"Missed It By That Much!" - Parr Motorsports Podiums On Opening Night
Darren Mollenouyx and the rest of the Parr Motorsports team opened their 2014/15 season with a trip to Riverview Speedway, Murray Bridge for the 7th running of the Bill Wigzell Battle of the Bridge.
On a very warm spring afternoon, the team unloaded the same GF1 chassis utilised during their recent American tour that was now sporting a fresh new black paint scheme and prepared it for action.
Track management moved engine starts and hot laps to midway through the race program, trying to help save the surface from the heat of the day. This left teams plenty of time to pace the pit area, with the majority anxious to blow out the cobwebs for the first time.
Molly was able to get straight back into it from where he left off at Williams Grove USA in early July and was able to get a good feel of the car early in his hot lap session before a power steering leak cut it a lap or two short.
Having made the necessary minor repairs, Darren started heat one from position seven, got a good start and emerged on the back straight running in fourth, only for the yellows to come on for a competitor that had spun. The second start wasn't as kind and the cars spread out, leaving him to settle into a rhythm in the same position he started. After being able to pass one car and with the DNF of another competitor late in the race, the 77v was able to cross the finish line in fifth.
The crew set to work and made a few changes ready for the second heat where it was ones mans bad luck was good luck for another. Chad Ely was unable make the call elevating the GF1 backed car to pole position. Leading from the start and enduring a couple of single file restarts that bunched up the field, Molly still managed to get the win by a few car lengths over Glen Sutherland and good mate Luke Dillon with the team hoping it was enough to not only lock into the feature but hopefully sneak into the dash.
A dash berth was earnt, although time restraints curtailed any chance of it being run. Damo, Sopa and Graham readied the car for the 30 lap A-Main where Darren was to start from position four. Lining up behind locals Stephen Caruso, Dylan Jenkins and Jamie Cobby, Molly got a blinder of a start to whistle around the outside and into the lead down the back straight for the first time. Much like the second heat race, many caution and red flag periods depleted the field and bunched the remainder up for the restarts.
Ryan Jones and Dylan Jenkins were able to get close a few times, showing their nose at the exit of turn two at one stage mid race, however Molly was able to regain a few car length advantage at each resumption.
A red light stoppage with 11 laps to go bunched the field up for what was to be the last time in the race. Again, a few car length advantage was gained as the lights went green and the bulk of the drivers moved down to the middle of the track where it had started to take rubber. With 4 laps to go, the lead over Jenkins had extended to about 10 car lengths but that's when the boy from Bordertown hit the switch and reeled in a tyre conserving Mollenouyx, wheeling to the outside in turn four coming around to complete lap 28 of 30. Both the drivers raced hard into turns one two and down the back straight into three where Jenkins fully completed the pass and led the Victorian past the white flag.
Darren was unable to do anything on the last lap and followed Jenkins across the line with Caruso holding on for third.
Molly remained upbeat after the finish stating "Second was a good way to kick off the season although it is a little dissapoiting having led 28 of 30 laps like I did. I moved down to block the bottom and eased up a little to look after the viabrating right rear tyre, not thinking someone was going to blow past on the top like he did. It is a credit to Dylan though, it was a good move.
The team have this weekend off and are contemplating a trip to Speedway City in Adelaide Saturday week for the running of the Sprintcar Masters on Nov 1st.