The Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series looks set for a thrilling conclusion after Callum Williamson’s win at the Ampol Big Chap 57 on Saturday night at Perth Motorplex.
The endurance-testing 57 lap feature race, in honour of WA Sprintcar legend Noel Bradford, saw Williamson’s cool head in the early stages pay off. He worked his way from a fifth position start to the front row of the grid for the race restart.
“During the week (before the event), we were saying we’d be conservative for the first 27 laps,” Williamson explained. “I was trying to save my tyres, but I found the car was getting quicker and quicker. With four laps to go in the first part I saw Brad (Maiolo) in front of me and thought I might as well try to pass him to get a front row start, which worked out alright.”
With his tyres still in excellent condition, Williamson consolidated in the second half of the feature and avoided some of the chaos throughout the field as other teams fell by the wayside.
“At half time I could see the tyres and it was all good. As soon as I saw David Priolo get underneath me it was on and I burnt my tyres off in the second half. I was lucky I came through and got it.
“We had a quick car and I knew we could get a good restart with the car speed we had. My team made a few tweaks, I don’t know what they were, but it seemed like on that restart the car took off.
Ironically it was a self-induced moment that almost cost Williamson the race, when he hit the fence while stopping the car when the race was red-flagged.
“We actually snapped our Jacobs Ladder (a rear end component on a Sprintcar) with four laps to go. I was pretty worried, also wondering if my tyre was going to go down, but I had some time to relax and get mentally strong for the restart.”
Williamson is now a hot favourite to claim the Maddington Toyota Sprintcar Series championship. He sits third in the overall points, just two points behind leader Kaiden Manders and equal with Dayne Kingshott. The remaining two rounds of the series will take place in Bunbury.
“I am trying to go out there and do the best for my team and get to the pointy end every night,” he said. “When I clear my head and just race the thing I tend to do quite well. We had a really good run at Bunbury last meeting.”
Daniel Harding finally earned some reward after a tough season, with a second place finish at the Ampol Big Chap 57. He said his car’s setup came around in the second half of the feature.
“At the start of the race we got out of position,” he said. “As the fuel load came off the car we got better and the cautions worked out our way too.”
David Priolo scored a third place finish, his first time on the podium this season.
“We gambled a little in the final,” he said. “We thought the track was going to hurt tyres pretty bad and I was going to be conservative, but we were too conservative.”
Also taking wins at the Ampol Big Chap 57 race were Kye Blight (BGC Late Models), Michael Keen (Limited Sprintcars), Tom Payet (Pool Shop Group Speedcars), Matt Brown (Formula 500s), and Matt Marson (Solos).
Speedway returns to Perth Motorplex on March 13 with the AAA Metal Recycling Krikke Boys Shootout presented by Access Hire.
Words: Luke Nieuwhof
Pics: Peter Roebuck