Two New Champions Crowned
Author : Archerfield Speedway
Finally back in action after consecutive weeks of weather induced cancellations, Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway turned on the action with a championship double bill on Saturday night (April 8) that saw Nathan Smee and Rodney Pammenter emerge as new Queensland champions in their respective race categories. The Polar Ice Queensland Midget Championship saw Smee chase down teenage rookie Kaidon Brown to snare the crown, while Pammenter swapped the lead with Aidan Raymont before ultimately prevailing in the Queensland Modified Sedan Championship.
Originally scheduled for March 25 but postponed because of rain, the Queensland Midget Championship brought together 26 drivers from three states and the standard of competition was sensational from the outset with Smee taking the opening heat ahead of Troy Ware and defending champion Michael Harders.
The second heat saw a super drive from Brock Dean to keep four-time national champ Adam Clarke at bay for the win, with Brendan Palmer finishing third.
Brown took heat three in a narrow result over Scott Doyle and Rodney Harders, with Adam Wallis downing Vine and Joe Lostitch in winning heat four in a race that proved costly for a couple of championship contenders. Having stormed to the front in short time, Clarke headed infield soon after and was subsequently out of action for the rest of the night, while Ware found himself unable to avoid an end-for-ending Tony Stephen in the main straight.
Rusty Whittaker staked his claim for a second win in this event when he outgunned Smee and Jason Bell in heat five, leaving Palmer to wrap up the preliminaries with a emphatic win over Dean and Doyle in the final heat.
Sitting seventh overall at the completion of qualifying, Brown advanced from the bronze round of the Pole Shootout to ultimately land on pole position for the championship final. Smee would share the front row for the feature, with Dean and Palmer on row two ahead of Wallis, Whittaker, Doyle and Vine.
The first attempt to get the feature race underway saw Smee get the initial advantage, only for the race to be halted immediately when Chris Gwilliam took a wild ride in turn one. At the next attempt, Brown bested Smee in the charge through turn one and the 16-year-old proceeded to hold sway out front until lap 14 when Smee pounced to take control. As the laps wound down, Smee extended his advantage while, further back, the fight for third spot intensified. Having been the stand-out performer of the locals in recent outings, Dean looked set to assume that role once again in third spot until he was contacted by a brakeless Vine in turn three with a lap to run, elevating the latter onto the podium as Dean dropped another spot to Whittaker in the run to the chequer. Bell was the best of the rest in sixth, followed by Reid Mackay, Ware (now aboard Robbie Stewarts #91), Rodney Harders and Dallas Sharp, with Michael Harders and Shane McDowall the only other finishers. Lostitch and Tony Eickenloff joined Gwilliam as first lap casualties, Doyle exited on lap two and Palmer followed a lap later, with Corey Stothard, Cal Whatmore and Wallis also failing to go the distance.
A 38-car field assembled for the Queensland Modified Sedan Championship for their first and only Archerfield appearance for the season. The heats proved prophetic in sorting the contenders from the pretenders in a championship chase that would ultimately be decided on a race track that remained super quick throughout the 40-lap title decider.
The opening heat saw Nathan McDonald soar as others floundered, leaving Russell Harris and Greg Worling to share the minor placings. Heat two proved an effortless stroll for Todd Doyle as he finished more than 10 seconds clear of Tim Atkin and Thomas Hunter.
Aidan Raymont was even more emphatic in his performance in heat three, greeting the chequer over 13 seconds in advance of Michael Shelford and Pacey Clegg, while defending champion Gavin Fletcher started his title quest well with a win in heat four over Pammenter and Darren Lester.
Mark Raymont, Peter Gray and Brodie Boss shared the spoils in the next three heats before Nathan McDonald became the first repeat winner when he clinched heat eight.
Pammenter prevailed in heat nine, Kerry Lack topped heat ten and then Mark Raymont also scored a double when he took out heat eleven. Having exited his opening heat on the first lap and then missing his next run, Victoria's Mark Carlin re-emerged for the final heat of the night and kept Aidan Raymont at bay to score a vital win.
Others to suffer misfortune through the heats included Shane McDonald, Darren Lester and Steven Quirk, who looked super quick in heat two in his pursuit of Doyle before heading infield with terminal engine failure.
In a typically torrid affair that saw less than half the field still running at the end of 20 laps, Shane McDonald prevailed in the B Main over Carlin, who advanced from row three, with Lee Steffens and Harris snaring the final transfer spots.
Whilst the 40-lap feature finished as it started with Pammenter at the head of the field, there was plenty of action in between as he and Aidan Raymont - the current New South Wales and Victorian champions respectively – battled at the front of the field. Pammenter maintained possession of the lead until lap 17 when Raymont moved ahead, only for the two of them to swap positions again on lap 21 soon after the first restart of the race that came courtesy of a spin from Tim Atkin. The two leaders continued their duel for the duration, with a series of restarts through the second half of the race allowing others to enter into championship calculations. Nathan McDonald occupied third until succumbing to challenges from both Mark Raymont and Mark Pagel, both of whom looked likely to threaten the leading duo at one stage. With Pagel faltering in the final laps, McDonald pounced to reclaim fourth spot, leaving Pagel fifth ahead of Carlin, who had put in a stunning run to advance from 18th into sixth despite a flailing left front wheel throughout the last 10 laps or so.
Atkin recovered for seventh ahead of Shelford, Harris, Gray and Boss, with Greg Worling uncharacteristically off the pace in 12th as the final finisher. Running fifth early, Fletcher saw his title defence slip further out of reach as the race progressed before he ultimately expired on the final lap to join Steffens, Lack, Doyle, David Jacobi, Shane McDonald, Shane Langton and Gary Pagel on the grass.
Will Butler (2), Sean Butcher and Graham Knuckey were heat winners in Modlites, but the feature race was won by Klinton Hancey ahead of Steve Collins, Butler, Chris Were and Terry Leerentveld.
In the Formula 500 Juniors, Trent Vardy, Nich Hodges, Jayden Iacono and Nicholas Whell collected wins across their four races.
The next event at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway is this Saturday night (April 15) for round two of the Clay-Per-View Sprintcar Easter Challenge when more than 30 drivers from Queensland and interstate will do battle.