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Kicking Up The Dirt - East Coast Logistics Series - Grand Final
Joanne White posted Sunday May 27, 2018.

Mother Nature had one last go at taking out the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Championship at Archerfield Speedway last night, some persistent late afternoon showers causing a rain delay of nearly an hour before the pit gates even opened, leaving us with a very wet track. Track conditions led to some interesting qualifying results and heat grids, and with both Club Championship and East Coast Logistics Track Championship points on the line, we certainly had an interesting night of Sprintcar racing. By the final fall of the chequered flag it was Peter Lack who secured the win in our final race of the 2017-2018 season while Andrew Scheuerle charged home in second after another impressive drive in the Q25 Ausdeck Patios and Roofing racer. Mitchell Gee, who endured a horrendous run of bad luck in his heats, had a truly mesmerising run to cross the line in third after initially being scheduled to start the B-Main from position ten and subsequently charging through both the B and A-Main fields. Brock Dean had a solid run in the Q8 racer to finish fourth while pole-sitter Kevin Britten managed to hang on to fifth despite a last lap challenge from Brent Kratzmann, the pair crossing the line side-by-side with Britten hanging on to fifth by just 0.019 seconds, leaving Brent Kratzmann, who came from the rear of the field after an opening lap incident, to settle for sixth.

With Mother Nature putting a little too much water on the track before proceedings started, we started the night with some hot laps to try and bring the track in a little. The first group on the slippery surface started lap times at around 24.5 seconds a lap, gradually lowering the times to 19.5 seconds, with the third and final group getting times down to 16.3 seconds. By the time the cars hit the track for qualifying the first group were able to get as low as just under fourteen seconds, while the second group saw Andrew Scheuerle set the new benchmark at 12.852 seconds. As the qualifying sessions progressed the track got quicker, so much so that our quickest two qualifiers came from the final group. Stewart Craig topped the leader board, the Q9 Ausdeck Patios and Roofing racer stopping the clock at 12.484 seconds, some 0.138 seconds quicker than Brodie Tulloch, who went second quickest overall with a 12.622 second lap. Randy Morgan (12.739), Andrew Corbet (12.777) and Dan Murray (12.787) rounded out the fastest five. Bryan Mann, Andrew Scheuerle, Luke Oldfield, Karl Hoffmans and Mitch Gowland completed the top ten in qualifying, while Peter Lack (11th) was the last of the cars to break into the 12-second bracket. Mitchell Gee (17th), Brent Kratzmann (18th) and Ben Hilder (25th) all had a lot of work to do if they were to keep their championship hopes alive.

Heat one rolled onto the track with Kristy Bonsey and Brent Kratzmann sharing the front row for the start with Kratzmann quickly securing the lead as they approached turn one. Kevin Britten, from position four, swiftly followed Kratzmann on the high line, leaving Bonsey in third, while behind them Brad Ayers made a mistake navigating turn two, leaving Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle nowhere to go, with Stewart Craig also involved. Scheuerle limped the Q25 racer to the infield with enough damage to end his race, while Craig, Mann and Nelson Reddacliff (again driving the Q96 usually piloted by Andrew Marks) slipped underneath Ayers before half a lap was completed. Ayers began challenging Reddacliff in an effort to regain a position, but the race was soon brought under caution when Libby Ellis had a spin in turn one. Kratzmann led the restart from Kevin Britten and Kristy Bonsey and while Kratzmann easily controlled the race, Bonsey came under enormous pressure from Bryan Mann, while deeper in the field Ayers continued to challenge Reddacliff for the minor positions. Brent Kratzmann went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Britten, with Bryan Mann and Stewart Craig both getting the better of Bonsey before the fall of the chequered flag. Kristy Bonsey crossed the line in fifth and led Nelson Reddacliff, Phill Foster, Brad Ayers and Libby Ellis home. Andrew Scheuerle did not finish the race.

