Gartner the best in the West

Gartner the best in the West

Limestone Coast racer Dave Gartner ventured to Western Australia’s Mount Barker Speedway for the second time in his racing career and again walked away with the SSA Super Sedan WA State Title after taking victory on the weekend.

Gartner held off the fast-finishing Brad Pascoe with Matt Pascoe officially third in the event for the second time in his career, with Western Australian’s Gary Higgs and Dustin Higgs rounding out the top five.

Twenty-four Super Sedans began the event which was held in cloudy and cool conditions at the daytime venue which raced into the evening for just the second time in its history.

Ian Wright collected the coveted Ian Beard best presented car award prior to racing getting under way in front of a bumper crowd.

The nine qualifying heats began with Mick Nicola leading all the way despite reigning Western Australian champion Dustin Higgs throwing everything at him in the finishing stages.

Nicola held off Higgs by 0.168 of a second with Kemble Aylett officially third.

Three-time Western Australian champion Gary “Dusty” Higgs led every lap of heat two as Queensland’s Zac Pascoe stole second on the final lap from 2003 WA Super Sedan champion Keith Higgs.

Gartner held off Matt Pascoe in heat three with local Mount Barker competitor Rob Knox coming home in third as Pascoe set a new one-lap track record for the venue.

Dustin Higgs dominated heat four winning by over two seconds from interstate competitors Gartner and Ash Bergmeier.

Early in heat five Zac Pascoe wrestled the race lead from Rob Knox before Mick Nicola and Matt Pascoe worked their way through the field to fill the minor placings.

The first major incident of the state title occurred in heat six when Keith Higgs suffered suspension failure before the race even began.

Once the race got under way a heavy crash involving Matthew McMahon and Warren Hambley meant Hambley was unable to continue for the remainder of the State Title.

A depleted field greeted the chequered flag as Queensland Champion Brad Pascoe crossed the line five seconds clear of Terry Green and Kemble Aylett.

Brad Pascoe became the first multiple heat race winner in the event as he won heat seven by over nine seconds from Mount Barker youngster Bryce Fisher who held off Keith Higgs for second place at the end of the 10 laps.

Heat eight was the domain of Gary Higgs as he defeated Kemble Aylett and Ash Bergmeier as Matt Pascoe collected the final heat from Dave Gartner and Mount Barker’s Nathan Thiele a distant third.

Twenty-one competitors received their medallions prior to the 40-lap main event as the Super Sedans paraded four wide prior to the final before a great crowd in Mount Barker.

Dave Gartner and Matt Pascoe shared the front row for the main event, with the race only one lap old when Mick Nicola came together with another car causing him to spin in front of the field.

Nicola was collected by both Tristan Green and Nathan Thiele with all three cars able to restart.

As the race got back under way Gartner lead the early laps from Matt Pascoe, Gary Higgs, Brad Pascoe and Dustin Higgs making up the top five.

Dustin Higgs had moved into fifth after starting from position eight for the final before the yellow lights came on for Keith Higgs who lost a wheel on lap four.

The race was also over at that point for Tristan Green and Ian Wright as well as Higgs with lap eight bringing about yet another stoppage.

Kemble Aylett and Rob Knox came together while battling for ninth place, with Knox’s race over shortly after.

The lapped traffic proved to be the only obstacle for Gartner as he worked his way through the cars, with Brad Pascoe stealing third place from Gary Higgs as the race reached its halfway mark.

Bryce Fisher brought about the final stoppage of the race as he crawled to a stop on lap 23 while running in ninth place with just eight cars on the lead lap at that point.

The final 17 laps proved to be a heart stopping affair as Gartner had Matt Pascoe trying everything in the book to find a way past the eight-time state champion.

Before long Brad Pascoe was challenging the two leaders as the laps wound down.

Matt Pascoe tried to find a way around the outside of Gartner with the driver of the Castrol S18 Dominator barely holding on.

As the leaders came to the white flag Matt Pascoe ran wide coming into the straight handing second place to Brad Pascoe with the dual state champion trying to pass Gartner on the final corner.

Gartner held on to claim his second win in the SSA Super Sedan WA State Title by just 0.282 of a second from Brad Pascoe with Matt Pascoe, Gary Higgs and outgoing state champion Dustin Higgs rounding out the top five.

In victory lane Dave Gartner was appreciative of the Mount Barker crowd as he claimed the ninth state title victory of his career in Super Sedans.

Gartner also thanked his crew chief Kristen and long-time sponsors for their continued support with all the place-getters enjoying the last two weekends of racing in the West.

The 2025 SSA Super Sedan WA State Title will be conducted at the Kalgoorlie Speedway in April 2025.

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