MITCHAM driver Matthew Reed upstaged three Americans to claim victory in the $5000-to-win A main for 360 sprintcars at Simpson Speedway.
Reed took the lead when Warrnambool rival Tim Van Ginneken crashed out with 10 laps to go and held off runner-up David Gravel.
The 37-year-old used the meeting — which doubled as round five of the Sprintcar All-Stars series — to qualify for the Australian 360 sprintcar title, at Bunbury in April.
He said he had little expectations to finish on the podium but was pleased the three-hour trip finished with a valuable reward.
“The wins are certainly hard to come by so you appreciate them when you get them,” he said.
Reed said the triumph was more meaningful given the presence of Americans Gravel, Caleb Griffiths and Danny Smith in the field.
The trio used the race as preparation for the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Premier Speedway this weekend and Gravel was the most eye-catching of the three.
“They’re all exceptionally good racers. Danny’s career speaks for itself,” Reed said.
“I’d raced against Dave Gravel in America and he’s exceptionally good as well.
“Those guys are very sharp with what they do, they’re right on top of it.
“When you can beat the quality opposition it makes it worthwhile.” Reed said budget constraints meant he would not contest the Classic.
His limited program includes the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria series and every meeting at Avalon as he chases track championship honours.
Reed will also race a handful of 360 meetings ahead of the national title.
“A friend of mine in Perth drives 360 cars. He asked me to go over and race the Australian title in April, which I’d love to do,” he said.
“To qualify for that you need to run a couple of 360 races during the season. This only went down last week but he shipped one of his 360 motors out here and we were able to put that in a car and get to race.”
Van Ginneken was not the only driver in contention to crash out in a drama-filled A main.
Albury speedster Tony Moule, who was chasing a third consecutive All-Stars series win, rolled his car in the uphill front straight.
Reed praised Simpson Speedway officials for their “progressive” approach to improving the rural track.
He said he would start the 360 national title confident of a good showing.
“I’ve run pretty well at Bunbury in the past. The car we’ll run in the title we ran last year and ran a second,” he said.
“We’re confident we should be able to do well but again there will be a lot of good cars there It’ll be hard for sure.
“All the guys locally are investing a lot of money on the back of the mining boom.”