Kris Jennings started heat two from pole position with Mitchell Gee alongside and Brock Dean and Peter Lack sharing the second row. Gee got a brilliant start and immediately secured the lead, while Lack and Luke Oldfield, who had started from position five and had raced ahead of Dan Murray before going around the outside of Dean, quickly followed Gee on the high side, racing around Jennings before half a lap was completed. Lack and Oldfield set out after Gee, while deeper in the field Brodie Tulloch searched for a way past Scott Genrich. Gee had a massive lead but once lapped traffic came into play at the halfway point in the race his lead dissipated quickly. Lack and Oldfield closed in rapidly as they started making their way past the back markers, with Oldfield then racing around the outside of Lack as they rounded turn three, with Lack fighting back on the low line as they rounded turn three. The pair were, quite literally, right on the tail of Gee, so close that Oldfield somehow managed to hook his front nerf bar over the tail of Gee, essentially joining the two cars together as they exited turn four. The pair eventually stopped low on the track in turn two, still joined together, with neither driver finishing the race. Peter Lack inherited the lead and went on to take the win, with Brock Dean elevated to second ahead of Kris Jennings. Dan Murray crossed the line in fourth ahead of Scott Genrich, Brodie Tulloch, Nathan McFarlane and Peter Campbell. Mitchell Gee and Luke Oldfield both failed to complete the final two laps of the race.

Heat three started with Anthony Lambert and Mark Pholi sharing the front row for the start and while Lambert was first to take off, subsequent contact between the pair as they entered turn one saw both drivers in synchronised spins towards the infield. Pholi was relegated the rear of the field for the restart, while Lambert was penalised to the second row, leaving Cody Maroske and Mitch Gowland as the leading duo for the restart. Maroske got the jump on the start, and while Gowland settled into second he immediately came under fire from Andrew Corbet. Randy Morgan challenged Karl Hoffmans, while Mark Pholi and Ben Hilder both tried to make their way forward from the tail of the field. Maroske opened a massive lead, stretching to almost half a lap before lapped traffic slowed his progress and allowed Gowland to close the gap slightly. Morgan was relentless on the tail of Hoffmans, all the while defending his position from a hard charging Hilder. Cody Maroske went on to take the win ahead of Mitch Gowland and Andrew Corbet, with Anthony Lambert, Karl Hoffmans, Randy Morgan, Ben Hilder and Mark Pholi rounding out the finishers. Jason King pulled out of the event after completing just two laps.

Anthony Lambert started heat four from pole position, with Kristy Bonsey alongside. Lambert got the jump on the start, while Bonsey surrendered second to Brent Kratzmann as they rounded turn one. Bonsey was then forced to defend her position as Brock Dean, Peter Lack, Stewart Craig and Bryan Mann all began searching for a way forward. Bonsey held her position well, refusing to let any one through, with Dean securing the advantage over Mann, Craig and Lack as they completed the first lap. Whilst Mann unsuccessfully challenged Dean for the minor places, Lack had luck finding a way past Craig, but there was no stopping Lambert out in front. Anthony Lambert took the win, with Brent Kratzmann, who several times closed in a little on Lambert but was unable to make a move, home in second ahead of Kristy Bonsey, Brock Dean, Bryan Mann, Stewart Craig, Peter Lack, Nelson Reddacliff and Nathan McFarlane.

Mark Pholi and Kris Jennings led the field to the green for the start of heat five, and when Pholi got a little crossed up on the start, Jennings took full advantage and powered into the race lead. Jennings instantly had a small margin on his rivals, with both Andrew Scheuerle and Cody Maroske getting around the top side of Pholi through turn one, and Mitch Gowland following moments later. Dan Murray tried to follow them on the high side but surrendered a position to Ben Hilder instead, with Hilder then setting his sights on Pholi. At the tail of the field Mitchell Gee searched high and low for a way past Andrew Corbet, while at the front of the field Jennings was coming under fire from Maroske, as Scheuerle started closing in. Maroske was relentless as he chased after Jennings, but spun the Q22 racer in turn four and brought the race under caution. With five laps still to run Kris Jennings led the restart from Andrew Scheuerle and Mitch Gowland. Scheuerle was all over the back of Jennings, while Jennings was determined to hang on to the lead and denied Scheuerle a way through, while behind them Hilder made his way underneath Pholi, with Murray and Gee then looking to get underneath Pholi less than half a lap later. Gee climbed over the left rear of Murray as they exited turn one, and then had Andrew Corbet climb over his front end as he tried to settle the car. Gee headed towards the infield but the race was brought under caution for Gowland who had come to a stop high on the track in turn two. Jennings again led the restart with Scheuerle and Hilder close behind and three laps left to run. Less than a lap into the restart and we were back under caution, this time for an incident that involved both Andrew Corbet and Cody Maroske, with Maroske now unable to restart the event. Kris Jennings led the restart and each of the three remaining laps, withstanding the pressure applied by Andrew Scheuerle, who was forced to settle for second. Ben Hilder crossed the line in third and led Mark Pholi, Dan Murray, Andrew Corbet and Mitchell Gee past the chequered flag. Mitch Gowland, Cody Maroske and Jason King all failed to finish the event.

