National champs leading the charge
In what has already been a remarkably exciting season at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway, this Saturday night (November 30) might just be the best yet with both Sprintcars and Super Sedans on the program. Only at Archerfield can you witness the very best drivers from the two leading race categories in action on the same night, with both divisions pitching their current national champions into battle against strong fields. Lightning Sprints, Formula 500s, Microsprints and Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans will also feature on another packed program.
The return of Australian Champion Andrew Scheuerle and crowd favourite Luke Oldfield from successful interstate campaigns certainly raises the stakes in the chase for the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship. Of the four rounds completed thus far, Kevin Titman, Steven Lines, Scheuerle and Mitchell Gee have secured feature race wins and it is Titman who, as the current series leader, is the man with the most to lose when the cars hit the track this weekend. Whilst Titman is yet to rediscover the pace that carried him to victory in the opening round, he has accumulated sufficient points at each round to maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard, daring his rivals to catch him if they can. Third-generation racer Aaron Kelly has certainly taken up the challenge and, in the wake of his first ever podium result at the previous round, he sits just seven points behind Titman in the championship standings and, should he finish ahead of Titman on Saturday night, the title fight will be very tight indeed.
Having dominated the track championship in recent seasons, Scheuerle and Oldfield will no doubt be determined to reassert their authority on proceedings and start their climb towards the top of series standings. In fact, despite some typically spectacular performances, Oldfield is yet to register a feature race win this season, having recorded a series of runner-up finishes at venues as diverse as Archerfield, Toowoomba and Warrnambool that, whilst having cemented his reputation as one of Australia’s very best, will no doubt have him feeling somewhat disappointed about the fact that he has been unable to convert any of them into a victory. Scheuerle also returns home on the back of some strong interstate performances, having competed in Sydney and at Murray Bridge in South Australia where he finished third in the feature race to silence those who have dared to undermine his national championship success simply because his achievement came on home soil.
Callum Walker, Bryan Mann, Ryan McNamara, Brent Aprile and Brent Kratzmann have all featured on the podium this season and are in the field again this weekend. In fact, Walker has been so strong since returning from injury that he currently sits sixth in the standings despite missing the opening round. Having qualified on pole position at the previous two rounds, Kratzmann will be ruing lost opportunities and determined to cultivate a change in fortunes. However, the driver whose efforts have perhaps gone unnoticed is former Wingless Sprint racer Adam Butler. Although he is yet to make his way onto the podium, Butler has been so consistently strong across all four rounds that he currently sits fourth overall in the standings behind Titman, Kelly and McNamara.
In the Super Sedan ranks, current and three-time Australian Champion Matt Pascoe remains the dominant force and he heads the entry list for round four of the McCosker Championship Series as both a competitor and the manufacturer of the Sweet chassis brand that is now the weapon of choice for more and more competitors. Of the three rounds completed thus far this season, Pascoe has won one and finished second in the other two, although any disappointment over being relegated to runner-up status were no doubt tempered somewhat by the fact that both events were won by Sweet–mounted competitors. However, on his home track, it is unlikely Pascoe will be satisfied with anything less than success, particularly given the quality of the field that has been assembled.
Darren Kane is the most obvious threat because, like Pascoe, he has also won the national title on three occasions and attained a remarkable level of achievement across the country on the back of a very strong record of success at Archerfield. Sean Black, meanwhile, comes fresh from a win in the previous round in Rockhampton, while the likes of Tania Smith, Justin Randall and Trent Wilson have featured on the podium here in recent seasons. However, the driver who might just prove the biggest hurdle for the locals is Western Australian veteran Gary Higgs. Kicking off an extended east coast campaign, Higgs brings a wealth of experience and a history of success into the mix and, with his last Archerfield appearance ending early due to an engine ailment, Higgs will be looking to make amends and start his season with the best possible result. A particularly pleasing development this season is the addition of several rookies to the category with Colin Kaine, Craig Hammond and Zac Pascoe, who impressed in Toowoomba last weekend with a heat race win and the fastest lap of the night in Open Sedan competition, all making their Archerfield debut in the Super Sedan ranks.
In what has been a remarkable resurgence for a category that has really struggled to for cars in recent years, Lightning Sprints have enjoyed a terrific start to the season and have gathered 19 nominations for round four of their Stockmans Civil and Plant Club Championship. High in quality and quantity, the field is littered with potential feature race winners, including Tyler Stralow, who won the opening two events, and veteran Keith Blatch, who prevailed in the previous round. Dave Fanning and Sean Iacono, both of whom are former national champions, are also very much in the mix, as is Queensland champ Jason Rae and a previous state titleholder in Wayne Iacono,
Following his victory over the all-conquering Liam Williams in Toowoomba last weekend, James Kennedy will be very confident of delivering another such performance in round four of the Done Right Touch Ups Formula 500 Series. For Williams, who was only able to secure victory in the previous round at Archerfield with a late-race pass on Kristin Brown, the prospect of suffering consecutive defeats will have him primed for peak performance, while Brown is expected to prove a serious threat once again.
After a slow start to the season, Microsprint numbers have been boosted by a couple of interstate entries for round four of their Club Championship, while Ford vs Holden vs Sigma will deliver another dose of the low budget tin top competition that continues to serve as an ideal introduction to speedway racing for so many competitors.
Gates open at 4.00pm, with early racing from 4.45pm. Sprintcar time trials are scheduled for 5.00pm and the main program will get underway from 6.00pm.
East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship round three nominations: Aaron Kelly, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Andrew Baumber, Andrew Corbet, Andrew Scheuerle, Anthony Lambert, Brent Aprile, Brent Kratzmann, Brett Minett, Brock Dean, Bryan Mann, Callum Walker, Cody Maroske, Dan Murray, Karl Hoffmans, Kevin Britten, Kevin Titman, Kristy Bonsey, Libby Ellis, Luke Dougherty, Luke Oldfield, Mitch Gowland, Nicholas Whell, Randy Morgan, Ryan McNamara, Tim Farrell
McCosker Super Sedan Series round four nominations: Barry Craft, Bob McCosker, Colin Kaine, Craig Hammond, Darren Kane, Ed Doherty, Gary Higgs, Justin Randall, Justin Smithwick, Matt Pascoe, Nicholas O’Keefe, Rodney Craft, Sam Roza, Sean Black, Tania Smith, Tony Brinkmann, Trent Wilson, Zac Pascoe
Stockmans Civil and Plant Lightning Sprint Club Championship round four nominations: Adam Norton, Andrew Parkes, Danny Stone, Daren Baldwin, Dave Fanning, Derek Wells, James Elliott, Jason George, Jason Rae, Jayden Mathers, Keith Blatch, Laurence Deegan, Mark Peters, Michael Gollagher, Scott Jukes, Sean Iacono, Tyler Stralow, Wayne Iacono, Wayne Jukes
Done Right Touch Ups Formula 500 Series round four nominations: Adrian Farrell, Brady Argles, Brock Thornton, Dekota Gay, James Kennedy, Kristin Brown, Ronnie Barber, Royce Harvey, Liam Williams, Tarhlea Apelt, Tomas Partington, Tony Bailey
Queensland Microsprints Club Championship round four nominations: Adrian Wren, Andrew Carrick, Cameron Munro, Eddie Schwehla, Ernie Havas, Jason Glynn, John Lawson, Joseph Penkeyman, Kierah Hawkins, Matt Hanford, Shane Munro
Ford vs Holden vs Sigma nominations: Bernie Wright, Dallas Dack, Daniel Hillhouse, Jake Besgrove, Kim Dack, Marin Kursturin, Maverick Dack, Terry Russell
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