The inaugural four round Vic v SA Late Model Shootout Series has been run & won with the double header weekend at Borderline Speedway & Sungold Stadium closing out the series. With race wins at Borderline to Scott McPherson from Canberra & at Warrnambool to Victorian Justin Pearson, it was not enough to hold off fellow Victorian Gary Bryans who would take out the overall series win with his consistency across the three rounds completed. Fourteen drivers marshalled in the pit enclosure at Mount Gambier including Mick Hetherington, Gary Bryans, Chevy Edwards, Justin Pearson, Scott McPherson, Fiona Verhoeven, Zak Calderwood, Mat Crimmins, Darryle Launer, Matt Nulty, Steve Vaughan, Stuey Hill, Zack Tyson & Cameron Waters. Competitors were given three heats each out of six at Borderline in which to determine qualifying positions for the feature & Crimmins, who was South Australian’s Luke Raymond’s replacement began strongly in the first round when he converted his pole position start into a heat race win over Hill, Hetherington who moved forward from sixth, Nulty, Vaughan, and Debutant Calderwood & Launer. It was the Victorian Pearson's turn in the next heat to convert his pole position into a win with McPherson moving up from fifth to secure second spot ahead of Waters then Bryans, Edwards, Verhoeven & Tyson. Making it three winners from pole position in three starts, McPherson clinched victory in the third stanza from Hetherington & Crimmins who began in sixth getting past Edwards then Vaughan. Vaughan was fourth in front of Bryans, Edwards & Verhoeven. Whilst the front row of heat four secured the top two results, it would be outside pole starter Hill who took the win from Waters, Nulty, Pearson, Launer, Tyson & Calderwood. In the final round Edwards from outside pole raced to the win, his first ever in Late Models, tipping out sixth place starter Vaughan who passed Waters, Pearson, Launer & Calderwood, with Tyson a non-finisher. Setting a new ten lap heat record for Late Models, Bryans then picked up the final heat win of the evening when he & Nulty were able to hold McPherson at bay with Hetherington fourth, Hill & Crimmins, debutant Verhoeven failed to finish. McPherson qualified pole for the final with Hill, Waters, Pearson, Crimmins, Nulty, Hetherington, Bryans, Edwards, Vaughan, Launer & Calderwood the starting line-up minus Tyson & Verhoeven whom couldn't repair last heat damage in order to start. McPherson, one of Australia's proven Late Model campaigners & a substitute for Danny Amato in the Victorian team, showed everybody a clean set of wheels as he marched to a win from the front of the field. Hetherington was the first casualty with a cut tyre but managed to make the infield without incident to allow the race to continue. With only 3 laps to go, the yellow was thrown after Hill made contact with McPherson causing him to spin, Hill was subsequently sent to the rear for the incident but he chose the infield option and retired from the race. Upon the restart, McPherson had the rest of the field bunched up behind him until a mid pack spin by Waters created havoc for the cars immediately behind him. Pearson had no escape route and ploughed into Waters while simultaneously Nulty ploughed into Pearson, tipping the V10 onto 2 wheels, Pearson was on the cusp of going right over but was lucky it came back down. Nulty was forced to retire with car damage. At the end of the feature, it was a Victorian team podium with McPherson, Bryans and Pearson finishing ahead of Crimmins, Waters, Edwards and Launer. Moving on to Sungold Stadium Warrnambool the next night, heat races were cut down to three in total by the promoting venue who had a large field of Sprintcars programmed. Joining the 2nd night’s proceedings were Graham Forte & Wayne Belk from Victoria, current Vic #1 Champion Ben Nicastri & Todd Bayley, both from New South Wales whilst eliminations were Tyson with race car damage & Hill who was suspended after an infield incident in the final at Mount Gambier. Nicastri who shares the car with his father Ross, was champing at the bit to get behind the wheel, having had to crew when his dad won the recent Wangaratta race meeting & he set about establishing his intentions over the ten other starters taking out the honours in the first heat from Bryans, Waters, McPherson, Bayley, Vaughan, Edwards, Forte & Verhoeven. Crimmins & Pearson both didn't finish. Pearson became the first driver all weekend to take a heat win from anywhere other than the front row when he won the second heat passing Vaughan & McPherson to claim the spoils. Hetherington finished in fourth then Calderwood in his best result so far, Nulty, Verhoeven, Belk & Launer. Pole sitter Edwards was a non-finisher. Bryans then turned the weekend results upside down in the third & final heat when he began in sixth & claimed victory moving ahead of Nulty, Launer, Hetherington, Forte & Belk in the process. Bayley from seventh finished in second with Hetherington, Nulty, Waters, Nicastri, Forte & Belk the finish order with Calderwood, Launer & Crimmins failing to finish. Bryans then began the final from the front with Nicastri, Bayley, Hetherington, McPherson, Pearson, Vaughan, Waters, Nulty, Forte, Verhoeven, Belk, Edwards, Crimmins & Launer completing the line-up with Calderwood a non-starter. Through the feature event every car was in some sort of position battle with another or multiple other drivers with some of the fastest, closest racing seen on the East Coast, sometimes three & almost four wide. Over twenty laps, sixth place starter Pearson raced to the lead lapping up to seventh place as he led home a Victorian one, two, three finish with Bryans second, Hetherington third, Waters then McPherson, Nulty, Nicastri, Belk, Crimmins, Forte, Launer & Verhoeven. Bayley, Vaughan & Edwards were non finishers. The Late Model fraternity was understandably ecstatic with the results, a strong relationship has been formed with the Warrnambool fans. Drivers visiting from Canberra & Sydney have vowed to come back & the competition between the Victorians & South Australians is now well & truly on, even more so with the Vic’s taking the inaugural series victory. LMRV would like to thank Forte Engineering for their continued support and for fully sponsoring the prize pool at Premier Speedway. Victorian President Rod Edwards couldn’t be any happier. “We have a great product to showcase, we have an awesome Association with dedicated members and we have shown that we can produce fast, clean racing which will inspire drivers from other classes to get onboard with LMRV. The feature at Sungold Stadium was something else, absolutely first class racing with every driver out there pushing their horsepower to the limit. Everywhere LMRV have gone this season; we have received positive feedback on our racing and also our Association and this has reflected with more interest in the class with a batch of new drivers joining us next season” The Final point standings for the State Shootout Series: 1st place: V26 Gary Bryans = 231 2nd place: V10 Justin Pearson = 212 3rd place: N7 Scott McPherson = 199 (Victorian team member) 4th V40 Mick Hetherington = 167 5th S10 Mat Crimmins = 145 6th S29 Matt Nulty = 130 7th S67 Steve Vaughan = 123 8th S84 Stuey Hill = 121 9th AX21 Chevy Edwards = 87 10th S21 Darryle Launer = 69 With his 1st place finish in the overall, LMRV member Gary Bryans will hold the State Shootout perpetual trophy for the next twelve months . As a seasoned campaigner, Bryans is a deserving winner; bringing his years of experience into the series and he will be keen to back this up next season to retain the perpetual trophy in Victoria. With the top 4 positions all being held by Victorian team members, the battle will be on when the series resumes. Late Model Racing Victoria is now looking forward to our next event on March 28th at Rushworth Speedway. Late Model Racing Victoria is proudly supported by: Australian Racing Products Belkblast Pty Ltd Forte Engineering Healesville Directional Drilling Lake Eildon Houseboat Sales Huckers Car & Truck Hire Inaction Photos Horne Enterprises Pty Ltd Written by Dean Thompson DMT Sports Media For LMRV Inc.