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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Series - Round 4
Joanne White posted Sunday November 17, 2019.

Sprintcars Queensland returned to Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway last night for round four of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series, with Mitchell Gee eventually walking away with the win after an action-packed main event and a battle with Brent Kratzmann that captivated the crowd. Aaron Kelly snared his first podium result in open Sprintcar competition when he crossed the line in second, while Kevin Titman and Ryan McNamara crossed the line side-by-side with Titman just managing to get his nose in front to steal third as they crossed the line with a margin of just 0.009 seconds. Ryan McNamara was forced to settle for fourth while Callum Walker managed to climb from twelfth on the starting grid to fifth by the fall of the chequered flag.

A different qualifying format for the night saw each car time trialling individually, with Ryan McNamara first to hit the track. McNamara stopped the clock at 11.752 seconds and set what was an unassailable benchmark for the rest of the field. While track conditions changed rapidly over the course of the qualifying session Callum Walker did not let a spin on his first qualifying lap stop him from coming back on his second circulation to stop the clock at 12.034 seconds and lock into second quickest overall, leaving McNamara the only driver able to get into the eleven-second bracket. Walker bumped Kevin Titman (12.046) back to third, with Mitchell Gee (12.115) and Tim Farrell (12.202) rounding out the fastest five. The top twenty-three cars were separated by less than one second, and set the scene for a tough night of close competition.

Nelson Reddacliff and Mitch Gowland led the field to the green for the start of heat one, with Reddacliff getting the jump and quickly securing the lead, leaving Gowland to try and defend his position from a very hard-charging Allan Woods. Woods had a massive look underneath Gowland as they rounded turn two, only for Gowland to fight back on the high-side as they raced down the back straight, Woods was quick on the bottom though and, as they rounded turns three and four, swept underneath Gowland before racing up on the inside of Reddacliff in an attempt to steal the lead. Behind them though things came unstuck for Brent Aprile as he looked for a way past Gowland. Aprile spun the NQ42 racer in turn four, leaving Kristy Bonsey nowhere to go, with Bonsey making contact with the front end of Aprile. Aprile ended up on his side, and out of the race, with Andrew Baumber spinning as he tried to avoid contact with Aprile. While Aprile walked away from the crash he was unable to continue the race, with Baumber and Bonsey, with a new right rear fitted to the Q42 racer, restarted at the rear of the field. A full restart followed and while Reddacliff and Gowland raced wheel-to-wheel through the opening couple of corners, with was Gowland who secured the race lead, only to be displaced soon after when Reddacliff made a move on the inside as they rounded turn four. Behind them Allan Woods got the better of Ryan McNamara with McNamara fading further as Brent Kratzmann started making his way towards the front. Kratzmann got underneath McNamara as they rounded turn two a few laps into the race, before sweeping under Woods half a lap later and turning his attention to Gowland and Reddacliff. It took just one more lap for Kratzmann to catch and displace Gowland, before switching to the high side and racing around Reddacliff, and into the race lead, just half a lap later. Kratzmann started opening a sizable lead over the rest, while mid-field Bonsey was fighting her way forward from the rear of the field, having a bold look on the inside of both Woods and Gowland as the trio navigated turn one. Woods soon started working the high line though and soon made his way around Bonsey and Gowland, before beginning to close in on Reddacliff, eventually getting around the Q85 racer with a few laps still to run. Brent Kratzmann got the win ahead of Allan Woods and Nelson Reddacliff with Mitch Gowland home in fourth, leading Kristy Bonsey, Ryan McNamara, Brendon Claridge and Andrew Baumber across the line. Brent Aprile did not finish the event.

Young guns Aaron Kelly and Nick Whell shared the front row for the start of the second heat, with Anthony Lambert and Adam Butler close behind. Kelly got the jump when the green flag flew and quickly settled into the race lead, while behind him Lambert got a great start, immediately displacing Butler and having a big look on the inside of Whell as they approached the first corner. Butler though, who has been in particularly impressive form this season, fought back on the high side, racing around Lambert and setting out after Whell, while further back in the field Brett Minett and Karl Hoffmans battled over minor positions. Aaron Kelly went on to take the win ahead of Nick Whell, Adam Butler, Anthony Lambert, Tim Farrell, Brett Minett and Karl Hoffmans.