The final heat event of the night, and our season, saw Scott Genrich and Brad Ayers share the front row for the start. The pair raced side-by-side towards turn one, but it was Ayers on the top side who secured the lead, with Luke Oldfield from position three, quickly moving ahead of Karl Hoffmans and racing around the outside of Genrich to steal second with less than half a lap completed. Oldfield set out after Ayers, the pair building a margin of several car lengths on the rest of the field by the time they entered turn three, while behind them the battle for the minor places raged fiercely. Randy Morgan was all over the back of Karl Hoffmans, while under fire himself from Kevin Britten and Brodie Tulloch. Out in front Ayers was quick, but Oldfield had a single focus and searched high and low and everywhere in between for a way past the NQ11 racer, eventually getting the job done as they powered down the back straight and into turn three with a brilliantly timed run on the low line. Ayers of course fought back, making sure Oldfield had to work to maintain the lead, but once Oldfield was able to put a lapped car between himself and Ayers he soon started to pull away. Luke Oldfield got the win in heat six, with Brad Ayers crossing the line in second ahead of Scott Genrich and Randy Morgan, with Kevin Britten, Brodie Tulloch, Phill Foster and Peter Campbell rounding out the finishers. Karl Hoffmans and Libby Ellis both withdrew from the event before completing the ten-lap journey.

Kevin Britten and Stewart Craig shared the front row for the start of the Dash event, with Britten getting the initial jump when the lights went green. Unfortunately for Craig he brought the race to a stop when he inverted the Q9 racer in turn two. While Craig was, thankfully, able to walk away from the wreck, his night of racing was over. A full restart followed with Britten again from pole position but with Randy Morgan now alongside in the absence of Craig. Britten again got the jump and settled into the lead with Morgan quickly securing second. Peter Lack attempted to run up the inside of Morgan in turn two, but got the exit of the turn all wrong, leaving the door open for both Andrew Corbet and Bryan Mann to slip through. Lack immediately challenged Mann on the high side, the pair racing wheel-to-wheel for three quarters of a lap before Lack was able to regain his position and set out after Corbet. Lack chased Corbet all the way to the line, with Mann close enough to make a move too if the right opportunity presented itself, but it was Kevin Britten who got he win in advance of Randy Morgan, Andrew Corbet and Peter Lack. Bryan Mann finished fifth and led Brodie Tulloch and Dan Murray across the line, while Stewart Craig unfortunately did not finish the event.

