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Kicking Up The Dirt – ECL Series Round 1
Joanne White posted Sunday September 23, 2018.

Lachlan McHugh secured his first feature race win of the season last night, beating Andrew Scheuerle and early leader Peter Lack to the chequered flag in Round One of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway. We started the 2018-2019 Brisbane season with a massive 35-car field, and while Lack beat McHugh off the front row on the start of the main race, McHugh was relentless as he searched for a way past the Q5 racer. Lack hung to the lead until around mid-race distance before McHugh found his way in front, leaving Lack with a very determined and focused Andrew Scheuerle on his tail. Scheuerle was in truly magnificent form, the Q25 Ausdeck Patios racer giving all he had as he chased down Lack, before taking second in the later stages of the race. Andrew Scheuerle crossed the line in second, closing in quickly on McHugh in lapped traffic, with Peter Lack rounding out the podium, a successful second start to the season for the team after disappointing results in Toowoomba last weekend. Brent Aprile had a phenomenal drive in the NQ42 racer and crossed the line in fourth, after having initially started from position six in the B-Main, while Brent Kratzmann came home in an impressive fifth. Kratzmann had been making substantial progress towards the front of the field, having started back in twelfth, but a damaged front wing with about a dozen laps left to run slowed his progress. Kevin Titman and Mitchell Gee were running inside the top five, but contact between the two with twelve laps left to run saw them both relegated to the rear of the field.

Qualifying got underway and it was Mitchell Gee who topped the leader board once all 35 cars had hit the track. Gee stopped the clock at 11.510 seconds, beating Andrew Scheuerle (11.566) and Kevin Titman (11.621), while Peter Lack (11.635) and Stewart Craig (11.645) rounded out the fastest five. Less than half a second separated the quickest thirteen cars, while the top twenty-six drivers were less than one second apart.

Mitch Gowland and Kevin Britten led the field to the green for the start of heat one, with Gowland leading them towards turn one once the lights went green. Britten was quick on the topside though and, with Michael Saller following close behind, raced around the outside of Gowland as they rounded the first corner, with Britten and Saller leading the way into turn two and leaving Gowland with Phill Foster and Lachlan McHugh on his tail. As McHugh looked to go around Gowland, Foster raced through on the bottom. McHugh followed soon after, with Gowland fading fast as Dave Whell, Mitchell Gee and Paul Rooks all come through. Gee was all over the back of Whell, while McHugh searched for a way past Foster, but the race was quickly brought under caution when Phill Foster hurt his engine and slowed to a stop on the bottom of the track. Britten led the restart from Saller and McHugh and while Saller had a brief look under Britten on the restart, he washed up track and allowed McHugh to steal second. McHugh set out after Britten and began closing in, while Gee managed to get by on the inside of Whell before turning his attention to Saller. Kevin Britten did a magnificent job out in front, and while McHugh closed the gap a couple of times he was never able to get close enough to make his move, leaving Kevin Britten to take the win ahead of Lachlan McHugh and Michael Saller. Mitchell Gee finished a strong fourth and led Dave Whell, Paul Rooks, Mitch Gowland and Bryan Zelinski across the line. Geoff Davey, Kris Jennings and Phill Foster all failed to finish the event.

Tony Wynne started heat two from pole position with Karl Hoffmans alongside. Wynne got the jump when the green flag flew with Hoffmans settling into second, while deeper in the field Brent Kratzmann took to the high line and immediately raced around Allan Woods and started to look around the topside of Brock Dean. Contact between Kratzmann and Dean in turn one left both cars stranded and forced the rest of the field to take evasive action. Stewart Craig managed to sneak through on the bottom but both Andrew Scheuerle and Kristy Bonsey were unable to avoid contact. Bonsey was the only car unable to restart the event. A full restart followed with Wynne again securing the lead ahead of Hoffmans and Andrew Corbet. Allan Woods quickly raced underneath Corbet as they powered down the back straight, while behind them Tim Farrell spun the NQ10 racer and brought the race back under caution. Wynne led the restart from Hoffmans, Woods and Corbet, while behind them Stewart Craig raced underneath Brent Kratzmann, only for Kratzmann to immediately return serve to regain his position. Stewart Craig and Andrew Baumber came together at the rear of the field, with Craig making heavy contact with wall in turn four, bringing the race to another stop. He was unscathed but unable to restart the event. Wynne again led the restart from Hoffmans and Woods, though once the race resumed Woods immediately surrendered positions to Corbet, Kratzmann and Scheuerle. Kratzmann managed to get underneath Corbett, with Scheuerle following a lap later, but there was no stopping Tony Wynne as he raced to the finish and took the win. Karl Hoffmans did an incredible job to cross the line second, withstanding a final challenge from Brent Kratzmann as they crossed the line. Kratzmann finished third ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, Andrew Corbet, Tim Farrell, Allan Woods, Andrew Baumber, Brock Dean and Libby Ellis. Stewart Craig and Kristy Bonsey did not finish the race.

