Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Track Championship - Round Fifteen
Joanne White posted Sunday May 28, 2017.
The Sprintcars Queensland 2016-2017 race season concluded last night at AusDeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway with the final night of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship. There were double points of the line and with just eleven points separating the top two drivers (Luke Oldfield and Andrew Scheuerle) going into the night, with third placed Peter Lack still a mathematical chance just fifty-nine points behind Scheuerle, there was never any doubt that the championship would go down to the final race. All three drivers suffered misfortune in the feature event last night, and while Luke Oldfield has walked away with both the Track Championship and the Club Championship, last night there was no stopping Bryan Mann as he raced to victory at the conclusion of the thirty-lap affair. Mann led most of the race after starting from the front row, and while Oldfield briefly relieved him of control of the race and both Lack and David Murcott occasionally challenged for the lead, Mann drove a clean, solid race, skilfully navigating lapped traffic before taking the win for the final time this season. David Murcott crossed the line in second while Brent Kratzmann, who had a number of impressive runs in the heats, climbed through the field to return to the podium in third. Mick Sauer and Callum Walker rounded out the top five last night.
When qualifying got underway it was Bryan Mann who held the top spot for a short while until Adam Clarke hit the track and stopped the clock at 11.663 seconds. Callum Walker and Peter Lack both came close to dislodging Clarke from the top spot but it was Andrew Scheuerle, who was last to take to the track for qualifying, who managed to lock in quick time and earn maximum qualifying points. On his final qualifying lap Scheuerle stopped the clock at 11.659 seconds just four thousandths of a second quicker than Clarke. Clarke was relegated to second while Walker, Lack and Mann rounded out the fastest five. The top eight cars all managed to break into the eleven-second bracket, with the top twenty-two, of twenty-eight, separated by less than one second. Kevin Britten and Brent Kratzmann recorded identical times, both drivers stopping the clock at 12.215 seconds, while both Brett Minett and Mick Sauer stopped the clock at 12.422 seconds. Ben Hilder beat Anthony Lambert by just one thousandth of a second, while Nelson Reddacliff was just two thousandths of a second quicker than Phill Foster.
Heat one started with Anthony Lambert, driving the Q38 racer of Darren Silcock, from pole position, with Brett Minett alongside. Lambert got the jump when the lights went green but Minett raced into the lead by the time they hit the first corner, with Brad Ayers and Luke Oldfield using the highline to race around Lambert and Rob Hamilton. Andrew Scheuerle also committed to the top side, following Oldfield as they raced underneath Ayers and started closing in on the leader. Minett did a magnificent job out in front but as they completed the third lap of the race Oldfield took control and powered around the outside to steal the lead. Scheuerle followed a couple of laps later, sliding beautifully underneath Minett as the pair rounded turn two, before focussing on chasing down Oldfield. While Scheuerle set about trying to get closer to Oldfield, behind them the battle for third was starting to heat up. Minett held the position but came under enormous pressure from Brad Ayers, who was soon forced to try and defend his position from a very hard charging Brent Aprile. Aprile raced underneath Ayers and turned his attention to Minett, while at the rear of the field Brendon Claridge and Nelson Reddacliff argued over the minor places, just as Oldfield and Scheuerle were coming around to start lapping the field. Luke Oldfield got the win ahead of Andrew Scheuerle and while Brent Aprile crossed the line in third he was promptly disqualified from the event after failing to go to the scales. Brett Minett was credited with third and led Brad Ayers, Rob Hamilton, Brendon Claridge, Nelson Reddacliff and Anthony Lambert across the line.
Neil Howard and Mick Sauer shared the front row for the start of heat two, with Ben Hilder and Kevin Britten right behind them. Sauer quickly secured the lead when the lights went green, with Howard settling into second ahead of Britten and Hilder. David Murcott and Adam Clarke were starting to search for a way forward from the rear of the field, with Clarke racing boldly around the outside of Murcott before turning his attention to Ben Hilder. Britten had made his way past Howard and was chasing down Sauer, while Clarke raced up the inside of Hilder before switching to the top side to get around Howard less than half a lap later. Hilder made his way past Howard, with Murcott following a lap later with Bryan Mann now on his tail. Murcott secured the advantage over Hilder, leaving Hilder to try and defend his position from Bryan Mann and an impressive Andrew Corbet. Clarke and Murcott spent several laps closing the gap to Britten, with Clarke racing through on the low line and into second, while Murcott used the high side a few laps later to make his move. Mick Sauer was never challenged for control of the race and easily took the win, leading Adam Clarke, David Murcott, Kevin Britten, Bryan Mann, Andrew Corbet, Phill Foster and Neil Howard across the line. Ben Hilder pulled out of the event after just five laps, mechanical issues in the Q95 racer ending his race, his night and his season.
