CFA saves hay bales

QUICK thinking by more than 25 firefighters at Mepunga West yesterday saved more than 270 round hay bales after a fire broke out in the stack. About 30 bales were destroyed in the blaze which flared up moments after CFA crews arrived to inspect a small fire in the roughly 300-bale haystack at a property on Chambers Road. The blaze, which was believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion, came three days after 120 round bales were destroyed in a similar fire at Naringal.Hopkins-Curdies Group fire officer Kelvin Boyle said volunteers from Allansford, Cudgee, Mepunga, Naringal and Nullawarre were called to the property at 11.11am. “This one started off as an inspection and as we were inspecting, it actually blew up in front of our faces,” he said. Mr Boyle said it was extremely lucky the fire did not engulf a line of cypress trees above the haystack. Four front-end loaders moved in to break apart the stack and an excavator buried the burning bales before fire crews cleared the scene at 3.30pm.
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This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Police tow stranded sailors back to shore

TWO stranded sailors drifting in heavy swells more than 160 kilometres off Portland have arrived safely in Apollo Bay.A water police rescue vessel found the stricken yacht about 9.15pm on Friday, before commencing the long journey back to shore. The two men aboard the twin-mast ketch yacht, which police said had a broken mast support and damage to a rudder, was believed to have been sailing from Adelaide to Strachan, in Tasmania, when it broke down. The sailors raised the alarm about 8.30am on Friday after their 10-metre craft came to a halt about 70 nautical miles (130 kilometres) off King Island. The sailors had adequate supplies and safety equipment but problems with their radio hampered the efforts to find them.Police attached tow lines to the yacht at 9.40pm and estimated they would arrive at Apollo Bay about 10am on Saturday.They were delayed by four-metre swells and 18 to 20 knot (37 kmh) winds.The two boats arrived at Apollo Bay about midday on Saturday.
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Petrolheads feel need for speed

Keith Hards (left) and Barry Fitzgerald jump from the start line. 090118SB06Picture: STEVEN BROADLEY Darran Edwards (right) outruns the Operation Drag Right police car in his HT Monaro. 090118SB12 Keith Hards (left) and Barry Fitzgerald jump from the start line. 090118SB06Picture: STEVEN BROADLEY Darran Edwards (right) outruns the Operation Drag Right police car in his HT Monaro. 090118SB12
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IT may have looked like an extreme take on Liebig Street on Saturday nights but yesterday drag racing at Warrnambool airport was all legal.Even two police cars and city Mayor Michael Neoh joined in the action.About 300 people gathered for the Warrnambool and District Drag Racing Association’s first competition of the year.The smell of burning rubber was ripe, as hooded-up Toranas, Falcon utes, tiny Mitsubishi Lancers and motorbikes tested how fast they could drive the eighth of a mile (200 metres).Cr Neoh praised the event’s organisers.”It’s great,” he said after being a passenger in a joy ride.”It is a real different experience than driving on the road. You feel like you are almost taking off in the air.”I urge any young person who wants to drag to join the club because it is conducted in a safe and controlled manner.”Members of Operation Drag Right — a community motorsport program run by volunteer police officers — was eager to see how its late model Falcon sedan and ute would fare.Group president Inspector Tim Peperkamp said hoon drivers gave drag racers a bad name.”They cause clubs like Warrnambool a lot of angst because everyone gets labelled as idiots,” Inspector Peperkamp said.”But that’s not the case. “Drag racing is an internationally recognised sport with professional drag racers. It’s a lot better to join a drag racing club, learn how to do it properly and in a controlled environment, than going out onto the street and getting your car confiscated.”The event was one of three set for this year. Association president Darryl Porter said it was one of the biggest competitions the club hosted.”We’re really pleased. Our last event in November was a washout and we couldn’t reschedule.”The club hopes to build a permanent track beside the airport’s runway. Currently it uses the western end of the strip.A proposal will be submitted to Warrnambool City Council, which owns the airport, in March.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

Blocks sell at auction

AUCTIONEERS enjoyed a successful day on Saturday when they sold two rural properties.A 70-acre outpaddock on Heath Road, Cashmore, 20 kilometres west of Portland, was sold for $210,000.Nick Adamson, of Elders, said bidding opened at $190,000, rose to $200,000 with a vendor’s bid before being sold to a neighbouring farmer for $210,000 after a further advance.At Princetown, a Scotts Creek buyer snapped up a 14-acre block of land on Buruppa Road with Gellibrand River frontage.Auctioneer David Falk said the property was sold for $50,000 after spirited bidding from three parties.Mr Falk said bidding for the block opened at $30,000. He said bidding then rose in $5000 advances to $45,000 before a flurry of $1000 bids took it to the selling price.
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Tatnell’s World Series crown is a Classic boost

Brooke Tatnell 050101DW51 Brooke Tatnell 050101DW51
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BROOKE Tatnell’s quest for a third The Standard Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic received a filip on Saturday night when he clinched a record-equalling seventh World Series Sprintcars crown.Tatnell finished seventh behind Kerry Madsen in Saturday night’s WSS final at Parramatta City Raceway but it was enough to close out the championship.Robbie Farr was second in the series while another seven-time WSS winner Max Dumesny was third.Dumesny was involved in a thrilling duel with his son Mitchell for second position for a large part of the final but couldn’t find a way around the protege, finishing the final in third. Madsen, Farr, Tatnell and Dumesny will headline the Australian contingent’s bid to upstage a host of Americans in the Classic at Allansford’s Premier Speedway this Saturday and Sunday nights.Premier Speedway general manager David Mills yesterday announced the official inclusion of American Terry McCarl ahead of today’s entry deadline.McCarl is a welcome addition to the field, coming fresh from the weekend’s Famed Chili Bowl event in the United States. McCarl, who also co-promotes the Front Row Challenge and Ultimate Challenge at Oskaloosa as a part of the Southern Iowa Speedweek, is returning after an eight-year absence from the Classic.His maiden Classic tilt in 2001 was unsuccessful. Ballarat driver Rod Matthews has hired McCarl to take the wheel of his car for the event. One of his former crewmen Glen Beaton also crewed for McCarl and suggested the exciting McCarl for a Classic seat.”We first and foremost wanted to put someone in the car that would give us our best chance of making the show and then giving it a real shake, whilst all the time learning from one of the best in the business,” Matthews said.Mills said club officials were delighted to have McCarl in the field.”Terry McCarl is a massive inclusion into the Classic,” he said. “He brings a fair bit of colour and personality to the show and I am hoping we can lock him in as guest at the Classic breakfast as well.”Another Victorian car owner, Colin Bulmer, is frantically preparing cars for American Shane Stewart, who has finished second and third in recent Classic attempts.”We have been flat out getting all of our gear together in readiness for Shane’s arrival,” Bulmer said.”With two new cars at his disposal we are hoping we have left nothing to chance so that we can give Shane every opportunity to stand atop the podium at the end of the weekend.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.