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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Track Championship - Round Fourteen
Joanne White posted Sunday May 14, 2017.

David Murcott stormed to victory in Round Fourteen of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship at AusDeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night in a stout field of twenty-seven immensely talented drivers. Murcott didn’t have an easy run to the chequered flag though with Luke Oldfield challenging relentlessly and even briefly stealing control of the race on a couple of occasions. Lapped traffic played a big part in the race and while Murcott and Oldfield weaved their way through the back markers as they jostled for the lead, Peter Lack held down a solid third and, as the race started to draw to a close, began challenging Oldfield for second. In a devastating blow to both his race and his championship hopes, Lack suddenly slowed to a stop just half a lap away from the chequered flag. Callum Walker, who had done a magnificent job to be sitting in fourth, inherited third to complete the podium, while Kevin Titman and Dave Whell rounded out the top five.

Luke Oldfield easily topped the leader board in qualifying, stopping the clock at a very quick 11.431 seconds, while Bryan Mann secured second with an 11.586 second lap. Andrew Scheuerle was in magnificent form, his 11.620 second lap enough to lock in third quickest, while Ben Hilder beat Callum Walker by just one thousandth of a second, the pair rounding out the fastest five. Peter Lack only narrowly missed his spot in the top five, his qualifying lap just two thousandths of a second slower than that of Walker, while deeper in the field David Murcott and Kevin Titman were separated by just 0.001 seconds. The top twenty-three cars were separated by less than one second, setting us up for another scintillating night of Sprintcar racing action.

Mark Pholi and Kristy Bonsey shared the front row for the start of heat one, and while the pair raced side-by-side into the first corner, it was Bonsey who raced boldly around the stop side to secure the race lead. Bonsey started to open a small margin over Pholi in second, while Pholi tried to hold off the advances of David Murcott, and Brent Kratzmann raced around the outside of Mitch Gowland. From the rear of the field Peter Lack and Luke Oldfield tried to find a way around Brett Minett, the pair soon finding their way underneath the Q94 racer on the second lap before turning their attention to Gowland and getting the job done one lap later. Lack and Oldfield began closing in on Kratzmann, but Murcott had found his way past Pholi and was trying to chase down Bonsey and the race lead. Lack was all over the back of Kratzmann, occasionally having a look on the inside, while Oldfield searched high and low for a way through, and, behind them, Brett Minett and Mitch Gowland negotiated over track position. Murcott closed in on Bonsey but was not quite close enough to make a move before the fall of the chequered flag. Kristy Bonsey ran a brilliant race out in front and went on to take the win ahead of David Murcott, Mark Pholi, Brent Kratzmann, Peter Lack, Luke Oldfield, Brett Minett, Mitch Gowland and Karl Hoffmans.

Heat two started with Nelson Reddacliff from pole position with Andrew Liebke alongside and Brad Ayers and Kevin Titman from the second row. Reddacliff and Liebke raced two abreast into the first corner but it was Liebke on the topside who managed to emerge in front and take control of the race. Titman was quick to follow Liebke on the topside, quickly racing around Reddacliff to move into second before the race was even half a lap old. Reddacliff faded as Ayers, Adam Clarke and Bryan Mann all made their way underneath, while Callum Walker and Cody Maroske fought for track position mid-field. Clarke soon made his way past Ayers, leaving Ayers to try and defend his position from a hard-charging Mann, but smoke began billowing from the Q16 racer of Mann. Mann persisted for a couple of laps, coming under increasing pressure from Walker, but pulled out of the event with only five laps completed. Unfortunately for Mann it was also the end of his night of competition. Meanwhile at the front of the field Titman had closed in on Liebke and the pair were putting on a sensational show as they argued over the race lead. Titman searched high and low for a way into the race lead, trying to use lapped traffic to his advantage, but it was Andrew Liebke who got the win, leaving Kevin Titman in second, about half a lap ahead of third placed Adam Clarke. Brad Ayers was fourth past the chequered flag and led Callum Walker, Cody Maroske, Nelson Reddacliff and Brendon Claridge home. Bryan Mann did not finish the event.