Mitch Gowland started from pole position in heat three with Kristy Bonsey alongside and Dave Whell and Brent Kratzmann from the second row. Bonsey got the jump when the lights went green and secured the race lead but all eyes were on Kratzmann as he committed to the high line and started to make his way towards the front. Kratzmann had a phenomenal run around the high side, racing around Whell and Gowland before the end of the second corner and set his sights on Bonsey and the race lead. Kratzmann switched to the low side as they raced down the back straight, sliding beautifully underneath the Q42 racer to steal the lead, but unfortunately the race was promptly brought to a stop when Gowland inverted the Q32 racer in turn three. Gowland walked away unscathed but was unable to restart the race. A full restart followed with Bonsey still from the front row but with Whell now elevated to pole position. The second start was aborted, with officials deeming Bonsey to have jumped the start and relegated her to the second row for the third attempt. This left Whell and Kratzmann from the front row with Kratzmann getting a brilliant start once more and quickly securing the race lead. Kratzmann began opening a very comfortable margin over his rivals while behind him the rest of the field fought over the minor places. Whell settled into second while Peter Lack was all over the back of Bonsey as he searched for a way into third. Lack soon got the job done with a perfectly executed outside passing move as the pair raced down the main straight, while Callum Walker worked the low line to find a way past Andrew Liebke. Andrew Marks was looking for a way past Karl Hoffmans, while closer to the front of the field Lack was quickly closing in on Whell, and Walker had caught Bonsey. Kratzmann was way out in front and approaching lapped traffic, but contact with the lapped car of Marks just four laps from home ended with Marks spun to a stop just far enough on the infield to render him out of the race. Brent Kratzmann went on to take the win ahead of Dave Whell and Peter Lack, with Callum Walker fourth across the line ahead of Kristy Bonsey, Andrew Liebke, Karl Hoffmans and Tim Ford. Andrew Marks and Mitch Gowland did not finish the event.
Heat four started with Brett Minett from pole position with Kristy Bonsey alongside. Minett got the jump and settled into the race lead in advance of Bonsey, Brad Ayers and Rob Hamilton, but it was David Murcott who stole the show as he raced seemingly effortlessly around the top side, passing all four cars by the time they exited turn two. Murcott had the lead, after initially starting from position six, with just half a lap completed and from there he was virtually untouchable. Andrew Scheuerle tried to follow Murcott on the high side but got caught behind Brad Ayers and Rob Hamilton as they raced two-abreast in their battle for mid-field positions. Ayers lost ground when he hit a rut in turn four, while Bryan Mann saw a small opening on the bottom and did not hesitate to race straight through underneath both Scheuerle and Ayers before setting his sights on Hamilton. Mann raced his way underneath Hamilton as they raced down the back straight, with Scheuerle following him though in turn four, before setting out after Bonsey. Mann raced underneath Bonsey as they rounded turn two, while Scheuerle stuck to the high line to get around the Q42 racer in turn three. Scheuerle was relentless as he chased Mann, occasionally having a look for a way through on the inside but to no avail, while Bonsey withstood a challenge from Hamilton, until Hamilton spun out of contention and left Bonsey to defend her position from Brad Ayers. David Murcott began weaving his way through lapped traffic and ultimately went on to take the win, almost three seconds ahead of second placed Brett Minett. Bryan Mann crossed the line in third and led Andrew Scheuerle, Kristy Bonsey, Brad Ayers, Rob Hamilton and Brendon Claridge across the line.
