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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Series - Round 11
Joanne White posted Sunday February 16, 2020.

Kevin Titman was victorious in Round Eleven of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway last night, racing past the chequered flag ahead of Aaron Kelly and Mitchell Gee. Early leader Lachlan McHugh, who had a thrilling battle with Titman for the race lead, eventually finished fourth while Tim Farrell completed the top five in an action-packed affair.

Qualifying got underway with Aaron Kelly setting the benchmark at 12.075 seconds and securing his first Open Sprintcar Quick Time. Brent Kratzmann almost managed to better Kelly, but settled for second quickest with a 12.076 second lap, just one thousandth of a second slower than Kelly. Lachlan McHugh locked in third position with a 12.136 second lap while Mitchell Gee (12.227) and Tim Farrell (12.234) rounded out the fastest five. The top eighteen cars were separated by just 0.831 seconds, proving once again just how closely matched the field were and how fierce the racing was set to be.

Heat one started with Ryan McNamara from pole position with Nelson Reddacliff alongside. McNamara got a brilliant start and got his nose in front and while Reddacliff challenged on the top-side through the opening corners McNamara soon started to pull ahead and opened a comfortable lead. Kevin Titman got underneath Tim Farrell and Nicholas Whell in the first two corners before turning his attention to Mitch Gowland. Titman had an unsuccessful look underneath Gowland as they came around to complete the first lap, while Gowland looked for a way past Reddacliff. Titman got around Gowland a lap later and set out after Reddacliff, while leaving Gowland with a hard-charging Tim Farrell and Mitchell Gee on his tail. Ryan McNamara went on to take the win while Nelson Reddacliff managed to hang on to second despite a fierce race-long challenge from Titman. Kevin Titman finished third and led Mitch Gowland, Tim Farrell, Mitchell Gee, Nicholas Whell, Aaron Kelly, Kristy Bonsey and Libby Ellis across the line.

Adam Butler and Dan Murray shared the front row for the second heat of the night with Butler getting the better start when the green flag flew. Butler quickly secured the lead while Murray faded as Allan Woods raced through underneath and Mark Pholi sailed around the top-side. Lachlan McHugh had a brief look underneath Peter Campbell and Karl Hoffmans, only for Brent Kratzmann to charge around the outside of McHugh before having his own look underneath Campbell. Kratzmann switched to the top-side to get around Campbell half a lap later before turning his attention to Hoffmans, getting around the NQ3 racer just a few laps into the race. McHugh eventually made his way underneath Campbell before displacing Hoffmans half a lap later and set out after Kratzmann. Having made their way past Dan Murray, Kratzmann and McHugh had a thrilling battle for fourth position, with McHugh racing underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turns three and four. Kratzmann immediately fought back on the high side, regaining the advantage as they made their way through turns one and two, and while McHugh again tried to return serve Kratzmann was able to stay ahead of the Q23 racer. The pair closed in on Mark Pholi, with contact between Kratzmann and Pholi following on the final corner, but there was no stopping Adam Butler out in front as he raced past the chequered flag and secured the win ahead of Allan Woods. Brent Kratzmann crossed the line third ahead of Lachlan McHugh while Mark Pholi ended up fifth. Dan Murray was sixth across the line and led Karl Hoffmans, Peter Campbell, Andrew Baumber and Rob Hamilton home.

Dan Murray and Adam Butler shared the front row for the start of the third heat with Mark Pholi and Mitch Gowland close behind. Murray led the field into turn one, getting an exceptional start from pole position, with Butler settling into second while Pholi got the better of Gowland to settle into third. Gowland came under pressure from Tim Farrell, while behind them Mitchell Gee and Brent Kratzmann tried to find a way past Karl Hoffmans. With Gee on the bottom and Kratzmann on the top the pair raced either side of Hoffmans as they rounded turn four three abreast, with Gee coming out in front and Kratzmann challenging for the position. Gowland soon surrendered a position to Farrell who charged through beautifully on the bottom as the pair navigated turn two, and while Farrell set his sights on Pholi, Gowland was left to try and defend his position from Gee and Kratzmann. Farrell was persistent on the bottom, patiently working the bottom and soon making his way underneath Pholi before starting to close in on Butler and race leader Murray. While Kratzmann got the better of Gee all eyes were on the leading trio as the battle for the lead really started to heat up. Farrell was exceptional on the top side, racing around Butler as they made their way through turn two before getting around Murray as they rounded turn four with just over one lap left to run. Tim Farrell went on to take the win ahead of Dan Murray and Adam Butler, with Brent Kratzmann home in fourth ahead of Mitchell Gee, Mitch Gowland, Karl Hoffmans, Kristy Bonsey and Libby Ellis. Mark Pholi pulled out of the event after completing just five laps.

The fourth and final heat of the night saw young guns Nicholas Whell and Ryan McNamara share the front row to take the green. The pair raced side-by-side into the first corner but it was McNamara on the top-side who soon secured the lead, leaving Whell in second ahead of Nelson Reddacliff. Reddacliff promptly surrendered third to a hard-charging Kevin Titman, who had already raced around the outside of Peter Campbell, with Titman then turning his attention to Whell. Lachlan McHugh made his way around Peter Campbell before slipping underneath both Allan Woods and Nelson Reddacliff by the end of the first lap. Reddacliff faded as Woods raced through, while McHugh closed in on Titman. Titman got underneath Whell, with McHugh getting past the Q21 racer soon after, while deeper in the field Reddacliff was busy defending his position from Aaron Kelly. Kevin Titman brought the race to a stop when he upturned the Q59 racer in turn four, just as Kelly was looking up the inside of Reddacliff. McNamara led the restart from McHugh, Whell and Woods, with Woods quickly making a move on Whell as Reddacliff and Kelly resumed their battle for the minor places. Woods spun to a stop in turn four just as Kelly again tried to race up the inside of Reddacliff once more. McNamara led the restart from McHugh, Whell, Kelly and Reddacliff, with Kelly and Whell exchanging positions back and forth as they fought over third, while McHugh challenged McNamara for control of the race. McHugh raced into the lead with one lap left to run, but contact mid-field between Andrew Baumber and Allan Woods saw Woods invert the Q28 coming out of turn four. The race was declared with Lachlan McHugh the winner ahead of Ryan McNamara and Nicholas Whell. Aaron Kelly crossed the line in fourth and led Nelson Reddacliff, Peter Campbell, Kevin Titman, Andrew Baumber and Rob Hamilton across the line. Allan Woods did not finish the event, and, despite the Q28 racer only suffering minor damage, Woods elected to withdraw from the event.

