Oldfield Vanquishes Veal, Super Win for Wilson
Luke Oldfield delivered a faultless display to win round eight of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Archerfield Speedway on Wednesday night (December 29), leading all 35 laps to collect his third ECL feature race victory for the season and consolidate his lead in the series standings. Having finished third three nights earlier, Australian champion Jamie Veal snared second on this occasion, while a late pass from Jock Goodyer would propel him into third and leave Brent Kratzmann to contemplate how he missed a place on the podium after such a strong run for so much of the race. Aaron Kelly finished in fifth spot ahead of Lachlan McHugh, who bounced back from a spin, with Allan Woods, Kevin Titman, Randy Morgan and Ryan Newton rounding out the top ten.
In the Super Sedan feature race, Trent Wilson was rewarded for his commitment and constant travel from his Townsville base with a emphatic drive to victory in round eight of the McCosker Championship Series. Wilson was dominant throughout the heats and carried that form into the feature, leading throughout to finish ahead of Mitchell Gee and Sean Black, with Justin Randall filling fourth ahead of the biggest mover through the field in Brad Pascoe. Queensland champ Matt Pascoe was next best in advance of Tania Smith, Michael Nicola, Michael Hally and Hayden Brims.
In front a very sizeable midweek crowd, young Ryan Newton emerged atop the timesheets in Sprintcar qualifying, his fastest lap of 12.084 besting 32 others to secure the first KRE Fast Time of his career. With less than a second separating 27 cars, it was Veal (12.149) who timed second quickest, followed by Oldfield (12.252), Kratzmann (12.253) and McHugh (12.273), with the top ten also comprising Ryan McNamara, Titman, Kelly, Adam Butler and South Australia’s Brock Hallet.
The opening heat had Tarhlea Apelt on pole position for the first time, but she wasn’t able to match the pace of Taylor Prosser at the green and she eventually fell to fourth as Prosser, who inherited a front row start when Kristy Bonsey was penalised for jumping the gun, remained in front to the flag. Bonsey finished in second spot, with Newton charging to third after starting on the outside of row four.
Dan Murray led from go to whoa in winning a stacked heat two, downing Morgan, Goodyer, McHugh, Kelly and Veal.
After a very underwhelming performance at the previous round, it was a rejuvenated Woods who blitzed the field in heat three, downing Mark Attard, Dave Fanning, Hallet and Oldfield.
Surging from sixth, Kelly swept into the lead on lap seven in heat four to grab a win over Tim Farrell and Karl Hoffmans, whose opening lap was considerably quicker than anybody else at any stage of the race. Languishing in sixth with a lap to run, Ryan McNamara executed a superb last-corner pass to round up Sam Bylsma and Nicholas Whell to grab fourth and secure a spot in the Dash.
There were fluctuating fortunes for Prosser in heat five, initially of the good variety when spins from Andrew Baumber and Fanning in turn two on the opening lap saw him elevated from sixth to start alongside Jy Corbet on the front row. However, things quickly turned sour and he retreated to the infield without completing a lap, leaving Corbet unable to keep Veal at bay. Corbet would remain second to the end, with Kratzmann third.
From the front row again in heat six, Apelt led the opening exchanges, only to spin herself out of the lead on lap four and take the GW Racing/Apelt Flooring Cool to the infield. Having happened upon a potent set-up, Woods was unstoppable once again and scored a second success, this time ahead of McHugh, Titman, Oldfield and Hallet.
At the completion of the preliminaries, Veal emerged as the overall leader in points, although he would find himself relegated to fourth courtesy of the Spanloc Pole Shootout. It was Kelly and Titman who advanced from the bronze round as Kratzmann and McNamara were eliminated, the same fate that befell Kelly and Newton in the silver round as Titman and Oldfield advanced to take on Veal and McHugh in the gold clash. It was Oldfield who secured pole position for the main event, outpacing Titman, McHugh and Veal.
The B Main saw Trent Vardy embark on another of his late charges to secure a fourth-place finish behind Jy Corbet, Karl Hoffmans and Randy Morgan, all of whom would transfer into the feature race. It was Dave Fanning who looked to have the race safely in his keeping until he tripped over the slower car of James Matthews through turn four on lap seven. Both Dan Murray and Sam Bylsma occupied the final transfer position at various times before both were rounded up by Vardy.