The third heat of the evening saw Andrew Corbet start from pole position with Randy Morgan alongside as they approached green light conditions. Corbet got the better start and quickly secured the lead, and while Dan Murray challenged Morgan for second, racing beautifully underneath the Q54 racer as they made their way through turn two. Morgan returned serve half a lap later, regaining second as they completed the first lap, while behind them Kevin Titman managed to get underneath Mark Pholi and set out after Mitchell Gee, who was closing in on Murray and Morgan. As Gee tried to find a way around Murray, Titman did not hesitate and swiftly raced up the inside of both as they raced down the back straight, with Gee then switching to the bottom to get under Murray as they rounded turn four. Gee started to close in on Titman as the laps wore on, the pair edging closer to Morgan with each passing lap, and while Gee had several looks on the inside of Titman, the Q59 racer refused to surrender his position. At the front of the field, with the white flag in the air, Morgan was challenging Corbet for the lead and had one last look as they raced towards the chequered flag. Crossing the line side-by-side Andrew Corbet managed to hang on to get the win, with Randy Morgan across the line in second, just 0.059 seconds behind Corbet. Kevin Titman was third past the chequered flag in advance of Mitchell Gee, Dan Murray, Mark Pholi, Scott Genrich and Jamie O'Neill.

Nelson Reddacliff and Andrew Corbet shared the front row for the start of heat four, with Reddacliff getting the better start and quickly securing the race lead, leaving Corbet in second while Adam Butler quickly displaced Nick Whell before racing underneath Allan Woods. Woods fought back on the high side of Butler, while Corbet looked underneath Reddacliff, only for Reddacliff to pull slightly ahead and leave Corbet, Butler and Woods to argue over second. Woods had a look on the high side of Corbet as they rounded turn four, with Butler sneaking though on the bottom, getting the better of Woods and beginning to challenge Corbet. Kevin Titman joined the battle, having raced around Nick Whell before racing underneath Woods and challenging Butler for track position. Titman looped the Q59 racer in turn four, surrendering several positions, but managed to straighten the car and keep moving to avoid a stoppage. Meanwhile at the front of the field Corbet finally managed to find a way past Reddacliff, taking control of the race and leaving Reddacliff to try and defend his position from both Butler and Woods. Woods committed to the high side, getting around Butler and challenging Reddacliff before riding the right rear of the Q85 racer and tagging the wall coming out of turn four. Andrew Corbet went on to take the win ahead of Nelson Reddacliff, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Nick Whell, Kristy Bonsey, Kevin Titman, Brendon Claridge and Andrew Baumber.

Heat five started with Brent Aprile from pole position with Randy Morgan sharing the front row for the start of the ten-lap journey. Aprile, determined to make up for his earlier misfortune, got a remarkable start and quickly settled in the race lead, though Morgan stayed with him, looking for a way through on the inside, while further back in the field Brent Kratzmann used the high line beautifully to race around Tim Farrell and Anthony Lambert before switching to the bottom and getting underneath Callum Walker, all in just half a lap. Kratzmann set out after Morgan, leaving Walker with Lambert and Farrell on his tail. Farrell was persistent in his efforts to find a way past Lambert but in the end there was little he could do on a very slick track that saw almost the entire field running just millimetres from the wall. Brent Aprile went on to take the win ahead of Randy Morgan, Brent Kratzmann, Callum Walker, Anthony Lambert, Tim Farrell, Karl Hoffmans and Brett Minett.

