In a spectacular race that showcased Midget racing at its breathtaking best, Troy Ware emerged victorious in a torrid 20-lap feature race to win round seven of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (March 24) to secure his third consecutive Danny Davidson Memorial. After a terrific start, Scott Farmer found himself unable to ward off Ware’s advances and had to settle for second spot, with the battle for third equally hard fought and only decided in the charge out of the final corner when Callum Walker edged ahead of Rusty Whittaker to clinch the spot by the merest of margins.
In a series of bizarre mishaps so crazy that even the most vivid imagination could not have possibly envisaged the course of events that resulted in Chris Corbett recovering from a rear-of-field penalty to somehow find himself the winner of the Dirt Modified feature race. Banished to the back after collecting Sam Bruggy in turn two on lap 10, Corbett charged back to the front and took full advantage of the misfortunes that unfolded around him to assume the lead with three laps remaining. In his best ever result, Graeme Holland finished in second spot, with Dale Corbett third ahead of Trevor Wiley and Mark Griffith.
On a night that featured great fields and produced some fantastic racing, other feature race winners were Liam Williams (Formula 500s), Tim Farrell (Compact Speedcars), Nathan Durston (AMCA Nationals), Wayne Kirkman (Open Sedans) and Matthew Hannigan (Ford vs Holden vs Sigma).
A few late entries boosted the field for the Danny Davidson Memorial, with 17 cars hitting the track. Stopping the clock at 13.771 in time trials, Ware was the only driver to dive under 14 seconds, leaving Whitaker (14.004) next best ahead of Mark George (14.229), Walker (14.313) and Farmer (14.373).
Usurping Nathan Mathers from the lead on lap five, George went on to take out the opening heat race, finishing ahead of Ware and Lance Towns as Mathers faded to fourth.
Brad Harrison had skipped clear of the field in heat two before riding out a roll through turn one on lap four to end his race and elevate Tim Farrell into the lead. Farrell held firm to win despite the best efforts of Darren Vine through the final laps, with Whittaker third home.
Once he disposed of early leader Cal Whatmore, Vine cleared away to win heat three by more than four seconds. Despite the fact that three drivers behind him recorded quicker lap times, Whatmore refused to concede another position and clung to second spot ahead of Reid Mackay.
After struggling in his opening heat, Farmer bounced back to score maximum points in the final preliminary, leading Ware and Towns to the chequer to set the scene for the feature race battle to come.
With Vine unable to take his place in the field after riding out a heavy wreck in the Compact Speedcar feature race, Farmer found himself starting fourth in the main event alongside Whittaker, with Ware and George sharing the front row. At the green, Ware and George were slow to go and Farmer rounded them up to assume the lead in what would, quite remarkably, be his fastest lap of the race. A restart came on lap four when Harrison spun in turn four, a feat he would repeat three laps later that would leave him watching from the infield. An aggressive move from Ware exiting turn two on lap eight took him to the lead, however Farmer had no intention of simply settling for second and the two become embroiled in a fantastic fight. Farmer went back to the front on lap 10, only for Ware to regain the ascendancy again on the next circulation. Despite Farmer’s best efforts from this point, Ware was not to be denied a third Danny Davidson Memorial trophy. Having started sixth, Walker had climbed to third by lap five before dropping a spot to Whittaker on lap 10. Despite moving back to third on lap 17, Walker found himself in fourth again at the start of the final lap, only for Whittaker to falter in the shadow of the chequer. In his best drive since stepping into Midgets, Mitchell Rooke finished fifth ahead of Reid Mackay, George and Brock Dean, with Glenn Wright and Brad Young rounding out the top ten.
Dirt Modified action got underway with Chris Corbett taking out the opening heat ahead of Australian champ Kevin Britten and Terry Leerentveld, with Zac McDonald outpacing Ray Klarich and Sam Bruggy to win heat two.
In his first hometown appearance for the season, David Clark proved too swift in heat two, leading home Bruggy and Klarich before Kevin Britten blitzed the field in the final heat, finishing in advance of Kevin Stow and Anthony Ashen.
