By Trevor Jackson
IT was a return to the top of the podium for Mount Gambier Wingless Sprint driver Mitchell Broome on Saturday night, with a classy win in Murray Bridge.
Broome had to fight off fellow Limestone Coast driver Kirby Hillyer, along with the likes of two-time Australian champion Joel Chadwick on his way to victory.
It ended a tough early run in the season for Broome, who by his own admission had made plenty of mistakes and had not performed well.
However, that all changed in the heat of battle as he charged his way to the chequered flag.
“We had a good little battle at the end,” Broome said of the A Main feature race.
“I didn’t realise it was Kirby I was racing until he passed me.
“I had just passed Joel Chadwick and I made a bit of a mistake, then Kirby ducked under me and it was on after that.”
Broome then held his nerve and made a gutsy pass down the inside of a lapped car as Hillyer chose to run the outside line.
With just a few laps left to race it was a timely move.
“I didn’t realise how many laps were left – it is hard to see the lap counter at Murray Bridge so I didn’t really know,” Broome said.
“I watched a video of it and Kirby was still right there – it was not like I gapped him.”
While Broome said he was pleased to claim the win, he was also happy to have his mate right behind.
“It is always good when we come first and second,” he said.
“It is always good when you win, but I wouldn’t have been mad coming second to him.
“I actually felt bad because just before I passed him he got checked up behind a lapped car and we made contact.
“I didn’t feel great about doing that but I didn’t have anywhere to go.
“One day that might happen to me and I might be the one who gets hit.”
Broome set his night up with a third place in his first heat, then a second behind Hillyer in the next.
That placed him in third place on the grid for the feature race, with the two Mount Gambier drivers rising to the occasion.
After what can only be described as a strange year for speedway, with various meetings abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw last season finish short, Broome had hoped to carry his good form over to 2020-21.
After an ordinary start, he feels he is back on track now.
“Any other year if I started like this I would be happy,” he said.
“But I didn’t really drive well in the first two meeting so I was hoping to bounce back this week.
“We were just making silly little mistakes and I was doing stupid stuff on the track.
“We struggled big time in the second meeting, so it was good to bounce back.
“We have the car going well and hopefully we start to do some more racing now Victoria has opened up.”
That extra racing extends to Broome’s home track at the Borderline Speedway tomorrow night, where a cracking field has been assembled for the Wingless Sprint category on the opening night.
Broome is under no illusions about how tough the competition will be but takes some confidence into the meeting after his win at Murray Bridge.
“It is actually going to be pretty tough,” he said.
“I reckon there are four out of the top 10 from the Australian title last year, so there are some good cars coming over.
“I have only done opening night at the Borderline Speedway a couple of times so it should be good.
“We cleaned the car this week and just have to do a little prep work now.
“Me and Kirby both passed Joel Chadwick at Murray Bridge and he is two-time Australian champion.
“It gives you a bit of confidence when you can pass him.”