Kevin Britten and Phill Foster lined up alongside each other for the start of heat three, and while Britten managed to get his nose in front when the lights went green, Foster was quick on the high side and quickly powered into the race lead. Britten settled into second head of Dave Whell, but Allan Woods, from position six, raced around the outside of Dan Murray and Paul Rooks and began challenging Whell for third. Andrew Scheuerle quickly followed Woods on the high line, working the top of the race track to gain the advantage over Ben Hilder, Dan Murray and Paul Rooks with only half a lap completed. Scheuerle started closing in on Woods, while at the rear of the field Kevin Hill and Ben Hilder argued over the minor paces. Closer to the front Whell was putting all kinds of pressure on Britten, as Woods and Scheuerle began to close in. Paul Rooks and Dan Murray had a thrilling battle mid-field, with Murray searching high and low for a way past Rooks and taking to the high side coming out of turn two in an effort to get the job done. Rooks fought back valiantly on the bottom and managed to maintain the advantage, just as Hill joined the battle and started searching for a way past Murray. Whell raced underneath Britten as they headed down the back straight, stealing second with a few laps left to run and leaving Britten to defend his position from Woods and Scheuerle. Woods had a big look on the inside of Britten as they exited the final corner, the pair crossing the line side-by-side but Britten was just a fraction in front. Phill Foster was untroubled in the race lead and while Dave Whell closed in as the race drew to a close, it was Phill Foster who took the win. Dave Whell secured second while Kevin Bitten managed to narrowly hang on to third in advance of Allan Woods and Andrew Scheuerle. Paul Rooks crossed the line in sixth and led Dan Murray, Kevin Hill and Ben Hilder across the line.

Heat four started with Nelson Reddacliff from pole position, with Brad Ayers alongside and Phill Foster and Dan Murray sharing the second row. The leading duo got a great start and raced two abreast down the main straight as they took the green, but it was Ayers on the high line who raced his way into the race lead, leaving Reddacliff in second and Murray and Foster fighting over third. Luke Oldfield made short work of making his way in front of Adam Clarke, Ben Hilder and Dave Whell and had advanced from eighth into fifth by the time he exited turn two. Oldfield set his sights on Foster and Murray and managed to slip underneath Foster before the end of the first lap. Murray was putting all kinds of pressure on Reddacliff, while Oldfield closed in on the pair and soon started searching for his own way through. Murray worked the bottom beautifully as Oldfield took to the high side, and while Reddacliff began to pull away slightly, the battle between Murray and Oldfield intensified. Oldfield searched high and low for a way past, looking on the high side in turn three before switching to the bottom in turn four. Murray held his own and managed to keep Oldfield behind him for several laps, but Oldfield eventually found his way around the topside and set out after Reddacliff. It took Oldfield barely a lap to catch the Q85 racer, the Q17 racer immediately challenging for position on the high side before making his move on the bottom a lap later with only half a lap left to run. Unfortunately for Oldfield, Ayers was far too far in front and with just two corners to go there was no stopping Brad Ayers as he took the win. Oldfield crossed the line in second ahead of Nelson Reddacliff with Dan Murray, Dave Whell, Adam Clarke, Ben Hilder and Brendon Claridge rounding out the finishers. Phill Foster withdrew from the event after completing only one lap.

Heat five started with Mitch Gowland and Paul Rooks from the front row, with hard-chargers Andrew Liebke and Cody Maroske right behind. Again it was the outside row that got the better start, with Rooks this time surging into the race lead when the green flag flew. Gowland briefly held down second but Maroske committed to the high line and quickly raced around the top to move into second as the field exited turn two for the first time. Andrew Scheuerle tried to run the top but quickly lost a position as Brent Kratzmann raced through on the bottom, while in front of them a fierce battle was just beginning between Kevin Titman and Allan Woods. Titman and Woods almost came together as they raced down the back straight, leaving Woods with the advantage, Titman chasing hard, and both Kratzmann and Scheuerle closing in quickly and looking to join the fight. Woods caught the tail of Liebke and began looking for a way through, while Titman was aggressive on the topside as he too searched for a way past. Both Woods and Titman eventually made their way underneath Liebke, and while Woods started to close the gap to Gowland, Kratzmann and Scheuerle kept the pressure on Liebke, with Kratzmann soon making his way underneath the Q47 racer with only a handful of laps left to run. Paul Rooks went on to take the win ahead of Cody Maroske, the pair an impressive half a lap ahead of third placed Mitch Gowland, who successfully defended his position from Allan Woods in the closing stages of the race. Woods crossed the line in fourth and led Kevin Titman, Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Liebke, Andrew Scheuerle and Karl Hoffmans across the line.

