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Kicking Up The Dirt - USC Queensland
Joanne White posted Sunday March 3, 2019.

Sprintcars Queensland returned to Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba last night for another round of the Ultimate Speedway Challenge, yet despite the very best efforts of the entire team at the venue, Mother Nature proved unbeatable. The night saw several very light showers pass over the track and briefly pause proceedings, before a heavier and more prolonged shower began to fall just moments after the B-Main concluded. Mark Pholi and Ben Atkinson Jnr were to share the front row for the start of the A-Main, with Randy Morgan, Robbie Farr, Sam Walsh and Brent Kratzmann close behind. Luke Oldfield had exited the competition after a crash in the first round of heats, and Australian Sprintcar Champion Andrew Scheuerle was set to start deeper in the A-Main field that he is accustomed to, but it was not meant be, with Mother Nature intervening once more as another shower of light rain hit the venue. While every effort was made to be able to try and finish the program, there was more rain on the way and the team at Hi-Tec Oils Speedway were left with no other choice than to abandon the remainder of the program and allow teams and fans alike to pack up before conditions deteriorated further.

Qualifying got underway with twenty-seven cars hitting the track but it was Bryan Mann, in the final group to qualify and his first night back behind the wheel this season, who set the quickest qualifying time, stopping the clock at an impressive 11.126 seconds. Sam Walsh was second quickest overall (11.165) while Peter Lack (11.241), who was quickest in the second heat group, was third fastest overall. Luke Oldfield was quickest of the first heat group and fourth fastest overall with an 11.328 second lap, while Andrew Scheuerle (11.365) was fifth fastest overall. The top twenty-two cars all managed to qualify in the eleven-second bracket and set the scene for a thrilling night of Sprintcar racing.

Heat one started with Lachlan McHugh and Jessie Attard from the front row but it was McHugh who got the jump when the lights went green and quickly settled into the race lead. Attard initially challenged on the high side but was forced to settle for second while further back in the field Luke Oldfield was running the top side searching for a way forward, with Brodie Tulloch in his sights. Oldfield had a look around the top side of Tulloch but could not quite get the job done, while out in front McHugh had opened a sizable lead and was beginning to close in on the back markers. McHugh, Attard and Randy Morgan began weaving their way through the traffic while Oldfield continued to search for a way around Tulloch, before inverting the Q17 racer in spectacular fashion in turn four. Oldfield emerged from the wreck unscathed but damage to the safety roll cage on the Q17 ended his night. Lachlan McHugh, who had already completed a 10.6 second lap during the race, led the restart ahead of Attard and Morgan with two laps left to run and a very light rain mist falling over the venue. Shane Matthews spun less than a lap into the restart and brought the race back under caution, with McHugh, Attard and Morgan to again the lead the field to the green with two laps to run. McHugh got a brilliant start when the race resumed, opening a margin of several car lengths on his rivals. Lachlan McHugh got the win ahead of Jessie Attard and Randy Morgan, with Michael Saller, Brodie Tulloch, Nicholas Whell and Scott Johnston rounding out the finishers. Shane Matthews and Luke Oldfield did not finish the event.

Geoff Davey and Mark Pholi led the field to the green for the start of heat two, with Ben Atkinson Jnr and Robbie Farr from the second row. Pholi got a brilliant start and quickly secured the lead and began opening a small margin over the rest of the field while Farr quickly made his way around Davey and began chasing after Pholi. Davey faded a few positions as Atkinson Jnr, Andrew Scheuerle and Peter Lack came through. Lack was all over the back of Scheuerle, searching relentlessly for a way past the A1 racer, the battle raging for most of the race, while Farr finally closed in on Pholi with just one lap left to run. Farr had one last look for a way past Pholi on the final corner of the race, but there was no stopping Mark Pholi as he took the win. Robbie Farr finished second ahead of Ben Atkinson Jnr, while Andrew Scheuerle held off the hard-charging Peter Lack to finish fourth. Peter Lack crossed the line in fifth and led Anthony Lambert, Geoff Davey, Nathan Black and David Kenway home.

Heat three got underway with Mitch Gowland and Brent Kratzmann from the front row. Kratzmann got the jump when the green flag flew and quickly secured the lead and while Gowland briefly challenged on the bottom there was little he could do to stop Kratzmann taking control. Danny Reidy took to the high side and raced around Gowland to take over second, with Gowland fading further as Sam Walsh came through and slipped into third. Walsh began challenging Reidy for second, the pair racing side-by-side before Walsh managed to emerge in front, while deeper in the field Andrew Corbet and Bryan Mann had a brilliant battle as they negotiated over the minor positions. With three laps to run Walsh closed in on Kratzmann and the race lead, just as the leaders approached the back markers and began making their way through the lapped traffic, but could not quite get close enough to make a move. Brent Kratzmann got the win ahead of Sam Walsh and Danny Reidy, while Bryan Mann eventually got the better of Andrew Corbet to finish fourth. Corbet finished fifth and led Matt Geering, Mitch Gowland, Brayden Cooley and Libby Ellis across the line.