The feature race was running as expected in the early stages with Britten leading Clark as two podium contenders in Klarich and McDonald made an early exit on lap four. Lap six produced a moment that ultimately had a hugely significant bearing on the outcome, with Britten and Clark making contact through turn two. With Clark seemingly redressing and allowing Britten to resume in front, both drivers continued without dropping a spot although neither would make it to the finish. Britten exited on lap 13 and handed the lead to Clark, who would also head infield on lap 19, soon after losing the lead to Bruggy, who had seemingly emerged unscathed from clash with Corbett. However, just a lap into his stint at the front, Bruggy whacked the back straight wall with sufficient force to end his night. Having stormed back into contention, Chris Corbett now found himself at the top of the order and on target for the most unlikely of wins. Despite a flat left rear tyre, Corbett finished more than two seconds clear of Holland, who enjoyed a similar margin over Dale Corbett, with Wiley, Griffith, Ash Hall and Marcus McKenzie the only other finishers.
Liam Williams was again unstoppable in the Formula 500 feature race, leading every lap to win round nine of the KRE Race Engines Championship Series. The only driver inside the top four who didn’t win a heat, Williams was fastest when it mattered most, leading home James Kennedy, Tristan Johnson, Charlie Brown and Ryan McNamara, who slipped into the top five with a last-lap pass on Tomas Partington. Next best was Ryan Skennar, with Cameron Bertuch, Bryn Upshall and Tony Bailey rounding out the top ten. The race was marred by two spectacular crashes, the first from Kristin Brown who, having made progress from a rearward staring position after a heat race mishap, found herself squeezed for room t before climbing the wall and rolling. Five laps later, Royce Harvey rode out a heavy series of somersaults along the main straight from which he thankfully emerged unscathed.
Kennedy won the opening heat from Charlie Brown, who was subsequently penalised four spots for an alleged starting infringement, elevating Williams to second in advance of Skennar.
Heat two saw Johnson prevail after chasing chase down Kristin Brown, with Nick Hodges third.
Skennar downed Williams and Victorian visitor Jarrod Bamfield in heat three before Charlie Brown bounced back to win the final preliminary over Johnson and Kennedy.
Round nine of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship resulted in an emphatic win for Nathan Durston in the feature race. Surprisingly, given the level of competition in the class this season, once Durston shot to the front on the opening lap there were no changes within the top three for the duration of the 20-lapper. Pole qualifier Thomas Vickery finishing in second spot ahead of Steve Price, with Steve Potts and Tim Gamble moving ahead of Declan Brownsey to fill the top five. Behind Brownsey came Michael Mason, Jason Molle, Mark Chiplin, Dallas Czerwinski and the rest in a race that saw all 17 starters still running at the fall of the chequer.
The night started with a typically close contest that saw Gamble edge out Price and Vickery, with less than a second separating the trio. Mason won heat two, Potts prevailed in heat three and then a win by Vickery in the final heat was enough to secure pole position for the feature.
Just a week out from their Queensland Championship, the tension was palpable in the Compact Speedcar ranks, with action aplenty from the big field, including a wild ride from Darren Vine that ended his feature race challenge after just two laps. It was Tim Farrell who triumphed in the main event, withstanding the valiant effort of a fast-finishing Wayne Corbett, who surged from deep in the field. Glenn Wright finished third in advance of Steve Swingler and Dave Collins, while Emma Harris was desperately unlucky to finish as low as sixth after running inside the top three for so much of the race. Mark Maczek, James Barton and Richard Rooke were the only others to go the distance. Graeme Flynn was running inside the top five before clobbering the concrete and grinding to a halt in turn one, triggering the final restart from which Corbett launched his late surge.
Old foes Vine and Swingler renewed their rivalry in the opening heat, finishing first and second respectively ahead of Flynn. Heat two saw Wright score a hard-fought win over Barton and Farrell before Vine returned to win again in heat three, this time ahead of Farrell and Wright.
The final heat went to Flynn over Barton and Collins, but not before Richard Treanor made his mark with a wild moment in turn four that saw him running the highest line possible - along the top of the safety wall - before bouncing back to the track.
Open Sedans ran a combined feature that resulted in a win for Wayne Kirkman from Allan Pearson and a trio of B Division runners in Ben Robertson, Scott Taylor and Michael Taylor.
Victory spoils in the Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans went the way of Matthew Hannigan, who finished more than seven seconds clear of Dave Tookey and third-placed Robert Kynaston.
Racing continues next Saturday night (March 31) at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway with another huge show featuring round two of the Easter Sprintcar Triple Challenge and the Queensland Compact Speedcar Championship, plus Wingless Sprints and Formula 500s.