At the drop of the green to get the feature underway, Oldfield bolted from pole position to lead Veal and Titman, with McHugh starting slowly and dropping spots to Newton and Kelly. Lap two saw McNamara contact the back straight wall and then, a lap later, it was Newton who drifted too wide and climbed the concrete, eventually dropping back to earth and continuing. Lap 10 saw McHugh move to third and the order remained unchanged until lap 17 when McHugh, having just moved ahead of Veal into second spot, looped the Leigh Smith Yachts Cool in turn two and, despite making every effort to keep the car moving, was unable to prevent a restart for which he was dispatched to the back of the pack. Hallet, meanwhile, had advanced from ninth to be sitting fourth behind Titman, with Kratzmann, Kelly, McNamara and Goodyer next in line. With Oldfield well clear and Veal also running without company, the action was building further back with Titman and Hallet swapping spots. McNamara moved ahead of Kelly on lap 20, only to tag the wall again – before grinding to a halt in turn two in an incident that left Corbet upside down and put both cars on the infield. Hallet was the next to give the wall a nudge, the end result of which would be a flat right rear tyre with two laps to run. Having started seventh, Kratzmann was having a great run and swept into third on lap 22. He remained in that spot through two ensuing restarts, the first for a spin by Hoffmans in turn one with two laps remaining and the final interruption to retrieve Butler’s stricken Protect Insurance Services Triple X from turn two before another lap could be completed. It certainly wasn’t a typically spectacular drive from Oldfield, who never shifted from the bottom of the track, leaving it to Veal to run the cushion. Having switched to the bottom for a couple of laps in a bid to find some extra oomph, Veal quickly retreated back to the highline and never got close enough to mount a sustained challenge. Oldfield maintained possession of the lead through the green-white-chequer run to the finish, with Veal remaining second. A late surge would see Goodyer round up both Kelly and a luckless Kratzmann to secure third. Having looked as though he might make it back onto the podium, McHugh encountered dogged resistance and could ultimately fare no better than sixth. Woods was next, followed by Titman, Morgan, Newton, Farrell and Kevin Britten, leaving Bonsey, Hoffmans and Vardy to round out the finishers.
A stout field of Super Sedans fronted for round eight of the McCosker Series and the presentation of the cars was every bit as good as the quality of racing they dished up.
The opening heat would see Justin Randall fend off the late-race advances of Michael Larson, who cut the quickest lap in his charge into second from the third row, with Hayden Brims home third.
Mitchell Gee prevailed in heat two over Mat Pascoe who, like Larsen in the previous heat, was the fastest car on the track despite finishing second, with Bob McCosker third on this occasion.
Wilson served notice in heat three, chasing down three-time national champ Mick Nicola in quick time to grab the win, forcing Nicola to settle for second ahead of Steve Jordan.
Nicola suffered a setback in the next heat when he crunched the turn one wall after contact from Gee, who was in turn trying to avoid a slowing Steve Jordan, whose vision had been impeded by a dislodged bonnet and nose cone. With Jordan on the grass and Nicola having to limp home at the back of the field, Michael Hally led the first five circulations aboard his brand new QCC Sweet before succumbing to Sean Black, with Brad Pascoe besting the rest in third.
Barry Craft led the opening two laps of heat five before Wilson again swept to the front. Unfortunately for Craft, he sideswiped the back straight wall after losing the lead and would retire for the night. Zac Pascoe and Tania Smith filled the minor placings.
Mat Pascoe was a class above the pack in the final heat, moving ahead of Larsen and Ryan Cats on the opening lap before skipping clear to record the biggest winning margin of the night. With Cats heading infield on lap five and also retiring for the night, Randall pounced to grab second spot, leaving Larsen to finish third.
The opening clash of the Pole Shootout would see Hally and Zac Pascoe eliminated as Black and Larsen advanced to a meet Gee and Randall. It was Gee and Larsen who then continued onwards into the final showdown, leaving Black and Randall to start from the third row. Gee prevailed in the gold round, leaving Wilson to suffer his only defeat of the night in second spot, with Mat Pascoe and Larsen to share row two for the 30-lap feature race.
