Titman Breaks Through With Opening Night Blitz
Author : Archerfield Speedway
The 2019/2020 Queensland speedway season got underway with a spectacular night of racing at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday evening (October 5). In front of a packed house, Kevin Titman dished up the best performance of his Sprintcar career with a dominant display in the opening round of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship. Having topped qualifying and then securing top-five results in both of his heats, Titman subsequently took out the Trax Tyre and Auto Dash to secure pole position for the feature, from where he proved unstoppable in leading all 30 laps. Australian champ Andrew Scheuerle climbed from 10th to finish second ahead of Luke Oldfield, with Lachlan McHugh surging into fourth after transferring from the B Main.
In the opening round of the American Tire and Racing Services Midget Series, Glenn Wright scored a breakout win, leading home Cal Whatmore and Brock Dean in a race of high attrition. In support events, Paul Robinson prevailed in the Wingless Sprint feature over Michael Butcher and Andrew Robinson, while Liam Williams outpaced Charlie Brown and Tarhlea Apelt to win the opening round of the Done Right Touch Ups Formula 500 Series. Tony Blanch was a cut above the field in the opening round of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship, leading home Nathan Durston and Matt Hardy in the feature race.
A 27-car field fronted for the opening round of East Coast Logistics Sprintcar action and Titman made his intentions clear from the outset, stopping the clock at 11.811 to emerge with KRE Fast Time. Andrew Corbet (11.846) and Michael Saller (11.913) were next quickest ahead of Ryan McNamara, Mitchell Gee, Glen Sutherland, Oldfield, David Whell, Mark Pholi and Kristy Bonsey.
When gifted a front row start in the opening heat after Scheuerle was penalised for a starting infringement, Oldfield took maximum advantage to lead throughout and set the quickest lap of the night along the way. McHugh snared second ahead of Scheuerle as Titman advanced from sixth to finish fourth.
Dan Murray downed Sean Rose and Adam Butler to win heat two, with Aaron Kelly besting Andrew Baumber and Ryan McNamara to take out heat three.
Scheuerle prevailed in heat four, with Titman on the move again in advancing to second on this occasion, with Mark Pholi third.
Murray doubled up to win again in heat five, leading Kelly and Saller to the flag on this occasion.
The final heat of the night saw Oldfield advance from the third row to relegate Adam Butler and Tim Farrell to the minor placings.
The Trax Tyre and Auto Dash was a straightforward affair with the first four finishing as they started. Titman locked up pole position for the main event, leading home Oldfield, Saller and McNamara. Changes further back saw both Gee and Sutherland move ahead of Corbet, with Whell completing the field.
Whilst there were some surprises in the make-up of the B Main field, there were few to be found in the results with McHugh charging home for an easy win in advance of Bryan Mann, Farrell and Bonsey, whose night took a downward spiral after her strong result in qualifying, while 5th-placed Brett Minett would also snag a spot in the feature when Corbet failed to make the grid.
The opening laps of the feature saw Titman take control, leading Oldfield, Saller and Butler, with Scheuerle having climbed into the top five after as many laps. Lap 14 saw Sallers hopes dashed when he slid to a halt in turn three to avoid the parked Kelly and then compounded his misfortune with a restart infringement that saw him penalised at a subsequent restart. Whilst Oldfield had been closing in on Titman prior to the interruption, it was Scheuerle who pounced upon resumption, racing past Oldfield and reeling in Titman in very quick time. However, having snatched the lead from Titman on lap 12, Scheuerle immediately lost his advantage when Mann, who had been shadowing McHugh in his surge through the field, crashed out in turn three to trigger another restart that would hand the lead back to Titman. From this point, and despite another restart on lap 23 when McNamara whacked the wall whilst in possession of a top-five spot, Titman held firm at the front to lead Scheuerle and Oldfield to the line. McHugh was sensational in his fight-back for fourth, while Gee was solid in fifth without making much impression on the leaders. Saller, Murray and Sutherland were next, with Pholi and Whell rounding out the top ten. The remaining finishers were Farrell, Minett, Bonsey, Kelly, Butler and Allan Woods.
On a night that started so impressively with the biggest opening night field for several season, the first round of the American Tire and Racing Services Midget Series didnt quite live up to expectations, although Darren Vine certainly did his best to leave a positive impression, only for his feature race heroics to ultimately go unrewarded.
