In what was a sublime exhibition of Sprintcar racing from all involved, Andrew Scheuerle emerged victorious in round 15 of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (May 12), holding on to win under intense pressure from both Peter Lack and Lachlan McHugh. In a race that would see the 30 laps completed without interruption and with all 18 starters still running strongly at the chequer, a last corner pass from McHugh would see him charge around the outside of Lack to snatch second spot, with Kevin Titman and Brent Kratzmann rounding out the first five.
In the 50-lap Polar Ice Jim Holden Memorial Midget feature race, the locals were handed a hiding by the NSW-based trio of Kaidon Brown, Adam Clarke and Nathan Smee, who greeted the chequer in that order. The southerners were in a class of their own as the laps wound down, leaving Mitchell Rooke more than 11 seconds adrift as the best of the locals in fourth spot ahead of Scott Farmer, who might have been a bigger threat if not for an early spin.
The 50-lap Wingless Sprint feature went to Dave Eggins over Brant Chandler and Cody O’Connell, while Steve Price outpaced the field to win the AMCA Nationals feature race ahead of Thomas Vickery and Nathan Durston.
Mitchell Gee enjoyed a perfect start to his homecoming show, stopping the clock at 11.356 to outpace the 30-car field in Sprintcar qualifying and secure KRE Quick Time. Scheuerle (11.510), Lack (11.518) and McHugh (11.516) were next quickest ahead of Bryan Mann, Kratzmann, Aaron Kelly and Steve Greer, with Titman and Ben Hilder rounding out the top ten.
Allan Woods was unstoppable from the front row in the opening heat to lead home Darren Jensen and Blake Darcy, while heat two saw Bryan Mann advance from sixth to chase down Mitch Gowland. A late pass from Scheuerle moved him to third ahead of Kevin Britten.
Heat three saw Hilder fend off a late surge from Lack and McHugh to grab a win, with Kristy Bonsey bouncing back from a starting infringement in her first outing to take heat four in advance of Kratzmann and Darcy.
Britten bested Gee and Kelly to take heat five before McHugh surged from sixth to success in the final heat, downing Ryan McNamara and Titman to emerge as top qualifier into the Spanloc Dash.
However, with McHugh selecting position seven in the Dash grid draw, it was Gee who found himself elevated to pole position with Lack alongside. Hilder and Scheuerle slotted into row two ahead of Mann and Titman, leaving Kratzmann to share the back row with McHugh. It was Lack who surged clear at the green and held his position through the six laps, leading Gee, Scheuerle and McHugh to the chequer. Hilder was next in line, followed by Titman, Mann and Kratzmann.
The B Main resulted in a win for Randy Morgan over Britten and Woods, with Michael Saller advancing to fourth to snare the final transfer spot into the feature race.
Lack again outpaced Gee to lead the feature as McHugh dropped a spot early when he hooked the cushion and bounced through turn one, only to have regained the position from Titman by the end of the opening lap before moving ahead of Gee, who had earlier been claimed by Scheuerle. Just days after announcing his impending retirement at the end of the season, Lack was looking strong through the opening laps with Scheuerle and McHugh in pursuit. Lap 10 saw the lead change when Scheuerle stormed to the front, leaving Lack to fend off McHugh. Lap 20 saw McHugh move ahead of Lack momentarily, only for the order to change again on the next circulation. Meanwhile, there was movement aplenty back in the field as Woods made an initial charge from the back before finding his progress halted once he reached the top ten while, further ahead, both Titman and Kratzmann found their way past Hilder and Gee. The absence of restarts ensured that lapped traffic became a factor and whilst Lack was able to draw alongside Scheuerle on more than one occasion, the Aussie champ was clinical in dealing with the slower cars and was able to maintain a narrow advantage. Lack refused to give up though and, with McHugh also desperate to find his way to the front, the top three engaged in a superb scrap that ultimately came down to the final few metres of the race as McHugh rounded up Lack in the final turn to snatch the runner-up spot, with less than half a second separating the first three as they swept under the chequer. Titman and Kratzmann were followed home by Gee, Hilder, Mann, Anthony Lambert, Woods and Jensen, with Saller climbing to 12th. Morgan and Bonsey were next in line, leaving Kelly, Britten, Greer and McNamara to complete the field.