Phill Foster and Anthony Lambert lined up alongside each other for the start of heat five, and while the pair raced side-by-side into turn one, it was Lambert who secured the advantage. Luke Oldfield raced up the inside of Andrew Corbet and Brent Kratzmann on the start and had a look underneath Dave Whell, only for Whell to close the door and for Corbet to fight back mid track and regain his position. Kratzmann however took to the high line coming out of turn two and, with no one else on the top side, had a brilliant run around the outside of Oldfield, Corbet and Whell in just over the length of the back straight, before racing around Mick Sauer as they completed the first lap. Kratzmann turned his attention to Foster, while behind him Oldfield raced his way underneath Whell, while Corbet rode the wheel of Sauer and almost ended up in the turn two fence. Oldfield did not hesitate and quickly moved past Corbet and set out after Sauer, while Kratzmann worked relentlessly to find a way past Foster. Once again the high side proved profitable for Kratzmann, the Q2 racer committing the top side and racing around Foster as they navigated through turn four. Oldfield got underneath Foster a lap later but all eyes were on Kratzmann as he began challenging Lambert for control of the race. Kratzmann followed his opponent for a couple of laps before making it look easy as he raced around the outside and into the lead. Oldfield soon followed, banging wheels with Lambert as they fought over second, while further back in the field Dave Whell and Mick Sauer were having an intense battle over the minor places. Brent Kratzmann went on to take the win, his second for the night, with Luke Oldfield home in second and Anthony Lambert third past the chequered flag. Phill Foster had a strong race and finished a very respectable fourth against some tough rivals, while Mick Sauer finished fifth ahead of Dave Whell, Adam Clarke, Andrew Corbet and Tim Ford.
The final heat race of the season started with Nelson Reddacliff from pole and Neil Howard alongside. Reddacliff got the jump on the start and settled into the lead while Brent Aprile managed to race up the inside of Howard to steal second. Kevin Britten started challenging Howard for third, while Karl Hoffmans took to the high side as he searched for a way past Andrew Liebke, and Callum Walker had a big look on the inside of Peter Lack. Lack made his way under Hoffmans and started searching for a way around Liebke, while Aprile closed in on Reddacliff. Liebke raced underneath Howard, while Lack on the top side, and Walker on the bottom, tried to follow. The race was brought under caution though when Hoffmans spun the Q3 racer in turn three. Aprile, who had managed to make his way around Reddacliff not long before the stoppage, led the restart with Reddacliff on his tail ahead of Britten and Liebke. As soon as the race resumed Walker raced exquisitely underneath Liebke before turning his focus to Britten, leaving Liebke to try and withstand enormous pressure from Lack. Lack soon found his way past Liebke and quickly joined Walker on the tail of Britten, the trio captivating the crowd as they argued over the minor places. Walker eventually managed to race up the inside of Britten, with Lack getting by on the high side a lap later. Brent Aprile went on to take the win ahead of Nelson Reddacliff and Callum Walker. Peter Lack crossed the line in fourth and led Kevin Britten, Andrew Liebke, Andrew Marks, Neil Howard and Karl Hoffmans home. Mitch Gowland returned trackside after his earlier roll, a massive effort from the team, but completed just two laps before withdrawing from the race.
Qualifiers three to eight took to the track from the Bronze shootout, with Peter Lack topping the leader board at the end of the two lap timed session. Lack stopped the clock at 11.247 seconds with Adam Clarke, David Murcott and Bryan Mann set to join him in the Silver Shootout. Brent Kratzmann, who missed the transfer by just one hundredth of a second, and Callum Walker were eliminated from the shootout events and would start the A-main from positions seven and eight respectively.
Andrew Scheuerle and Luke Oldfield joined Peter Lack, Adam Clarke, David Murcott and Bryan Mann on track for the silver Shootout, with Lack again securing quick time and topping the leader board. Lack stopped the clock a very quick 11.297 seconds, with Andrew Scheuerle, Bryan Mann and Adam Clarke all securing transfers to the Gold Dash Event. David Murcott finished fifth in the Silver Shootout, missing the transfer by a mere four thousandths of a second, with Luke Oldfield sixth, the pair set to share the third row for the start of the main race.