Heat three was supposed to see Cody Maroske start from pole, but when Maroske experienced mechanical issues in the Q22 racer before taking the green, he pulled to the infield half a lap before the start of the race, elevating Brent Aprile to pole position. Glen Sutherland shared the front row and while he and Aprile raced side-by-side into the first corner, it was Sutherland on the top-side who secured the lead. Mark Pholi got the better of Adam Butler in turn two, with Peter Lack quickly doing the same, but the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Justin Snellman just one lap in. Sutherland led the restart from Aprile and Pholi, with Kevin Titman using the high line to get around Adam Butler, and Steven Johnson having a brief and unsuccessful look underneath Dan Murray. Aprile retired to the infield, leaving Pholi in second and trying to hold off the advances of Lack, while Snellman almost spun again, only this time right as the leaders were about to put him a lap down. Both Pholi and Lack were able to avoid contact with Snellman, but lost enough speed to allow Kevin Titman to close the gap considerably. Glen Sutherland went on to take the win ahead of Mark Pholi and peter Lack, with Kevin Titman home in fourth ahead of Adam Butler, Dan Murray, Anthony Vanderreyden, Trent Vardy and Justin Snellman. Brent Aprile, Steven Johnson and Cody Maroske all failed to finish the event.

Heat four started with Anthony Vanderreyden and Tony Wynne from the front row, the pair racing side-by-side into the first corner. Vanderreyden managed to secure the lead, leaving Wynne in second, while Hoffmans momentarily got the better of Woods to sit in third. Unfortunately the race was quickly brought to a stop when Brent Kratzmann hit a rut in turn one and inverted the always immaculately presented Q2 racer. Fortunately Kratzmann was uninjured, but was sadly unable to restart the event. A full restart followed and while Hoffmans, from position three, had a massive look on the inside of both Vanderreyden and Wynne when the lights went green, it was still Vanderreyden who led the way through the first corner in advance of Wynne and Hoffmans. Mitchell Gee took to the high side to try and get around Mark Pholi, while Allan Woods raced underneath Karl Hoffmans, making contact on his way past and opening the door for Stewart Craig and Mark Pholi to slip through on the bottom. Woods raced around Craig and set out after Pholi, with the race soon brought under caution for Stewart Craig who had stopped on the bottom of turn three. Vanderreyden led the restart from Wynne and Pholi, with Wynne absolutely relentless, holding nothing back and putting all kinds of pressure on Vanderreyden and they negotiated over control of the race. Behind them Woods raced underneath Pholi, with Pholi firing back almost immediately. Contact between them saw Woods loose several positions, while at the front of the field Wynne finally got the better of Vanderreyden, leaving Vanderreyden to try and defend his position from Pholi. Pholi had one last charge around the outside of Vanderreyden as they approached the final corner of the race, but spun the Q14 racer to a stop just a quarter of a lap from the chequered flag. Tony Wynne got the win again, his second of the night, with Anthony Vanderreyden in second ahead of Mitchell Gee, Tim Farrell, Karl Hoffmans, Kris Jennings and Alan Woods. Mark Pholi, Stewart Craig, Brent Kratzmann and Cody Maroske did not finish the event.

Bryan Zelinski and Brock Dean shared the front row for the start of the fifth heat, with Dean quickly securing the lead while Kevin Bitten settled into second after racing around the top side of Zelinski. Paul Rooks tried to get around the outside of Adam Butler, who swiftly raced underneath Zelinski, while Dave Whell, Andrew Scheuerle and Lachlan McHugh all began looking for a way forward. Whell made his way underneath Rooks, with both Scheuerle and McHugh following soon after, and was looking up the inside of Zelinski when Butler tipped the Q10 racer over in turn three and brought the race to a stop. It was a very gentle roll for Butler, and he was able to restart at the rear of the field. Dean led the restart from Britten and Zelinski, but the race had only just resumed when Rooks dove underneath Zelinski to take third for himself and set out after Britten and Dean. Zelinski was left with the formidable trio of Whell, Scheuerle and McHugh on his tail, with McHugh working the low line brilliantly to get underneath Scheuerle and begin challenging Whell. Whell raced underneath Zelinski, while McHugh followed just moments later, the pair going on to have a thrilling battle as McHugh searched high and low for a way past the Q4 racer. As they caught the back markers McHugh dove underneath Whell as they rounded turn two, with Scheuerle doing the same just one lap later, while at the front of the field Dean was navigating lapped traffic while Britten, Rooks and McHugh closed in. Brock Dean went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Britten and Paul Rooks, with Lachlan McHugh home in fourth. Andrew Scheuerle finished fifth and led Dave Whell, Adam Butler, Trent Vardy, Bryan Zelinski, Andrew Baumber and Libby Ellis home.

