BY DENNIS NEWLYN
ANDREW Pezzutti scored a thrilling photo finish victory over Mark Robinson in the opening round of the Mr Modified series at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway, Saturday night, January 6.
It was one of the best V8 Dirt Modified races seen at the venue for sometime as the two former national titleholders battled side by side in the concluding stages of the main event. Third man to the chequered flag was Geoff Phillips.
Pezzutti earned the win the hard way after a flat tyre forced him out of his first heat. After his two scheduled heats he had failed to score sufficient points to automatically progress to the main event and was forced to qualify from the B-Main, which was won by Brent Hall.
Pezzutti earned a transfer spot into the main event from the B-Main but started from the rear of the field.
It was a massive ask to try and win from the rear of the field, but Pezzutti drove a very calculated race and the event distance certainly worked in his favour.
The race had a bit of everything, while Robinson’s performance was praiseworthy in his return to racing after a year on the sidelines.
The race was interrupted by several incidents however all drivers were ok as they battled out the 45 lap feature race.
Zac McDonald, who started from a handy, upfront position, led the field away, but Paul Booker was one of the hard luck stories of the race after a broken shock absorber forced him out of the event with less than one lap completed.
It resulted in an incident on the first corner which also involved Geoff Rose, Jai Stephenson and Chris Corbett.
With a complete re-run, McDonald again took over the role of pacemaker.
Despite several stoppages, McDonald looked strong, though Robinson was definitely on the charge. Further back Terry Leerentveld, Mitchell Randall and Trent Schofield swapped positions near the head of the field.
Stephenson and Sam Bruggy collided and were knocked of contention in the first half of the race.
Through all this Robinson eventually reached the lead, though Randall later bolted to the front after another restart before Robinson regained command at the head of the field.
Pezzutti had made his way from the back and with a third of the race remaining, an exciting finish was assured.
Randall withdrew with a flat tyre with eight laps remaining as Robinson continued to lead. Now Pezzutti made his move and over the remaining distance it was a match race between Robinson and Pezzutti. The leadership battle was intense before Pezzutti secured a very narrow win over Robinson and Geoff Phillips.
Other main event winners were: Luke Watt (Four Cylinder Sedans), Jason Mole (AMCA Nationals), Stuart Fawcett (Production Sedans), Josh Weir (Junior Sedans), David Eggins (Wingless Sprintcars) and Clinton Hancey (Mod Lites).