On a track that still offered plenty for those willing to seek it out, Wilson shot to the front with such conviction that his first lap was his fastest of the race. Gee slotted into second spot with Mat Pascoe in pursuit, although Black would move into third on lap five. The race continued without interruption until lap 17 when Larson threw away a top-five spot with a spin in turn two. Once back underway, Wilson continued to dictate proceedings, while further back it was Brad Pascoe using the outside to make his way forward. The top four remained unchanged from this point in proceedings with Wilson rounding out an almost perfect scorecard for the night with a much deserved win. A jovial Gee seemed wrapt with his runner-up result, while Black was as solid as ever in securing yet another podium result. Randall was next in line ahead of Brad Pascoe, who started on the outside of row six and rounded up several far more experienced rivals, including his three-time national championship winning father, on his way into the top five. Tania Smith found pace late in the race to secure sixth ahead of Nicola, Hally, Brims and series leader Josh McLaren. Next best were Nicholas O’Keefe, McCosker and Zac Pascoe whose efforts to run high in the opening laps were thwarted by a lack of courtesy from his rivals. A trio of Super Sedan rookies in Ben Robertson, Rod Enman and Ty Pascoe were next in the queue, leaving John Sheehan and Michael Taylor to complete the field.
In the absence of previous round winner Steve Potts, it was no surprise that round five of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship would play out as a duel between Steve Price and Bruce Marshall. On this occasion it was Price who proved too pacey from pole position in the 20-lap feature race. Marshall chased from the outset but couldn’t find a way to deny Price a second win for the season. In his first Archerfield appearance for the season, Victorian titleholder Matt Hardy ran third throughout without ever looking likely to challenge for the lead, finishing more than two seconds adrift. Raymond Kime finished fourth ahead of Queensland champ Tony Blanch and Brett Robotham, who qualified on the front row alongside Price but couldn’t match the pace of the leaders. Darrell Kime, Russ Hardy, Graeme Holland and Lewis Gamble rounded out the top ten, with Dylan Stacey, Maverick Dack, Troy Price, Peter Greer, Shane Stacey and Jay Allen completing the field.
Despite not being amongst the competitor nominations, Blanch still found himself with a front row start in the opening heat, from which he was untroubled in leading throughout. Wins across the remaining heats were shared between Marshall, Robotham and Matt Hardy.
Their strongest field of the season thus far, both in quality and quantity, coupled with an inverted grid for the feature ensured a much more captivating display from the Compact Speedcar brigade. Following heat wins to Bodie Smith (2) and Harry Stewart, it was Andrew Parkes who bolted from the front row in the 15-lap SCA Racewear/Boss Hoggs Steakhouse feature. While Smith and previous round winner Matt O’Neill made their way forward from the third row, Parkes disappeared into the distance and looked on track to win by a considerable margin. However, a spin from O’Neill in turn two with only two laps remaining brought Parkes back to the field and firmly in the sights of Smith. Refusing to succumb to the pressure he found himself under, Parkes remained in control to take the race over Smith, with Stewart advancing from eighth to finish third. Dave Collins, Gary Hudson, Richard Treanor and Trent Usher all finished ahead of the recovering O’Neill, leaving Andrew Rooke and Luke Williams to trail the field home.
Wayne Kirkman and Ron Hornbuckle scored a win apiece in the Open A/Outlaw Sedan heats and it was Hornbuckle who got the best of the start to lead the feature before a spin handed the top spot to Kirkman. Second place went to Les Eisenmenger, with Hornbuckle working his way back to third in a depleted field that saw Colin Morris and Keith Craft as the only other finishers.
Charlie Bowen and Bailey Leeson shared the spoils in the Formula 500 heats before finishing first and second respectively in the feature race. Daisy Smith finished third and Jai Bateman was the fourth and final driver to go the distance.
Racing continues at Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (January 1), with round nine of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship and the annual Paul Britten 44 Dirt Modified Memorial, along with Wingless Sprints, Lightning Sprints, Fireworks and Open B/Limited Sedans.