By DTN Media
Speedcars hold a unique place in Speedway and in Western Australia in particular they have a special history, never more evident than this weekend when the Perth Motorplex will play host to the 72nd annual WA Speedcar Title with thanks to The Pool Shop Group.
This Saturday night sees the traditional wild and wingless machines return to the track once again, for the 72nd running of the title. Despite having its first run in the 1946/47 season, some seventy four years ago where the title was won by Victorian Ken Wylie, there have been two years that the event was not held, meaning that this year is indeed the 72nd running.
Since the Perth Motorplex’s inception in 2000, the event has been held there a number of times, the first in that inaugural 2000/01 season where Neville Lance claimed his fourth title win, and since then not only has the event returned a number of times, but also Neville has won the title a further three times, coincidently each time at the Motorplex.
These results totaled means that Neville has seven WA Title wins, leaving him tied on the all-time leader board with two other Speedcar legends in Johnny Fenton and Michael Figliomeni. If we go simply by wins, these three men, who have each recorded seven wins, account for nearly a third of all title wins in the events history. Fenton claimed his first in the 1970/71 season, then claimed five wins in a row from 1973/74 through to 1977/78, followed by a final victory in 1979/80. He also recorded four second place finishes in that time, meaning for a period of eleven years straight, he was never outside the top two finishers, an incredible record.
‘Figs’ recorded his first win in the 1992/93 season and he too won five straight, with individual victories in 1999/2000 and 2001/02. He also finished second once and third five times, meaning in a period of eighteen years he claimed a podium finish thirteen times, another incredible record.
Meanwhile, Lance claimed his first WA title podium in 1986/87 with a win, with his last podium appearance being in 2012/13 where he came third. This means that across those twenty seven years he recorded, along with his seven wins, two second places and three thirds, for a total of twelve podium appearances.
Dayne Kingshott is the highest ranked currently active driver with his five wins, one second and one third place, an incredible seven podiums across the last ten years. Unfortunately the former Australian Champion is not nominated at this stage for this weekend so won’t have the chance to add to his record, or continue his amazing winning streak, but he is still young enough to have plenty of time ahead as he looks for the all time win record!
Delving further through the history books we can see that the next best based on wins alone are Laurie Stevens, Ray Clarke, Keith Mann and Noel McDonald, who have all recorded three wins apiece. Interestingly, each of these drivers has a total of five podiums in the WA Title races, apart from Mann who has claimed nine overall.
There have been a further eight drivers who have won two titles, while eighteen more have one title victory, the last being another current driver in Kaiden Manders who grabbed his first Title victory at Bunbury Speedway in season 2015/16.
There is also a huge list of fifty four other drivers who have podiumed in the event, with greats such as Geoff Pilgrim recording five podium finishes but never actually taking home the coveted number one!
Keenan Fleming, Michael Pickens and Vaughan Manders are the only other drivers in this weekend’s field to have come close, but ultimately come up short: Fleming and Pickens each with a second place finish while Manders has a third place finish to his name.
So who will add their name this weekend? Can Kaiden Manders grab his second win? Will the Title leave Australian shores for the first time ever with an international driver breaking through? Can an interstater become just the third visitor to claim the Title? Or will we have a local break through for their first Title victory?
There’s only one way to answer those questions and they will all be answered this weekend at the Perth Motorplex!