Albany driver Reid Harker is chipping away at the championship lead of CareVets driver Ryan Yardley, in the 2016-2017 Toyota 86 Championship. Victory in today’s first race of the weekend is one step closer to the title for the Albany driver. Michael Scott had qualified on pole, while Harker was off the back, serving out penalties applied at the previous round. From the start, Harker sliced through the field in the first race of the weekend, moving closer and closer to the leaders in what many say is the race of the championship. Yardley and Scott were locked in battle for the lead., but were soon joined by Harker and created a three-car drafting ‘train’ that pulled away from the rest of the field. Behind them the field was fluid, drivers jockeying for place and position into turn one, going two and three abreast on the opening lap. Brody McConkey went wide on the exit and spun down the grass verge, avoiding the tyre wall and rejoining last. He began his own fightback, and was soon picking off backmarkers. He ran into tougher opposition, though, when he set about passing Jaden Ransley. Just 14 years old, Ransley is straight out of karts and is the youngest driver in the championship, but gave a good account of himself in a duel with McConkey. Jacob Smith was in a three-wide melee mid-field; a series of tangles propelled him toward the rear of the field and though he fought back bravely the car’s handling was not right. In the final laps he was locked in a duel with Tom Stokes. Like Ransley, he eventually stepped back from the fight, opting to preserve his car in good nick for tomorrow’s two races. The race belonged to Harker, his aggressive drive through the field netting his the win with a margin over Scott of 1.895 secinds.