Heat six started with Mark Pholi from pole position and Kevin Britten sharing the front row, with Pholi this time getting a magnificent start on the bottom and immediately settling into the race lead. Britten settled into second but already had David Murcott in hot pursuit with Peter Lack and Callum Walker also closing in. Walker was having a particularly good run, getting underneath Kristy Bonsey early in the race and chasing down Lack before having a big bold look on the inside of Lack as they raced through turns three and four. Lack fought back on the high side to maintain his position and soon managed to open a small margin over Walker, and simultaneously closed in on Britten. Lack made the bottom work for him and quickly slid underneath Britten and started chasing down both Murcott and Pholi. At the front Murcott was applying immense pressure to Pholi, working the top and the bottom and searching for any possible advantage, ready to make his move if Pholi made even the smallest of errors. It was thrilling to watch as Murcott alternated from the high line to the low, challenging for the lead, and, with the white flag in the air and only half a lap left to run, Murcott switched lines once more to race underneath Pholi and steal the lead. David Murcott would go on to take the win with Peter Lack capitalising on an error Pholi made on the final corner and stole second. Mark Pholi crossed the line in third and led Kevin Britten, Callum Walker, Kevin Hill and Kristy Bonsey across the line.

The Bronze Shootout saw David Murcott, Callum Walker, Andrew Scheuerle, Brent Kratzmann, Adam Clarke and Allan Woods take to the track for two timed qualifying laps, with only the quickest four to transfer to the next shootout event. David Murcott set an absolutely cracking pace, stopping the clock at a remarkable 11.292 seconds, the quickest lap of the night, with Andrew Scheuerle, Adam Clarke and Callum Walker all making the transfer to the Silver Shootout. Brent Kratzmann and Allan Woods were eliminated from the shootout event and would share the fourth row for the start of the main race.

Luke Oldfield and Peter Lack joined David Murcott, Andrew Scheuerle, Adam Clarke and Callum Walker on track for the Silver Shootout, with only the fastest four cars again set to transfer. This time it was Andrew Scheuerle who secured the quickest lap of the event, stopping the clock at 11.300 seconds, while Luke Oldfield, David Murcott and Adam Clarke all also secured transfers to the Gold Dash event. Peter Lack and Callum Waker were eliminated from the Dash event and would start the A-Main race from positions five and six respectively.

The Gold Dash saw the quartet line up in reverse order, with Adam Clarke and David Murcott sharing the front row for the start of the five-lap race. Murcott secured the lead as they navigated turn one, while Scheuerle took to the high line and Oldfield committed to the bottom, the pair running either side of Clarke in turn two. Oldfield emerged in front and settled into second while Clarke pulled off the racing circuit and out of the race. David Murcott went on to take the win and earn pole position for the main race, with Luke Oldfield second and Andrew Scheuerle in third. Adam Clarke did not finish the event.

Eleven cars rolled out for the twelve-lap B-Main event, with Paul Rooks and Kristy Bonsey set to share the front row for the start. Bonsey got an incredible start on the high line and while Rooks was solid on the bottom, it was Bonsey who secured the race lead and almost immediately began to open a small margin over her rivals. Rooks settled into second while Andrew Liebke and Mark Pholi negotiated over third, with Liebke soon securing the advantage. Kevin Britten, with a transfer position in his sights, put all kinds of pressure on Pholi, whilst defending his position from Mitch Gowland. Kevin Hill was having a great run from towards the rear of the field and raced brilliantly around the outside of Phill Foster before setting his sights on Nelson Reddacliff. Unfortunately for Hill though he clipped the wall on the main straight a few laps later and inverted the Q71 racer. Thankfully Hill walked away from the crash but his race was over. Bonsey led the restart from Rooks, with Pholi now up to third in the absence of Liebke who had withdrawn from the event with a cut down right rear tyre. Bonsey got another great start and immediately opened a comfortable lead over the rest of the field, and while both Rooks and Pholi stayed close by, they were not able to reel her in. As the laps wore on Rooks began to close the gap and started searching for a way into the lead, putting increasing pressure on Bonsey but Bonsey was not going to be denied the win. Kristy Bonsey took the win ahead of Paul Rooks and Mark Pholi, with Kevin Britten securing fourth and the final transfer to the main race. Mitch Gowland crossed the line in fifth and led Nelson Reddacliff, Karl Hoffmans and Brendon Claridge home. Phill Foster, Andrew Liebke and Kevin Hill all failed to finish the event.

