Photo: by Mad Matt
In a breathtaking race that culminated with less than a second separating the top three finishers at the completion of 25 spectacular laps, it was local hero Luke Oldfield who emerged victorious in the Titan Garages Australian Sprintcar Championship Preliminary Feature Race at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (April 30).
After leading early, Oldfield fell behind defending champion Jamie Veal through the middle stages of the race before surging back to the front with three laps remaining. Veal remained second at the chequer despite the best efforts of Tasmania’s Jock Goodyer, who unleashed a withering burst of speed through the final five laps that propelled him from fifth to within a whisker of victory lane.
Lachlan McHugh finished fourth ahead of another hard charger in Marcus Dumesny, who advanced from 14th, with Aaron Kelly, Matthew Dumesny, Ian Madsen and Steven Lines next in line. Having transferred from the B Main, Dave Fanning would find himself in the top ten at the fall of the flag, followed by another Tassie excitement machine in Tate Frost, leaving Ryan Newton, Brock Hallett, Luke Sirton, Daniel Pestka and Nicholas Whell as the remaining finishers.
In round ten of the TFH Midget Series, Scott Farmer was a cut above the field in securing his first series feature win for the season, Casey O’Connell led early but had to settle for second best, with Michael Kendall home third ahead of Darren Dillon and Brad Dawson.
In the Mainstreme Automotive Formula 500 feature race, Liam Williams chased down Brock Thornton to add another win to his collection, with Brady Argles filling third ahead of Kaydon Iverson and Tomas Partington.
The 47-car Sprintcar field would contest time trial qualifying within their heat groups, with the fastest from each group allocated maximum points. Subsequently, it was Jordyn Brazier, Oldfield, McHugh and Aaron Kelly topped their respective groups to find themselves equal atop the standings, with Kelly emerging fastest overall with a best lap of 12.092. Neither Adam Butler nor Brenton Farrer would record a time and Mark Pholi somehow crashed in turn two at the conclusion of his laps against the clock, but all three would make it back on track for the heats.
The opening heat of the weekend saw Taylor Prosser launch from the outside front row to lead home a fast-finishing Frost, with Fanning third ahead of Oldfield and Hallett. Emerging as one of the surprise packets of the night, Stirton proved too speedy for the field in heat two, leading home Jessie Attard, Lines, Veal and Marcus Dumesny, Heat three went the way of McHugh in advance of Pestka, Newton, Robbie Farr and Tim Farrell.
Kratzmann withstood a late challenge from Madsen to win heat four, with Goodyer grabbing third in advance of Peter Doukas and Kelly, while Farrar endure as another significant setback to his title aspirations when two spins in turn two resulted in his banishment to the infield. Oldfield was untroubled from pole position in heat five to lead home Matthew Dumesny as Jamie Bricknell surged from ninth to snare third ahead of Hallett and Frost, whose charge from the rear after a spin on lap two provided plenty of thrills.
Starting from pole position in heat six, Veal’s mission was made somewhat easier when Brazier and Marcus Dumesny executed synchronised spins in turn four on lap two. Whilst Brazier failed to make much progress back through the field, Dumesny would climb to fifth behind Veal, Lines, Attard and Stirton.
McHugh won again in heat seven, outpacing Whell and Kristy Bonsey, who put in a sensational drive into third after starting from ninth, with Pestka and Newton filling out the first five. The final heat of the night went the way of Madsen from Goodyer, Kelly, Kratzmann and Darren Jensen.
Somewhat atypical, but perhaps not surprising given the quality of the field in this instance, the Preliminary B Main ran without incident as Frost led all 15 laps. Newton nabbed second when he moved ahead of Fanning on lap 10, with Pestka securing fourth and the final transfer into the feature. Brazier and Kevin Titman swapped spots over the closing laps before Brazier eventually won out to finish fifth, leaving Farr, Richard Morgan, Matt Egel, and Bricknell to round out the top ten.
The 25-lap Preliminary Feature Race was initially delayed when Attard flipped in turn one at the commencement of lap two, an exit emulated by Kratzmann at the next attempted start. Once underway, Oldfield made his intentions clear from the opening moments, casting aside pole qualifier McHugh to lead the field away. Having also relegated McHugh in the early going, Veal set off after Oldfield and would assume the lead on lap 13.
Kelly also moved ahead of McHugh and would still be sitting in third spot when a spin from Pestka would trigger a restart with 10 laps remaining. Three laps into the resumption of racing, Oldfield surged back to the front, with McHugh reclaiming third two laps later. Sitting fifth with five laps remaining, Goodyer was superb over the closing stages as he kept the #22 planted just millimetres from the concrete as he rounded up Kelly and McHugh before chasing down the leaders to set up a thrilling finish.
However, Oldfield was not to be denied and held on to defeat Veal, Goodyer and Marcus Dumesny, who was also spectacular in his surge to the top five. Despite his upward trajectory early in proceedings, Kelly would ultimately finish where he started in sixth, followed by Matthew Dumesny, Madsen, Lines and Fanning in a race that served as a mouth-watering preview of what lies ahead tonight.
Seemingly unable to appreciate the opportunity to showcase their racing in front of a packed house and an international streaming audience, the Midgets fronted with a small field for round 10 of the TFH Series. Scott Farmer and Casey O’Connell dominated the results, winning two heats apiece before also filling the top two spots in the feature race.
It was O’Connell who led initially before Farmer grabbed the lead on lap three and cleared away to establish a sizeable advantage, only brought back to the field whenever a restart was ordered, the first of which came on lap six when Barry Gibbs spun in turn three. Michael Kendall occupied third spot for the duration, with Darren Dillon likewise unmoved from fourth, despite some persistent pestering from Brad Dawson. Rob Stewart filled sixth ahead of Bernie Clarke, Dylan Menz and Brock Dean, with Gavin McDowell the only other finisher from the depleted field.
Liam Williams won both of the Formula 500 heats before backing uyp to also take out the feature. With Williams relegated to the second row after jumping the start from pole position, Brock Thornton led the field away. It wasn’t until lap eight that Williams was able to find his way to the front. Thornton remained second at the flag, followed home by Brady Argles, Kaydon Iverson, Tom Partington and Mitchell Whittaker, leaving Wayne Jukes and Jason as the only other finishers.
Presented by Titan Garages, the 59th Australian Sprintcar Championship will continue tonight at Archerfield Speedway, with Wingless Sprints and Modlites also on the program.