SAINT-PIE, Quebec – American-Canadian Tour late-model point-leader Wayne Helliwell, Jr. beat the rain and nearly 40 other competitors to claim the victory at Sanair Super Speedway Sunday.
Helliwell was hunted by eight-time champion Brian Hoar who finished on his tail in second, and young sensation Austin Theriault to complete the podium. Eddie Macdonald took fourth, and former Serie ACT Castrol champion Karl Allard rounded out the top five.
After completing seven laps before getting rained out the previous night, Patrick Laperle re-assumed the lead in the early laps stretching out over fellow ACT Castrol champion Karl Allard and Helliwell.
The race was slowed by just one yellow, when the car of rookie Etienne Cliche spun on lap 35. With the field back together, Helliwell mounted his attack, passing Allard for second and finally diving hard underneath Laperle for the lead on lap 55.
From there, Helliwell sliced through lapped traffic, leaving only 16 cars of the 39 car starting field on the lead lap.
In the second half of the race however, Hoar and Theriault began tearing through the field, slimming Helliwell’s lead as the race came to a close. By the time the white flag flew with one lap to go, Hoar was attempting to dive underneath Helliwell for the lead, but Helliwell slammed the door and escaped to pick up the win.
Theriault, who started from the rear after a pre-race tire infraction, thrilled the crowd with a spectacular climb through the field from the 38th starting position, pulling all the way to Hoar’s bumper on the last lap to mount a charge of his own for the victory. The top three battled nose to tail on the last lap, finishing within 6 tenths of a second of each other, relegating Macdonald and Allard to fourth and fifth.
Jean-Francois Dery, Ben Lynch, Laperle, Jean-Paul Cyr, and Rowland Robinson completed the unofficial top 10. The race was completed in 56 minutes and 27 seconds.
Helliwell was elated in victory lane.
“This is such a big deal for the Tour to come back here. This is my first time at Sanair, and my first time winning a Canadian race, so that makes it special,” said Helliwell. “We really had no expectations coming, just wanted to stay competitive. It was a huge points day for us, and that’s what we are really pumped about.”
When asked about his last lap battle with Hoar and Theriault, he grinned.
“I watched them really pour it on at the end, I just had to stay calm and keep my car in shape,” he said. “They are really battling me in points, too. We needed to keep them behind us.”