Luke Oldfield was in a class of his own during round six of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (December 8), romping home in the 30-lap feature race, his second such win of the year coming at a very timely juncture with the imminent arrival of World of Outlaws stars Donny Schatz and Logan Schuchart. Behind Oldfield there was action aplenty as the battle for the minor placings heated up in the latter stages following the demise of Kevin Titman, who started from pole position and was running second before crashing out on lap 15. In the end it was Mitchell Gee who saw off a mighty effort from Brent Aprile to secure the runner-up spot, with Lachlan McHugh surging late to grab third, leaving Aprile fourth at the flag ahead of defending series champion Andrew Scheuerle.
In contrast, the Polar Ice Midget feature race never reached any great heights as Darren Vine raced to an easy win ahead of Rusty Whittaker, Riki Harrison, Charlie Brown and Mitchell Rooke.
AMCA Nationals were out in force and it was Steve Price who emerged on top in the feature race, leading home state champion Nathan Durston, Lewis Gamble, Matt Hardy and Steve Potts.
It was business as usual in the Modlite feature race with Klinton Hancey and Terry Leerentveld filling the first two spots, with Sam Gollschewsky third ahead of Nathan Politch and Jac Carnall.
From the moment he hit the track in qualifying, Oldfield made his intentions clear, stopping the clock at 11.605 to emerge with KRE Fast Time. Gee was next best with 11.663, with Brent Kratzmann clocking 11.730 to be third quickest. Steve Greer (11.839) and McHugh (12.001) rounded out the top five from the 32 cars that hit the track.
Andrew Corbet led throughout from pole position to win the opening heat ahead of Scheuerle and Titman, who recorded the fastest lap of the race in his advance from the outside of row three.
Randy Morgan likewise proved too swift from pole position in heat two, leading home Allan Woods and Anthony Vanderreyden.
Heat three saw Mark Pholi hang on to win ahead of Oldfield, who stormed from position eight to grab second from Darren Jensen.
Ryan McNamara got the best of the start in heat four, only to throw away the lead with a spin in front of the field in turn three on lap two. Miraculously, everybody avoided the rotating rookie and it was all Aprile from the restart. The North Queensland-based speedster finished almost three seconds clear of Scheuerle, with a third-place finish from Corbet securing him a spot in the Spanloc Dash.
Anthony Lambert downed Morgan and Anthony Vanderreyden in heat five, while a late-race spin on lap eight while running second proved very costly for Kristy Bonsey, relegating her to the B Main.
The final heat proved prophetic as Oldfield surged through the field after again starting from the fourth row and rounded up Mitch Gowland on the final lap to grab the win. Gowland remained second at the flag, with Paul Rooks finishing third.
A full 18-car field contested the B Main and, as is to be expected with so much at stake, there were several incidents in the opening stages, the most serious of which resulted in Scott Johnstone finishing upside down in turn one. McNamara replicated his earlier indiscretion with another spin from which he again emerged unscathed, albeit out of contention. Bryan Zelinski and Kris Jennings were also spinners, while Mark Pholi exited with a flat left rear tyre whilst in a transfer position. Ultimately, it was Vanderreyden and Greer who filled the top two spots ahead of Bonsey, who advanced from position nine to secure a feature race berth. Rooks finished fourth, while Mitch Gowland was also granted a start in the feature after a good run into fifth after starting eighth.
As top qualifier, Oldfield had the unenviable task of drawing the grid inversion for the 6-lap Spanloc Dash and when he selected the number eight marble, young Morgan found himself elevated to pole position. However, it was Titman who ran away with the race to secure pole position for the main event, with Oldfield slicing his way through the field to finish second. Morgan dropped further spots to Woods and Gee, with Scheuerle, Aprile and Corbet rounding out the field.
Titman carried that momentum into the feature race, leading Oldfield and Gee through the opening laps. A huge moment in turn four resulted in Rooks and Greer executing synchronised somersaults that left both cars extensively damaged but both drivers unharmed. From the restart, Oldfield decided the time was right to make his move and he faced little resistance as he swept past Titman to take control. Within a lap, Oldfield was over a second clear of Titman and that margin grew with each circulation. With Gee and Aprile engrossed in an epic battle for third, neither was able to make much impression on Titman. However, Titmans race was over come lap 15 when he crashed out through turn one, elevating Gee into second spot as he continued his duel with Aprile, who refused to move from the highline even as he lost contact with Gee. As the laps wound down, Oldfield was untroubled out front and cruised home ahead of Gee, with McHugh also moving underneath Aprile in the closing stages to pinch the final podium spot. A fifth-place finish for Scheurele should see him assume the championship lead, while Morgan snared sixth ahead of Lambert, Woods, Corbet and Bonsey. After executing a tyre change at the final restart, Kratzmann salvaged 11th for his efforts, while Brock Dean and Gowland completed the finishers.
Vine and Whittaker snared two wins apiece in the Midget heats and it would be the latter who started from pole position in the 20-lap Polar Ice feature race. However, it was Vine who launched best at the green from the outside, outpacing Whittaker to lead the opening lap. Having finished second in both of his heats, Charlie Brown seemed the most likely threat to the established order and he certainly played the part in the opening laps, running high on the track in a good duel with Whittaker. However, as the race progressed, Brown not only found himself unable to keep in contact with Whittaker, but also unable to fend off the challenge from Harrison. In the end, Vine emerged an easy winner from Whittaker, Harrison and Brown, with Mitchell Rooke finishing fifth. Bodie Smith, Tim Farrell, Cal Whatmore, Audie Malt and Gavin McDowell rounded out the top ten.
In the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals feature race, the outside front row once again proved the place to be as Steve Price out-jumped polesitter Nathan Durston and subsequently held sway at the front of the field for the duration. A solitary surge from Durston late in the race carried him to the front for the merest of moments, but Price was back in control before the lap was completed. Lewis Gamble found himself under plenty of pressure from Matt Hardy and Steve Potts, but he held firm to secure third spot. After Potts came Tony Blanch, who put in a terrific drive that perhaps deserved a better result, with Russ Hardy, Lee McKinnell, Cody Simmons and Jim Knight the next in line.
Six heats were needed to sort the 24-car field for the feature race, with Price, Durston, Blanch, McKinnell, Matt Hardy and Stuart Jefferies snaring wins.
The B Main saw Michael Denning, Scott Hitchcock, Shane McKinnell and Darren Miller secure a place in the feature race field, although it was only the latter who would go the distance in the big race.
Following heat wins to Hancey, Gollschewsky, Chris Were and Neil Gregson, Hancey again proved unstoppable in the Modlite feature race. Leerentveld finished less than half a second adrift in second spot, with third-placed Gollschewsky emerging as a potential threat to the pecking order in future outings. Politch was safe in fourth, while a late-race pass elevated Carnall to fifth in advance of Steve Collins, who was followed home by Adam Walker, Rodney Pammenter, Dan Lewis and Dan Hunter.
Robert Kynaston won two of the three heats before also taking out the Ford vs Holden vs Sigma feature race. Dave Tookey finished in second spot ahead of Mickey Mitchell and Troy Price, who also snared a heat win, with Michael Laver fifth at the flag.
The next meeting at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is on Boxing Night (December 26) featuring Monster Trucks, Fireworks and WoO Sprintcar champion Donny Schatz taking on all the local stars in round seven of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship. With Midgets, Compact Speedcars and Modlites also on the program, it is shaping as a massive night of motorsport entertainment.