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Oval Express Series Top 10 Review


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Thursday, 12 January 2012
Daniel Kirby

Well the dust has finally set on what was once again an awesome 8 round series when the last chequered flag fell at Warrnambool Sungold Stadium last Sunday night.
The 2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series proved to be a brutal affair with 11 of the 40 contracted drivers missing from the final round.

History will show that visiting American Jake Hagopian won the series but on paper you will see that it was one of the closest points battle in recent history with just 6 points separating Hagopian and his team mate Matt Brown. With 8 rounds ran at 6 different tracks the Formula 500’s didn’t disappoint wherever they went.

1st Place USA14 Jake Hagopian
Hagopian flew out of America on Christmas day with high expectations and unfinished business after a slow start to last years series. However on this occasion he hit the ground running and was immediately on the pass right from the get go. With a victory in Round 1 at Western Speedway Hagopian immediately looked ominous!

After picking up wins at a sold out Sungold Stadium on New Years Day and also at Laang Speedway, Hagopian only needed to finish in the top 8 in the series final to wrap up the series victory with a 7th place finish good enough. He also won 2 heats throughout the series. Hagopian is hopeful of returning next season to defend his crown.

2nd Place GLB4 Matt Brown
Matt Brown would come into the series with 16 career Oval Express Super Series A-Main victories but would finish with 19 becoming the all time greatest winner surpassing the record of 17 set by Ken Willsher. Brown and his team mate Hagopian would win 6 of the 8 A-Mains proving that the professional Matt Brown Racing Team is a force wherever they go.

It could have been so much different for Brown though. After leading the A-Main for the opening 13 laps at Darlington, Brown would come into heavy lap traffic with then second placed Charlie Brown running over the front end of Browns Murphy, causing the front rails to drag along the race track for the final 7 laps of the race. Brown managed to salvage a 5th place finish and leave Darlington with the all important points. Brown would finish the series with 5 heat race victories.

3rd Place A1 Liam Williams
Williams came into this season’s series as a driver to watch after picking up his maiden Australian Title at Goulburn last Easter. He had shown plenty of car speed during the early part of the season and opened his account with an 8th place finish at Hamilton.

Williams would drive his Hyper Chassis to no less than 2 feature wins. His first maiden Oval Express Super Series A-Main Victory came at Laang Speedway in round 3. He would go on to capture another win at Darlington as well to finish the series just 24 points behind Hagopian. Williams won 3 heat races throughout the championship.

4th Place V5 Chad Sullivan
Sullivan came into the series with the best possible position he could be in. He was in the Factory Triple X Chassis Team wrenched by Ken Willsher. He had the best possible motor package thanks to Dutchman Performance. He just had to put it all together. Round 1 at Hamilton didn’t go quite to plan failing to transfer out of the B-Main.

He rebounded with an 8th at Avalon and then finished 4th at Warrnambool. With the series starting to look up for Sullivan he would head into the first Laang Round with confidence. The Laang track expert didn’t disappoint with a 2nd place finish behind Williams. He would go on to record a 7th at Simpson, 4th at Darlington, another 2nd at Laang and his third 2nd place finish for the series at the final. He also picked up 5 heat race victories.

5th Place WA29 Thomas Davies
The 19 year old Western Australian turned heads with his tour of duty. Davies came into this season with some strong form in the West picking up multiple feature victories throughout the year and was aiming to finish every race. He accomplished that and would record a personal best 3rd place finish at Simpson along with 1 heat race win along the way. Davies is a star of the future and will definitely be a driver to watch.

6th Place V55 Jye O’Keeffe
Warrnambool’s very own Jye O’Keeffe showed plenty of form throughout the series and was on the pace nearly every round. He won 3 heats and would go on to record a personal best of 4th at Laang. He was high point’s man at the series final and was leading the A-Main by a long way before chain issues forced him infield. His 6th place finish in the overall series points score is a personal best for O’Keeffe which will give the current Australia 2 confidence for the rest of the season.

7th Place V26 Mitch Whiting
7th place in the series went to second season driver Mitch Whiting. The 17 year old youngster from Officer, Victoria showed he wasn’t there to make up the numbers. Whiting was fast and recorded 2 heat win and a best A-Main finish of 3rd at Avalon. Whiting was in fine form throughout the 8 round series but lacked the consistency on some occasions failing to finish some heats hurting his overall series chances.

8th Place V6 Will Carroll
8th place went to 16 year old Will Carroll. Carroll was the youngest driver in the series and showed no fear picking up 3 heat race wins and also capped off a great campaign with a 3rd place final in the series final at Sungold Stadium. Carroll made nearly every A-Main and is certainly on his way up in Formula 500 racing in just his 2nd year in the class.

9th Place Mat Turner
Coming into the 2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series Mat Turner just wanted to have a consistent series and stay out of trouble. He did more than that aboard his home made ASF Chassis and was elated when he finished 4th at Simpson. He also picked up 1 heat win along the way and showed the factory built chassis that a home made chassis can still match it with best. Turner has finished runner up in the domestic Stampede Series on numerous occasions and this result has fuelled the desire to go that 1 better.

10th Place V95 Dale Sinclair
Former Victorian Stampede Series winner Dale Sinclair captured his best result in the Oval Express Series so far with a 10th place overall finish. Sinclair was unlucky to be caught in other people’s accidents. His best A-Main Performance was 6th place at Darlington and also picked up 2 heat race wins.

A total of 43 drivers contested the 2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series. 48 heats were contested with 23 different winners. 7 drivers won a B-main with Turner winning 2. Hagopian and Brown won 3 A-Mains each with Williams winning the other 2.

After a tiring 8 round in 10 day series Drivers, Crews, Officials and Race fans can now sit back and relax for a few weeks. The next race on the Victorian calendar is a round of the Stampede series on January 28th.

2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series Points
1st. Jake Hagopian 1082
2nd. Matt Brown 1076
3rd. Liam Williams 1058
4th. Chad Sullivan 1020
5th. Thomas Davies 921
6th. Jye O’Keeffe 907
7th. Mitch Whiting 883
8th. Will Carroll 822
9th. Mat Turner 820
10th. Dale Sinclair 815

The Victorian Formula 500 Association would like to thank all of the Tracks, Sponsors and Officials for their valued support during the 2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series. We also have a Facebook page. Search for Australian Formula 500 Facebook Page and ask to join

2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series Sponsors
Oval Express Magazine- Phil & Michelle Jordison and Jon Evans
Eagle Motorsports- Bill Mann & Stephen Bell
Aussie Trackwear- Tracey Brown
Quick Race Shocks- Rob Richardson
Hoosier Tyres Australia- Max Dumesny
Swift Industries- Darren Mollenoyux
Hyper Racing Australia- Dave Hedington & Mike Dicely
Lethal Race Wings- Leigh Van Ginneken
PBI Sprockets Australia- Mat Coates
Phil Jordison Photography- Phil and Michelle Jordison
Driven Performance USA- Mark Hagopian and Gary Olsen
Victory Lane Racegear- Mat Eastham
Maxam Printing- Trevor Cotterill
Empire Graphics- Craig Bottrell
Pit Crew- Warwick & Matt Hunter
Redback Lasers- Kelvin Johnson
Spruce Enterprises- Lee Hardess

2011/2012 Oval Express Formula 500 Super Series Rounds
Round 1- Western Speedway, Hamilton
Round 2- Avalon Raceway
Round 3- Sungold Stadium, Warrnambool
Round 4- Laang Speedway
Round 5- Simpson Speedway
Round 6- Mid Western Speedway, Darlington
Round 7- Laang Speedway
Round 8- Sungold Stadium, Warrnambool