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  • In two dominant performances, Nathan Smee and Kevin Britten triumphed in their respective feature events at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 17). Smee downed Adam Clarke and Troy Ware to win round three of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, while Britten emerged an emphatic winner in the Dirt Modified feature, finishing half a lap clear of runner-up Garry Wathen and third-placed Scott Conlin in the event rescheduled from two weeks earlier. Blessed with great weather at the start of the evening, light rain started to fall during the Midget feature and although it persisted through the Dirt Modified event, both races were completed successfully.

    Midget time trials kicked things off and it was Rodney Harders who, despite not getting the best of the track conditions, stood tall to clock the quickest lap (13.902) as the only driver to go under 14 seconds. Clarke (14.150) was next fastest, followed by Rusty Whittaker, previous round winner Chris Gwilliam, Chris Singleton and Smee, with Brad Young, Scott Farmer, Brock Dean and Reid Mackay rounding out the top ten.

    The opening heat saw Darren Vine pounce from pole position to win with a minimum of fuss, leading home 16-year-old Sydney rookie Kaiden Brown and Brock Dean. Interestingly, Harders was again cut the quickest lap but could finish no better that 7th overall.

    Adam Clarke scorched from the outside of row four to win the second heat, grabbing the lead from Adam Wallis on lap six. Smee snared second spot, with Ware also slipping ahead of Wallis to grab third.

    Taking maximum advantage of another front row start, Vine was victorious again in heat three, finishing ahead of Smee and Clarke on this occasion.

    After some terrific racing in the first three heats, the final preliminary was somewhat of an anti-climax with Ware finishing more than eight seconds clear of Cal Whatmore and Harders.

    With their heat race results elevating them ahead of Harders in the pecking order for the feature race, Clarke and Smee would share the front row for the 25-lapper. As expected, Clarke shot to the front at the drop of the green and remained at the front following an early restart, only to surrender the lead on lap seven when Smee assumed control. A restart just one lap later when Vine spun himself out of contention in turn two afforded Clarke an opportunity to regroup, but Smee was not to be denied and he raced away to score his first Archerfield feature race win for the season. Gwilliam closed in on Clarke as the laps wound down, only for the Kiwi to endure a spluttering run from the final turn to the chequer that enabled Ware to snatch third by 1/100th of a second. Reid Mackay was solid in finishing fifth ahead of Brown who, having secured podium results at Sydney and Avalon in a Midget career that is literally just weeks old, found the level of competition a little tougher north of the border but impressed nonetheless. Wallis was next in line, followed by Whittaker, Vine, Harders, Farmer, Mitch Haynes and Shane McDowell.

    Dirt Modifieds were a little down in numbers following a couple of late withdrawals and it was Wathen who emerged a comfortable winner in the opening heat. Britten struggled to make forward progress for much of the race but eventually climbed to second, relegating Andrew Firth to third spot.

    Mitchell Randall scored his first win in the category when he withstood the advances of David Ohl to win heat two, with Sam Bruggy also lurking closely in third.

    There was no stopping Britten in heat three as he raced clear of the field to finish in front of David Clark and Matt Ingrey.

    In the final heat, Scott Conlin proved far too pacey for his pursuers, finishing well clear of Firth and Wathen.

    In light of the conditions, the drivers delivered maximum cooperation as they produced 20 laps of uninterrupted racing. Britten bolted at the drop of the green and never looked under threat at any stage, eventually finishing more than half a lap (or 8.44 seconds to be precise) clear of Wathen to produce perhaps the most dominant performance at Archerfield this season. The battle for third was a much closer contest with Conlin keeping a fast finishing Clark at bay to secure the final place on the podium, while Bruggy wrapped up a solid night with fifth ahead of Randall. Sam Brown, Ohl, Firth and Nick Knott filled the top ten, with Simon Blandford, Ingrey, Chris Holdt and Dallas Czerwinski completing the finishers.

    The Compact Speedcar heats produced few surprises with Darren Vine (2) and Rob Stewart sharing the wins, however the feature race was a different story as Nathan Mathers raced away to a sizeable lead and then drove faultlessly to keep Vine at bay over the final laps to record his maiden win. Stewart finished third in advance of James Barton, Nick Gannon and Dave Collins.

    Following heat success to Terry Leerentveld, Aaron Prosser, Will Butler and rookie Klinton Hancey, the Modlite feature race resulted in yet another win for Leerentveld. The Australian champ downed Prosser, Wayne Donaldson, Sccott Lehfeldt, and Chris Ware in another dominant display.

    Ronnie Young completed dominated proceedings in Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans, winning all three heat races enroute to a feature race win over Thomas Hunter, David Tookey, Bernie Wright and Shane Robinson.

    The next event at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is the Boxing Night (December 26) extravaganza featuring Monster Trucks, fireworks and the first appearance for the season of 8-time World of Outlaws Sprintcar Champion Donny Schatz, along with fellow American stars Lucas Wolfe and Logan Schuchart, two-time Australian champion Dave Murcott and all the local stars. Schatz will also compete exclusively at Archerfield on December 30, January 1, January 4 and January 6/7.
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