McHugh Wins, Oldfield Leads
Author : Archerfield Speedway
Defending titleholder Lachlan McHugh triumphed in the Queensland Sprintcar Championship Preliminary Feature Race at Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (October 3), however it is Luke Oldfield who sits atop the championship standings heading into the final night of competition. Although he finished second behind McHugh in the preliminary feature, a superior qualifying performance has Oldfield leading McHugh by a solitary point. As was the case a week prior in Toowoomba, Oldfield and McHugh were a class above their rivals and engaged in a great scrap at the front of the field that ultimately produced an identical result. Third home at the chequer was Cody Maroske ahead of Brent Kratzmann, Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman, with Aaron Kelly, Allan Woods, Callum Walker and Adam Butler rounding out the top ten.
In the opening round of the TFH Hire Services Midget Series, Brad Dawson took maximum advantage of a tangle between race leader Darren Vine and second-placed Rusty Whittaker, pouncing to snatch the lead and feature race win. Whittaker recovered best to snare second spot while Vine, who dominated the heats and the first 23 laps of the feature, was left to salvage a third-place finish. Cal Whatmore finished fourth ahead of Ricky Robinson and Zac McDonald whose persistence with the highline proved a highlight and carried him into the top five after starting outside the top ten, only to falter late in the race and drop a spot to Robinson, who also started deep in the field.
Despite the COVID-induced extended break from competition, a strong sense of familiarity soon settled over proceedings when Oldfield delivered one of his customary time trial performances to top the timesheets, stopping the clock at 11.743 to secure an early advantage. Maroske (11.898) was second quickest ahead of a best-ever qualifying performance from Butler (11.938), with Kratzmann (11.942) the last of the sub-12 runners. McHugh, Walker, Gee, Andrew Corbet, Titman and Dave Fanning completed the top ten.
When a spin from Mark Pholi in turn four on the first lap of the opening heat that also ensnared Gee and Walker resulted in all three restarting from the rear and elevated Oldfield to the second row for the restart, it seemed the result was a foregone conclusion. However, Randy Morgan had other ideas and kept Oldfield at bay to grab the win, with Nicholas Whell finishing third.
Brendon Claridge paced the field from pole position to win heat two ahead of Paul Rooks and McHugh before Titman climbed from the third row to win heat three in advance of Kevin Britten and Kratzmann.
Unable to avoid a spinning Andrew Baumber on the opening lap of heat four, Titman saw his chances of another win disappear as Whell went on to take the race ahead of Woods and Gee.
Having surrendered the lead late in heat three, Britten made no such mistake in heat four, leading home Morgan and Kelly.
The only incident of the night came in the final heat when Darren Jensen slammed the wall hard in turn three. Tim Farrell led early, only to throw away his advantage with a spin on lap four that handed the win to McHugh. Fanning filled second spot and Farrell was able to salvage third when Corbet spun himself out of the position with a lap remaining.
Despite occupying pole position for the 20-lap preliminary feature race, it was no surprise to anybody that Oldfield went straight to the top of the track at the drop of the green, taking McHugh and most of the field with him as they chased the cushion. Oldfield held sway at the front until lap nine when a slide job from McHugh propelled him into the lead. The only interruption to proceedings came on lap 10 when Corbet spun in turn one, ensuring that lapped traffic would play no part as McHugh powered away from the restart to leave Oldfield in his wake for the second time in as many weeks. Maroske, Kratzmann and Gee were next best, all three all finishing where they started, while Titman advanced a couple of spots to secure sixth ahead of Kelly, who started outside the top ten.
It was a somewhat inglorious start to the night for the opening round of the TFH Midget Series, with only four cars facing the starter in the opening heat. The field was reduced further when Charlie Brown rolled in turn three on the opening lap, leaving Vine with an effortless stroll to take the race from Dawson and Gavin McDowell.
Inexplicably, the second heat featured a full field of nine starters and, needless to say, delivered a far better spectacle as Tom Clauss denied the best efforts of Nathan Mathers to secure a win, with Whatmore nabbing third spot.
