by | Jan 20, 2024 | NSW, SSA Junior Sedans

Official Release Friday 19th January 2024

After three rounds of heat racing for the opening night of the 2024 Ian Boettcher Race Parts National Junior Sedan Title at the Grafton Speedway it is tight at the top of the points tree with Queenslander Jayden Hancock, Tasmanian Emilie Williams and local Casino driver Indi Butcher all tied on points!

In a night that had it all, the close on track racing is reflected on the points, with twenty different heat race winners from the twenty-one heats held at the New South Wales venue.

The opening heat of the Title saw Queenslander Cooper Reid break away from the field after starting on the front row, while behind him three cars came together coming out of turn two with Jadah Riley sent rear after the ensuing stoppage. Reid would go on and take the win from Benji Gordon and Indi Butcher who fought through from position seven.

Heat Two saw a great battle between Jackson Gordon and Emilie Williams the entire time, the duo pulling away from the rest as Tyler Scott fought into third and closed down the gap, the group almost three wide across the line as the chequers flew, Gordon winning his first ever SSA Junior Sedan heat from Williams and Scott.

The third heat saw the top two of Lawson Clarke and Riley Killick split the seam while the rest of the field fought in a massive pack a quarter of a lap behind. Third placed Jessica Foley was doing all she could to hold the field off, River Paterson and Nate Garwood in particular applying pressure and looking for a way around. The top two were so far ahead that they crossed the finish before the yellows were called for a last corner incident between Jaydon Garner and Braydon Storer seeing positions declared for positions three onwards from lap seven minus the cars involved in the incident.

The fourth heat saw Cruz Farrell away from River Spitzbarth, the battle again on from third back with cars going three wide multiple times. Jackson Kunny got by a hard fighting Ellie Wilson for third in the dying stages, Wilson only just holding off the rest of the field, Farrell officially the winner.

Heat Five saw local favourite Jayden Santin immediately into the lead at first start but it was called back quickly. Santin got the jump again on the second attempt, the rest of the field getting into single file behind him. Reilly Storer got out of shape into turn one and collected the wall heavily but was able to roll to the infield without causing a stoppage, while back on track drivers continued to stay single file despite a number of passing attempts. Brodie Hollyman made contact with Mitch Binning on the final lap seeing Binning out of shape, Hollyman able to sneak through for third though later being relegated two positions for the pass, Santin officially the winner from Brock Stubbs and Binning in what would be the fastest eight lap time for the night, Santin also setting the fastest one lap time in the race of 17.005 seconds.

In the penultimate heat of round one Bailey Chandler was immediately into the lead, but Jayden Hancock closed quickly and going through turn one came through with a bump to take over the lead. Hancock would stretch his legs from here and race away from Chandler, while at the back a number of cars came together in the end, Braydon Steffens getting the nod for third place.

The final heat of the first round saw plenty of yellow light stoppages: an early restart for Jordan White who came to a stop against the fence with one lap complete then another a lap later when Zak Turner came to a stop against the wall at opposite end of the track as the first restart having collected the turn one wall and losing a wheel. The race restarted and Summer Gesell would continue to lead the field, though would come under intense pressure from Jake Fisher. Two laps later the yellows came on again as Tasmanian Beau Ford hit the wall in the same spot as Turner to bring out the yellow, but despite some damage he was able to keep going on the restart. Fisher continued to apply the pressure as the race resumed, eventually able to get underneath Gesell with one and a half laps to go and go on to take the win.

Heat Eight saw the yellows on early as heat Jackson Gordon came to a heavy stop in turns three and four. The next attempt at a start went much better, Jadah Riley leading away Sophie Santin, the two locked together. Unfortunately for Riley, she would go high into turn one with four laps complete, collecting the wall heavily and ending her race. This left just five cars remaining, Santin going on to defeat Max Leersen and Jesse Hamon.

Heat Nine saw Emilie Williams away into the lead while AJ Macdonald launched into second. Williams would race away and after surviving a very close moment with a lapped car, went on to claim the win from Macdonald and Braydon Storer.

The tenth heat saw Jackson Kunny quickly into the lead while Jessica Foley settled into second, eventually passed by Brodie Hollyman as Jayden Hancock, from position ten, then raced his way into third. A lap later Foley would get back by Hancock, before Hancock fought back yet again, going sideways through turn one with three to go but able to hold the position and pull clear. From here Kunny would go on to win ahead of Hollyman and Hancock.