Fifteen cars took to the track for the fifteen lap B-main event, with Anthony Lambert and Mitch Gowland leading them to the green, and Ben Hilder and Mitchell Gee, who were fighting over third and fourth overall in the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, scheduled to come from back in eighth and tenth positions respectively. Lambert secured the lead when the race got underway with Mark Pholi quick to move into second, however the race was promptly brought under caution when Phill Foster spun the Q66 racer after getting into the back of Scott Genrich as they rounded turn one. A full restart followed with Lambert and Gowland drag racing side-by-side down the main straight and into the first corner but it was Gowland on the high side who managed to secure the lead as they entered turn two, leaving Lambert in second but with Mark Pholi chasing hard. Ben Hilder raced around Kristy Bonsey, leaving Bonsey with Cody Maroske, Nathan McFarlane and Mitchell Gee on her tail. Nelson Reddacliff challenged Scott Genrich, while trying to defend his position from Phill Foster, only to leave a small opening on the bottom, which Foster did not hesitate to take advantage of. Foster slipped underneath Reddacliff and immediately challenged Genrich, while Mitchell Gee began making his way forward, displacing Nathan McFarlane from his position and setting out after Cody Maroske and Ben Hilder. Gee was sensational on the top side, racing around Maroske and immediately applying pressure to Hilder, and, with Maroske pushing on the bottom, the trio raced three-wide through turn four. Gee was the first of the trio to exit turn four, with Hilder and Maroske arguing over track position until Maroske raced underneath Hilder as they rounded turn two half a lap later. Maroske set out after Gee, but spun the car a few laps later while challenging Gee for the minor positions. Gowland led the restart from Pholi, Lambert, Gee and Hilder with three laps left to run and only the top five (given the absence of Stewart Craig after his crash in the Dash event) to transfer to the back of the A-Main. The race was however promptly brought to a stop when contact between Hilder and McFarlane launched the NQ9 racer into the turn two fence moments after the race resumed. McFarlane walked away from the wreck but was unable to continue the race, while Hilder and his team changed a now cut down right rear tyre and restarted the race from the rear of the field with only three laps to run. Gowland again led the restart from Pholi and Lambert and while Cody Maroske had a massive charge from the rear of the field, he could only make it as high as seventh by the fall of the chequered flag. Mitch Gowland got the win ahead of Mark Pholi, Anthony Lambert and Mitchell Gee, with Kristy Bonsey securing the final transfer to the A-Main event. Scott Genrich finished sixth ahead of Cody Maroske and Nelson Reddacliff, while Phill Foster, Peter Campbell and Ben Hilder rounded out the finishers. Nathan McFarlane, Libby Ellis and Karl Hoffmans failed to finish the event, while ongoing mechanical problems for Jason King prevented him from starting the race.

A field of nineteen started the final A-main of the season, with Ben Hilder using his East Coast Logistics Series Provisional to start from position nineteen and keep his championship hopes alive. Kevin Britten and Randy Morgan shared the front row for the start and raced side-by-side into the first corner, neither willing to surrender control, but it was Morgan who emerged in front as they made their way through turn two. Unfortunately though it was not meant to be and the race was brought to a stop for Brodie Tulloch, who had hit a hole entering turn two and bounced into the turn two fence. While Tulloch was unscathed, he was unable to restart the event.

Second time around Kevin Britten narrowly beat Randy Morgan off the line when the lights went green, and while Morgan was racing around the top side in a bold effort to gain control of the race, behind them Brent Kratzmann and Bryan Mann came together in turn one, with Mann spectacularly inverting the beautifully presented Q16 racer. Mann walked away but was unable to restart the event, while Kratzmann was relegated to the rear of the field for his part in the incident, while Brad Ayers, who became involved when the rest of the field took evasive action, was forced to replace a flat right rear tyre and he too restarted at the rear of the field.

With time starting to run out as out strict curfew approached, Kevin Britten and Randy Morgan again led the field around to take the green, the pair racing side-by-side once more and giving each other racing room before Morgan pulled ahead and took control of the race. Peter Lack sat in third but immediately began challenging Britten for second, while Luke Oldfield, who started from position ten, made his way around Dan Murray and began searching for a way past Andrew Corbet. Lack soon got the better of Britten and set out after Morgan, who, in only a few laps, had already opened comfortable lead over his more experience rivals. Oldfield slipped underneath Britten to move into third, while deeper in the field Andrew Scheuerle got underneath Brock Dean as Dean was trying to find a way past Dan Murray. Both Brent Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee showed incredible pace at the rear of the field as they began weaving their way forward, with Ben Hilder also advancing and putting his provisional start to good use. Unfortunately the race was brought to a sudden and disappointing stop when race leader Morgan got into the turn four fence and upended the Q54 racer. Morgan was unscathed in the incident, and while no doubt frustrated with how his race ended, he certainly proved what a talent he is and just how much potential he has. With only a handful of open Sprintcar race meetings under his belt the future is certainly looking very bright for the talented teenager.