The final heat of the night saw Aaron Kelly again start from the front row, with Mitch Gowland alongside this time as they took the green. Kelly got a brilliant start and quickly settled into what would prove to be an unassailable lead, leaving Gowland in second but immediately under pressure from Dan Murray and Mark Pholi. Murray made short work of slipping underneath Gowland and moving into second, while Mitchell Gee wasted no time at all in racing underneath Pholi and relegating him back one position. Gee set his sights on Gowland and slid underneath the Q32 racer a lap later, only for Gowland to boldly return serve and momentarily regain his position. Gee however was simply too quick on the top side and soon surged in front, his focus now firmly set on closing the gap to Murray. Gee closed the gap in just a few laps but waited until the very last lap to make his move, timing his run to perfection as he switched to the low line with just half a lap left run, sliding underneath Murray as they rounded turn three for the final time. Murray challenged straight back as they rounded turn four, and the pair drag raced across the line virtually side-by-side. Aaron Kelly got the win with Mitchell Gee home in second ahead of Dan Murray, Mitch Gowland, Ryan McNamara, Mark Pholi, Scott Genrich and Jamie O'Neill.

The pre-dash draw saw Brent Kratzmann, the highest points scorer of the night, draw position one to keep the field heads-up for the start. Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee shared the front row for the start of the six-lap affair, with Kratzmann initially getting the lead before Gee slid through on the bottom to take control in turn one. Kratzmann fired back around the outside in turn two, securing the lead and leaving Gee to settle into second ahead of Kevin Titman. Titman has a couple of brief but unsuccessful looks on the inside of Gee, while behind them Tim Farrell, Adam Butler and Ryan McNamara raced three-wide through turn four as they fought over minor positions. Aaron Kelly and Andrew Corbet exchanged places several times as they fought over seventh place, with Kelly eventually securing the advantage. Brent Kratzmann went on to take the win ahead of Mitchell Gee, Kevin Titman, Tim Farrell, Ryan McNamara, Adam Butler, Aaron Kelly and Andrew Corbet.

The Last Chance Showdown B-Main event started with Nick Whell and Mark Pholi sharing the front row, with Mitch Gowland and Nelson Reddacliff right behind. Whell got a brilliant start and led the field initially, but Pholi soon surged around the top-side and took control of the race with just half a lap complete. Gowland displaced Whell a lap later and set his focus on Pholi, closing in as the laps wore on and the race drew to a close. Meanwhile, deeper in the field, Brett Minett and Nelson Reddacliff were involved in their own battle for track position just outside the top four transfer positions, while Brendon Claridge raced up the inside of Jamie O'Neill a little further back in the field. Minett eventually managed to move ahead of Reddacliff, the pair soon beginning to close in on Kristy Bonsey, who held the final transfer position. Mark Pholi and Mitch Gowland crossed the line side-by-side as the chequered flag flew for a photo finish that could not have any closer. Mark Pholi got the win, with Mitch Gowland just one thousandth of a second (0.001) behind. Nick Whell crossed the line in third ahead of Brett Minett, the quartet all securing a spot in the main race, while Kristy Bonsey finished fifth and would use her East Coast Logistics Series provisional to start at the back of the A-Main field. Jamie O'Neill finished sixth and led Nelson Reddacliff, Karl Hoffmans, Scott Genrich, Brendon Claridge and Andrew Baumber across the line. Libby Ellis, who suffered mechanical dramas all night in the NQ73 racer, pulled out of the event after completing just two laps.

The A-Main hit the track with nineteen cars set for thirty gruelling laps on an exceptionally slick track. Brent Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee shared the front row for the start, with Gee initially moving ahead, only for a determined Kratzmann to challenge for the lead, sliding underneath Gee as they entered turn two, only to get a little too sideways coming out of the turn, handing the lead back to Gee and dropping back a position or two as the rest of the field started to come through. Titman settled into second with Kratzmann quickly making his way back in front of Tim Farrell while there was action aplenty through the rest of the field. Gee opened a sizable lead, while Titman and Kratzmann pulled a little ahead of the rest, the pair embroiled in their own battle for second. Deeper in the field Aaron Kelly made his way underneath Andrew Corbet and Tim Farrell, setting his sights on Ryan McNamara before sliding exquisitely underneath McNamara as they rounded turn four a couple of laps later, the Q7 racer moving into fourth with plenty of laps left to run. Brent Aprile was already working the high side, trying to advance from further back than he would have liked to have been on the start, battling with Callum Walker while the pair closed in on Allan Woods. Brent Kratzmann and Kevin Titman had a thrilling battle for second and third, the pair holding nothing back and putting on some truly captivating racing while still giving each other room to race. Kratzmann and Titman exchanged positions back and forth a few times, all the while trying to close in on Gee who entered lapped traffic with just seven laps completed. The race was brought under caution when Andrew Corbet looped the Q78 racer in turn four, even though Corbet was able keep the car moving.

