Veal stars, Goodyer flips at Archerfield
Saturday 3rd June, 2023 - 10:11am
The final event of the 44-year history of Archerfield speedway kicked off with over 70 Sprintcars on track for night one of ‘The Last Race’.
It was an emotional start to the event, with tributes to the venue played on the big screen from US-based racers such as Rico Abreu, Jonathan Allard and Brent Kaeding as well as a special moment from the original promoter of Archerfield, Ron Wanless.
After time trials, the first round of heats would see the top eight inverted with the quickest car to start from eighth. The second round of heats would see the quickest cars start from the front (based on time trials).
An emotional Aaron Kelly took the victory in Heat 4 after coming from back in the field after not qualifying as well as he hoped, but more than made up for that with the win.
Kelly said, “I really have to hold back the tears here, this place means so much to my family and if that is the last heat race I ever win here then I’m glad we did it like that”.
Kelly is a second-generation racer whose parents have operated the speedway for 23 years. He led Kevin Titman and reigning Australian Champion Jock Goodyer home.
The yellow flags flew early in Heat 4 with less than one lap completed. The restart was a similar story with five-time Australian V8 Dirt Modified Champion Kevin Britten bringing out the red flags, going up and over in Turn 2 after starting from the front row.
Ben Atkinson Jnr in the #N86 Aeroflow car dominated the rest of the race, leading from the restart to the flag to claim the Heat 3 victory from former Aussie champ Robbie Farr in the #T20 and Randy Morgan in the #Q54.
Atkinson said after the heat: “Honestly the guys gave me a great car, and I had some momentum and was able to capitalise. Hopefully we aren’t too bad on points and can move forward in our next heat”.
Heat 5 was a stop start affair with several yellow flags, but ultimately it was Jamie Veal (driving the #V25 for Jack Lee) who took the win from Will Carroll, Kaydon Iverson and New South Welshman Michael Stewart.
“It’s about time we got a bit of luck here!”, Veal said after the race. “Hopefully tonight we can keep scoring points, get through the next heat and hopefully get a good starting spot in the feature”.
The second round of heats saw Cam Waters start from the from the front row alongside the #NQ10 of Jy Corbet in Heat 6. Waters had a solid outing, leading 8 of ten laps but Brock Hallett was too strong toward the end of the race, leading home the V6 of Waters.
There was plenty of action in Heat 8 between Taylor Prosser and Ryan Newton. The two were swapping the lead throughout the first two laps, with the race settling down until the final two laps.
Newton and Prosser came together as Newton was on the high side of the track as Prosser slid up the track into him, sending Prosser into a violent roll and Newton upside down as well.
Sammy Walsh capitalised on the leading pairs misfortune to take the heat race win. “I’d rather be lucky than good. It’s not that often that we are start toward the front here so to win the heat is nice.”
The ageless Robbie Farr showed exactly why he is one of the most popular and versatile drivers of the last 30 years, throwing a perfectly timed slider to take the lead from Randy Morgan with three laps to go in the penultimate heat of the night.
“I’ve been racing here for 32 years. I haven’t been here for a while. The pass was good, it was a bit of a slider, and I parked it up on the exit and got away with it. This is a new car, and a new team and we just keep chipping away at it”.
The 15 Lap Preliminary B Main saw Aaron Kelly Start from the pole, with a stacked field of drivers having a tougher night than expected, including Lachlan Caunt (#N9), Jy Corbet (#NQ10), Ryan Newton (#Q66), Darren Jensen (#Q75) and Ben Atkinson Jnr (#N86).
The top four transferred to the Preliminary A Main, being Aaron Kelly, Lachlan Caunt, Lachlan McDonald and Ryan Newton who bounced back after his earlier crash to best Jy Corbet and Darren Jensen in a thrilling battle for the final transfer position.
The preliminary A Main got off to somewhat of a false start with Cam Waters coming together with Brent Kratzman in turn one, resulting in a spin and sending waters to the back of the field for the re-start.
Hallett, Goodyer and Oldfield but on a show in the opening laps, trading positions on a track that offered both a high, middle and low line despite the high level of traffic on the program.
A huge moment with 18 laps to go saw the reigning Australian Champion in Goodyer and the reigning Grand Annual Classic Champion in Hallett come together on the back straight while battling for second place, with Goodyer riding a wheel and going upside down to end his night.
Goodyer would emerge unscathed from the incident, which appeared to be caused by a flat right front tyre for Hallett which prevented him from pitching the car into turn four – leaving Goodyer on the outside and with nowhere to go.
With 16 laps to go, Ryan Newton had his second inversion of the night, ending upside down after a clash with Andrew Corbet for 14th Position.
The old saying that “cautions breed cautions” rang true with Randy Morgan and Brent Kraztman coming together with 14 laps remaining, and Andrew Corbet rolling on his own shortly after the restart.
At this point, Aaron Kelly was the big mover having come from the 16th starting position be running in the top four and threatening to pressure the top three – at this point being Veal, Farr and Oldfield.
Oldfield and Farr traded slide jobs for second place which only allowed Veal to run away with the lead, with 10 laps to go and with a four-second lead.
With five laps to go, Aaron Kelly took third position from Farr as Oldfield started to drop off the pace in second with car trouble.
Ultimately though, Jamie Veal took a deserved victory from Aaron Kelly and Michael Stewart pinching third with a last lap pass on Robbie Farr.
“That’s night one done, good to get through there and get some points”, Veal said after the race.
“It’s a big night tomorrow night with the Shootout and another heat, so I just had to keep it straight. The more laps I’m doing here and in this car the more comfortable I’m feeling. I Can’t wait for tomorrow night”.
The final night of racing at Archerfield Speedway is a sold-out Saturday night, with the venue to close permanently at the conclusion of the event.