BORDERLINE Speedway was treated to a thrilling duel between South Australian Matt Egel and American Travis Rilat as the pair went head to head for race honours in the Lucas Oils Tyson Perez Memorial which was presented by GT Bobcat on Saturday night.
Threatening dark cloud blanketed the sky as the 34 strong field prepared for the third running of the memorial event which coincided with the sixth round of the Mainline Dynalog Dynamometers All Stars Series.
Once again Borderline attracted some of the best 360ci drivers in Australia, including defending champion Egel, Rilat, Troy Little, Tim Van Ginneken and Matt Reed who stepped down from his regular 410ci ride to step into the #49 QP Lubricants Eagle, owned by Ken Hutchins.
Egel made his intentions clear from the outset, claiming the Oval Express Time Trials quicktime before blitzing the field in the opening heat of the night in his Tony Bartlett owned and prepared Bartlett Auto Care #75 Cool Chassis.
Not to be outdone, Rilat showed he had not only made the long journey to honour his late friend, but to also claim honours, charging through the field in his ESP #29 XXX machine to be hot on Egel’s tail.
Venturing over the border, Warrnambool regular Van Ginnekin won the second heat, while it was the Metro Holden #14 J&J of young gun Brendan Quinn which greeted the chequered flag in the third.
The clouds could only be held off for so long with light rain eventually falling just as the fourth heat arrived, throwing a spanner in the works for many teams as the racing surface changed for the remainder of the evening.
Officials worked to get the track back to a suitable condition, and it was South Australian Shane Hendry who guided his SA Kerbing #43 XXX home ahead of Reed.
Rain continued to fall which placed some rough patches in the track, forcing drivers to reassess their strategies around the oval circuit.
Shannon Barry took heat four from Egel, while Rilat claimed victory in the fifth heat.
Although a number of accidents marred the final round of heats, they eventually came to a close with Brad Foster claiming victory in the sixth and final heat.
With time ticking on, organisers had to cancel the shoot out which saw the B-Main conducted on a freshly prepared circuit.
Needing a top six finish to transfer into the feature race, it was Jack Lee leading home Mount Gambier’s Karl Enderl in his Western United Financial Services #11 Cool Chassis, followed by Tony Moule, Bill Fraser, Phil Lock and Mark Caruso.
Following their strong performances leading up to the 31 lap decider, Egel and Rilat occupied the front row for the main event, and they did not allow the rest of the field a chance at glory.
Egel led every lap of the race, holding off the advances of Rilat who made several attempts that almost paid off to snatch the lead.
In what was an emotional race for both drivers, Egel and Rilat finished first and second with Reed making a mammoth charge from 12th position to claim third.
Chad Ely, Sam Putland, Little, Chris Solomon, Moule, Hendry and Enderl rounded out the top 10.
SPECIAL WIN: Matt Egel claimed back-to-back victories in the sixth round of the Mainline Dynalog Dynamometers All Stars Series which coupled as the Lucas Oils Tyson Perez Memorial at Borderline Speedway on Saturday night
GOING THE DISTANCE: American Travis Rilat ventured to Australia to race in the memorial event that honours his late friend Tyson Perez, finishing second