The Gold dash saw the Adam Clarke, Bryan Mann, Andrew Scheuerle and Peter Lack line up for a four-car five-lap race with Clarke getting the jump on the start and quickly settling into the race lead. Mann settled into second and while he immediately came under intense pressure from Scheuerle, there was little Scheuerle could do to stop Mann. Lack had a couple of brief looks at getting underneath Scheuerle but to no avail and no one could get close enough to Clarke to challenge him for the lead. Adam Clarke went on to take the win and earn pole position for the A-Main race, declining the Kratzmann Challenge, which, had he accepted, would have inverted the top fourteen starters. Bryan Mann finished second ahead of Andrew Scheuerle and Peter Lack.
Twelve cars lined up for the fifteen-lap B-Main event, with Rob Hamilton and Mick Sauer sharing the front row for the start. Sauer got an incredible start in the Q69 racer and immediately surged into the race lead when the lights turned green. Hamilton held down second while Andrew Corbet raced around the high side of Karl Hoffmans to steal third. Anthony Lambert tried to race up the inside of Kristy Bonsey only Bonsey was determined and fought back hard on the top side to not only maintain her position but challenge Hoffmans for his. Andrew Marks found significant speed on the high line, committing to the top and racing around the outside of Nelson Reddacliff, Neil Howard and Anthony Lambert in just half a lap. Marks set his sights on Kristy Bonsey and Karl Hoffmans and had a number of looks around the outside of Bonsey over the next few laps but wasn’t quite able to get the job done. Andrew Corbet was all over the back of Rob Hamilton, applying relentless pressure before attempting a bold inside pass as they moved through turn three. The race was however brought under caution when Tim Ford had a spin low on the track in turn four. Sauer led the restart from Hamilton and Corbet with eleven laps left to run, with Corbet resuming his battle with Hamilton the moment the lights went green. Meanwhile Andrew Marks was having a massive look on the inside of Kristy Bonsey before being forced back of the defensive as Anthony Lambert tried to make his way back past. Lambert and Marks exchanged positions a number of times before the race concluded, though neither driver could quite find their way into the top four. Mick Sauer went on to take the win with Andrew Corbet in second and Rob Hamilton and Kristy Bonsey rounding out the top four. Anthony Lambert finished fifth and led Karl Hoffmans, Andrew Marks, Brendon Claridge, Neil Howard, Mitch Gowland, Nelson Reddacliff and Tim Ford across the line.
The very last Sprintcar race of the 2016-2017 race season, and East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship decider, rolled onto the track, with a strong field of eighteen cars set to do battle and thrill the crowd. Adam Clarke and Bryan Mann shared the front row for the start with Andrew Scheuerle and Peter Lack right behind. Clarke got his nose in front on the start but it was Mann on the high side who secured the lead with Clarke settling briefly into second. Lack, who is always exceptionally strong on the high side, was spectacular as he took to the top to not only gain the advantage over Scheuerle, but race around the outside of Clarke and into second before the first lap was completed. Luke Oldfield also committed to the high side and raced his way around David Murcott and Andrew Scheuerle and set out after Lack and Clarke. Clarke, not prepared to let Lack have second without a fight, fought back hard and managed to regain his position, racing underneath Lack on the back straight before Lack fired straight back around the outside half a lap later. It was a phenomenal race for the minor positions, however the race was soon brought under caution when Rob Hamilton made heavy contact with the wall in turn three before slowing to a stop high on the track in turn four.
Bryan Mann led the restart from Peter Lack, Adam Clarke, Luke Oldfield, Andrew Scheuerle, David Murcott and Brent Kratzmann. As soon as the green flag flew Scheuerle started challenging Oldfield for position, working the bottom trying to find a way through and thrilling fans with a brilliant display of racing from both drivers whilst negotiating over the championship. Brent Aprile was trying to make his way forward, searching for a way around the high side of Callum Walker, while Walker himself was challenging Dave Whell for position. Oldfield found a way past Clarke and into third, while Andrew Liebke and Brett Minett argued mid-field and Mick Sauer began working his way through. The race was however brought under caution when Aprile slowed to a crawl after collecting the wall, with Aprile able to limp the NQ42 racer from the track once the oncoming field had slowed.