The top eight qualifiers hit the track for the Dash event, with Lachlan McHugh and Brent Kratzmann sharing the front row for the start. McHugh was quick off the mark when the green flag flew, securing the lead and leaving Kratzmann to settle into second while Tim Farrell held down third. Mitchell Gee and Aaron Kelly initially fought over fourth, with Kelly soon emerging in front before slipping underneath Farrell and into third. Gee got underneath Farrell a lap later, leaving Farrell and Kevin Titman to negotiate over the minor places, but out in front there was no stopping Lachlan McHugh in the Q23 racer as he opened a small lead and took the win, earning pole position for the main race. Brent Kratzmann crossed the line in second ahead of Aaron Kelly and Mitchell Gee, with Tim Farrell, Kevin Titman, Ryan McNamara and Adam Butler rounding out the finishers.

The B-Main was cancelled and all remaining cars took to the track for the thirty-lap A-Main affair, with Lachlan McHugh and Brent Kratzmann to lead them to the green. McHugh got a brilliant start and quickly secured the lead while Kratzmann settled into second despite an early challenge from Aaron Kelly. Mitchell Gee raced around Kelly as they headed down the back straight for the first time, moving into third and setting his sights on Kratzmann while Kelly came under pressure from Kevin Titman and Tim Farrell. Mid-field Karl Hoffmans raced underneath Nelson Reddacliff before turning his attention to Mitch Gowland, while a little further back Peter Campbell and Nicholas Whell raced side-by-side as they negotiated over minor positions. Kratzmann had a moment in turn two and surrendered positions to Gee and Kelly with Titman getting around the top side soon after. Ryan McNamara raced underneath Kratzmann, with Farrell also finding a way through, while Kristy Bonsey started advancing from towards the rear of the field, running the high side searching for a way around Dan Murray and Peter Campbell. Kevin Titman was in fine form, taking to the high line and racing exquisitely around Aaron Kelly, and while Kelly tried to fight back, Titman was simply too quick. Kratzmann started trying to make up lost ground, challenging Farrell on the high side before eventually making his way around the top, while behind them Nicholas Whell was doing a magnificent job defending his position from a strong challenge from Nelson Reddacliff. Reddacliff soon managed to get up the inside of Whell and while Whell immediately tried to return serve, he was unable to get back past the Q85 racer. With the leaders well and truly in lapped traffic, Titman closed in on Gee in second, with Kelly on his tail, and while Titman edged closer to Gee, Gee was always quick to put another lapped car between himself and Titman. The race was brought under caution when Kratzmann spun to a stop in turn four with seventeen laps still to run.

Lachlan McHugh led the restart from Mitchell Gee, Kevin Titman and Aaron Kelly, with Titman quick to make his move on Gee when the race resumed. Titman raced underneath the Q43 racer as the pair exited turn two, with Titman securing second and setting out after McHugh while Ryan McNamara and Adam Butler got the better of Aaron Kelly. Kelly of course fought back, the trio putting on a spectacular show for race fans until the race brought under caution for the spun car of Peter Campbell in turn one.

With sixteen laps still to run it was Lachlan McHugh who again led the restart with Kevin Titman, Mitchell Gee, Ryan McNamara and Aaron Kelly close behind. Deep in the field Nicholas Whell, Nelson Reddacliff and Kristy Bonsey had a tense battle for position, with Brent Kratzmann closing in fast, but all eyes were on Titman as he closed in on McHugh in lapped traffic. Contact between McHugh and Titman coming out of turn two almost ended in disaster for both drivers, the end result seeing McHugh go inside the tyre on the inside edge of turn three before rejoining the race track entering turn four. Titman raced around the high side and secured the lead, leaving McHugh to defend his position from Gee. A caution a few laps later, with both Brent Kratzmann and Mark Pholi involved, left us a four-lap dash to the chequered flag.

Kevin Titman led the restart from Aaron Kelly and Mitchell Gee, with officials relegating Lachlan McHugh back to fourth. McHugh challenged Gee for the final podium position while Ryan McNamara raced the high line searching for a way around Tim Farrell and into the top five, but there was nothing anyone could do to stop Kevin Titman as he raced to his second East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series round win of the season. Aaron Kelly crossed the line in second ahead of Mitchell Gee with Lachlan McHugh and Tim Farrell completing the top five. Ryan McNamara was sixth past the chequered flag and led Adam Butler, Karl Hoffmans, Mitch Gowland, Nicholas Whell, Kristy Bonsey, Dan Murray, Mark Pholi, Nelson Reddacliff, Andrew Baumber, Rob Hamilton and Libby Ellis home. Brent Kratzmann and Peter Campbell did not finish the event.

Sprintcars Queensland will head to Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway next Saturday night, 22 February 2020 for the Mayor's Cup with Twin 25 Features. It is going to be another massive night of Sprintcar racing so come and join us trackside next Saturday night and see all the action for yourself.

 

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