The sixth and final heat of the night saw Brent Aprile start from pole position with Mitch Gowland alongside and Glen Sutherland and Andrew Corbet from the second row. Aprile got the jump on the start and immediately secured the lead, while Sutherland was quick to settle into second. Gowland hung on to third, despite an initial challenge from Corbet, while deeper in the field Kristy Bonsey had a look on the inside of Steven Johnson but could not quite make it work. Kevin Titman and Michael Saller negotiated over minor positions, with Peter Lack on their tail, while Johnson and Dan Murray had a great battle for the mid-field positions. Titman and Lack were all over the back Gowland but it was Brent Aprile who made it look easy as he sailed to victory ahead of Glen Sutherland. Peter Lack eventually got the better of Kevin Titman to secure third, leaving Kevin Titman in fourth. Mitch Gowland crossed the line in fifth and led Andrew Corbet, Michael Saller, Steven Johnson, Dan Murray, Kristy Bonsey and Geoff Davey across the line. Justin Snellman did not complete the ten-lap journey.

Mitchell Gee led the points going into the Dash, but an unlucky pre-dash draw saw him start the six-lap event from position seven. Peter Lack and Paul Rooks shared the front row for the start with Lack easily securing the lead in advance of Rooks and Lachlan McHugh. Kevin Titman and Tony Wynne battled at the rear of the field while Mitchell Gee searched for a way past Kevin Britten. Andrew Scheuerle tried to stay close to McHugh but McHugh had his sights firmly set on Rooks, eventually getting underneath the Q64 racer as they rounded turn three a few laps from home. Peter Lack got the win ahead of Lachlan McHugh and Andrew Scheuerle, with Paul Rooks, Mitchell Gee, Kevin Britten, Kevin Titman and Tony Wynne rounding out the finishers.

A massive field of eighteen cars lined up for the start of the fifteen-lap B-main event. Allan Woods and Andrew Corbet led them to the green, with Woods leading the way from Corbet and Karl Hoffmans. Brent Aprile started back in sixth and immediately started trying to make his way inside the top four, determined to snare one of the transfer positions and earn a start in the main race. Stewart Craig and Anthony Vanderreyden came together in turn two, giving Mitch Gowland the only invitation he needed. Gowland raced up the inside of both Craig and Vanderreyden, while both Bryan Zelinski and Tim Farrell tried to follow. Steven Johnson caught Bryan Zelinski and spent a couple of laps trying to find a way past, eventually slipping through on the inside as the pair raced out of turn two, before turning his attention to Vanderreyden. Brent Aprile had been all over the back of Hoffmans, and while Hoffmans did an amazing job to keep Aprile behind him for several laps, Aprile soon found a way through. The race was however brought to a stop when Geoff Davey spun to a stop on the bottom of turn four, while Trent Vardy spun high on the track in turn three. Anthony Vanderreyden spun the Q72 racer entering turn three, leaving Steven Johnson nowhere to go. Johnson clipped the back of Vanderreyden, with the latter falling on his side. Unfortunately all of this left Bryan Zelinski with nowhere to go, and while he did everything he could to lessen the force of the impact, he collided heavily with the upturned #72 racer, rolling him completely up-side-down. All drivers were uninjured in the incident with Vanderreyden unable to restart and Zelinski pulling out of the event a couple of laps into the restart. Woods led them back to the green, with Aprile in second head of Hoffmans and Corbet and just four laps left to run. Corbet quickly made his way underneath Hoffmans, leaving Hoffmans to defend his position from a hard charging Stewart Craig and Adam Butler. With two laps left to run Stewart upended the Q9 racer in the turn four wall and exited the race, thankfully unscathed in the incident. Allan Woods led the restart and went on to take the win ahead of Brent Aprile and Andrew Corbet, with Karl Hoffmans home in fourth and securing the final transfer to the main event. Mitch Gowland finished fifth ahead of Adam Butler, Steven Johnson, Kristy Boney, Andrew Baumber and Geoff Davey. Stewart Craig, Tim Farrell, Bryan Zelinski, Anthony Vanderreyden, Trent Vardy and Brock Dean all failed to finish the event.

