Ryan Alexander leads after Night 1 of the Autopro Australian Late Model Title (Phil Michell Photo)
Western Australian Craig Vosbergen and New South Welshman Ryan Fenech were the winners of the twin 20 lap Preliminary feature events at the 2018 Autopro Australian Late Model Championship at the Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway but it was local Ryan Alexander who ended the night on top of the point chart. After leading the second final in the early stages Alexander would eventually finish third but this result was enough to hang on to the top spot leading into night two.
Western Australians overall had a great opening night after 24-year-old Kye Blight set the pace in time trials before finishing in the runner-up position to fellow West Aussie Vosbergen in feature 1. Blight was the standout performer in the opening preliminary after running the top of the track running down and passing David Doherty on the final lap. Following Doherty home in fourth was Paul Stubber making it three drivers from the West in the top four. Fifth in the opening 20 lapper went to American Jeff Roth with current Australian Champion Callum Harper recovering from a quiet night to finish sixth. The top ten was rounded out by Victorian Cameron Pearson, Carter Armstrong, Brad Blake and Darryl Grimson.
On his way to victory in feature 2 Fenech was another driver to use the top groove to perfection as ran down Alexander to claim the win. Current South Australian Champion Ben Nicastri would also get past Alexander with Clayton Pyne and Michael Holmes completing the top 5. Jay Cardy, who led the opening half of the race faded back to sixth ahead of Simon McNab, Todd Bayley, Darren Kane and Matt Goodlad.
The eight heat winners were Blight (WA), Stubber (WA), Roth (USA), Vosbergen (WA), McNab (WA), Fenech (NSW), Cardy (WA) and Alexander (SA).
Night 1 Points – Top 10 of 41: S36 Ryan Alexander 136, W8 Craig Vosbergen 135, USA14R Jeff Roth 132, N29 Ryan Fenech 125, N25 David Doherty 123, W41 Kye Blight 120, W52 Jay Cardy 119, N9 Clayton Pyne 115, W91 Michael Holmes 114, W31 Paul Stubber 114.