A couple of brief showers passed over the venue and brought about a short rain delay, but when heat four hit the track it was Randy Morgan from pole position, in the absence of Luke Oldfield, with Brodie Tulloch alongside. Morgan got the jump when the green flag flew with Tulloch settling into second while Michael Saller raced around the high side to move into third after starting from position five. Lachlan McHugh and Jessie Attard fought over mid-field positions, trading blows as they negotiated over track position, while at the front of the field Morgan comfortably led Tulloch. McHugh had a big look underneath Attard but could not quite find a way through, while Morgan caught the back markers after just four laps. Morgan weaved his way beautifully through the lapped traffic making it look easy while McHugh made his way ahead of Attard as they edged closer to the traffic themselves. Randy Morgan got the win ahead of Brodie Tulloch and Michael Saller, with Lachlan McHugh home in fourth ahead of Jessie Attard, Nicholas Whell, Scott Johnston and Shane Matthews.

Geoff Davey and Ben Atkinson Jnr shared the front row for the start of heat five, with Atkinson Jnr getting the jump as they took the green, securing the lead ahead of Mark Pholi who had a brilliant run after starting from position four. Pholi was all over the back of Atkinson Jnr but could not find a way into the lead, while Robbie Farr sat in third ahead of Andrew Scheuerle. Peter Lack closed in on the back of Scheuerle, the pair resuming their battle from the earlier heat, with Lack again absolutely relentless as he searched for a way past the A1 racer. Lack had a massive look on the inside of Scheuerle with one lap left to run, and while Scheuerle refused to surrender the position Lack soon switched to the top side, racing around Scheuerle just half a lap before the chequered flag. Ben Atkinson Jnr got the win ahead of Mark Pholi and Robbie Farr, with Peter Lack getting fourth ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, Geoff Davey, Nathan Black, Anthony Lambert and David Kenway.

The final heat of the night started with Mitch Gowland and Andrew Corbet from the front row, with Danny Reidy and Brent Kratzmann right behind them on the second row. Gowland got a brilliant start and quickly secured the lead while Corbet settled into second ahead of Kratzmann, leaving Reidy and Sam Walsh to fight over fourth. Walsh challenged Reidy while Gowland extended his lead, with Corbet and Kratzmann very comfortable in second and third. Gowland caught lapped traffic and got momentarily caught behind one of the back markers, giving Corbet the chance to close the gap. Corbet caught Gowland quickly while Kratzmann started to edge closer to the Q78 of Corbet, but could not quite get close enough to make a move. Mitch Gowland got the win ahead of Andrew Corbet and Brent Kratzmann, with Danny Reidy home in fourth, having successfully held off a hard-charging Sam Walsh. Walsh finished fifth and led Bryan Mann, Brayden Cooley, Matt Geering and Libby Ellis across the line.

Ten cars took to the track for the B-Main event, with Geoff Davey and Nicholas Whell leading them to the green. Whell got a brilliant start on the high line and quickly took control of the race, while Brayden Cooley raced around the high side to move into second ahead of Davey and Nathan Black. Whell had a massive lead but soon approached the lapped cars of Shane Matthews and Libby Ellis. Matthews and Ellis were embroiled in their own intense battle for positions at the rear of the field and were racing two-abreast, trapping Whell behind them. Cooley started challenging Whell for the lead but Nathan Black had a brilliant run in the #37 racer, making his way past both Cooley and Whell in quick succession and taking control of the race with about four laps left to run. Anthony Lambert began challenging Davey for the final transfer position, eventually getting the job done on the final lap of the race, but it was Nathan Black who got the win ahead of Brayden Cooley and Nicholas Whell, with Anthony Lambert securing the fourth and final transfer to the main event. Geoff Davey was forced to settle for fifth, narrowly missing a transfer to the A-Main, and led Matt Geering, David Kenway, Scott Johnston, Shane Matthews and Libby Ellis across the line.

Light rain began falling over the venue once more, just as the B-Main finished, and while we waited it out a little while, it was soon decided that, with more rain on the way, it was best to abandon the remainder of the race meeting. It was certainly a disappointing end to the night, however we hope that at least some of the rain, as light as it was, fell were it is really needed. Thank you to all the drivers, teams, fans, supporters, sponsors, and volunteers who helped to try and get this show on. We were set for a huge Sprintcar feature event, with Mark Pholi (who was the highest point scorer of the night) and Ben Atkinson Jnr to share the front row, but it was not meant to be.

Sprintcars Queensland will return to Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night, 09 March 2019, for another round of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series. Come and join us for another big night of Sprintcar racing and great family entertainment.

 

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28/9 Hi-Tec Oils Speedway Toowoomba
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