Apr 20

Ranking it with the best

PODIUM FINISH: Warrnambool driver Darren Mollenoyux finished third in the World Series Sprintcars A-Main at Avalon on Friday night. ZOOM, ZOOM: Simpson driver Tim Rankin produced quick time at Premier Speedway on Sunday in a big result for his small team. Picture: Amy Paton

SIMPSON driverTim Rankin made a fast-start to his 2017 campaign, notching quick time in his first World Series Sprintcars meeting of the season on Sunday night.

The dairy farmer upstaged some of his big-name rivals to post 10.974 seconds in the rain interrupted time trials at the New Year’s Day meeting at Premier Speedway.

DARK SKIES: Sprintcar fans put their umbrellas to good use as rain falls during the time trials during the New Year’s Day meeting.

Rankin, 28, rated the result “a bonus” for his small team, which bypassed the first eight rounds of the WSS season.

He started off third in the A-Main final before crashing out spectacularly, flipping multiple times,two laps in.

Jack Lee

“We’re small budget team and we can’t do much,” Rankinsaid after time trials.

“But we had a bigger motor we wanted to get right for the classic.”

GRAND PLANS: Allansford sprintcar driver Tim Van Ginneken hopes to turn his home-track form around this summer.

Rankin will compete at the Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic –the sport’s pinnacle in Australia –later this month.

“This year we have no expectations –we’re here to enjoy it,” he said.

“We haven’t missed one for a while now. We’ve made the A-Main four times but last year had a DNF (did not finish).”

Rankin was the only driver to break the 10-second barrier, with Warrnambool competitor James McFadden the next best with 11.001.

The south-west pair were in the same flight, with South Australian Steven Lines (11.162) claiming top honours in flight one.

Terang racer Jack Lee won his two heats after at the front of the pack.

Lee said it was important to take a positive mindset into the heats after a tough time trial.

“We missed time and were unlucky with the weather,” he said.

“You pick your bag up and keep going down the road.”

Fellow south-west drivers –Simpson’s John Vogels and Purnim’s Dion Bellman –were also among the heat winners.

Western Australian Scott Reilly andSouth Australian duo Mitch Foster and Jake Tranter rounded out the heat victors.

The top-eight shootout, in which Warrnambool matesMcFadden and Jamie Veal were poised to go head-to-head in the gold race,was scrapped after showers impacted the program late.

The B-Main and A-Main were then run back-to-back.

Nine-time series champion Brooke Tatnell started off pole in the B-Main and held sway. Tatnell advanced along with Tranter, Tim Hutchins, Andrew Wright, Adam King and Braydan Willmington.

Vogels and Mailors Flat’s Peter Doukas crashed out two laps into the second-chance 15-lap final.

The A-Main had a strong south-west flavourwith McFadden, Veal, Rankin, Darren Mollenoyux, who finished third at Avalon on Friday night, Tim Van Ginneken and Corey McCullagh featured.

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Apr 20

Knight and Dragon in quest for victory

A KNIGHT’S TALE: Budderoo Knight moves into a winning lead in the feature race at Moruya’s Christmas Cup. The gelding will race again at the Narooma Cup on Monday.There could be no better way for a racing syndicate to start 2017 than with a win, and in the case of the owners of brothers Budderoo Knight and Budderoo Dragon, it could be a double celebration.

The equine half brothers, born two years apart, will line-up in the feature races at Moruya’s big holiday meeting on Monday.

The traditional race day attracts a huge crowd, with Budderoo Knight to start one of the favourites in the $35,000 Club Narooma Cup (1425m) and Budderoo Dragon looking to find winning form again in the Lynch’s Hotel Narooma Town Plate (1200m).

Experienced jockey Grant Buckley will ride the duo for father and son training duo Robert and Luke Price.

Budderoo Knight, a grey son of Pendragon, powered to the finish from back to win at Moruya last start which followed a fourth and sixth in Highway Handicaps in Sydney.

Price senior feels Budderoo Knight is well up to winning the main event.

“He is a nice horse who is up to city grade,” he said.

“He has come on since his last run and I have kept him on the fresh side. I haven’t done a lot with him because of the hot weather but he is ready to go.”

Budderoo Knight spent a lengthy time off after a paddock accident curtailed his career.

