Kye Blight is the new Australian Late Model champion following two nights of competition last week at Perth Motorplex.
Blight’s performance was described as ‘dominating’ and ‘near-perfect’ as he dissected the field across all stages of the event. He qualified quickest and went on to win the preliminary feature on Wednesday night, before winning his heat and two out of three pole pursuit races to start the feature from pole position.
From there Blight was unstoppable, leading every lap on his way to the Australian title, as talented locals including Craig Vosbergen and Warren Oldfield filled the minor positions on the podium. Joe Godsey was the best of the American drivers with a fourth place finish.
Blight paid tribute to his father Darren as the inspiration for his victory.
“I’ve grown up watching my Dad kick everyone’s butt in a Production Sedan and I thought if I could be half as good as him one day it would be pretty cool,” he said.
Part of the reason for Blight’s strong showing was experience he gained racing in the USA with fellow Late Model competitor Paul Stubber. Blight said he had learned much during that time and couldn’t thank Stubber enough.
“I spend four months a year in America with Paul and Alice Stubber and I feel like this last 12 months we turned a corner,” he said. “I really have to thank those guys because they took me under their wing and I feel like I am here because of them.”
As Blight’s clean and calculated win caught attention, it was the opposite in a drama-filled night of the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series on Saturday, which took place alongside the Late Model championship.
Class heavy hitters Jason Kendrick and Mitch Wormall came together in a controversial incident, with the drivers remonstrating afterwards alongside their wrecked Sprintcars.
Theirs was not the only carnage for the night, with the feature seeing another half a dozen drivers also getting bent out of shape – with Harding having a big moment that saw him end up wedged into the safety fencing.
“I guess if you can’t win be spectacular,” he said. “We struggled with the car all night, we were just starting to get going but then I made a mistake. It came to a sudden stop, I was bashing and crashing and then I just stopped. Thankfully we have a great venue with the best safety fence.”
Managing to escape any disaster was Callum Williamson, who continued his strong season from Andrew Priolo and Ben Van Ryt. Williamson acknowledged Priolo’s serious pace which has him knocking on the door of his first feature win.
“We won the two heat races and I was quick all night,” he said. “I thought I was railing around there and then I saw Andrew go past me and I thought, ‘He is not letting up.’”
Priolo was left a little frustrated with the result, contentious with the decisions of the officials who decided on the race placings after the feature finished early due to the Kendrick/Wormall incident.
“I know for a fact we had the lead just then,” he said. “I understand there are guys in the box just doing their job, but I’m gonna have a look on (the replay) myself and confirm it.”
Van Ryt was happier with his placing, though he was concerned about the racing behaviour of some drivers ahead of him.
“We were cruising around in fifth or sixth and I was waiting for the laps to die down, then these guys were playing cat and mouse and it came to blows and ruined our night,” he said. “These guys are both better racers than it, they are getting caught up in the heat of the moment.”
Speedway returns to Perth Motorplex on February 8 for the Sprintcar Westernapolis.
Story Credit – Luke Nieuwhof
Photo Credit – Peter Roebuck