State News: Heinzel takes top honours in NT Titles

Alex Heinzel has won the first round of the 2019 Northern Territory Titles, taking out the Jaws Contracting 250 at the Mt Ooraminna Off Road Race Track in style.

With 15 competitors tackling more than 250 competitive kilometres across five laps and four sections in the harsh Northern Territory desert, Heinzel was unchallenged throughout the majority of the race, claiming three section wins.

The Pro-lite driver had a strong start to the weekend, picking up a five second lead ahead of fellow class driver Greg Hicks in prologue before the two enjoyed an entertaining battle in the first section.

When the event actually began, It was Hicks who had the better start as he worked his way ahead of Heinzel early on to build a solid lead by the end of the first 55km section.

However disaster struck in section two for Hicks, with a flat tyre seeing him drop back down to 10th once he eventually crossed the line in just under 36 minutes, six minutes behind Heinzel who was the only driver to post a time under half an hour.

From there, the event belonged to Heinzel as he took out the third and two-lap fourth section with ease, ending the weekend as both class and outright winner.

Following Hick’s fall down the field, the battle for second opened up with three other drivers in Jason Adami, Harry Weckhert and Jesse Schembri all vying for the runner-up finish.

The battle did not last long though as Adami fell victim to the harsh conditions and was forced out of the running, leaving just Weckhert and Schembri to fight it out on Sunday’s final section.

During the fourth section, Weckhert managed to extend the gap over Schembri to a comfortable one and half minutes before the SXS pilot lost his right rear wheel just three kilometres from the finish line.

While he somehow managed to continue the race on only three wheels, it wasn’t enough to hold off a rampaging Schembri, who roared past him to finish second outright.

Remarkably, Hicks also found a way to bounce back from his disastrous second section and overtake Weckhert in the dying stages to sneak onto the podium in sensational fashion.

Despite Weckhert finishing fourth outright, he didn’t go home empty handed, taking the SXS sport class in the process.

Other class winners saw Shannon Lander win the Extreme 2WD class, Jack Weir the Super 1650 class and Zac Gunston take top honours in the SXS Turbo class in what was his first ever race meeting.

The NT titles’ next round takes place at the same track but in reverse on 19-20 October.