The eye catching gelding steps up in class but receive a big weight advantage over the top weight Nat King Ku who continues to race well with big weights.

Chief In Command has figured prominently in feature races he has contested this campaign.

He will carry only 56.5 kilograms after the claim for Chelsea McFarlane and should be in the finish from gate five.

Budderoo Knight has won four of his ten starts for his large group of owners.

“The owners have had two winners on the one day before but not with these same two horses ,” Price said.

Budderoo Dragon will be the first of the two to race and Price is hopeful of a forward showing on a track where he is well suited.

“He won the same race last year. He is better suited to the 1200 metres and got ran off his legs last start,” Price said.

“They always roll along at Moruya and he should improve.”

Count Dekroner easily beat home Budderoo Dragon last start and will start favourite despite drawing the outside gate.

Budderoo Dragon has won two of his three starts at Moruya.

Gates open at 11am for Monday’s Narooma Cup, with the first race at 1.04pm.

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Apr 20

Game watch

Four players work together to bring liberty and democracy to some bug aliens in Helldivers.SOMEWHERE at the crossroads of ­Magicka, Starship Troopers and Aliens lies the madness and joy of Helldivers.

Helldivers is a hardcore twin-stick shooter I picked up as a couple of gifts for some old friends so we could play something insane together for the holidays.

I was expecting a challenging and ­chaotic game with a heavy focus on teamwork and communication and that’s exactly what I got.

However, what I didn’t expect was Helldiver’s Starship Troopers-style naked satire of fascism and ultra-patriotism which recent events have made tragically topical.

You and your friends take on the role of the titular Helldivers, an elite military force bringing “managed democracy” to the enemies of Super Earth.

Up to four players take part in missions fighting one of three vastly different ­factions.

You spread liberty and peace throughout the stars by completing objectives like activating SAM sites, blowing up alien nests and capturing oil sites.

While the temptation is to run and gun, if you don’t work together you won’t last two minutes, which is something a friend of mine and I found out the hard way.

One of the twists is that almost any weapon or ability players use can kill other players.

This is especially important since all extra equipment and resources have to be dropped from space by supersonic drop pods, which squish enemies and friends alike.

The variety in the loadouts and abilities is mind-numbing and I can see myself playing for a long time.

If you’re bored with your current gaming line up and want something to bring you and your friends closer together while inadvertently blowing each other apart, then this is worth a look.

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Apr 20

Pyro priest lights the sky

LIGHTING UP THE SKY: Father Anthony Koppman, better know by his alter ego Holy Smoke, is back in Armidale for his 10th anniversary fireworks display and it promises to be the biggest and loudest show yet. Photo: Matt BedfordFATHERAnthony Koppman is back in town to light-up Armidale’s New Year’s Eve party, much to the envy of surrounding towns.

Potential poachers have persistently pursued the pyrotechnic priest.

But fortunately for Armidale, Tamworth and Glen Innes will either have to travel to see theshow or sit in the dark.

“I’m committed to Armidale,” he said.

“I don’t have any other plans.

“This is where I started the New Year’s Eve fireworks10 years ago.

“And I’ve been looking forward to coming back to light-up the sky.

“I’ve got a special heart for Armidale.”

This year, the show promises new and exciting colours, shapes and sounds.

And with a perfect weather forecast, Father Koppman plans to make it a night to remember.

“We’re bringing in some new products this year that we haven’t seen before, which are in line with what Sydney will be using,” he said.

“We’ll have a lot more aqua, a lot more brilliant colours that will burn in the sky for longer.”

While Holy Smoke will ensure the night goes off with a bang, the festivities will also include food vendors, market stalls, and children’s entertainment.

The party idea came from the Armidale Youth Council forum and young people will be at the heart of the festivities.

A DJ will kick the party on after the 9pm show and take the celebration through to the midnight finale.

“The big one is at 9 o’clock for the families, which will go for about 15 minutes,” Father Koppman said.

“Some of the fireworks will go more than 100m into the air.

“We will get them as high as we can.”

The best vantage points will be from Civic Park but viewing will be good throughout the city.

“Last year people from Kelly Plains commented that they could see them,” he said.

“So you can watch it from your back porch ifyou like.”

Event organiser Jane Guilfoyle said she was expecting big crowds this year.

