Gee Crowned as Queensland Sprintcar Champ
Author : Archerfield Speedway
In an epic Queensland Sprintcar Championship final at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Sunday night (May 6), Mitchell Gee withstood the very best efforts of Luke Oldfield to secure the biggest win of his burgeoning career. The final stages of the event were outstanding as Gee and Oldfield swapped the lead before a late restart provided Gee sufficient respite to consolidate his position and race to the chequer for a stunning win. Gracious in defeat, Oldfield was his typically bullish self throughout the 35-lap race, running the highline to great effect as he advanced from position 10. Bryan Mann snatched third from Andrew Scheuerle in the closing stages, while Jayden Peacock finished fifth.
In the Queensland AMCA Nationals Championship, a strong interstate contingent went home empty-handed as Nathan Durston rounded up Lee McKinnell to take the title-deciding feature race. Steve Potts finished in third spot ahead of Tasmanias Daniel Brooks, with Tim Gamble rounding out the top five.
It was a different story in the Queensland Microsprint Championship with NSWs Jackson Isaacs proving too quick in the feature race, leading home Shane Munro, John Lawson, Eddie Schwehla and Australian titleholder Ernie Havas to the line.
In a result that would prove prophetic, Gee got the second night of Sprintcar competition underway when he scored a comfortable win in heat seven, downing Brodie Tulloch and Mann.
Having missed all of the heats from the previous night courtesy of an engine issue, Oldfield was unstoppable in heat eight, finishing more than four seconds ahead of Brock Dean, with Allan Woods third.
Anthony Lambert scored a narrow win over Brad Ayers and Michael Saller in heat nine before Peacock prevailed in heat ten from Gee and Kristy Bonsey amidst a shower of rain that passed quickly but resulted in a delay to proceedings as the track was manicured back into shape.
Once back underway, Cody Maroske was untroubled from the front row in downing Brent Kratzmann and Mann to win heat 11 and then Oldfield wrapped up qualifying with a stunning run in the final heat that saw him finish more than eight seconds clear of Lambert and Scheuerle, lapping the likes of Peter Lack and Victoria’s Peter Milnes along the way.
Maroske was on the front line again for the B Main and he took maximum advantage to lead Darren Jensen, Brodie Tulloch and Randy Morgan in transferring into the 35-lap title fight, leaving the likes of Brock Dean, Andrew Corbet and Kris Jennings on the sidelines for the main event.
The Pole Shootout proved fruitful for both Gee and Mann as they advanced from the bronze round to the gold showdown, downing Saller, Scheuerle, Titman and Lack along the way. However, it was opening night winner Ryan Jones who prevailed to secure pole position for the main event, outpacing Gee and Mann while Peacock, who had emerged as top qualifier after two nights of racing, was relegated to fourth on the feature race grid.
Jones set a cracking pace in leading the opening laps of the feature race, putting Maroske a lap down after just five circulations with Gee situated in second spot ahead of Mann, Saller and Scheuerle. On lap 8, Gee charged into the lead, with Mann advancing into second ahead of Jones on lap 10. Lap 13 proved more than unlucky for Jones and Saller when their dispute over territory heading into turn three resulted in a collision that left both cars upside down and out of action, advancing Scheuerle to third for the ensuing restart ahead of Lack, Oldfield, Peacock, Kratzmann and Titman. Gee remained in command as Oldfield set forth on his charge, rounding up Lack and then chasing down Scheuerle to secure third on lap 17. With nine laps remaining, Mann and Oldfield bounced off each other as the latter moved into second spot, with Scheuerle pouncing to grab third. With six laps to run, Oldfield moved ahead of Gee for the first time and the pair swapped the lead through traffic until an incident in the back straight left Kratzmann stranded on the edge of the track and triggered a restart with two laps remaining. Having snatched the lead back just moments before the interruption, Gee was now blessed with a clear track for the restart and there was nothing Oldfield could do to pressure the youngster into a mistake as Gee piloted the Titan Garages #36 to a memorable win. Mann, meanwhile, was able to usurp Scheuerle from the podium in the sprint to the finish, leaving the former champ fourth at the flag. After losing ground early, Peacock powered on to culminate his outstanding weekend with a fifth-place finish, with Lack, Mark Pholi and Dan Murray next in line. Woods and Lambert rounded out the top ten ahead of Kristy Bonsey, with Jensen, Morgan, Maroske and Tulloch the remaining finishers.
The Queensland AMCA Nationals Championship attracted 33 drivers from four states and the opening round of heats kicked things off in style with some great racing that resulted in wins for Lee McKinnell, Raymond Kime and Tony Blanch.
The second round of heats were a complete contrast with incidents aplenty as many drivers seemed to struggle with the slickening track conditions. McKinnell came from deep in the field to win again, with Nathan Durston and Steve Potts also visiting victory lane.
The shenanigans continued in the final brace of heats, with the most serious incident resulting in Cody Simmons finishing upside down in the back straight. Wins were shared between Peter Markulin, Tim Gamble and Russ Hardy, whose accumulated results secured him pole position for the 30-lap title decider.
Unfortunately for Hardy, he never made it beyond the opening lap of the final, heading infield as McKinnell led the field away from the outside front row with Durston and Michael Mason in pursuit. Australian champ Jeremy Moore exited early, retreating to the grass on lap seven whilst running in fifth spot as McKinnell continued to lead, occupying the prime position until Durston launched an outside run in lapped traffic, sweeping around McKinnell through turn two on lap 13 to take control of the race. With Mason backsliding through the field, Potts advanced to third and, whilst he closed in on McKinnell, he couldn’t advance any further. Brooks emerged the best of the interstate brigade in fourth, followed by Gamble, Matt Hardy and Markulin, with Jim Knight the last runner on the lead lap. Rod Bassett and Damien Groer completed the top ten, while Mark Chiplin, Stephen Ward, Mark Brownsey and Mason rounded out the finishers.
In the Queensland Microsprint Championship, Andrew Baker, Mitch Isaacs and Jason Glynn were heat winners, but it was Jackson Isaacs who outgunned the field to win the 15-lap feature race. Isaacs took the lead from Glynn on lap two and then survived a late challenge from Shane Munro to secure the title. John Lawson annexed third place ahead of Schwehla and Havas, who had to advance from the rear after being unable to avoid a spinning Glynn in turn four.
Rounding out a huge program, Ray Klarich collected his second Dirt Modified feature race victory for the season at Archerfield when he led home Andrew Pezzutti and Australian champ Kevin Britten, who made a spectacular charge into third spot, running a cushion so high that sparks would ensue when he scraped the wall. Zac McDonald finished fourth in advance of Geoff Hayes and Graeme Holland, with Trevor Wiley snaring seventh ahead of the only other finishers in Kevin Stow, Chris Polsen and Marcus McKenzie.
Heat winners were Klarich, Pezzutti, Britten and Andrew Firth, who was a non-starter in the feature along with Geoff Phillips, who looked on track for a winning return until he made a smoky exit from heat two.
Racing returns to Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday, April 19 for round 15 of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship plus AMCA Natonals, Modlites and Ford v Holden v Sigma sedans.