Pelaw Main’s Rohan Tungate has extended his lead in the Australian Solo Speedway Championship with his second straight round victory in Undera.
Tungate won the opening round at Kurri Kurri on Saturday and qualified directly for Wednesday’s A Final, which he won from reigning Aussie champion Sam Masters, B-final winner Jack Holder and 2016 Australian champion Brady Kurtz.
Another strong performance in third round at Mildura on Friday night will put Tungate in the box seat to win his first Australian title with the final round at Gillman, in South Australia, on Sunday night.
Undera has been a hoodoo track for Tungate, but he dropped just two points in the heats before taking the final to finish with 17 points and 35 points after two rounds.
He holds an eight-point lead over nearest rival Kurtz, who scored a maximum 15 points in the heats but failed to score in the A-final after being excluded for the second time.
“I was really happy to make the final and to win is something special. I’ve got the monkey off my back with Undera, so I can like the track again. I’m just really stoked to win,” the 27-year-old Tungate told SpeedwayGP.com
“When you’re riding well, you’re confident and it all just falls into place most times.
“But I have to be on my game, do all I can and keep plugging away at the points. We found a good setup in the end and I was pretty comfortable.”
Novocastrian Masters had a welcome return to form, after a disappointing opening round, claiming second on the night and moved up to fourth on 23 points, with 16 points from the heats and A-final at Undera.
Victorian Max Fricke is third in the title race on 26 points. He was the highest qualifier for the B-final with 11 points from the heats, but Holder prevailed to claim the win and the fourth spot in the A-final.
Kurtz had another bitter-sweet night. After scoring a 15-point maximum in the heats, he was judged to have brought down Holder in the A-final and excluded from the re-run without an extra point.
With every point counting in the title race, his two A-final exclusions mean he had dropped at least two points and could have been much closer to Tungate on the table.
Heddon Greta’s Josh Pickering is fifth in the race with 20 points after scoring six points at Undera.
Kurri Kurri’s Mason Campton and Buttai’s Jye Etheridge scored eight points on Wednesday night, missing rides in the B-final on countback.
Campton is seventh in the title race on 18 points, with Etheridge jumping to 11th with 13 points.
The next round takes place at Mildura’s Olympic Park on Friday.
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Rohan Tungate 35, 2 Brady Kurtz 27, 3 Max Fricke 26, 4 Sam Masters 23, 5 Josh Pickering 20, 6 Jack Holder 19, 7 Mason Campton 18, 8 Jordan Stewart 16, 9 Jaimon Lidsey 15, 10 Matthew Gilmore 14, 11 Jye Etheridge 13, 12= Robert Medson 9, Cooper Riordan 9, 14 Joel Coyne 6, 15 Declan Knowles 5, 16 James Davies 3.
UNDERA HEAT SCORES: 1 Brady Kurtz 15, 2 Sam Masters 13, 3 Rohan Tungate 13, 4 Max Fricke 11, 5 Jordan Stewart 9, 6 Matthew Gilmore 8, 7 Jack Holder 8, 8 Mason Campton 8, 9 Jye Etheridge 8, 10 Cooper Riordan 6, 11 Josh Pickering 6, 12 Jaimon Lidsey 4, 13 Robert Medson 4, 14 Declan Knowles 3, 15 James Davies 2, 16 Joel Coyne 2, 17 Matthew Pickering 0, 18 Ben Cook DNR.
B Final: Holder, Fricke, Gilmore, Stewart (f).
A Final: Tungate, Masters, Holder, Kurtz (exc).