Oldfield, Lines and the Aussie champ

With the Australian Sprintcar Championship to be staged at Archerfield Speedway in four weeks, it is hardly surprising that competitors from interstate are seizing the opportunity for laps on the Brisbane circuit in preparation for the big dance. As such, this Saturday night (April 2) will see drivers from three southern states converging on Archerfield for round twelve of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship, including current national titleholder Jamie Veal from Victoria and South Australia’s Steven Lines, whose win here two weeks ago made him only the fourth driver to win an ECL series round this season. Also featuring on the huge open-wheel program will be round eight of the TFH Midget Series, along with Wingless Sprints, Formula 500s, Lightning Sprints and Formula 500 Juniors, with more than 120 competitor nominations.

For the interstate contingent, and the locals as well for that matter, series leader Luke Oldfield is the obvious benchmark and, as Lines discovered in the previous outing, the secret to success in any round of the ECL track championship is finding a way to beat Oldfield. A former track champion and state titleholder who is particularly potent around Archerfield, Oldfield has won five of eleven completed rounds this season and has, quite remarkably, only once (courtesy of a flat tyre) failed to finish inside the top three, so finding a way to beat the Gold Coast-based gun must be a priority for anybody hoping to secure a place on the podium. In three track championship appearances so far this season, Veal has finished inside the top three each time without breaking through for a win. However, he did score a win in a round of the Speedway Australia NSW/QLD States Series and returns to Brisbane on the back of some strong form in southern states, including a win in the first ever feature race at the brand new Eastern Creek Speedway. With limited opportunities remaining to fine-tune his preparations before his championship defence gets underway on April 30, Veal will be primed for a peak performance this weekend.

Other interstaters in the field this Saturday night include NSW’s Michael Saller and another South Australian in Brock Hallett. As one of the few teams from the Sydney region willing to hit the road and challenge themselves against the best from around the country, Saller has enjoyed success at Archerfield in seasons past, while Hallett returns fresh from his best Archerfield result of the season at the last round, having clinched KRE Fast Time in qualifying before ultimately finishing fourth in the feature race behind Lines, Oldfield and Gympie teenager Jy Corbet, whose stunning run into third place was the standout performance of his burgeoning career thus far. The challenge for Corbet is repeating such an effort on a consistent basis to establish himself as genuine contender every time he hits the track. Having endured a frustrating night at the previous round and failing to finish the feature, Aaron Kelly will be out to make amends, with Bryan Mann, Brent Kratzmann, Ryan Newton, Randy Morgan, Taylor Prosser and Tim Farrell, along with the rest of the field, continuing their quest to find feature race success in Australia’s toughest track championship competition.

If anybody deserves a change in fortune from what their 2021/2022 season has dished up thus far, then Darren Vine is that person. Having been plagued by bad luck, mishaps, mechanical maladies and the mistakes of others, Vine has endured a wretched season that has prevented him from making any impression in the TFH Midget Series. The former track champion has, at times, shown signs of what we know him to be capable of, only to strike trouble and find himself out of contention, with the last round perhaps proving he cruellest blow of all when he, having started at the back of the field, had climbed his way forward 10 positions and was fighting for a top five spot, only to crash out in the final centimetres of the race, finishing upside down under the chequered flag. It was Brock Dean who emerged victorious on that occasion to become the eighth different driver to win a Midget feature race at Archerfield so far this season, with only Michael Kendall scoring multiple successes. Dean and Kendall are again expected to feature prominently this weekend, along with Scott Farmer, Casey O’Connell and Charlie Brown, whose highline heroics make him a crowd favourite, even if they don’t always reap the rewards they deserve.

With the early end to the season in Lismore due to the ongoing impact of the recent floods in the area, it is not surprising to see numerous Wingless Sprint drivers from south of the border amongst the nominations this weekend. Led by Jacob Jolley and Mark Blyton, both of whom have feature race wins at Archerfield this season, ten NSW-based racers are in the stellar 32-car field to contest round 17 of the Boss Hogg’s Steakhouse Club Championship. Of the locals, only Robert Mazzer and Liam Atkinson have raced their way to victory lane across the previous rounds, leaving a very large contingent of drivers for whom time is running out if they hope to bask in the spoils of a feature race victory.

Although James Kennedy is the current state champion and Liam Williams has been the man to beat for the last few seasons, recent outings have seen Tomas Partington stake his claim as the new top dog of the local Formula 500 ranks. Currently riding a wave of good form that has carried him to two consecutive feature race wins, Partington now sits equal atop the winners list with Kennedy and Williams. Of the rest, three podium results and a quintet of top-five finishes must have Kurt Wilson on the cusp of securing a breakthrough win, while former state champ Kaydon Iverson and fellow north Queenslander Brodie Davis have also made multiple appearances on the podium without yet finding their way into the winners circle.

Gates open at 3.00pm for online ticketholders, with general admission ticket sales from 4.00pm. Early racing commences at 4.30pm and the main program, which will also feature Lightning Sprints and the biggest field of Formula 500 Juniors so far this season, gets underway from 6.00pm.

East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship round twelve nominations: Aaron Kelly, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Andrew Baumber, Brad Keiler, Anthony Lambert, Brent Kratzmann, Brock Hallet, Bryan Mann, Darren Jensen, Harry Stewart, James Matthews, Jamie Veal, Jason King, Jy Corbet, Karl Hoffmans, Kevin Titman, Kristy Bonsey, Libby Ellis, Luke Oldfield, Michael Saller, Mitch Gowland, Peter Campbell, Randy Morgan, Ryan Newton, Steven Lines, Taylor Prosser, Tim Farrell, Trent Vardy

TFH Midget Series round seven nominations: Brad Dawson, Brendan Palmer, Brock Dean, Casey O’Connell, Charlie Brown, Chris Moore, Darren Dillon, Darren Vine, Glen Prowse, Jesse Harris, John McLaughlin, Jordan Mackay, Kody Stothard, Michael Kendall, Rob Stewart, Scott Farmer, Tony Stephen

Wingless Sprint nominations: Adam Hotchkiss, Andrew Carrick, Andrew Robinson, Andrew Seery, Anthony Joyce, Ben Jennings, Ben Manson, Brett Russo, Brody Thomson, Corey O’Toole, Daniel Barton, Darryl Marshall, Gus Sanson, Ian Milnes, Jacob Jolley, James Grady, Jamie Usher, Jason Davis, Jayden O’Toole, Joshua Bartlett, Lachlan Robertson, Lance Dawson, Liam Atkinson, Mark Blyton, Mason Cattell, Michael Butcher, Ray Eggins, Robert Mazzer, Ross Guy, Seiton Young, Stephen Pocock, Stu Jefferies

Formula 500 nominations: Adrian Farrell, Amanda Chaffey, Brady Argles, Brock Thornton, Brodie Davis, Cona Stephen, Jake Hooper, James Kennedy, Jared Boys, Kacy Lee Black, Kaydon Iverson, Kurt Wilson, Liam Williams, Mitchell Whittaker, Nathan Reeks, Tom Partington

Lightning Sprint nominations: Andrew Kimm, Harley Graham, James Elliott, Jim Gollagher, Jim Kennedy, Kurt Wilson, Luke Graham, Michael Gollagher, Rohnan Wells, Scott Genrich, Sean Iacono, Wayne Jukes

Formula 500 Junior nominations: Axel Rudolph, Bailey Leeson, Brock Hughes, Brooke Wilson, Charlie Bowen, Chay Corbet, Cooper Norman, Daisy Smith, Jai Bateman, Sean Rae

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