside to retain the spot. Dahm was able to
hold off Brindle through 3&4 only to come under attack again through 1&2. In an action replay Brindle made the
slide only to see J Dahm counter back up the inside. Brindle wasn't about to give up and next time around
launched a third consecutive slide job. Finally this one stuck. However a few laps later Dahm grabbed the second
spot back via an inside move in turn 3. Pickens was approaching the battle for second whilst 21a Kerry Brocas
found his run ended via a solo spin to the turn 3&4 infield. 21w Stephen Taylor had made his way through the
field, up to the fifth spot after executing a pass on an out of sorts 1nz Jamie Larsen.
Pickens began to heap the pressure on Brindle for third as leader Keaton Dahm entered traffic. Brindle
took an unusually low line into 3&4, washing up slightly mid turn. Pickens couldn't avoid the 22a, driving
into the back of Brindle and spinning to a stop. That incident left 7 laps to go. The next period of the
race would be a bit messy. A skirmish down the back of the field brought the caution lights on with 5 to
go and an incident in turn 4 which saw 62a Dave Witton on his side with 3 to go. The restarts were messy which
was to the benefit of Taylor who made up a couple of spots. He was either the fastest reactor to the
green flag or jumping the restarts depening on your point of view.
Taylor was all the way up to the second spot but was an arms length away from Keaton Dahm. Whilst Taylor
was clearly the benefactor of the restarts Brindle was the loser, falling back a couple of spots. As the
last three laps unfolded Pickens made a hectic run through the field to try and salvage a half decent result.
Pickens would pass Brindle for fifth, only problem was it was metres after they had gone by the chequered flag.
Post-race Brindle would remonstrate with Larsen, presumably unhappy with his restart technique. Indeed the
Sprintcar restarts will be an area to watch for the Baypark officials going forward. 88m Keaton Dahm
taking the win from 21w Stephen Taylor, 6m James Dahm, 1nz Jamie Larsen, 22a Dean Brindle, 54a Michael
Pickens and 4m Colin Entwistle.