Former national champ Kaidon Brown (13.289) topped the timesheets in qualifying, edging out Dean (13.229), Vine (13.444) and defending track champion Rusty Whittaker (14.475).
After a sluggish start from the outside of row six in the opening heat, Brown would eventually chase down Whatmore to grab the lead on the final lap. Whatmore remained second at the flag and Scott Doyle was third while Vine suffered a setback when he tipped over in turn three.
After downing Dean and Zac McDonald in heat two, Whittaker backed up in heat three to keep Brown at bay to win again, with Brad Dawson third in this instance.
Despite starting from the outside front row in heat four and clocking the fastest lap of the race, Vine was unable to prevent Wright from taking control of the race and the win. A pass on lap nine elevated Tom Clauss to third ahead of Doyle.
When Brown exited the track as the field formed for the feature, Wright found himself on pole position and pounced to lead the field away. When Bodie Smith looped in turn four on lap two, the ensuing melee ended his race and also put a trio of Compact Speedcar converts in Barry Gibbes, Matt ONeill and Graham Flynn on the infield. When Doyle also exited a lap later, just 11 cars remained with 23 laps still to run. Vine quickly disposed of Whittaker after the restart and single-handedly set about salvaging the race as a spectacle. Running the ragged edge high on the track in his pursuit of Wright, Vine nosed ahead on at least one occasion and the pair were able to distance themselves from the pack despite their battle. Unfortunately, both Vine and third-placed Whittaker found themselves stationery in turn three with four laps to run in the aftermath of a kerfuffle involving Clauss, Dawson and Lachy Paulger. With Vine and Whittaker both banished to the back for the restart, Wright was now untroubled in completing the final laps to clinch the win ahead of Whatmore, Dean, Mitchell Rooke, McDonald, Whittaker, Vine and the only other finisher in Audie Malt.
Having failed to nominate for the event, his late inclusion in the field proved problematic for his rivals as Tony Blanch was able to overcome his rearward starting positions in the heats to emerge as top qualifier for the opening round of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship. After winning the first preliminary by more than seven seconds with a best lap more than a second quicker than anybody else, Blanch then finished second behind Thomas Vickery in his next outing. The remaining heats went to Nathan Durston and Russ Hardy, who was a unable to take his place in the feature field.
Given what had preceded it, there were no surprises forthcoming in the feature as Blanch took control from the outset and cruised home despite the best efforts of Durston, whose late charge made for a closer result than looked likely midway through the 20-lapper. Matt Hardy annexed third ahead of Nathan Tomkins, Vickery and Steve Price, with Kevin Stow, Darren Miller and Wayne Stacey the only others to go the distance.
Following heat wins to Dave Eggins, Michael Butcher, Rob Mazzer and Paul Robinson, it was the latter who would emerge triumphant in the 20-lap Wingless Sprint feature race. Butcher started from pole position and led the opening laps before Robinson moved to the front. Whilst he remained in close proximity throughout, Butcher was unable to reclaim the top spot, finishing a mere 0.288 in arrears at the chequer. Andrew Robinson finished third, while a last-lap pass propelled John Slack into fourth in advance of Eggins, Mason Cattell, Lachlan Robertson, Dave Ellis, Ben Hull and B Main winner Jacob Jolley, who advanced from 16th. The race was interrupted on lap eight when Tim Harris crashed heavily whilst running strongly inside the top three.
A small field fronted for the opening round of the Touch Ups Done Right Formula 500 series and, after a couple of stirring heat wins to Tarhlea Apelt and Tomas Partington, neither were able to repeat the dose in the feature race. Starting from pole position by virtue of his two runner-up finishes in the heats, Liam Williams was unstoppable in the feature race, clearing away to finish more than seven seconds ahead of second-placed Charlie Brown. Apelt bested Partington for the final spot on the podium in a very strong start to her season, with Brady Argles completing the first five ahead of Dekota Gay, Tony Bailey, Adrian Farrell and Royce Harvey.
The next event at Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway is Saturday, October 19 featuring round two of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, along with AMCA Nationals, Compact Speedcars, Formula 500 Junior, RSA Sedans and Open Sedans.
Ausdeck Archerfield Speedway is proudly supported by:
East Coast Logistics
Queensland Speedway Spares