Story and Photos by Ken Keating
On November 27th, twenty-two hardy drivers braved the elements and took the green flag for two hours or two-hundred laps of racing in Round 2 of the Steve Copp Construction sponsored Enduro race event held at Western Speedway.
The third race of the winter series is scheduled for December 11th and should prove to be another entertaining affair with lots of close racing. Howie Mace has had a very competitive car winning the first event and Darren Yates also has a very fast car working his way to a victory in round two. Steve Copp has been a fast competitor so far but mechanical problems have put him out of contention while running close to the lead or in the top five positions and defineately a car to watch along with Heath Cooper and Cody Aumen. The points spread is very close between Mace and Yates and the rest of the top ten are within striking distance and can close the gap at any time should the front runners stumble at all with five races left.
A couple more chicanes were added throughout the track adding yet another challenge to drivers to negotiate along with very wet conditions early on. Phil Lagan and Cody Aumen shared the front row with Lagan getting the edge early taking the lead followed quickly by Alex Atkinson and Rory Smith for the first three laps as the yellow came out for the first time. On the restart, Lagan again went into the lead with Smith moving to second and Howie Mace, the winner of the last event, moving into third with Steve Copp and Darren Yates running in the top five postions. On lap fourteen, Yates moved up to run third but it was short lived as he spun out losing several positions. On lap twenty-three, Lagan surrendered the lead to Steve Copp for four laps until Aumen passed him on lap twenty-seven to take over the lead. On lap thirty-one Copp entered the pits with his day finished. By lap forty-seven Aumen still led the charge with Lagan, Mace, Yates, and Brad Aumen running the top five positions. On lap fifty-two, Lagan entered the pits and did not return for further racing. Darren Yates took the third spot as Heath Cooper moved up to fourth with Jay Young running fifth in his first Enduro.
Howie Mace wins First Enduro
Darren Yates wins Round two
On lap sixty-eight, Mace took over the lead with Yates taking the second spot dropping Cody Aumen back to third. The second yellow came out two laps later for a couple of stalled cars but on the restart, Mace still led and Aumen grabbed the second spot only to have Yates reclaim that position two laps later. On lap eighty-two, Yates grabbed the lead as Mace entered the pits with a flat tire leaving the second spot to Cody, followed by Cooper, Young, and Brenda Leslie rounding out the top five positions. On lap ninety-four the yellow came out again and on the restart, Yates was still in the lead followed by the same group. By lap one hundred and one, Mace found his way back into contention now running in the fifth position then passing Young for fourth two laps later. On lap one nineteen, Aumen entered the pits as his day came to an end leaving Cooper to run second followed by Mace, Young, and Leslie. On lap one twenty-six, Young took over the third spot dropping Mace back to fourth. Mace again entered the pits but didn’t lose any positions as he was in for quick repairs.
Over the next several laps Yates began to pull away from the field and looked like he had his car set on cruise control although he had his moments just missing a collision coming out of the chicane on the backstretch and colliding with a big tire on the front chicane but still maintained the lead. Over the remaining laps Yates continued to pad his lead and when the chequered flag dropped, after one hundred and sixty-four laps, Yates, looking for the rainbow, came home with the win followed by Cooper, Mace, Young, and Leslie rounding out the top five. Yates was the only driver to run the full laps with all other drivers three laps down. Yates is no stranger to Western Speedway as he is the WilRoc Sprint Car Champion for 2011 and has many titles under his belt, and placed second in the first Enduro this winter season. Weather will not be a factor as they race rain or shine and racing will get underway at 1 PM so come out for a Sunday afternoon of racing and watch the action around the Langford oval.
1/ #90 Darren Yates – 39
2/ #28 Howie Mace – 38
3/ #8 Blair Davis – 25
4/ #79 Heath Cooper – 24
5/ #91 Brenda Leslie – 24
6/ #83 Shawn Hitchings – 24
7/ #04 Cody Aumen – 23
8/ #15 Steve Copp – 19
9/ #78 Mike Halls – 17
10/ #66 Ian Walker – 17