Having narrowly missed out on a podium place in last season’s Australian Modlite Title after qualifying on pole, Aaron Prosser certainly made amends on Saturday night, seizing the victory in the 2016-17 running of the prestigious event at Whyalla’s Westline Speedway.
The expat Kiwi, who now resides in Queensland, was in strong form over both nights of competition, but proved to be unbeatable in the 25-lap feature race, going flag to flag to claim the Australian Title crown after starting from pole position.
Another Queenslander in Scott Lehfeldt gave a strong showing to achieve a career-best result despite nursing a car that was far from ideal due to a crash earlier in the night, finishing runner up to Prosser, ahead of in-form South Australia # 2 Danny Prade in third.
Graham Knuckey (SA) continued his consistent form to finish an impressive fourth, while outgoing Australian Champion and current Queensland and South Australian Champion Terry Leerentveld finished a gallant fifth, after a difficult run in the previous night’s action.
Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Brendan Tucker, Wayne Donaldson, Cory Hodgson, Todd Bennett and Duran Cowland, with Brent ‘BK’ Halliday, Sean Rose, Andy Maxwell Jnr. and Brook Alexander completing the finishers.
With the feature race riddled with stoppages, a number of cars wound up on the infield with the casualties including Sam Martin, Nathan Politch, local and current South Australia # 3 Michael Brown, American Jeff Teeters, Robert Hardy, Scott Webb, Michael Morgan and Chris Were.
Getting their weekends off to the best possible start on the opening night of competition, Webb, Prade, Shane Howard, Prosser and Brown each scored a heat-race win, with night one’s highest points man Lehfeldt, along with Maxwell Jnr. doubling up with two wins each.
After finishing second in his opening heat race on Friday night, Leerentveld encountered a run of bad luck, suffering a mechanical issue and a puncture in his remaining two heat races, resulting in two harmful DNFs, leaving him 14th in points heading into night two.
In the A preliminary feature race, it was Tucker who came out on top, ahead of Prosser and Politch, while Knuckey took out the B preliminary feature race by outpacing Bennett and Donaldson.
Contesting the final round of heat races on Saturday night, Bennett and Knuckey continued their form to score a win apiece, while Leerentveld appeared to be back in business, taking the remaining win to place him ninth in the feature-race field.
Proving his worth, Cowland drove to victory in the B main, which secured his transfer spot into the feature race, along with fellow transferees Donaldson, Hardy, Hodgson, Teeters, Alexander, Rose and Halliday.
Prosser dominated the top-eight pole shuffle to take pole position, with Lehfeldt, Knuckey, Bennett, Prade, Tucker, Maxwell Jnr. and Brown confirming their starting positions.
Continuing his dominance in the action-packed and somewhat turbulent feature race, Prosser cemented his status as a front-running contender, managing to down his rivals to be crowned this season’s Australian Champion.