Bryan Mann again led the restart from Peter Lack, only with Luke Oldfield now on their tail. Mann and Lack both got brilliant starts and managed to open a small lead over Oldfield, while Andrew Scheuerle quickly raced underneath Adam Clarke and began closing in on Oldfield and the leaders. Dave Whell started to challenge Brent Kratzmann for position, while Kratzmann started searching for a way past David Murcott. Callum Walker came on strong and caught and passed Whell, slipping through on the bottom in turn two with Mick Sauer looking to follow him through. Andrew Corbet and Kevin Britten tangled briefly in turn two, with Corbet heading infield and Britten rejoining the race just a fraction ahead of the leaders. Mann began negotiating lapped traffic, while Oldfield found his way past Lack and started closing in on Mann. The race was soon brought to a stop though when Andrew Scheuerle rode the right rear wheel of the lapped car of Kevin Britten, the immaculately presented Q25 racer heading straight into the concrete wall in turn four. It was a hard hit, and while Andrew was fortunately able to walk away from the wreck, it was the end of his race, and his championship hopes.
Bryan Mann again led the restart but with Luke Oldfield now in second head of Peter Lack and David Murcott with seventeen laps left to run. Brent Kratzmann promptly raced up the inside of Adam Clarke when the race resumed, while behind them Mick Sauer and Callum Walker continued their epic battle for the minor places. While leading, Bryan Mann hit the rut in turn four that had caught a number of drivers off guard, and while Mann was able to straighten the Q16 racer he lost considerable ground and allowed Oldfield to race through on the inside to steal the lead. Mann gave chase in lapped traffic, with Lack right on his tail, but the race when soon brought under caution when Oldfield, while leading, spun the Q17 to a stop high on the track in turn four.
Luke Oldfield restarted at the rear of the field while Bryan Mann led the field to the green once more, with Peter Lack, David Murcott, Brent Kratzmann and Adam Clarke close behind. Clarke raced spectacularly around the outside of Kratzmann one lap into the restart while Lack faded quickly, his right rear tyre rapidly deflating. Lack limped the stricken Q5 racer from the track, another disappointing end to what looked almost certain to be a podium finish. Meanwhile Kratzmann found his way back underneath Clarke and now found himself in third behind Mann and Murcott with only a handful of laps left to run. Oldfield was working hard to climb his way back through the field and found himself joining the battle between Dave Whell and Andrew Liebke. Once he had displaced Liebke from seventh Oldfield focussed on trying to find a way past Whell but Whell had a remarkable run in the Q23 racer and managed to keep Oldfield behind him until the fall of the chequered flag. Dave Murcott challenged Bryan Mann for control of the race as the laps wore on, but it was Bryan Mann who emerged victorious and stood atop the final podium for the season. David Murcott crossed the line in second while Brent Kratzmann rounded out the podium after another very solid run. Mick Sauer crossed the line in fourth, an incredible effort after transferring from the B-Main, while Callum Walker secured fifth in a tough field. Dave Whell came home in sixth and led Luke Oldfield, Andrew Liebke, Brad Ayers, Kristy Bonsey and Kevin Britten across the line. Adam Clarke, Peter Lack, Andrew Scheuerle, Brett Minett, Andrew Corbet, Brent Aprile and Rob Hamilton all failed to finish the event.
And that ladies and gentlemen concludes the 2016-2017 race season for Sprintcars Queensland. Luke Oldfield has taken out both our Club Championship and the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, and while Oldfield may have taken top honours in both championships, it was not an easy feat. Andrew Scheuerle and Peter Lack in particular had spectacular seasons, evidenced by just how close the points were and the fact that the final track championship decider came down to the final night of competition. Brent Kratzmann kept them on their toes, featuring high up in both championships points and securing a pair of impressive podiums finishes at the end of the season, while right through the field there has been plenty of spectacular racing and points battles. We have a truly phenomenal group of drivers and teams here in Queensland and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve next season. None of this would be possible with out drivers, car owners, sponsors, families, friends, fans, supporters and volunteers. Season 2016-2017 was certainly an incredible season, and 2017-2018 is set to bigger and better, but first Sprintcars Queensland will hold their annual presentation dinner at the end of June to celebrate the remarkable season we have just had. Stay Tuned!
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