“It’s a lot like the Autumn Festival,” she said

“The aim is to promote safe partying.

“We’ll have Peter Stanley on acoustic guitar and after 9pm, DJ’s will be performing for the younger crowds.

“There will be rides for the children, wood-fired pizza, ice cream from Neville’s and coffee.”

The party starts at 6pm in Civic Park, with the first fireworks display at 9pm and second display at midnight.

It’s BYO chairs and picnic blankets.

And Guyra residents can take a free bus from the big lamb at 6pm.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” Father Koppman said.

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Apr 20

YEAR IN REVIEW: September-DecemberPHOTOS

YEAR IN REVIEW: September-December | PHOTOS TweetFacebookSeptember:Community support at Jamie ‘Dodge’ Manning fundraiser:

SCONE’S community spirit is on show at The Golden Fleece Hotel. Residents began arriving at the hotel from 2pm on Saturday, for the Jamie “Dodge” Manning Charity Ride Fundraiser. MORE HERE.

Upper Hunter Local Government Elections:

The Upper Hunter Shire election will be held on Saturday, September 10. This year there are 13 candidates for the local elections. MORE HERE.

New council meets for first time:

WAYNE Bedggood has returned as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire Council with Maurice Collison remaining his deputy. Both were elected unopposed at an extraordinary meeting onMonday night. MORE HERE.

Dressed to impress – Year 12 formal:

THERE was plenty of glitz and glamour on show atScone High School’s Year 12 formal. MORE HERE.

Red carpet rolled out:

SCONE Films rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the eighth annual Scone FilmFest. MORE HERE.

Popularly-elected mayor proves unpopular:

THE people of the Upper Hunter have spoken. A referendum during Saturday’s local government elections handed voters the chance to decide if they wanted to electthe mayor instead of local councillors. MORE HERE.

October:Riders show they’re a cut above:

RIDERSconverged on Sconefor the Hunter Valley Cutting Horse Club’s October Show over the weekend. MORE HERE.

Jet safe, sound after cave rescue:

A DOG that became trappedat the bottom of a shaft for more than 24 hours has been saved during a dramatic rescuenear Murrurundi. MORE HERE.

After 99 years, Murrurundi remembers Beersheba Day:

THE Murrurundi Troop of the 12th Australian Light Horse invites residents to attend the commemorative service this weekendto mark the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba. MORE HERE.

Adam was one of a kind, says family:

THE heartbroken family of Adam O’Regan has paid tribute to the popular Scone real estate agent a day after the Gundy car accident that claimed his life as well as those of two passengers. MORE HERE.

Historic Hurricane ready for take off:

AN historicHawkerHurricane that has been carefully restoredwill soon be officially unveiled to the public during a display over Scone Airport. MORE HERE.

November:Scone gets into spirit of Melbourne Cup:

PEOPLE around the country are celebrating the race that stops a nation. MORE HERE.

Big plans for library’s future:

WOULD you like to see the Scone Library move to a new location? This is just one of the possible options for the future after Upper Hunter Shire Council listed it as a top priority under theCommunity Strategic Plan 2027. MORE HERE.

Let’s tackle this issue together:

A HUGE turnout is expected for the Positive Education forum at Scone High School next week. MORE HERE.

Hurricane’s historic Scone flight:

THE buzz surrounding the Hawker Hurricane brought thousands to Scone Airport on Saturday. And, the crowds were not disappointed. MORE HERE.

Connor’s seventh heaven, Williamson dominates:

NATHAN Connor has built his reputationon making plenty of runs at the top of the order.But,after being dismissed for just seven on Saturday, he still found a way to play a match-winning role–this time with the ball. MORE HERE.

December:Community leading the way:

“POSITIVE psychology education will notonly improve the well-being of our youth, it will also improve the well-being and prosperity of our whole community.” ‘Where There’s A Will’ co-founder Pauline Carrigan producedthis powerful message during a forumat Scone High School on Monday night. MORE HERE.

I’m very proud of everyone – principal Lindy Hunt:

SCONE High School principal Lindy Hunt is an extremely proud woman today. And, she has every reason to feel that way. MORE HERE.

Students beaming from HSC results:

IT was all smiles at St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen on Thursday. MORE HERE.

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