A quality field of Midgets rarely lets you down and Saturday night (November 8) at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway was proof positive with round two of the Midget Super Series producing some splendid racing. It was Australian champion Adam Clarke who prevailed in the 30-lap feature event, swapping the lead in the early laps with Aiden Corish and Nathan Smee before surging clear as his challengers fell by the wayside. Further back there was incredible action as Brendan Palmer surged forward to finish in second spot ahead of Troy Jenkins, with Michael Harders also advancing through the field to improve from 12th to fourth at the chequer. Meanwhile, Smee somehow climbed back into the top five following a spin on lap 9, while young Corish - who was sensational throughout the night and showed little regard for the reputations of those around him - faded to finish sixth but left plenty of good judges very impressed. Troy Ware and Anthony Chaffey were next best ahead of Matt Hefford and Mitch Brien.
The night started in somewhat in inauspicious fashion with several drivers striking trouble in time trials. Inexplicably, both Brett Foreman and Don Mackay crashed out whilst racing the clock, with Darren Vine and Reid Mackay also failing to complete the session. Having watched all of his fellow competitors take their best shot, Clarke was the last of 24 drivers to hit the track and he stopped the clock at 13.260 to top the timesheets. Perhaps not surprisingly, Smee was second quickest ahead of Jenkins, with Ken Stanaway and an impressive Rusty Whittaker rounding out the first five.
The opening heat of the night saw Clarke at his brilliant best, scorching from the rear of the field into the lead before the completion of the opening lap. Stanaway finished second more than four seconds in arrears, with Anthony Chaffey in third spot.
Heat two saw Corish make his first statement of intent, outpacing the field to finish ahead of Jenkins and Brien. In a car only completed in the hours immediately prior to the race meeting, Palmer put in a great drive under pressure to edge out Smee in heat three, with Whittaker finishing third.
Heat four produced the only Queensland quinella of the night when Dean downed Stanaway, leaving Jason Bell in their wake in third spot. Heat five saw Corish again outpace the field, leading home Palmer and Brien on this occasion.
The final heat brought Clarke and Smee together and it was the latter who emerged with the upper hand in this instance. After being checked in his opening heat, Harders avoided trouble on this occasion to nab third spot.
The Race Safety Shootout kicked off with Dean and Corish advancing from the Bronze Dash, downing Palmer and Brien. The Silver Dash saw the same pair advance once again, outpacing Stanaway and Jenkins in this instance. In the final clash to determine pole position, Smee outpaced Clarke to secure the top spot, relegating Dean and Corish to the second row of the grid.
The start of the American Tire and Racing Services feature race took everybody by surprise – including the front row starters – when Corish leapt from row two to lead the opening lap from Clarke and Smee. Meawhile, after such a strong qualifying effort, Dean’s race ended on the opening lap when he took the #99 to the grass moments before the first restart came following simultaneous spins by Whittaker and Stanaway at opposite ends of the track. At the resumption, both Clarke and Smee rounded up Corish, with Smee moving ahead of Clarke to assume the lead on the next circulation. However, Clarke quickly reasserted his control and moved back to the front; he and Smee running together until the latter inexplicably spun to a halt in turn two on lap nine. The subsequent restart put Corish in second spot, a position he maintained until lap 16. Further back, Harders had stormed through the field into fifth position, which would become fourth when Corish faded in the closing stages. Whilst Clarke was comfortable out front, the action further back was spellbinding as Palmer’s persistence and patience paid off when he rounded up Corish and third-placed Jenkins on consecutive laps. When Whittaker looped again with just two laps remaining, Palmer was gifted a shot at Clarke, while Smee now found himself in a position to snatch a place on the podium after storming back through the field. The national champ could not be denied though and Clarke remained in control to secure victory over Palmer. In the final scramble, Corish backslid out of the top five as Jenkins secured third ahead of Harders and Smee, with Ware, Chaffey, Hefford and Brien, who looked on track for a much better result before a spin lap 11, rounding out the top ten finishers. Having battled an engine misfire most of the night, Matt Jackson salvaged 11th overall, followed home by Dene Merrylees, Bell, Stanaway, Brad Young, Andy Hassan and Glen Shaw.
Steve Johnson was untroubled in winning the Limited Sprintcar feature event, leading home a depleted field of 360ci compatriots. Nelson Reddacliffe and Jason Bottin filled the minor placings, followed by Darren Silcock, Wayne Lemon, Russell Hynds and a luckless Kristy Bonsey.
Heat wins were shared around with Johnson, Reddacliffe and Bottin snaring one apiece. Ron Hendrickson’s night ended early when he whacked the wall along the main straight in the final moments of the opening heat.
The AMCA National events were all smooth sailing until the final few laps of the feature race when the first four decided to get physical, gifting Matt Hardy a win that seemed unlikely for all but the final two laps. Russ Hardy annexed second spot, with Peter Greer also taking full advantage of the antics around him to secure his best ever result in third place. Jason Molle, Stephen Ward, Thomas Vickery and Stuart Hall were the only others top go the distance.
AMCA National heat wins were shared between Hall, Matt Hardy, Steve Potts and Matt Enders.
The Compact Speedcar feature race went to Gary Hudson ahead of Wayne Corbett, Cameron Pesschier, Michael Hunter and Dave Swan. Gary Hudson, Nick Hudson and Corbett shared the spoils in the qualifying heats.
Steve McCullough downed Shane Munro and Jack Norton to win the Microsprint feature, while Michael Taylor outpaced Bob Ware, Glenn Willmott and the trusty Torana of Justin Randall to win the Open Sedan feature race.
Next week at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway will feature round four of the Supercheap Auto Sprintcar Track Championship, supported by Lightning Sprints, Wingless Sprints, Modlites and Stockcars. The top three in round two of the American Tire and Racing Services Midget Super Series (l to r): Brendan Palmer (2nd), Adam Clarke (1st), Troy Jenkins (3rd).