THE UPCOMING Thunder on the Mountain sprintcar series held at Buninyong’s Redline Raceway will have a strong American flavour with four gun sprintcar drivers making the trip from the United States to contest the series’ opening round.
Ace drivers Kyle Hirst, Travis Rilat, Geoff Ensign and David Smith will line-up against a strong local contingent on Saturday, February 1.
Hirst and Ensign have already won a string of feature Australian races, with Hirst winning the Victorian Open Sprintcar
Championship and Ensign taking home the honours in the Victorian 360 Sprintcar Championship.
Rilat is well known in Australia as a former American National Champion and multiple round winner of the World Series Sprintcars – which is Australia’s toughest domestic series.
Rilat was seriously injured in a tragic accident that claimed the life of his great Aussie mate Tyson Perez, but has recovered from horrific burns and injuries to return to victory lane.
A win back on Australian soil would be very poignant for many in the speedway fraternity.
Meanwhile Ohio’s Smith is the 23-year-old nephew of US legend Danny Smith and is expecting a relentless onslaught from both the local heros and his USA team mates. Australian challengers to keep the USA drivers honest include Kyneton’s Mick Cunningham (PRP Engineering #47), Bacchus Marsh car owner Ken Hutchins (QPL Lubricants #49), Gisborne’s Paul Solomon (Fair Dinkum Sheds #7) and former Victorian Champion Chris Solomon (Macedon Ranges Dunlop Super Dealers #83).
Emerging talent Jamie Hennessey (Hennessey Transport #21K) will also bolster the local opposition against the USA drivers.
The second round of the series will be held on February 15 while the third and final round will be held on March 8.