Peter Lack inherited the race lead with twenty-six laps to run, but had Luke Oldfield on his tail, Andrew Scheuerle back in sixth and Mitchell Gee up to thirteenth after just four laps. Lack got a great start when the lights went green, but Oldfield stayed with him, the pair immediately pulling away from the rest of the field as Oldfield relentlessly searched for a way past. Scheuerle quickly raced up the inside of Dan Murray before setting his sights on Andrew Corbet, while deeper in the field Mitchell Gee got the better of Brent Kratzmann and set out after Ben Hilder, with Hilder and Gee going wheel-to-wheel as they tried to find a way past Mitch Gowland. Hilder, who only narrowly led Gee in the East Coast Logistics Series going into last nights event, slipped underneath Gowland as they rounded turn one, with Gee following a quarter of a lap later. Kratzmann, still chasing Hilder and Gee, slipped underneath Gowland as the pair navigated turn four, while Gee managed to slip under Hilder as they began making their way through lapped traffic. Lack and Oldfield were well and truly into lapped traffic, weaving through the back markers, with Oldfield relentless in his pursuit of the race lead, having several looks underneath Lack but was not quite able to get the job done. Oldfield soon dove underneath Lack as they rounded turn two, the pair making contact that almost ended with Lack in the wall, but Oldfield won control of the race. Lack fought back on the bottom half a lap later but Oldfield was too quick out in front and soon managed to open a small lead while Lack got momentarily caught behind a lapped car. Kratzmann continued to fight his way forward, challenging Kristy Bonsey for mid-field positions, while Mitchell Gee started searching for a way around Brock Dean. Andrew Scheuerle made his was into third, but Mitchell Gee was closing in quickly, after an impressive run through the field, and in just a few laps Gee was challenging Scheuerle for the final podium position, having already displaced Brock Dean and Kevin Britten. Out in front Oldfield had built an impressive lead and looked almost certain to take the win, making it look easy as he out-paced his rivals and weaved his way through the lapped traffic. Unfortunately for Oldfield contact with the lapped car of Mark Pholi saw the pair tangle in turn four, with Pholi inverting the Q14 racer and leaving both Oldfield and Pholi unable to restart the race.

Peter Lack inherited the lead for the restart with just four laps left to run and Andrew Scheuerle and Mitchell Gee on his tail. Scheuerle challenged Lack for the lead when the race resumed but Lack was determined and denied Scheuerle a way through, while behind them Brent Kratzmann was on the move, making his way underneath Dan Murray as they rounded turn four before turning his attention to Kevin Britten. Kratzmann certainly had plenty of speed and within moments of catching Britten began challenging for fifth, the pair racing side-by-side for the final two laps before crossing the line in what would have been a photo finish before transponders became a thing. Peter Lack got the win ahead of Andrew Scheuerle and Mitchell Gee, though one cannot help but wonder just how different the race could have been had Gee had any luck at all during his heats and not been forced to come from the rear of the field. Brock Dean finished a very solid fourth while Kevin Britten held on to fifth, beating Brent Kratzmann by just 0.019 seconds. Brent Kratzmann was sixth across the line, an impressive effort after being sent rear of the field on the opening lap of the race, and led Dan Murray, Kristy Bonsey, Ben Hilder, Brad Ayers, Mitch Gowland, Kris Jennings and Andrew Corbet across the line. Luke Oldfield, Mark Pholi, Randy Morgan, Anthony Lambert, Brodie Tulloch and Bryan Mann all failed to finish the event.

Peter Lack may have won the final night racing but Andrew Scheuerle has wrapped up the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, with Luke Oldfield in second and Ben Hilder beating Mitchell Gee, Brent Kratzmann and Peter Lack. Luke Oldfield has won the Sprintcars Queensland Club Championship, ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, Peter Lack, Mitchell Gee and Brent Kratzmann. Add in Mitchell Gee as our Queensland Champion and Robbie Farr as the Queensland USC Champion and we have an impressive variety of winners that showcases just how tough the competition here is and how every single night, and every single point, can make, or break, a season. It has been a truly magnificent season of Sprintcar racing here is South East Queensland, with the club set to recognise and celebrate the achievements and contributions that made this season what it was at the annual Presentation Dinner in just under a fortnight.


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