Albury’s Patriot Motorsport team couldn’t be happier right now.
The Kat and Reg Corbett-owned FG Ford Falcon, with Rhys Heinrich behind the wheel, made it five wins from its last five starts on Saturday night by taking out the Top Gun event for Street Stocks at Mildura's Timmis Speedway.
In what is considered one of the most coveted events on the Street Stock calendar and what was also the team’s final appearance for the 2017-18 season, Heinrich and the rest of the Patriot Motorsport team couldn’t have been more thrilled to close their season with the Top Gun honours.
Returning to Timmis Speedway just three weeks after winning the final MJS Series round at the track, Heinrich and the team wasted no time in asserting their dominance, coming home second in their opening heat race and backing it up with a heat-race win, which was enough to earn them pole position start for the 40-lap feature race.
While he was unable to be pipped in the opening half of the race after taking control of the early lead, Heinrich had been forced to endure mounting pressure from current national champion Anthony Beare, which culminated in a great battle between the pair, who traded the lead back and forth four times over the space of four laps, before Heinrich managed to cement his position out in front.
From there, it was a race of defence for Heinrich, who knew that Beare would be on his tail through to the fall of the chequered flag.
Doing well to hold his line, Heinrich refused to surrender to Beare’s advances, going on to claim what was a well-deserved and narrow victory for the Patriot Motorsport team.
While there was plenty of reason for the team to celebrate after such a strong performance amid some of the country’s best drivers, with the Top Gun event carrying similar prestige to a number of title events, Heinrich’s victory was made even more special by the manner in which it was won, with the Loxton, South Australia-based driver having previously placed second to Beare on a number of occasions.
“This win was definitely a special one and means a lot for the whole Patriot Motorsport team and also myself on a personal level, being able to pass Anthony (Beare) for the win after what was a close, clean race,” Heinrich said.
“I have to say such a big thank you to Kat and Reg (Corbett) for giving me the opportunity to be a part of their team on a number of occasions this season, along with the rest of the Patriot Motorsport team and all of their sponsors who have made it all possible.
“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what next season brings.”
In what was a perfect way to top off what has been a great 2017-18 season, Patriot Motorsport’s Top Gun victory adds to the team’s other notable results this season, which include a win with John Lodge Junior in the annual Blue Lake Classic at Mount Gambier’s Borderline Speedway, a close runner-up finish with Jacob Mills in the NSW Title at Leeton’s Brobenah Raceway, as well as Heinrich’s other four feature-race victories.
While concrete plans are yet to be put in place, Heinrich may run selected shows with Patriot Motorsport next season.