CALIFORNIAN Tim Kaeding expected to be the most hated man at Allansford’s Premier Speedway on Saturday night after pinching the Australia America Challenge Cup.
Kaeding produced a stunning last-lap pass to deny Mount Gambier’s Steven Lines a victory on Australia Day.
While the 34-year-old felt for Lines, who led for all but three corners, he was jubilant with the result.
“I feel bad for Linesy, he had a great race car,” Kaeding said.
“We had a great race car too.
“I didn’t think I had much (chance on the last lap) but Linesy was having a bit of trouble getting through the traffic. You had to pick your moves and he just got stuck behind Trevor Green.
“That’s racing. Lapped traffic can either help or hurt you.”
Kaeding, a regular visitor Down Under, has rarely ventured to the Classic.
“This is my first win in Australia,” he beamed.
“It’s awesome. I’ve probably done 15 to 20 shows in 10 to 12 years (in Australia).
“It’s definitely bittersweet. It’s just nice to finally get one in Australia.”
Kaeding was in a party mood, despite it being Australia Day.
“Win or lose, I’m still drinking booze,” he laughed.
“It’s no different when we get beaten by an Aussie on the fourth of July. I’m probably not the most liked person right now but that’s fine.”
Kaeding said the $6000 winner’s cheque was a good boost for the Krikke Motorsport team.
“This is just the icing around the edge of the cake,” he said.
Kaeding, who was the leading qualifier entering the feature, got off to a horrible start as Lines stormed to the lead and American Terry McCarl settled in second.
But as they started the final lap, Kaeding surged into contention and found a way around Lines exiting turn two. The move ranked up there with Garry Rush’s final corner lunge to edge out Max Dumesny for the 1990 Classic.
Lines tried to put on a brave face at the post-race presentations.
“Obviously (it was) very disappointing,” he said.
“I feel more for the team (Halls Motorsport). They gave me such a good car.
“I have to try and keep my eyes on the big picture and we have the points and the car is fast.”
While the attention was on Kaeding and Lines, Warrnambool’s Darren Mollenoyux produced the best drive of his career, finishing third ahead of American trio McCarl, Jason Sides and Tim Shaffer.
National champ James McFadden, who qualified for the A main from the B main, was seventh, while Warrnambool’s Jamie Veal was eighth.
Mollenoyux was delighted with his night’s work.
“That’s as good as a win for us,” he said.
He said a switch to a set-up that worked earlier in the season at the track had been significant in his consistent performance.
Former Classic winner Brooke Tatnell suffered a roll five laps into the race after making contact with Robbie Farr.