In perhaps his best performance of the season thus far, Andrew Scheuerle put in a stellar drive to victory in round 11 of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (March 11). Under plenty of pressure from Luke Oldfield for much of the race with both drivers riding the cushion high on the track, Scheuerle held firm to score a much needed win that extends his championship lead. Oldfield was as spectacular as ever in finishing second, with Lachlan McHugh ultimately securing third spot with a late run that saw him move ahead of Bryan Mann and Mitchell Gee, both of whom looked to have the position in their keeping at various stages of a highly entertaining race.
Brent Kratzmann finished sixth ahead of Dylan Menz and Ben Hilder, with Dan Murray and Brad Ayers rounding out the top ten ahead of Nathan McFarlane, who improved every time he hit the track to eventually finish ahead of several drivers who have done a lot more laps of the Archerfield track. Mark Pholi, Kevin Titman, Darren Silcock and Brett Minett completed the finishers, with only Jayden Peacock, Peter Lack and Mick Sauer failing to go the distance.
The night started as it has done so many times this season with Oldfield registering the fastest lap in time trials (11.504), outpointing Gee (11.738), Scheuerle (11.797) and Kratzmann (11.811), with Lack (11.824) the only other to clock under 12 seconds. Mann, McHugh, Murray, Pholi and and Hilder were next best ahead of Callum Walker, who unfortunately took no further part in proceedings.
Heat winners on the night were Peacock (2), Oldfield, Titman, Silcock and Hilder and, at the completion of qualifying, it was Oldfield and Scheuerle, who had finished second in both of his heats, sitting equal atop the points. By virtue of his faster qualifying time, it was Oldfield who was afforded the opportunity to select the invert for the Lucas Oils Dash, relegating himself to sixth and promoting Kratzmann to pole position.
The 6-lapper changed complexion with every lap, but it was Lack who surged to the front to take the race and secure pole position for the 30-lap feature race. Scheuerle snared second, Mann moved to third and Oldfield finished fourth as Kratzmann fell to fifth. McHugh, Gee and Hilder completed the field and that is how they would line-up for the main event.
Minett motored home to win the B Main over McFarlane, who executed some great outside passes to advance into the main event. Silcock and Ayers snagged the final transfer berths, leaving Supercars champion Garry Jacobson one spot shy of a feature race start.
Lack launched at the drop of the green and looked ready to race away in the East Coast Logistics feature race, clocking his fastest lap of the race on lap two. However, Lack saw his advantage evaporate in rapid time and, with five laps on the board, Scheurele had assumed the lead. Both Mann and Oldfield also moved ahead of Lack, who continued to drop through the field before heading infield on lap 17 to lament what might have been. Having deposed Mann on lap 7, Oldfield set off in pursuit of Scheuerle with both drivers firmly planted on the cushion that was situated very high on the track. Mitchell Gee climbed to third after starting seventh, only to succumb to Mann and then McHugh in what proved a great scrap. Mann and McHugh traded places for a few laps before the latter locked it up, recording the fastest lap of the race and leaving Mann fourth at the flag ahead of Gee, Kratzmann and Menz, who advanced six spots in a solid showing.
Round seven of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship produced a fitting result with Adam Clarke piloting the Polar Ice #29 to victory in the 20-lap feature race. Rusty Whittaker chased hard but just couldn’t find the skerrick of extra pace he needed to reel in the four-time national champ. Following his win in the previous round, Brock Dean put in another mighty drive on the highline to sweep into third spot, edging out Reid Mackay, Troy Ware and Adam Wallis. Mackay moved ahead of Dean as they started the final lap, but Dean stayed firm on the top and charged home to book another appearance on the podium. Darren Dillon, Mark George, Kristy Bonsey and Scott Doyle rounded out the top ten in advance of Rob Stewart, Rodney Harders and Brad Harrison.
Chris Gwilliam was the standout in qualifying with two heat wins and he led the opening lap of the feature from pole position, only to head infield on lap six. It was Clarke and Ware who shared the spoils in the remaining heats.
Although he failed to make much impression in the Midget main, Rob Stewart was rock solid under pressure in the Compact Speedcar feature race, keeping national champ Darren Vine at bay to win the 15-lapper. Trent Usher trailed Vine in third, with Dave Collins and Nathan Mathers next best in what was a highly competitive race. Matt O’Neill was plum out of luck after leading the first seven laps and still running strongly in second spot until a nudge from Wayne Corbett sent him into spin and a subsequent restart from the rear and unable climb any further than 11th behind Mitchell Rooke, Nick Gannon, Ricki Harrison, Corbett and Dave Swan.
Adam Butler dominated the Wingless Sprint program, winning two heats and then carrying that form into the 20-lap feature race to lead every circulation. Cody O’Connell impressed in his persistence, steadily making his way forward to eventually land in second spot but with insufficient laps remaining to make much impression on Butler. Glen Wright finished third ahead of Michael Butcher, Matthew Wright and Steve Gravino.
The AMCA Nationals feature race resulted in another win for Steve Potts, leading every lap against a small field. Nathan Durston occupied second spot from green to chequer, while the much improved Stephen Ward secured third ahead of Anthony Joyce, Nathan Jones, Zac McDonald and Leonie Knight.
Jason Rae led the opening laps of the Lightning Sprint feature race before national champ Kurt Wilson took over on lap three. However, when Wilson headed infield two laps later, Rae went back to the front until Aaron Kelly assumed the position on lap eight and cleared out to win by more than three seconds. Rae remained second ahead of Stephen Allen, Jason George and David Van Vegchel.
The next meeting at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is on Saturday, March 25 with a huge triple-bill program featuring the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, the Think Money Super Sedan Series and Dirt Modifieds, plus Open Sedans and Formula 500 Juniors.