Peter Lack and Lachlan McHugh lead an eighteen-car field around for the start of the 30-lap A-Main. The pair raced wheel-to-wheel when the lights went green, side-by-side into turn one and around turn two, both unwilling to hand control of the race to the other. Lack emerged in front as they exited turn two, with McHugh forced to settle for second for the time being. McHugh immediately started applying the pressure, his relentlessness so early in the race really setting the scene for the battle that was to come. Andrew Scheuerle sat in third, pulling a little ahead of the rest of the field as he, McHugh and Lack started opening a small margin. Deeper in the field Brent Kratzmann and Brent Aprile both started to make their way forward, while Dave Whell raced his way underneath Kevin Britten and turned his focus to Tony Wynne. Aprile made his way past Kratzmann, then got underneath both Britten and Whell less than half a lap later, while Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman had a fierce battle going as they fought over the minor positions. At the front of the field McHugh was having a massive look on the inside of Lack, and, having just got his nose in front, had taken control of the race just as Paul Rooks spun to a stop in turn four.

Peter Lack led them to the restart, with Lachlan McHugh second ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman. Brent April had made his way into seventh, after starting in position sixteen, in just five laps, and was starting to look like more of a threat to the front runners with each passing lap. Lack got a brilliant start and quickly pulled a few car lengths ahead of McHugh and Scheuerle, but it was not long before his rivals closed the gap once more. Aprile made his way past Tony Wynne, with Dave Whell and Brent Kratzmann quickly following him through on the bottom, with Kratzmann then getting through underneath Whell half a lap later and turning his attention to Aprile. Kevin Britten kept Michael Saller at bay for several laps, before Saller switched from the high side to race underneath Britten as they headed down the main straight and into turn one. At the front of the field neither Lack nor McHugh were holding anything back, McHugh absolutely relentless as he searched high and low for a way into the race lead while Lack denied him at every opportunity. McHugh was fast, but patient, and while he never eased off the pressure, he was smooth and calculated and waited for the right opportunity to make his move. The pair spent several laps in lapped traffic, making their was past the back makers, when McHugh saw his chance and committed to the low line coming out of turn two, down the back straight and around turns three and four. McHugh managed to steal the lead from Lack as they exited turn two, with Lack running a fraction too high and loosing a little ground on the new race leader. Dan Murray brought the race under caution a few laps later, spinning to a stop coming out of turn four and bunching the field back up on the restart.

Lachlan McHugh led the restart with fourteen laps to run and Peter Lack and Andrew Scheuerle on his tail. Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman resumed their intense battle when the race got back underway, with Brent Aprile and Brent Kratzmann on their tail and looking for a way through and into the top five. Scheuerle began challenging Lack for second, while behind them Gee, Titman and Aprile negotiated over the minor places, with Aprile getting up the inside of Titman and turning his attention to Gee, leaving Titman to try and defend his position from Kratzmann. The race was soon brought under caution when both Gee and Titman were left stranded in turn two, with Brent Kratzmann suffering a damaged front wing in the ensuing chaos. Both Gee and Titman restarted at the rear of the field with twelve laps to go.

Lachlan McHugh led the restart from Peter Lack and Andrew Scheuerle, with Brent Aprile and Brent Kratzmann now holding down fourth and fifth respectively. Michael Saller had a look on the high side of Kratzmann, but ended up surrendering a position to Dave Whell, while closer to the front Scheuerle, in a particularly determined run, finally managed to get the better of Lack and made his way into second. Lack soon came under pressure from Aprile, the latter now with a podium result in his sight, while Scheuerle started to close in ever so slightly on McHugh as they navigated lapped traffic but ultimately ran out of laps. Lachlan McHugh got the win ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, while Peter Lack hung on to third for a very hard fought and well deserved podium finish. Brent Aprile finished an impressive fourth, leaving people wondering if he might have had something for McHugh had he started closer to the front of the field. Brent Kratzmann came home a solid fifth and led Michael Saller, Mark Pholi, Dave Whell, Glen Sutherland, Kevin Titman, Tony Wynne, Allan Woods, Mitchell Gee and Dan Murray across the line. Kevin Britten, Paul Rooks, Karl Hoffmans and Andrew Corbet did not finish the event.

Sprintcars Queensland will have next weekend off racing, before heading back to Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba the following weekend, on Saturday 06 October 2018 for the 50 Lapper Sprintcar Rumble on the Mountain. See you trackside!

 

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