River Spitzbarth got the early lead in heat eleven, with WA Champion Jake Leaman ready to pounce, the top two pulling away from the rest. Colby Bosley would lead the rest in third but it was Jaiden Santin making the moves, coming from position nine to fourth on lap four, then running the outside of Bosley to be third on lap five. Meanwhile up front, Leaman had raced past Spitzbarth for the lead, and despite Santin getting by Spitzbarth with one to go, Leaman had too much of a lead and would race away to take the win.

Heat Twelve saw Mitch Binning into the early lead as Indi Butcher from position four immediately put the pressure on him, all over his rear bumper. Unfortunately, third placed Brookelyn Thompson spun coming out of turn four, in front of the field and seeing cars going every which way, Thompson coming out worst of it after being hit by a number of others including Tamika Simpson and Jacob Foley, only Simpson able to restart of the three. The battle for the lead became a three way upon resumption, Binning only just holding off Butcher and Beau Ford, Ford able to grab second with one lap to go before having a moment with fourth placed Brock Stubbs and coming to a stop in turn three, Binning the winner from Butcher and Stubbs. However, when stewards reviewed the footage, they determined Stubbs the cause of the incident and relegated him to the rear, Tamika Simpson officially third.

A slightly depleted field would take the green in Heat Thirteen, with Jacob Hill making the most of his front row start to race away from Jake Fisher and Breanna Simpson. This would remain the top finishers as the chequers flew, but there was plenty of action back in the pack, resulting in the disqualification of Benji Gordon after some post-race antics.

Two false starts would bring the heat fourteen field back, but it was third time lucky with Will Fallon racing into the lead as River Paterson moved into second. Third placed Sophie Goodwin would retire infield at the halfway point, but it made no difference up front, Fallon winning from Paterson, the duo well and truly ahead of the rest of the field.

Round three began with Heat Fifteen and it was an elbows up affair, drivers doing all they could to gain position, Indi Butcher who is in her last ever Junior Sedan meeting, the one who set the pace early. She would maintain the lead throughout the race defeating Tamika Simpson and Brock Stubbs who passed Jacob Foley in the dying stages of the race.

Heat Sixteen saw Breanna Simpson leading, surviving a restart with one complete after Summer Gesell and Reilly Storer came together. Behind her was a three-car battle for second, Chloe Lebeter originally second before AJ Macdonald made his way through, Bailey Chandler also in the top three before having a massive meeting with the turn one wall to bring out the red lights. Simpson led away once again and despite some insistent pressure from Macdonald, Simpson would get the win from Macdonald with Emilie Williams making the most of the restart to grab a third place finish.

Heat Seventeen took a second attempt after an extra car snuck out onto the grid but up front it was River Paterson who raced into the lead ahead of Jake Bradley. Brodie Hollyman was the big mover behind them, coming from dead last, hugging the inside line and moving into fourth, then grabbing third from Alexander Nicolaysen with two to go. The gap was too big for him to close with just one remaining though, Paterson claiming the win from Bradley and Hollyman, though Hollyman was later relegated two positions for an infield pass, seeing Jackson Kunny officially third.

Sophie Santin got the jump in Heat Eighteen and never looked back, even lapped traffic on the sixth circulation doing nothing to slow her down, going on to take a solid win ahead of Mason Whitehead, who barely held off a hard charging Jake Leaman from position nine. The win would make Santin the first and only driver to claim more than one heat win on the night.

Heat Nineteen saw Jake Fisher, who was tied on top points after the two rounds of heats, hit the wall heavily in the exit of turn three, ending his strong run and dropping him back down the overall order. The complete restart saw Bevan Davis into the lead, with Jesse Hamon and Matilda Farrell swamping pole sitter Marcus Moore for positions two and three respectively. From here the top three would remain unchanged, Davis becoming the eighteenth different winner from the nineteen heats so far.

The penultimate heat of night one saw Zak Turner bouncing back from his earlier DNF, moving into the lead quickly ahead of Riley Hutchison and Jackson Bailey. Despite intense pressure from Claire Vuichoud the top three would remain unchanged until the very last corner, Bailey just getting past Hutchison for second behind Turner in the final turn and finishing just 0.035 seconds behind the winner Turner in the closest winning margin of the night.