With eighteen laps left to run and now with clear track ahead of them, Mitchell Gee led the restart from Brent Kratzmann, Kevin Titman, Aaron Kelly and Ryan McNamara, with Adam Butler and Randy Morgan sitting just outside the top five. While Gee seemed to have everyone covered, Titman and Kratzmann resumed their battle with Titman racing underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn three. Kratzmann tried, unsuccessfully, to return serve through turn four, but got the job done as the rounded turn one. Titman of course fought back, looking underneath the Q2 racer as they made their way through turn two, but Kratzmann was too quick and managed to hold on to second. Randy Morgan raced his way underneath both Ryan McNamara and Adam Butler, with McNamara quick to fire back and regain his position momentarily. Morgan quickly raced back past McNamara, before pulling slightly ahead and leaving McNamara to defend his position from Butler. Brent Aprile was working the high line beautifully, searching for a way past Callum Walker and Allan Woods, when contact between Aprile and Woods sent Woods towards the infield and brought the race under caution with eleven laps to run.

Mitchell Gee led the restart from Brent Kratzmann, Kevin Titman, Aaron Kelly and Randy Morgan. Gee led them to the green but a determined Kratzmann raced through underneath the Q43 racer as they rounded turn two, briefly taking control of the race, only for Gee to challenge straight back on the inside, the pair racing side-by-side for a lap. Gee slid underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn two, with Kratzmann making contact with the wall and dropping out of contention, while Kelly and Morgan got the better of Titman. Kratzmann made his way to the bottom of the track and dropped to the tail of the field while Butler and McNamara began challenging Titman for position. Further contact between Gee and Kratzmann, as Gee came around to put Kratzmann a lap down, almost ended in disaster for both drivers, while Randy Morgan collected the wall and slowed a little as head headed down the back straight with a damaged and ill-handling Q54 racer. Titman got around Morgan but as McNamara moved up track to get around the Q54 racer there was contact with Adam Butler that launched the unlucky Butler into a spectacular flip into the turn three fence and brought the race to a stop. Butler was fortunately able to walk away from the incident but his night was prematurely over.

Mitchell Gee led the restart from Aaron Kelly and Kevin Titman with five laps left to run and Ryan McNamara in fourth. Gee was untouchable out in front, while Kelly came under pressure from Titman, while deeper in the field Brett Minett, Tim Farrell, Andrew Corbet and Mark Pholi had an intense battle over the mid-field positions. Corbet and Minett exchanged slide jobs for several laps, thrilling the crowd with thier antics, while McNamara managed to get underneath Titman as they rounded turns three and four. Titman had a brief look on the outside of McNamara before switching to the low line as they rounded the last two corners, racing side-by-side across the line. Mitchell Gee got the win ahead of Aaron Kelly, with Kevin Titman just managing to snare third. Ryan McNamara finished fourth while Callum Walker rounded out the top five, an impressive effort after missing his first heat of the night. Tim Farrell was impressive all night, bringing the Q51 racer home in sixth and leading Brett Minett, Andrew Corbet, Mark Pholi, Nick Whell, Kristy Bonsey, Mitch Gowland, Dan Murray and Brent Kratzmann past the chequered flag. Randy Morgan, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Brent Aprile and Anthony Lambert all failed to finish the thirty-lap journey.

Sprintcars Queensland will head back to Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway next Saturday night, 23 November 2019, for Ultimate Pink Night. Women will receive general admission to the venue with a gold coin donation with the proceeds going to breast cancer research. Come along and join us for a MASSIVE night of Sprintcar racing next Saturday night.


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