Willowbank Raceway’s inaugural Dash 4 Cash event saw incredibly close racing despite stifling forty-degree heat stressing drivers, riders and crews to the limit. The difficult conditions were no match for the lure of $7,500 in cash and prizes spread across the Car, Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson Bikes and SCG Racing Parts Junior Dragster as some of the best DYO racers in the land chased the big payouts.
The day started with the Bonus Bucks Shootout in qualifying where racers had the opportunity to buy in, nominate a dial in and have a shot at producing the best package of the session with the winner claiming the entire prizemoney pool. Stephan Gouws got his Dash 4 Cash off to a great start in the SCG Electrical Dragster winning $550 for the best package before a round of racing was even run. Ironically a couple of racers who elected not to buy into the shootout ran side by side with tighter packages than Gouws’ winning .063 and were left to rue their decisions not to back themselves.
Matthew Barron Buys Back to Scoop the Cars Cash
Entrants in the Car bracket were initially split into Open and Sedan fields and run separately until both were down to four drivers left. They were then combined to form the quarter finals. All seeding was done based on reaction times which kept the focus on the driver’s performance. Buybacks were available for $50 after round one but stepped up to a hefty $250 after round two. No buybacks were possible after that stage. All buyback fees went straight into the prize pool.
Ken Lowe Fuel Systems sponsored the buyback fee for the first-round racers losing by the smallest margin which went to David Hutchen who was only beaten by .0110 in the sedans while Daniel List’s .0562 losing margin in the open side saw him also go into round two.
After round two, only Matthew Barron had the self-confidence to lay the $250 on the table and buy his way back into round three. Matt only got the opportunity to drive his father’s Top Sportsman Chev Beretta for the weekend as Patrick was holidaying in New Zealand. After a runner-up finish at the 400 Thunder Sportsman round the previous day was determined to make the most of it and rolled the dice.
His gamble then payed off as he carved his way through the field to the final. There he met the in form Kellie Kidd in her dragster. Barron then cut a killer .008 reaction time over Kidd’s still strong .034 and led all the way to claim the $2,480 winner’s purse, a very healthy return of almost 1,000% on his investment. Kidd was somewhat consoled on her loss buy the $620 runner-up payout.
Beaton Best in Bikes
Michael Beaton began in the Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson Bike Bracket by setting the mark in Lifestyle Australia Best Package at .102 which was not bettered by anyone in the subsequent rounds. He then ran super consistently on his STS Racing Suzuki all the way to the final. Robert Simmonds lost an incredible first round race by just eighty seven ten thousandths of a second which saw him get the Ken Lowe Fuel Systems buy back as closest loss. He certainly made his second chance count as he then won his way to the final. There it was Beaton best on the day winning the $1,200 prize pool while Simmonds was rewarded with $300 for the runner-up.
Isherwood is it in Junior Dragster
A small but enthusiastic field of young drivers faced the starter in round one of SCG Racing Parts Junior Dragster which was providing incredibly good odds of 9 to 1 of winning a guaranteed $1,000+ prize pool. Teanah Littlewood was the luckiest loser from that round when her .0323 margin in the Knijff Earthmoving JD was close enough to score her the Ken Lowe Fuel Systems paid buy back. Like Simmonds in the bike bracket, she also capitalized on her second chance to then win her way through to the final. Here she met Oscar Isherwood who had gone from the high of recently winning the Qld Drag Racing Championships Junior title to an early exit from the previous night’s 400 Thunder Sportsman round. Sunday was a new day though and he bounced back with three solid wins through the rounds to earn his spot in the final and the $1,080 prizemoney as Littlewood went red and had to settle for a still handy $270 for runner-up.
Racers who took part in the Dash 4 Cash were very appreciative of the team of Raceway Volunteers who worked through the extreme heat to get the event run. They were particularly thankful for the braking area crew for having plenty of cold water available for riders and drivers after each run. The competitors were also enthusiastic about the format and are keen to take part again next year when the event will again form part two of a Saturday – Sunday Double Header with the Sportsman Thunder Australian Championship points round.
- Car Best Package (or first if more than one perfect) $100 Open Order
Michael Voase .009
- Bike Best Package (or first if more than one perfect) $100 Open Order
Michael Beaton .102
- Junior Best Package (or first if more than one perfect) $100 Open Order
Oscar Isherwood .091
All Star Batteries
- Bike Best Reaction Time (or first .000) $100 Open Order
Peter Johnson .000
- Smallest losing margin overall $100 Open Order
Nick Galea .0078
- Closest to Dial In overall (or first if more than one perfect) $100 Open Order
Josh Langridge .004
- Car Best Reaction Time (or first .000) $100 Open Order
Bill Ausling .000
- Junior Dragster Best Reaction Time (or first .000) $100 Open Order
- McKenzie Garside .009
- Hard Luck Award (Judged by Commentary Team) $100 Open Order
Ken Lowe Fuel Systems
- Sedan Closest losing margin Rd 1 $50 Buyback paid
- David Hutchen .0110
- Open Closest losing margin Rd 1 $50 Buyback paid
- Daniel List .0562
- Bike Closest losing margin Rd 1 $50 Buyback paid
Robert Simmonds .0087
- Junior Closest losing margin Rd 1 $50 Buyback paid
Teanah Littlewood .0323
Gulf Western Oil
- Car Best RT round one 5 litres Oil
Bill Ausling .000
- Car Best RT round two 5 litres Oil
Paul Linnet .000
- Car best RT round three 5 litres Oil
Kellie Kidd .015
- Report by Willowbank Raceway