Oldfield Back in Victory Lane
Author : Archerfield Speedway
Riding a wave of good fortune and taking maximum advantage of every opportunity that came his way, Luke Oldfield was unstoppable in round ten of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (February 10). Having qualified on pole position, Oldfield led every lap of the feature race to defeat Andrew Scheuerle and Mitchell Gee and extend his lead in the championship standings. Callum Walker finished fourth ahead of Peter Lack, Allan Woods, Ben Hilder and Californian Geoff Ensign, with Anthony Lambert next best and the final runner on the lead lap.
On a night interrupted by rain, supporting feature race wins went the way of Dave Collins (Compact Speedcars), Liam Williams (Formula 500s), Steve Price (AMCA Nationals), Brant Chandler (Wingless Sprints) and Ronnie Young (Ford vs Holden vs Sigma Sedans).
Having enjoyed a few weeks break after a hectic Christmas/New Year period, 36 teams gathered for competition and it was Callum Walker who topped the timesheet in qualifying, stopping the clock at 11.805 to emerge with KRE Fast Time. Scheuerle (11.915) and Oldfield (11.993) were the only others to go under 12 seconds, with Gee, Hilder, Brent Kratzmann, Ensign, Lack, Mick Sauer and Anthony Lambert the best of the rest in what would ultimately play a very important part in proceedings when the rain came as the subsequent delay in proceedings would result in a change to a WoO-style format. With just one round of heats, time trial results would determine starting positions and only the first five from each heat would transfer straight into the feature race.
Lack looked on track for a comfortable win in the opening heat until he tangled with a slower car just two laps from home, handing Oldfield the lead for the restart. Woods finished in second spot ahead of Sauer, David Whell and Andrew Corbet.
The department of youth dominated heat two with Gee and Walker filling the top two spots ahead of Lambert, Brett Minett and Brock Dean. Having endured a couple of bumps from Minett on the opening lap, things got much worse for Mark Pholi a couple of laps later when he rode out a wild wreck that resulted in heavy contact with a light tower in turn three.
Hilder hustled to snare heat three from Scheuerle, Ensign, Cody Maroske and Phil Foster, who bested Dan Murray and Mitch Gowland in a good scrap. After a great start that saw him trade slide-jobs with Ensign in the early laps, Travis Woods threw away a feature race berth with a couple of spins.
Oldfield was unstoppable in the Dash, finishing more than two seconds clear of Gee after just six laps, with Hilder third in advance of Scheuerle, Walker and Woods.
Lack surged from seventh to win the B Main, leading home Murray and Mitch Gowland, who rounded up Kevin Britten on the last lap to snatch the final feature race berth. Having started from the outside front row alongside Murray, a spin from Stewart Craig on lap two looked to have ended his challenge altogether. However, he charged back through the 16-car field and climbed as high as fifth before slipping to sixth by races end. Nathan McFarlane was another who looked on track to make the feature, having moved from fifth to third before heading infield.
Oldfield cleared away from the drop of the green in the 30-lap feature race and had established a sizeable lead before he somehow emerged from a moment in turn four when he happened upon a spun Kratzmann, who had been granted a provisional start. Oldfield threw his Mud Buddy #17 into a spin, missed Kratzmann by millimetres and looked to have stalled before miraculously gassing up and driving away to retain his lead for the restart. Taking full advantage of his lucky escape, Oldfield continued to lead Scheurele, Gee, Walker and Lack, who was slated to start 16th but actually launched from position 12 and sliced through the field before encountering much more stubborn resistance in Walker. Although the lead dwindled over the closing stages as Scheurele surged home, Oldfield stood firm at the front and clinched an overdue win. Gee ran a lonely race in third, with Walker likewise largely untroubled in fourth ahead of Lack, whose surge pushed Woods back to sixth ahead of Hilder, Ensign and Lambert and Murray. Sauer dropped a few spots to be 11th at the end ahead of Kratzmann and the remaining finishers in Gowland and Foster.
Piloting a car he had only acquired earlier in the week, Steve Price emerged undefeated from his two heat races and was unstoppable in the feature race to take out round eight of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship. Steve Potts also picked up a heat win and subsequently finished second in the feature race ahead of Michael Mason and Lewis Gamble, who had also acquired a heat race win earlier in the evening. Thomas Vickery, a subdued Nathan Durston, Anthony Joyce and Dallas Czerwinski were the best of the rest.
Steve Swingler was the standout in the Compact Speedcar heats with two slashing wins, leaving Bernie Clarke and Matt ONeill to share the others, while Wayne Corbett finished inside the top three in both of his outings. Despite their heat race heroics, Swingler and Corbett found themselves starting together on row eight in the feature race and, with only 15 laps at their disposal, they did a mighty job in storming through the field. Corbett finished a superb second behind Dave Collins, who stole the lead from Mitchell Rooke with four laps remaining. Trent Usher annexed third ahead of Swingler, with Rooke relegated to fifth over the final laps. ONeill was next best in a big field, followed by Clarke, Jim Kennedy, Mark Maczek and Audie Malt.
The Formula 500 feature race resulted in a family trifecta with Australian champion Liam Williams, fresh from winning the New South Wales title in Gunnedah the previous weekend, leading home Charlie Brown and Kristin Brown. Ryan Skennar secured fourth from Ryan McNamara, who was followed to the line by Adrian Farrell, Cameron Bertuch, Royce Harvey and Tony Bailey.
The biggest winning margin of the night came in the Wingless Sprint feature race with Brant Chandler finishing more than five seconds clear of runner-up Paul Robinson. Previous round winner Cody OConnell advanced to third ahead of Geoff Davey, David Ellis, Brian Dixon and Brad Keiler.
Of the three Junior Formula 500 heats contested, Jy Corbett prevailed on two occasions before Tarhlea Apelt clinched the final clash.
In the Ford vs Holden vs Sigma ranks is was Ronnie Young who scored a narrow feature race over win teammate Matthew Hannigan, leaving Troy Price in third ahead of Mickey Mitchell and Michael Laver.
The next meeting at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield is Saturday, February 24 featuring the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship and the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, plus Formula 500s, Compact Speedcars and Microsprints.