The SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks returned to Australia on Friday for the Gold Coast 600 race weekend. The third stop in the country in 2016, three races are scheduled, the first taking place on Friday.
As a result of an inverted field from practice earlier that day, Bill Hynes started on the pole while Traxxas teammate Matt Brabham and Sheldon Creed started at the rear. Hynes started the race strong, pulling away from the grid as the green flag wove. Two laps later, V8 Utes driver Craig Dontas collided with the ontrack barriers forming the chicane. Behind him, Shaun Richardson, making his first SST start since Townsville, spun after making contact with a barrier; he had also spun in practice. The caution was flown to replace the chicane barriers, taking the place of the scheduled competition caution on lap five.
The race restarted on lap 4, where Hynes cut a curb, was penalized and began to fall back. Later on the same lap, Sara Price spun out and was hit by Toby Price, collecting Robby Gordon in the process, though no caution was brought out. On lap 5, Greg Gartner took the lead before surrendering it to Creed. The Prices were involved in further trouble when Sara spun into the tire barrier while battling with Richardson, while Toby also went around while competing with Gordon on lap 9. Creed held on to the lead for the remainder of the race, winning by a margin of 12.182 seconds, one of the largest victories in series history.
Brabham and P. J. Jones dueled for 2nd on the final two laps. On lap 9, Brabham dropped after hitting the wall while landing. As the two approached the two ramps near the start/finish line on the last lap, Brabham landed on Jones after they jumped off the first ramp. The contact sent Brabham into the wall and finished 3rd.
“I’m just glad that P. J. is alive,” Brabham joked. “I mean, I landed on top of him completely.” Jones praised the move by Brabham, calling it “a great try.”
Gartner finished 4th and Gordon filled out the top five; Gordon returned to Australia driving the #2 Hot Wheels truck in support of Matt Mingay. He also drove the truck at Townsville, where he won the second race.
Toby Price finished 6th, followed by Richardson, Sara Price and Matt Nolan. Nolan, also a V8 Ute driver, was making his SST debut. Dontas, who was forced to enter the pits on lap 5 to remove his damaged hood, finished 11th and a lap down, while Paul Morris suffered problems of his own and was relegated to a 12th-place finish.
Featured image courtesy of Stadium Super Trucks