Scheuerle Shines and Hancey Clinches Modlite Crown
Author : Archerfield Speedway
In the absence of series leader Luke Oldfield, round eleven of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (March 3) went almost exactly as might have been expected given what was at stake. Sitting second and third respectively in the championship heading into the round, Andrew Scheuerle and Mitchell Gee gleefully gathered a gaggle of points to give their championship aspirations an almighty boost. In the 30-lap feature race, Scheuerle streaked away to win with Gee sitting second for much of the race, only to falter on the final turn when an audacious pass from Jayden Peacock pushed Gee back to third.
In the Australian Modlite Championship feature race, Klinton Hancey was in a class of his own and romped home to score an emphatic win over two-time champion Terry Leerentveld and young gun Kyle Honour, who clinched third despite running with a flat rear tyre for much of the race. Steve Collins finished fourth ahead of Sean Rose and Will Butler.
The rescheduling of the event following a rain cancellation a week earlier meant a slightly smaller field than usual, with 26 cars taking to the track for Sprintcar qualifying and it was Bryan Mann who topped the time sheets, stopping the clock at 11.545. Peter Lack (11.585), Scheuerle (11.676), Gee (11.680) and Ben Hilder (11.778) were next quickest, with Titman, Woods, Peacock, Anthony Lambert and Brent Kratzmann rounding out the top ten.
The biggest incident of the night played out in the opening heat when Nelson Reddacliff, who had got a great start to round up Mitch Gowland and secure second, took a wild ride through turn three after contact with race leader Dan Murray, putting both cars out of action. From the resumption, Mick Sauer sailed away to win from Woods and Mann.
Having endured an extended run of outs in recent rounds, a relieved Andrew Marks kept Peacock at bay to win heat two, with Dave Whell third as both Lack and Brad Ayers struck trouble and failed to finish.
A confidence-boosting drive in heat three saw Kristy Bonsey dominate from the front, clocking the fastest lap of the race on her way to downing Scott Genrich and Andrew Corbet.
Cody Maroske took out heat four from Hilder and Titman, with Murray bouncing back to win heat five over Bonsey and Sauer.
Mitch Gowland set a cracking pace in the opening laps of heat six, clocking the quickest lap of the race by a considerable margin but was unable to maintain the pace and succumbed to an outside swoop from Kratzmann with two laps to run. Karl Hoffmans clinched third, with Lack recovering from his earlier setback to finish fourth.
It was who Mann emerged as top qualifier, only to draw a position seven start for the Dash that would see Peacock and Hilder share the front row. Starting third, Scheurele stormed to the front and secured pole position for the feature race, leading home Peacock, Gee, Kratzmann, Hilder, Mann, Woods and Titman.
Former Lightning Sprint standout Scott Genrich led every lap to win the B Main, which was a somewhat subdued affair given what was at stake. Andrew Corbet finished second ahead of Brodie Tulloch and Stewart Craig, with Andrew Marks securing the final transfer into the main event.
In the feature race, Scheuerle shot to the front at the drop of the green and subsequently controlled every circulation. With Gee slotting into second spot at the end of the opening lap, the margin between the pair fluctuated as traffic came into play and, whilst Gee looked like he might make a lunge on more than one occasion, he never really got close enough. The two leaders survived a scare on lap 12 when they somehow avoided a spun Darren Jensen in turn four and, as was the case on lap 23 when Lack looped in turn four, the restart provided clear track and allowed Scheuerle to skip clear. A final stoppage came courtesy of Stewart Craig when he flipped out with just two laps remaining to become the only non-finisher from the 19 starters. Whilst Scheuerle maintained control from the restart to take the chequer, Gee found himself under pressure for the first time as Peacock stormed home to snatch the runner-up spot. Kratzmann finished fourth ahead of Woods, Titman, Hilder and Mann, who ran fifth for much of the race. Sauer, Maroske, Corbet and Tulloch were next in line, with Jensen, a luckless Lack, Whell, Bonsey, Genrich and Marks completing the field.
Heading into the night as a short-priced favourite given his domination of the category this season, Hancey had no answer to Scott Lehfeldt in the opening heat of the Australian Modlite Championship and had to settle for second ahead of Sam Gollschewsky.
Heat two saw Steve Collins down Leerentveld and Kurt Grambower, with Will Butler winning heat three in advance of defending champ Aaron Prosser and Chris Were.
Honour headed Hancey and Lehfeldt to take heat four, Leeretveld led Rose and Neil Gregson to the line in heat five and then Robert Hardy kept both Butler, a former Queensland champion, and Prosser at bay to score a success in heat six.
Lehfeldt planted himself at the top of the table when he won again in heat seven, this time ahead of Prosser and Gregson, only to incur a penalty for failing to report to the scales that would ultimately see him start well down the order.
In a literal preview of what was to come in the main event, Hancey triumphed in the final heat ahead of Leerentveld and Honour before following up in the Pole Shootout to secure the prime position for the championship finale.
From the drop of the green, Hancey controlled the race and never looked likely to lose. Honour started alongside Hancey on the front row and occupied second spot through the first half of the race until a flat left rear tyre slowed his progress and allowed both Leerentveld and Butler to move ahead. Rose removed himself from contention when he spun in turn four on lap four, while Prosser’s championship defence ended just a lap later when he whacked the main straight wall while inside the top five. The restarts were of little consequence to Hancey, who cleared away again after each interruption. Just when the positions seemed settled, Butler threw away third with a spin in turn four with just one lap remaining, handing the spot back to Honour. Collins claimed fourth in front of Rose, with Butler salvaging sixth. In a race that saw only half of the 18 starters survive the 25 laps, Jac Carnall, Were and Sean Egan were the remaining finishers.
Development Sprintcar heat wins were shared between Andrew Baumber and Kris Jennings and it was the latter who looked on track to take the final, which doubles as the Sprintcar C Main, when he chased down Jason King, only to spin in turn four a lap later. King made the most of the opportunity to take the race from Peter Campbell, Tim Ford, Jennings and Baumber.
Brant Chandler blitzed the field in the Ian Boettcher Race Parts Wingless Sprint feature race, finishing more than 3.5 seconds clear of Josh Dreaver after 15 laps of racing. Cody OConnell claimed third from Geoff Davey, with Brad Keiler completing the first five. Heat wins were shared between Chandler, Dreaver and Davey.
It was business as usual in the Open Sedan B Track Championship feature race with Ben Robertson winning both heats before romping home in the feature to take the trophy. Ben Taylor finished second ahead of Mark Lowe, Robert Gorman and Hayden Grantz.
An identical scenario played out in Open Sedans A with Allan Pearson winning both heats and leading throughout the feature. Wayne Kirkman advanced from the back of the pack to secure second spot ahead of Keith Craft, with Mark Maher and Bob Ware the best of the rest.
In what is usually one of the most sough-after races on their schedule, a very small field fronted for the Ford vs Holden vs Sigma Track Championship and, with only three cars going the distance in the feature, Jason Walsh prevailed over Troy Price and Dave Tookey.
Sprintcar action continues at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night (March 10) with round 12 of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship, along with a round of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship plus Formula 500s, Modlites, Lightning Sprints, Formula 500 Juniors and Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedans.