Firth crowned after clinching Christmas Cup
SPEEDWAY: Grafton's own Andrew Firth dominated the night's racing when he took out the annual V8 Dirt Modified Christmas Cup at Hession's Auto Parts Grafton Speedway on Saturday night.
Ringing in the new year in style, Firth was followed to the chequered flag in the gruelling 30-lap main event by Dale Corbett and Paul Booker.
Earlier in the night, Firth raced to victory in a qualifying heat and also the V8 Dirt Modified Dash to end the evening with a perfect scorecard.
The Christmas Cup event was a tough contest with several yellow light caution periods after track incidents, but each time Firth maintained his advantage at the head of the field when the lights again went green.
A couple of incidents in the opening lap required a complete restart on each occasion.
Jai Stephenson, who started on the outside of the front row with Firth, hit the safety fence, while the second yellow light later occurred after Jeff Rose came to a halt with a flat tyre.
When the race finally started, Firth had command. The battle for the minor positions was on in earnest as Nick Knott ran in close formation, while Corbett closed in on Stephenson. Stephenson then spun in turn four and brought on another yellow light. Stephenson resumed the race at the rear of the field.
A highlight of the 30-lapper was the performance of Stephenson, who came back through the field and had an exciting battle with Jeff Hayes.
Another interesting tussle developed between leader Firth and Dale Corbett.
After yet another yellow when Knott and Hayes came together that resulted in the latter spinning, Knott went to the rear of the field at the restart for his role in the incident with 10 laps remaining.
Stephenson, after coming back into contention, later quit the race with four laps remaining.
But it was all Firth, who raced to a very deserving win.
In addition to Firth, other V8 Dirt Modified heat winners were: Stephenson, Scott Quirk and Jeff Rose.
Wingless Sprint driver Brock Gardiner took a big dump and, even though he walked from the crash scene, complained of back pain and was later taken to hospital for observation.
Jacob Jolley was the star of the Wingless Sprintcar main event after he raced to a convincing win.
He lapped all but second placegetter Warren King in a very impressive drive.
Third man home in the main event was Mick Gray.
Other main event winners were: Shane Carlson (Street Stocks), Luke Watt (Four Cylinder Sedans) and Ryan Howell (Junior Sedans).