With the 2016-2017 race season now officially over last night the teams of Sprintcars Queensland swapped race suits and crew uniforms for more formal attire and headed to Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane to celebrate the magnificent season that we have had and recognise the contributions and achievements of all those who make what we do possible.
Sprintcars Queensland President John Kelly opened the event and introduced Wade Aunger as our MC for the night, with the room then enjoying a delicious buffet dinner before the presentations commenced.
First on the agenda were some appreciation awards for the sponsors who have supported Sprintcars Queensland and our drivers this season. We are so fortunate to have so many passionate and generous people in this sport and we cannot thank all of our sponsors enough for their kindness and unwavering support – without them this season could not have been the success that it was.
East Coast Logistics were our major sponsor for the season, and their support of not just Sprintcars Queensland, but our drivers and the sport of Sprintcar racing in general, has truly had a significant impact and has helped shape this sport into what it is today.
The same is true for Bill Mann and Queensland Speedway Spares, who graciously stepped up as our second major sponsor this season. Bill Mann is one of those people who, through many years of support has had a remarkable influence in many parts of Speedway racing. His passion, dedication and generosity have left such an impression right through Sprintcar racing and speedway in general, that it is impossible to imagine where the sport would be without Bill Mann’s contributions. So many drivers, teams and clubs have benefited over the years because of Bill Mann and all of us at Sprintcars Queensland cannot even begin to thank Bill enough for everything he has done, and continues to do, for our club and our drivers.
Gary Kratzmann and Kratzmann Caravans were once again on board sponsoring the Kratzmann Challenge, while Ken Thorne from Myla Graphics continued his support of the club throughout the season and kindly organised the banners, backdrops, posters and novelty cheques for the presentations last night. While Mark Wode from Right Price Exhausts may have stepped away from his committee role at the end of last season and spent this season on the sidelines, his support of the club continued with his generous Sponsorship of the Right Price Exhausts Heat Race Points award. Jeff Pahlke of Lucas Oils, Clem Hoffmans of Spanloc Tools and Kenny and Wendy MacNamara of KRE Race Engines rounded out our appreciation awards for our sponsors. Each one of these people and businesses had a significant impact on our 2016-2017 race season and words are not enough to thank them adequately for their valuable support.
Our club is run by a small band of volunteers, who take time out of their lives to run our race meetings, organise grids, look after the drivers safety on and off track, ensure all relevant paperwork is completed for the night and handle social media activity. Glen Wilson, David Tracey, Ken Thorne, Chris Dvorak, Joanne White, Daniel Roberts and Asysha Tracey spend their race nights trying to make sure everything runs smoothly, that all drivers know when their race is on and where they are meant to start. Our crash crew are the first on the scene when there is a stoppage to check on our drivers and make sure they are safe, and have even been know to jump on the tools if there is a chance a crashed car may be able to restart the event. Our volunteers work tirelessly all night and seldom get the thanks they truly deserve, for without them we would be lost.
Speaking of volunteers, one cannot forget John and Kathy Kelly and the contribution they have made to Sprintcars Queensland this year. It’s no secret that John and Kathy are some of the most passionate people in the sport, but this year they took things to a new level. On top of their commitment running Archerfield Speedway and giving us a place to race, and their positions on the national scene, John and Kathy are President, Secretary and Treasurer of Sprintcars Queensland. The time, effort and passion that John and Kathy put into this sport and this club is unparalleled we as a club are better for their involvement.
The top fifteen drivers and car owners in the East Coast Logistics were recognised for their accomplishments this season. 15th Place – Rob Hamilton (Q11) 14th Place – Mitch Gowland (Q32) 13th Place – Karl Hoffmans (Q3) 9th Place – Mitchell Gee and Titan Racing (Q36) 8th Place – Kevin Titman (Q59) 7th Place – Motorguard Motorsport owned by John Weatherall (Q95) 6th Place – Callum Walker (Q33) 5th Place – Dave Whell (Q9) 4th Place – Brent Kratzmann (Q2) 3rd Place – Peter Lack (Q5) 2nd Place – Andrew Scheuerle (Q25) 1st Place – Luke Oldfield (Q17) ** 10th, 11th and 12th placed drivers could not attend the festivities.
The Right Price Exhausts Heat Race Points Championship went to Luke Oldfield, who, while winning both the East Coast Logistics Series and the Club Championship, was surprised to take home this awards as well, along with the $2000 cheque to commemorate the victory.
Mitch Gowland took out the B-Main points championship and walked away with a $1000 cheque courtesy of Mark Wode and Right Price Exhausts, the prize set to be funnelled straight back into the racer as he and the team prepare for a bigger and better season ahead.
The always stunning Pam Gessner joined Wade Aunger on stage to draw a series of raffle prizes, kindly donated by Sprintcars Queensland, John Titman Racing, AusDeck Patios and Roofing, John and Kathy Kelly and BHR Fabrications amongst others.
Cody Maroske was a deserving winner of the Rookie of Year award while Dave Whell was recognised as the Most Improved driver this season. Mark Oldfield was fittingly named as Crew Chief of the Year after a remarkable year, but recognised his entire crew for their efforts and declared it an award for the whole team, as none of the success would have been possible without them. The best Presented Car and Crew award this year went to Brent Kratzmann, a very appropriate award with the Q2 racer looking nothing short of sensational every time it hit the track. Karl Hoffmans, who showd immense promise in only his first season in a Sprintcar, secured the Encouragement Award, while the usually hotly contested Wings Award this year went, without a doubt, to Kevin Titman. Titman had a series of spectacular wrecks across the season but fortunately managed to walk away from them all, even managed to pull down a significant stretch of fence at Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway one night and forced the abandonment of the remainder of the program for the night. This is the second consecutive year that Titman has won the Wings Award and whatever next season holds for the Q59 racer you can sure it will be a big year.
The Drivers Driver Award, voted by the drivers present on the night went to Luke Oldfield, a sign of the respect he has earned from his competitors over the past season.
Clem Hoffmans and Spanloc Tools kindly once again donated a tool box, valued at just under $1000, to be awarded at random to one driver present in the room, with Ben Hilder ultimately the lucky winner. Hoffmans also donated $100 to one other randomly selected driver, with Rob Hamilton walking away with the money.
The presentations concluded with the presentation of awards to the top three in the 2016-2017 Sprintcars Queensland Club Championship. It was a closely fought battle between the top three which made for an exciting season for those of us fortunate enough to watch it all unfold. Andrew Scheuerle finished third with Peter Lack second and Luke Oldfield taking Championship honours.
And just like that the 2016-2017 race season has come to a close. It was a massive season, with some truly inspiring racing to keep us all entertained on a Saturday night. The time and effort put in by everyone to make this season everything that it was is what makes this sport so unique and so unbelievably incredible. Sprintcar Racing is more than just a driver in a car doing laps on an oval track. It is a team sport, a family sport, a sport that bonds people over a shared passion that is seldom understood out side the sport. We are so thankful to all our sponsors, volunteers, drivers, crews, teams, families, friends, supporters and fans for making this club and this sport everything that it is. Now we may be biased but Sprintcars Queensland is made up of some of the most remarkable people in the sport, and these drivers and teams put on some of the best racing in the country every week and we cannot wait to do it all again next season. Preparations are well underway for many teams and next season is already looking like it is going to be bigger and better again. Have a great off season everyone and remember the 2017-2018 season starts on Saturday 16 September 2017 with Round One of East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Archerfield Speedway – only 82 days to go!