Night one would come to a close with heat twenty-one, nearly losing a pile of cars at the start with contact, but somehow all continued without a stoppage, Jackson Goodwin finally finding some form to lead the race after two earlier DNF’s. He would be ahead of Jaiden Santin who quickly made his way into second while Nate Garwood would grab third. Santin would try high and low to get past Goodwin as the laps wound down, eventually going high to grab the lead by 0.097 seconds on the line with one lap to go, then going on to claim the win from Goodwin and Hancock. Unfortunately, Santin was then disqualified at post-race scrutineering, meaning that Goodwin was officially the winner ahead of Jayden Hancock and Nate Garwood.

This meant that with the change in results, there was twenty different winners from the twenty-one heats, with Hancock now the equal top points getter on 87 points, only on top courtesy of his fastest lap time (17.127), with Emilie Williams next best (17.296) and Indi Butcher (17.486), all having recorded a win, a second and a third in their heats.

Sophie Santin would be next best on 85 points courtesy of her two wins and a fifth place, while Jackson Kunny rounded out the top five on 82 points.

River Paterson, Jake Leaman, Breanna Simpson, Mitch Binning and Will Fallon fill out the top ten.

Teams will return to Grafton Speedway tomorrow night for one more round of heats prior to the all-important feature races which will result in a new National Junior Sedan Champion being crowned!

Overall Points After Night 1

1. Q2 Jayden Hancock 87

2. T25 Emilie Williams 87

3. N36 Indi Butcher 87

4. Q55 Sophie Santin 85

5. Q19 Jackson Kunny 82

6. V47 River Paterson 81

7. W70 Jake Leaman 76

8. V10 Breanna Simpson 76

9. W10 Mitch Binning 72

10. V77 Will Fallon 69

11. W12 Jake Fisher 68

12. Q29 AJ Macdonald 66

13. T5 Bevan Davis 66

14. N51 Jaiden Santin 64

15. V23 Tamika Simpson 64

16. V25 Cruz Farrell 61

17. W5 Jesse Hamon 61

18. NT43 River Spitzbarth 61

19. N97 Jackson Gordon 58

20. N86 Brock Stubbs 57

21. V14 Jake Bradley 57

22. W08 Tyler Scott 57

23. Q12 Brody Hollyman 54

24. W22 Zak Turner 52

25. Q17 Cooper Reid 52

26. N10 Lawson Clarke 52

27. Q10 Bailey Chandler 50

28. T77 Nate Garwood 49

29. S13 Summer Gesell 49

30. W88 Jacob Hill 47

31. QA8 Braydon Steffens 46

32. W606 Jackson Goodwin 44

33. W82 Mason Whitehead 44

34. V5 Matilda Farrell 44

35. NT81 Jessica Foley 44

36. W78 Colby Bosley 42

37. N43 Jackson Bailey 41

38. V9 Max Leersen 41

39. QA7 Riley Killick 41

40. Q51 Khan Thoroughgood 40

41. Q4 Braydon Storer 37

42. Q71 Riley Hutchison 37

43. V18 Miller Throckmorton 33

44. WA10 Kayde Anthony 33

45. N26 Ellie Wilson 33

46. Q3 Chloe Lebeter 32

47. N29 Marcus Moore 32

48. N96 Benji Gordon 32

49. S91 Henry Brumfield 31

50. Q6 Claire Vuichoud 30

51. QA69 Damien Acres 30

52. WA12 Sophie Amato 29

53. N21 Hayden Fleming 29

54. NT21 Jacob Foley 28

55. Q101 Alexander Nicolaysen 27

56. W666 Sophie Goodwin 25

57. T11 Jayden Atkinson 25

58. Q7 Coen Herwig 24

59. T65 Beau Ford 20

60. W011 Charlie Scott 20

61. NT51 Jamie Jones 19

62. Q8 Abbey Peall 19

63. N37 Travis Dhu 19

64. Q43 Reilly Storer 17

65. S12 Max Richter 17

66. T57 Brookelyn Thompson 15

67. T10 Jadah Riley 14

68. Q16 Preston Klee 14

69. Q69 Jordan White 14

70. S31 Jayden Garner 11

71. V8 Pary Das 6