The withdrawal of several nominated competitors left a much smaller field than anticipated for the Jim Holden Midget Memorial, with 18 cars hitting the track for qualifying and only 14 facing the starter in the feature race. Brown topped the timesheets in qualifying with a best lap of 13.755, edging out Clarke (13.880), Farmer (13.893), Chris Singleton (13.896) and the last of the sub-14 runners in Scott Doyle (13.943).
Teenager Bodie Smith prevailed in the opening heat ahead of Zac McDonald and Darren Vine, with Smee surging from fifth to win heat two from Whttaker and Brad Dawson, who bounced backed strongly after somehow upending in time trials.
Brown rounded up Brock dean on the final corner to win heat three, with Mitchell Rooke third as Doyle made a fiery exit that ended his night.
The final preliminary saw Clarke emerge as top qualifier when he cruised from pole position to defeat Whittaker and Smee.
A pre-race grid draw mixed up the order considerably and resulted in McDonald being gifted with pole position alongside Smith and ahead of Singleton and Rooke. Whittaker and Dean shared row three, then came Farmer, Smee, Brown, Clarke, Dawson, Nathan Mathers, Tim Farrell and Tom Clauss. At the green, McDonald and Smith were so intent on trying to out-muscle each other in the charge to turn one that they left the door open for Whittaker to snatch the lead. Farmer was quick to follow and had moved to third by lap two before advancing to second on lap six. When Clauss crashed out on lap seven, the ensuing restart saw Farmer launch an outside run on Whittaker that saw him edge ahead momentarily, only to relinquish the position and then throw away second spot with a spin on lap nine. Whittaker continued to lead from the restart until Brown charged around the outside through turn two on lap 17, with Smee also moving ahead of Whittaker on lap 22. Subsequent restarts for a series of minor incidents proved frustrating and enabled Clarke to close in on Whittaker and ultimately take over third spot. When Smee made a rare mistake and ran wide in turn four late in the race, Clarke pounced to grab second but neither of them could chase down Brown. When Whittaker headed infield with only a lap to run, Rooke would find himself fourth at the finish, with Farmer flying home to snatch fifth from Dean, Singleton and Dawson, leaving McDonald and Mathers as the only other finishers.
Cody O’Connell outgunned pole qualifier Jamie Usher to lead the field away in the Ian Boettcher Race Parts Wingless Sprint 50-lapper, with Paul Robinson also moving ahead of Usher in the early going. Dan Moes relegated Robinson on lap 15 and had chased down O’Connell, who was content to plod along on the pole line and force his rivals to take the high road if they intended to make a pass. Moes did exactly that on lap 19 and drew alongside O’Connell through turn one, only for contact between the pair to send Moes hard into the wall. It was lap 25 when a lead change finally came as Eggins rounded up O’Connell through turn two and immediately skipped clear. After an extended period of frustration snookered behind O’Connell, Chandler finally broke free with half a dozen laps to run and, although he was able to reduce the margin to Eggins at a rapid rate, he simply ran out of laps. O’Connell clung to third ahead of Michael Butcher, who delivered a mighty drive after transferring from the B Main, with Jacob Jolley and Usher the best of the rest. Max Risberger, Corey O’Toole, Andrew Robinson and Kevin Willis completed the top ten.
Heat wins went the way of O’Connell, Usher, Jolley, Moes, Mick Reid and Matt Wright, while Risberger bested the B Main ahead of Jayden O’Toole, Butcher and Brad Keiler.
The final round of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship resulted in a win for Steve Price, who led all 20 laps. Thomas Vickery finished in second spot ahead of Nathan Durston, who stormed back onto the podium after being banished to the back of the field for sending Tony Blanch into a spin on the opening lap. Having occupied second for much of the race, Blanch would ultimately finish fourth ahead of Lee McKinnell, Tim Gamble, Declan Brownsey and Steve Potts.
Heat wins were shared between Price, Vickery, Durston and Graeme Holland, who would finish ninth in the feature.
Jy Corbet won two heats and Boyd Chaffey took the other before backing up to win the Formula 500 Junior feature race. Corbet collected second ahead of Lockie Hose, Taylor Morgan and Kacy-Lee Black.