The annual K Rock Cup, held at Avalon Raceway is a prestige event for the Super Sedans in Victoria. It's looked forward to by the teams and drivers, and also speedway fans and families. This year's entrant list was packed with high caliber drivers including previous winners and national and state champions, coming from all over the country to have a shot at wearing the K Rock Cup jacket.
In addition to the Super Sedans, the Super Rods would also join the nights schedule, as well as the Crash and Bash crew. What makes this event popular with families was the demolition derby at the end of the night. The Crash and Bash isn't quite like a demo derby, but almost just as chaotic.
But first let's have a look at the Super Rods. Remove the body reminiscent of a Lada Niki, Holden Barina, Ford Prefect or Daihatsu Charade and underneath you have a Sprintcar derivative.
One giveaway that these are different from your regular Sprintcar however is that the rear tyres are staggered in the opposite direction (the left rear being larger than the right). This means that the Super Rods turn right and race in a clockwise direction around the dirt ovals of Australia.
Suspension is the same as a Sprintcar, whilst the engine is a 360 cubic inch V8 which sits inside the mild steel (not chrome moly, like a regular sprintcar) chassis. Super Rods can also move freely as the have a gearbox and starter motor.
On track visuals however is where the largest difference is, which stems back to the category's history. The Super Rods originated in the 1960's as the Heavy Weight Hot Rod class. As the sport evolved and cars became faster and lighter, the category was renamed Super Rods. To hark back to the hot rod style body shapes, the cars are fitted with fiberglass body shells.
If you for some reason don't want your car to look like a Hot Rod or vintage Ford Prefect, you can decide to make your sprintcar derivative look like an angry Mini or VW Beetle. Or if you have a love for terribly cheap hatchbacks, you can make it look like the soviet Lada Niki, horrible Holden Barina or a Daihatsu Charade. Regardless of the body shell, these cars look awesome as they're thrown around the clay. It also looks like the drivers control their cars from the backseat, so you could say they are professional backseat drivers.
As the sun shone through the trees and set, the Super Rods battled in their 10 lap heat races to start as high up the order in the Final.
The highest placed drivers in the heats would battle one-on-one to determine the front of the grid for the final. Jacob Pitcher would win each of his battles to start from pole, with Dane Court starting alongside.
For the 30-lap , everyone was chasing down James Pitcher, as the midfield ran the middle and high lines of the track in attempts to move up through the competitive field.
As the race came down to its final laps, James Pitcher had been reeled in by Dane Court and Allan Pitcher. In the heat of the battle, Allan Pitcher spun in turn one, with William George unfortunately having nowhere to go, climbing over the rear tyre.
With 3 laps to go, Court would have one final go at Pitcher, but would be unable to overtake as they came to the chequered flag almost side by side, Pitcher winning the Super Rod final by half a car length. Jamie May would use the high line all race to finish third.
The feature event for the K Rock Cup as always was the Super Sedans. Teams competing in the packed grid were at the track early prepping for the night of racing.
Throughout the heats, the drivers kept it very clean, yet still raced inches from one another around the clay bowl.
With first and second finishes in his respective heat races, Mick Nicola Snr would claim the pole position for the prestigious and anticipated final of the K Rock Cup.
The sedans would line up on the front straight, waiting for those most famous words in motorsport. 'Gentleman, start your engines", and the roar of the V8's would begin, setting the stage for the 30-lap feature.
The race would go uninterrupted, from the drop of the green flag to the wave of the chequered.
Despite pressure from Tyson Moon in second and Jamie Collins in third, Mick Nicola Snr would lead the entire race, adding the K Rock Cup jacket to his collection of trophies.
However, the final race for the category that makes the K Rock Cup particularly popular with families and young kids was still to come.
Crash 'N Bash is a form of speedway racing that allows contact and spinning out other drivers for position. The cars are colourfully decorated and often given a theme ranging from superheroes to creepy clowns. Boots and doors are bolted together, whilst the insides are completely stripped out minus the bare essentials and a roll cage.
As previously mentioned, contact is acceptable and kind of encouraged, however you cannot purposefully wait for someone, or cut the track to target a specific person.
With carnage being commonplace in these races, they can be quite difficult to follow in the sense of who is leading and which cars are a lap behind. They are very much races of survival, and if you can keep it clean, you'll most likely find yourself near the front.
The nights schedule would consist of nine heat races, six in the anticlockwise direction, and three clockwise before the 30-lap final. For all the chaos, there would be minimal yellow flags, only if a car was completely stopped on track. Otherwise, these partly insane drivers and their passengers would push their cars even when plagued with broken suspension and flat tyres.
With the water truck adding some last-minute slickness to the track for the final event of the night, the Crash 'N bash crew would hold everyone's attention as they bruised their way to the chequered flag. If the previous races were hard to follow, this one was imcomprehensible.
Cars were spinning at each end of the track, scraping the wall as they put the power down out of the corners. Body panels were falling off and rear drivetrains were barely holding on within an inch of their lives.
After the 30-lap demolition, some donuts were had on the Avalon Raceway burnout pad, because who knew what was going on at this point.
Somehow, the officials had kept track of all the cars, and it turned out that Jackson Basten had claimed victory in his mighty quick Falcon BA Wagon. Nathan Taylor and Jay Nicolaisen would finish second and third, concluding a night of close quarters racing from all three categories.
15/1/2023 10:22:00 pm
Excellent photos and write up Noah
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