For the second time in 24 hours, Gold Coast young gun Lachlan McHugh chased down Robbie Farr to score a Sprintcar feature race win, scorching to victory in round two of the Easter Triple Challenge at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (March 31). Having started the 40-lapper from position three, McHugh spent the early laps in a duel with Mitchell Gee before breaking the shackles and setting out after Farr, who fell to third in the closing stages as Luke Oldfield produced one of his typically barnstorming runs to snare second after a problem-plagued run through the heats saw him launch from position 10 in the feature field. Peter Lack recovered from a spin to fight his way back to fourth ahead of Gee and Cody Maroske.
In the Queensland Compact Speedcar Championship, Robbie Stewart was untroubled in retaining his title, finishing the 25-lap feature race five seconds clear of second-placed Matt ONeill. Tim Farrell finished third ahead of Wayne Corbett and a fast-finishing Glenn Wright.
David Eggins emulated McHugh’s efforts when he snared his second Wingless Sprint feature race win in as many nights, leading home Brant Chandler, Jacob Jolley, Josh Dreaver and Ryan Harris.
The Formula 500 feature proved a thriller with Ryan Skennar edging James Kennedy for his first win at home this season. After a horror run last weekend, Kristin Brown bounced back to finagle a third-place finish ahead of Kurt Wilson and Charlie Brown.
Under blue skies, 42 cars fronted for competition and 41 hit the track for time trials and it was a familiar tale at the top of the timesheets with Oldfield besting the bunch with a fastest lap of 11.645. Farr was next best with 11.718, followed by Andrew Scheuerle (11.732), McHugh (11.738) and Bryan Mann (11.760), with Lack, Dylan Menz, Gee, Jackson Delamont and Jayden Peacock rounding out the top ten.
The opening heat was an action-packed affair, with the first incident coming on lap three when Oldfield found himself wedged between the wall and Stewart Craig in turn two. Once the cars were separated, Craig was out of action but Oldfield was able to continue, only for the race to be halted again when contact between Randy Morgan and Bryan Zelinski left the latter upside down. Out front, Mark Pholi was a comfortable winner over Nelson Reddacliff and Gee, with Oldfield advancing from the rear to snare fifth behind Brett Minett.
A penalty for jumping the start proved costly for Darren Jensen in heat two as the subsequent restart saw him rounded up by the likes of Peacock and Farr as he slipped to fifth at the finish. Out front, it was all Karl Hoffmans in leading Brad Ayers and Peacock to the chequer.
Heat three saw Mitch Gowland home first ahead of Kristy Bonsey and Brendan Scorgie, with Mick Sauer securing a win in heat four in advance of McHugh and Anthony Lambert.
Maroske made the most of a front row start in heat five to lead home Adam Butler and Lambert, who consistently outshines several higher profile rivals despite minimal resources.
More dramas for Oldfield in heat six when Tony Wynne spun and tipped over in turn three, leaving Oldfield nowhere to go and sending the Mud Buddy #17 upside down. Wynne also failed to continue, while David Whell soldiered on with a damaged top wing as Kristy Bonsey charged to the chequer to defeat Phil Foster and Ayers.
Jensen made no mistake in heat seven to lead all the way, surviving a late charge from Michael Saller, with Sauer third on this occasion.
Craig bounced back from his opening heat misfortune to clinch the final preliminary, downing Scorgie and Jackson Delamont.
A terrific late-race charge from Dale Shilletto carried him to victory in the C Main, leading Kris Jennings and Andrew Marks in transferring to the B Main.
In a race plagued by stoppages courtesy of spins from Hoffmans, Reddacliff, Shilletto and Minett, it was Brent Kratzmann who ultimately prevailed in the B Main in advance of Sauer, Bonsey, Hilder and Jensen.
In the Pole Shootout, Gee advanced from the bronze round through to the gold showdown, eventually finishing second behind Farr. Third quickest was McHugh, with Scheuerle, Lack, Mann, Saller and Peacock completing the order.
The first attempt to get the feature underway saw Farr outwitted by both Gee and McHugh, only for Kratzmann to ride out a wreck at the end of the back straight which stalled proceedings and necessitated a restart that included Jensen as a substitute for Kratzmann. Farr made no mistake at the resumption, but it was to no avail as Saller spun in turn two to trigger a third attempt at getting underway. Third time lucky saw laps completed as Farr established a lead over Gee, who soon found himself under pressure from McHugh and Lack, who spun on lap seven and continued after dropping several spots. After an extended scrap between Gee and McHugh that saw them swap second position, McHugh made a clean break and set off in pursuit of Farr, moving into the lead on lap 25, only for Farr to take the spot back a lap later before succumbing again on lap 27 for the final time. Once in front, McHugh set about extending his advantage as Gee now found himself under attack from Scheuerle and Oldfield. The only red light interruption came on lap 30 when Menz tipped over in turn two and, whilst a very clever restart from Farr took him back to the front momentarily, there was no stopping McHugh as he calmly reasserted his authority and completed the remaining laps to secure back-to-back wins. Having disposed of Scheuerle and Gee, Oldfield subsequently surged into second, with Lack making a strong recovery to climb back into fourth behind Farr, leaving Gee fifth at the flag. Maroske was another to make a late surge, moving ahead of Scheuerle for sixth as Delamont, Lambert and Saller completed the top ten. Whell was next in line, followed by Hilder, Scorgie, Bonsey, Sauer, Jensen and Ayers.
Compact Speedcar heats were shared between Matt ONeill, Wayne Corbett, Tim Farrell and Graeme Flynn, with ONeill setting the early pace in the Queensland Championship feature race. Having started sixth, Stewart always looked in control of the race though, moving into third on lap two and then advancing to second on lap five. It was lap 13 when Stewart decided to make his move for the lead, rounding up ONeill and then clearing away from the field to emphatically retain his title. ONeill remained second to the chequer, with Farrell third ahead of Corbett and Glenn Wright, both of whom started outside the top ten. Flynn, Dave Collins, Bernie Clarke, Dave Swan and Glenn Prowse were the remaining finishers from what was, surprisingly, one of their smallest field of the season so far. Emma Harris was looking every bit a serious threat until a flat tyre intervened and rendered her a spectator.
Brant Chandler led the opening laps of the Wingless Sprint feature race before Ray Eggins took control and, despite an audacious move from Chandler at a late race restart that saw him momentarily reclaim the lead, Eggins was soon back in control to finish his Queensland feature race campaign undefeated. Jacob Jolley enjoyed an impressive Archerfield debut in finishing third, while Josh Dreaver got the best of a spirited scrap to finish fourth ahead of Ryan Harris and Michael Butcher.
Wingless Sprint heat winners were Chandler, Dreaver, Jolley and Cody OConnell, who exited the feature race on lap 15.
Kristin Brown won two heats and James Kennedy the other in the Formula 500 preliminaries, but it was Skennar who prevailed by less than half a second in the 15-lap feature race. Kennedy was relentless in his pursuit but couldn’t find a way to usurp Skennar. Kristin Brown, Kurt Wilson and Charlie Brown, sporting a replacement wing after an heat race rollover, were next best ahead of Ryan McNamara, Nick Hodges and Phil Roberts.
The Formula 500 Junior heats were shared between Tarhlea Apelt and Jy Corbett with two wins apiece.
The next event at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is on Saturday, April 14 and will feature Sprintcars, Midgets, Formula 500s, Lightning Sprints and Open Sedans plus fireworks and a Demolition Derby.