Two Titles Equals Twice the Action
Author : Archerfield Speedway
It is title time this weekend at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway with two state championships to be decided on Saturday night (April 8). Having fallen victim to inclement weather two weekends ago, the rescheduled Queensland Midget Championship will hopefully be completed without any further delay, while a big field will contest the Queensland Modified Sedan Championship on the same program. With Modlites and Formula 500 Juniors also on the program, another huge night of competition awaits race fans starved of speedway action as a result of the wet weather that has soaked Queensland.
Defending champion Michael Harders faces a tough test to retain his Queensland Midget crown, with drivers converging from three states in a bid to wrest the title from him. Leading the interstate challenge is four-time national champ and foirmer Queensland titleholder Adam Clarke, who won the last Midget feature race at Archerfield. In fact, at one stage, Clarke held every state title at the same time and has earned his status as pre-race favourite. Joining Clarke in representing NSW in the title fight will be Nathan Smee, Adam Wallis, Jason Bell and rookie racer Kaiden Brown, who comes fresh from a feature race win at Avalon in Victoria. Recently crowned Tasmanian champion Joe Lostitch, who finished second behind Brown last weekend, is also making the trek north in pursuit of another title.
However, there are several local runners who have produced some terrific form this season and they will be firm in their resolve to keep the championship trophy in Queensland. The likes of Brock Dean, Reid Mackay, Troy Ware and former titleholder Rusty Whittaker, all of whom finished in the top five behind Clarke at the previous event, should fancy their chances. Dean put in a superb drive to score a feature win here a few weeks back, while Darren Vine and Brendan Palmer also know their way to victory lane and bring a wealth of big race experience into the mix. Throw in Scott Doyle, another former champ in Mark George, Kiwi hotshoe Chris Gwilliam and 10 more drivers chasing championship success, and you have 25 competitors all desperate to secure themselves a permanent place in the record books as the 2016/2017 Queensland Midget champion.
Whilst it is their only appearance at Archerfield this season, it is hardly surprising that Modified Sedan officials would choose Queenslands premier speedway venue to host their championship showdown, and drivers have certainly responded with more than 40 nominations for the event. This championship battle will also feature competitors from three states and, like the Midgets, it is an interstater who heads into the weekend as the pre-race favourite. Although current national titleholder Brett Baxter is a non-starter, there are no less than five former national champions in the field, namely Todd Doyle, Jason Jolley, Aidan Raymont, Gary Pagel, Greg Worling and three-time winner Mark Carlin from Victoria. Carlin, who won this event back in the 2011/2012 season and is also a three-time Victorian state champ, looms as the man to beat in the championship feature race, assuming of course that he can navigate his way through three rounds of heats unscathed, which is not always an easy task given the intensity of the competition for which the category is renowned.
In addition to defending champ Gavin Fletcher, there are another six drivers in the field who have won this event previously with a combined 18 championships between them. Having recently journeyed to Mildura and returned triumphant with the Victorian Championship trophy, Aidan Raymont brings some terrific form into his bid to secure a third Queensland Championship win, while Gary Pagel is chasing an unprecedented sixth success in this event. Doyle currently has four wins, while Fletcher, Shane McDonald and Mark Pagel, who has been the standout performer in Super Sedan competition this season, each have two apiece. Brodie Boss took the title two seasons ago and is back for another shot, while the likes of Rodney Pammenter, Matt Smith, David Jacobi, Mark Raymont and Darren Lester are amongst those whose form and/or history of success suggests they should feature somewhere near the pointy end of the field in the championship feature.
With Modlites and Formula 500 Juniors also on the bill, it is going to be a hectic night of action, with gates opening at 4.00pm and early racing from 4.45pm. The main program, featuring the Queensland Modified Sedan Championship and the Queensland Midget Championship, gets underway at 6.00pm.
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