Aranyosi in contention for Speedweek honours

BANNOCKBURN formula 500 driver James Aranyosi was last night hoping fortune favoured the brave as he contested the final night of Speedweek.

Aranyosi entered the seventh round in second spot with 602 points, 28 behind the series leader, Queenslander Mitchell “Charlie” Brown (630).

The former Australian title runner-up remained in the mix for a memorable title, despite contrasting results in two meetings to start the weekend.

He finished at the back of the A main at Darlington on Friday before winning at Simpson on Saturday ahead of Cody Maroske and Nathan Pronger.

He was in action at Allansford’s Premier Speedway last night as the rain-marred series came to an end. A result was unavailable by deadline last night.

After his win at Simpson, Aranyosi paid tribute to good mate and fellow Western Australian driver Matt Brown. Brown was involved in a high-speed crash at Perth Motorplex on Friday night which left him fighting for his life in hospital.

The crash has united the Australian formula 500 community and particularly hit home for Aranyosi, who knows the popular driver well.

“He’s an ex-Australian number one. He’s come over and raced a heap of Speedweeks down here,” Aranyosi said.

“Last night we put a sticker on the car and paid tribute to Matt. He was in an induced coma and he’s just slowly come out of that yesterday.”

Aranyosi said he was rapt to win at Simpson. He won both his heats and started off pole, but had to recover from a horror start.

“I ended up dropping back to fourth position. With about 10 laps to go, or not even, I started to pass a few cars and got the win,” he said.

“It’s definitely right up there (in career highlights). It’s a track and an event I really wanted to win.”

The Simpson win would have taken him to the top of the Speedweek standings had he not struck out at Darlington the night before.

Aranyosi had his engine switch off on him midway through the A main. He managed to restart it, but still got sent to the back of the field.

“Then a guy in the crowd popped his shoulder and the race was declared,” he said.

Warrnambool young gun Jye O’Keefe took the win at Darlington from Brown and Grant Stansfield.

American hard charger Kyle Hirst tuned up for the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic with victory driving a 360 sprintcar at Simpson on Saturday night.

Hirst won round six of the Sprintcar All Stars, becoming the first American to win a feature as part of the 360 sprintcar series.

Victorian Brett Milburn was second while another American, Geoff Ensign, took third. Home-track hopeful John Vogels was sixth.

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