Scheuerle again in another thriller
In a continuation of the brilliant racing that has been the hallmark of the 2018/2019 East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, round 16 dished up another dazzling display of dirt track derring-do on Saturday night (May 25) as Australian champion Andrew Scheuerle held on to secure another win. In his penultimate Archerfield appearance before hanging up the helmet, Peter Lack stormed home to secure second spot ahead of Lachlan McHugh, who was spectacular again in delivering a mighty charge from 15th.
In the final round of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, Scott Farmer scored an emphatic win over Brock Dean and Callum Walker, while Rusty Whittaker wrapped up the championship despite bowing out of the feature race after just one lap.
Liam Williams emerged the overall winner in the Jettco Formula 500 Jackpot, while Wayne Corbett ended his 20+ years of Compact Speedcar racing with a feature win in his final ever race.
In front of big crowd on a typically balmy Queensland evening, 29 Sprintcars took to the track for time trial qualifying and it was Cody Maroske who emerged with fastest time, stopping the clock at 11.605. Michael Saller (11.661), Aaron Kelly (11.871), Mark Pholi (11.903) and Darren Jensen (11.936) were next best, followed by Scheuerle, Kevin Titman, Scott Genrich, Allan Woods and Brent Kratzmann, with McHugh 11th best and Lack languishing even further back.
Having booted son Randy out of the cockpit for the night, Richard Morgan raced home to win the opening heat ahead of Brad Ayers and Ben Hilder.
Heat two proved problematic for Saller when he found himself unable to avoid a stricken Jensen, whose engine detonated in a big way in the main straight with two laps to run. The contact left Saller on the infield with a damaged front-end as Anthony Lambert took the win ahead of McHugh and Lack.
Heat three went the way of David Whell over Kratzmann and Pholi, with heat four falling in favour of Titman over Kristy Bonsey and Bryan Mann as McHugh found himself on the infield with a flat tyre after bouncing off the turn three wall.
Lack easily accounted for Ayres and Scheuerle in heat five, with Saller bouncing back to chase down Morgan to grab a win in the final preliminary, with Woods third.
McHugh completely outclassed the field in the B Main, romping home by more than nine seconds despite a restart on lap four when Peter Campbell and Des Collier came unstuck in turn two. Ayers, Lambert and Bonsey filled the top four to grab the final spots in the feature race field.
The opening round of the Pole Shootout saw Scheuerle and Lack advance to the next round, leaving Woods and Kelly to bow out. Round two saw Lack and Saller move forward as Scheuerle and Pholi ended their run. In the final showdown, Lack would emerge with pole position ahead of Titman, Maroske and Saller.
The 30-lap ECL Sprintcar feature race got underway with Lack clearing away from the field through the opening few lap until a huge wreck from Bryan Mann in turn three delayed proceedings. As the field gassed up the restart, Ayers spun himself out of action before reaching the green, with Lack leading Titman, Maroske, Scheuerle, Saller and Kelly. However, Scheuerle immediately dispensed with Saller and Maroske to move into third, with Kelly also moving ahead of Saller to climb into the top five. McHugh, meanwhile, was surging forward at a rapid rate, charging into sixth on lap 12 and then rounding up Kelly two laps later. Lap 15 saw Scheuerle dive under Lack in turn one, only for the two to make contact and continue with no change to the order. However, three laps later, Scheuerle surged to the front as McHugh continued his charge by taking fourth from Maroske. A lap later Titman moved ahead of Lack for second spot, with both McHugh and Maroske also moving ahead of Lack momentarily in a great scrap that ended unceremoniously for Maroske when he crashed out in turn four with four laps to run. From the restart, a resurgent Lack roared around the outside of Titman to reclaim second spot, with McHugh stealing third on the final lap to continue his run of podium results. Titman fared fourth ahead of Saller, Pholi and Kelly, with Morgan, Woods and Kratzmann rounding out the top ten. Hilder, Lambert and Bonsey were the remaining finishers.
The opening heat of the Polar Ice Midget finale saw Dean race home ahead of Mitchell Rooke and Brad Dawson, with Cal Whatmore fending off the best efforts of series champion Rusty Whittaker and Farmer to win heat two.
Nathan Mathers looked on track for win in heat three, only to succumb with two laps remaining and falling to third behind Vine and Farmer.
Whatmore aced to the front again in heat four, only to spin in front of the field in turn four. Whittaker would go on to take the race in advance of Dean and Zac McDonald.
From the drop of the green in the feature race, Farmer was in complete control of the race, lapping considerably quicker than anybody else and expanding his lead with each circulation. A flat tyre ended Whittaker’s race on the opening lap, although the championship remained safely in his keeping, leaving Dean to occupy second spot for the duration. The battle for third provided plenty of interest though with McDonald holding the position through the first eight laps before Scott Doyle took over. Through a series of mid-race restarts, McDonald would find himself shuffled back to sixth as Vine and Callum Walker moved forward. After a tentative run through the heats with a new Toyota powerplant on board, Walker surged home to usurp Doyle from third, with Vine fifth at the chequer. Behind McDonald came Mathers, Dawson, Tom Clauss and Audie Malt.
Following heat wins to Liam Williams (2) and Kristin Brown, it was James Kennedy who prevailed in the first of the Jettco Formula 500 Jackpot twin features, swapping the lead with Williams through the first couple of laps before clearing away. Williams remained second despite a damaged top wing, with Brown third home ahead of Ron Barber, Cameron Bertuch and Tomas Partington. The reverse grid starting order for the second feature race proved no obstacle for Williams as he had rounded up the field before two laps were completed. Brown moved ahead of Mitchell Whittaker for second spot on lap eight, with Kennedy climbing to third on lap 13, but nobody could do anything to prevent Williams from taking the race and the overall jackpot win. Whittaker finished fourth ahead of Jarrod Bampfield, Ryan Skennar, Partington, Dekota Gay, Bertuch and Tarhlea Apelt, who bounced back from a heat race crash and an early exit from the first feature. The combined points from the two features saw Williams first overall from Kennedy, Brown, Partington, Bertuch and Bampfield.
Dave Collins, Matt O’Neill and Trent Usher shared the spoils in the Compact Speedcar heats before Corbett enjoyed a fairytale finish to his racing endeavours by winning his last ever feature race. Collins and Usher filled the minor placings ahead of the only other finishers in Connor McCullough and Dave Swan.
The 2018/2019 Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway season finishes next Saturday night (June 1) with the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship Grand Final and the Australian Lightning Sprint Championship plus Modlites and championship events for Open Sedans and Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans.