Story and Photos by Ken Keating
A heavy snow fall blanketed Victoria for much of the last week and did not disappear until rain began to fall on Friday washing much of the snow away, including the coating at Western Speedway.
Most of the moisture was replaced with heavy wind warnings for Sunday that did not offer a welcome invitation to many drivers that regularly show up for the Steve Copp Construction sponsored Enduro Winter Series scheduled for January 22nd. For the eleven or so drivers that were able to take the green flag, it was racing as usual and race they did.
Cody Aumen, a past winner, shared the front row with the #23 car but it was Howie Mace, also a past winner, that grabbed the early lead and quickly checked out on the rest of the field. Rory Smith, driving for Steve Copp, took up the second position while Aumen dropped back to run third in the early laps. The best race on the track was with Brad Aumen and points leader Darren Yates as they wrestled for fifth and sixth. Leaving the inside small oval, Yates moved quickly to pass Brad for the fifth spot and before they got around to the front stretch, he grabbed the fourth spot by lap eight and clearly was on the move. Because of lapped traffic, Yates was able to pull right up to Smith and Cody running second and third respectively. Over the next several laps, Yates was able to get by Aumen and Smith and by lap nineteen had closed right up on Mace running in the lead. By lap thirty, Yates was able to get by Mace and into the lead with Mace, Cody, Smith, and Brenda Leslie running in the top five positions. On lap forty-six, as Yates was about to pass a back marker, the two drivers got together with Yates spinning out somewhat. This spin however, only cost Yates one position and the lead was retaken by Mace. By lap fifty, Cody moved up and took over the second spot dropping Yates back to third. On lap sixty-three the yellow came out and drivers were allowed into the pits for a driver change if so desired without losing their laps.
Darren Yates wins Enduro event
Cody Aumen places second in Enduro event
Brad Aumen place third in Enduro event.
When racing resumed Mace had given his seat up but was still the lead car followed by Cody, Smith, and Brad Aumen who had taken the fifth spot away from Leslie before the halfway marker. By lap sixty-eight, Cody was all over the #28 car with Yates in this mix as well. It only took a couple of laps for Cody to wrestle the lead away and Yates took over the second spot. By lap seventy-six the #28 car was driven into the pits with what seemed to be a handling problem and although he tried another lap he brought the car to the infield and done for the day. On lap eighty-six, Cody was still in the lead followed by Yates, Brad, and Kevin Knight running the top four positions with Yates turning up the heat on the leader. Two laps later, Yates managed to swing inside and made the pass for the lead. Over the remainder of the race no one could get by Yates as he took his second Enduro chequered flag of the season followed by Cody Aumen and Brad Aumen rounding out the top three positions. This marked the first trophy ever taken by Brad Aumen in any event. Rockell Kroppmans again greeted all the winners at victory square to present each with their respective trophy.
Yates still has a hold on the first place points with the drivers behind him very close with two events remaining in this Series. The next event is scheduled for February 1110th with the last event scheduled for March 25th.