Loosely known as ‘The Battle of Hoth’, a special one-off Seight Sports Sprint Wars was run by PACC at the Superdrome on Sunday afternoon. With the addition of quite a few top-notch visitors from interstate and some ‘local’ HPU riders, the field was set to commence the attack/defence of Echo Base, leaving Admiral Ozzel dead on the floor of the Executor and Han Solo struggling to get the Millennium Falcon ready for the evacuation…but I digress…

With qualifying getting underway, the flying 200m times gradually got faster and faster, with local rider Simon Eglinton being the first rider to crack the 12 second barrier and then John Trovas achingly close to being the first to break the 11 seconds with an 11.00. With only four riders left it was up to another local rider, Leigh Hoffman to be the first to break 11 seconds, but it was Olympian Nathan Hart that set the fastest time of a night with an impressive 10.42. Special mention to PACC’s Lara Tucker and Ella Sibley for dead-heating the fastest woman qualifier.

With qualifying done, the field was broken up into 5 grades. With the quality at the top end of the field, it was decided to run a special 4-person ‘A+’ grade along with the usual A-D grades. And so the Match Sprints began, with each group battling it out to contest the final and win the coveted Sprint Wars socks.

In the A+ grade, with the unfortunate retirement of Nathan Hart (almost in Admiral Ozzel style), it came down to a final between two fast young guns – Victorian Conor Rowley in his first Sprint Wars event and regular supporter, Whyalla CC’s Leigh Hoffman. After only just racing in a consolation Keirin minutes before, the wind up was understandably slow and tactical. The sprint did not kick off until late and it looked like Hoffman might pull off the win, but with a short burst of pure power, Rowley showed his strength to come over the top in the final few metres.

In A-grade, it was two of our interstate visitors battling it out - Tylah Meunier from Warragul CC and John Trovas from St George CC. It was always going to be close with only 0.06 separating their qualifying time but Tylah Meunier was too good, taking the victory.

With an even tighter 0.04 separating their qualifying times, the B-grade final was between another intestate visitor Max Housden and the man from Qatar – Farhan Al Farizi. It was obvious Housden had a big gear on and it looked like he was playing into the hands of the smaller geared and lighter Al Farizi by keeping him high on the track and the speed slow but despite Farizi’s best efforts to jump over the top, Housden used his power and position high on the banking of the final turn to drop down and get the job done.

In the C-grade it was another young and upcoming Victorian Alessia McCaig against PACC’s Holly Takos, who is making a welcome return to racing after a long term injury. With Takos a self-confessed Star Wars fan, and long-time supporter of the Sprint Wars series since it began, she’d been waiting quite a while (7 years!?) for a chance to win the Sprint War socks and her class and determination was enough to secure the win against the valiant McCaig.

Sprint Wars debutants Dale Goldfinch and Benny ‘JJ’ Janssen made their way into the D-grade final and despite neither having spent much time on the Superdrome boards (rumour has it there was some last minute cramming sessions!) they applied themselves well, with a nice clean, safe race. Janssen with the win.

Thanks to all the PACC Commissaires & volunteers that got this event happening, James Glasspool for teeing it all up with the Institute coaches and riders (and for riding the moto in the Keirins), Graeme Zucker on the mic and Tom Clarke for doing a bit of rider holding for the finals.

Photo gallery from the afternoon of racing from Tim Loft
There should be another one soon from Richard Morton – we’ll update when link becomes available.

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