Vine was untroubled again in winning heat three, with Dawson looking to have a runner-up result in his keeping again until Whittaker pounced on the final lap to snatch second.
Chris Singleton charged from the third row to emerge victorious in the final heat, with Whatmore emulating Whittaker in executing a last-lap pass to snare steal second from Darren Dillon.
A scrappy start to the 25-lap feature race resulted in a pile-up in turn two involving McDonald, Lachlan Paulger and Glenn Wright, with the latter unable to continue, joining Darren Dillon on the infield as a tyre change enabled Singleton to make the restart. As expected, Vine went straight to the front from pole position to lead Dawson through the opening laps. Having started sixth, Whittaker deposed Dawson on lap 11 and loomed large on the tail of Vine. The order remained unchanged until lap 23 when Whittaker tagged the back of Vine, pushing both cars up-track and allowing Dawson to pounce for an opportunistic advance into the lead. Whittaker recovered quickest to remain in second spot, with Vine shuffled back to third. Robinson found late pace to advance into the top five ahead of McDonald, whose highline heroics carried him past a lot of cars and may have resulted in an even better result if not for a few too many excursions over the cushion that slowed his momentum. Paulger and Mathers were next in line, leaving Scott Doyle and Singleton as the only other finishers.
Kevin Stow won the opening heat of the opening round of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship from the outside front row, leading home Nathan Tomkins and Russ Hardy.
Bruce Marshall blitzed the field in heat two to win more than three seconds clear of Steve Potts and Steve Price before backing up in heat to advance from the third row and finish a narrow second behind Lee McKinnell, with Hardy third on this occasion.
The final heat saw Damien Groer lead all the way to prevail over Nathan Tomkins, who slipped ahead of Scott Hitchcock on the final lap to secure a spot alongside Marshall on the front row of the feature race grid.
Despite the slickening track surface that developed for the feature, Marshall was never seriously threatened over the course of the 20 laps, surviving a series of restarts that came resulted as several of the tailenders struggled to cope with the conditions. Tomkins remained second throughout, always close but never close enough to launch a sustained challenge, while a big finish from 7th-starting Groer saw him surge into third spot on the final lap. McKinnell, Hitchcock, Hardy and Potts
Were next best, followed by Troy Price, Stow and Michael Denning.
The reopening of the Queensland border to residents from the northernmost regions of New South Wales certainly enhanced the Wingless Sprint field, with Lismore-based Jacob Jolley emerging as the standout performer on the night.
Kevin Willis won the opening heat from Brody Thomsen and Tim Harris before Jolley upstaged Ryan Harris and Trent Martin to take heat two.
Ryan Harris downed Jolley and Mick Reid in winning heat three and then the final heat fell in favour of Martin over Paul Robinson and Jayden O’Toole.
Jumping from pole position to lead the field away in the feature race, Jolley remained in control through the 20 laps to collect a win that would not have been possible a week earlier. Martin moved forward from the third row to finish in second spot ahead of Robinson, Michael Butcher, O’Toole and Thomson. Completing the top ten were Liam Atkinson, Reid, James Barton and Paul Newcombe as Ryan Harris backslid from his front row starting position to finish well out of contention.
Bodie Smith made easy work of a small Compact Speedcar field to win two heats enroute to a dominant victory in the feature race. Dave Collins was the only other heat winner and he finished second in the feature, albeit more than six seconds adrift of Smith. Dave Swan, Andrew Parkes and Harry Stewart filled the top five, leaving Connor McCullough, Richard Treanor and Andrew Rooke to round out the 8-car field.
Taylor Morgan and Kacy-Lee Black shared the spoils in the Formula 500 Junior heats and then it was Morgan who backed up to win the final, outgunning Ewan Oliver, Black, Jared Boys, Noah Ball, Amanda Chaffey and Khiana Gay.
Racing continues tonight at Archerfield Speedway night with two more rounds of Sprintcar heats, plus the B Main, Pole Shootout and Championship Feature Race, plus round two of the TFH Hire Services Midget Series and another big support program featuring Lightning Sprints, Microsprints and RSA Sedans.