The A-Main was a sight to behold, with David Murcott and Luke Oldfield leading a stellar field of eighteen cars to the green. Murcott secured the lead the moment the green flag flew, with Oldfield settling into second ahead of Andrew Scheuerle. Scheuerle uncharacteristically biked the Q25 racer in turn two and opened the door for Peter Lack to race through. Lack didn’t hesitate and quickly raced into third, setting out after Murcott and Oldfield, while Scheuerle tried to make up lost ground and defend his position from a very hard-charging and in-form Allan Woods. Woods and Scheuerle actually came together, damaging the front wing on the Q25 racer of Scheuerle. Woods, Callum Walker and Adam Clarke all made their way past Scheuerle in quick succession but the race was brought under caution when chaos unfolded deep in the field in turn two. Brad Ayers made contact with Cody Maroske, turning the NQ11 around, but leaving the luckless Mark Pholi with nowhere to go. Pholi inverted the Q14 racer and, as the rest of the oncoming field took evasive action, Paul Rooks was left with nowhere to go and he too joined the collision. All drivers walked away from the incident, though both Pholi and Rooks were unable to restart the event. The cars however were quite entangled and took some time to separate, giving Scheuerle and his crew plenty of time to change the deflated tyre, and while he would go rear of the field due to the repairs, he had twenty-eight laps left to run to try and claw his way back to the front. Cody Maroske and his team also took the opportunity to change a flat tyre, his left rear, and he too was relegated to the rear of the field.

David Murcott led the restart from Luke Oldfield, Peter Lack, Allan Woods and Callum Walker with twenty-eight laps still to run. Dave Whell had a look up the inside of Kevin Titman but Titman committed to the high side as he tried to find a way past Ben Hilder. Titman spent a couple of laps chasing Hilder before eventually getting the job done around the topside and then turned his attention to Brent Kratzmann, while Dave Whell started working his way forward and Andrew Scheuerle began slowly working his way forward from the back. Murcott and Oldfield began negotiating lapped traffic, weaving their way through the back markers with Oldfield gaining ground and challenging Murcott for the lead as they got momentarily caught behind a lapped car. Murcott managed to hang on to control of the race, while further back Callum Walker was putting all kinds of pressure on Allan Woods. Murcott made a rare mistake whilst trying to get past a lapped car in turn three, opening the door for Oldfield to slide underneath and into the lead in turn four, only for Murcott to return the favour in turn one to regain control of the race. Callum Walker raced beautifully underneath Allan Woods in lapped traffic, putting on an incredible show with a focussed and determined drive through lapped traffic. Dave Whell raced his way underneath Ben Hilder and had a big look underneath Brent Kratzmann in turn three. Unfortunately Kratzmann ended up turned around, where he was promptly collected by Dan Murray who had nowhere to go. Both drivers were unscathed and were able to restart the race although Kratzmann had a deflated left front tyre that would hamper his progress.

David Murcott led the restart from Luke Oldfield and Peter Lack with Callum Walker up to fourth ahead of a the hard charging trio of Kevin Titman, Allan Woods and Dave Whell with eleven laps left to run. Dave Whell was on a mission and had the Q9 racer set up beautifully as he tried to race underneath Woods, spending several laps working the bottom before finally managing to slide through on the bottom. Woods of course fought back hard as they raced down the main straight but Whell had the better line through turn one and surged ahead. It took Murcott and Oldfield just a couple of laps to re-enter lapped traffic, and while Murcott managed to open a larger margin on Oldfield as they traversed the back markers, Peter Lack, running in third, closed in on Oldfield and began challenging boldly for second. Callum Walker, with Kevin Titman right on his tail, drove a truly sensational race, taking to the high line and making it look easy as he raced around his rivals. David Murcott took the win with Luke Oldfield forced to settle for second but securing the lead in the track championship all the same. Disaster struck for Peter Lack though with half a lap left to run when mechanical problems on board the Q5 racer saw him slow to a stop less than half a lap away from what should have been a solid podium finish. It was a devastating and disappointing end to evening for Lack and will no doubt have a significant effect on his championship points chase as well. Callum Walker crossed the line in third, a career best for the talented young racer and it is pretty safe to say that last night is a night that the entire Walker family will remember for a long time to come. Kevin Titman and Dave Whell both had sensational drives through the field, and secured fourth and fifth respectively to complete the top five after both drivers started the race deep in the field. Allan Woods crossed the line in sixth ahead of Ben Hilder, while Andrew Scheuerle used skill and experience to climb his way back into an impressive eighth by the fall of the chequered flag. Cody Maroske crossed the line in ninth while Kristy Bonsey scored a top ten finish after transferring from the B-Main. Kevin Britten, Brad Ayers and Brent Kratzmann rounded out the finishers, while Peter Lack, Dan Murray, Adam Clarke, Mark Pholi and Paul Rooks all failed to finish the event.

There is only one round left in the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, which is set to unfold at AusDeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway in a fortnight, on Saturday 27 May 2017. It is set to be a double points night and with the points battle as close as it is after an entire season of racing, you definitely do not want to miss this massive season finale. However, before we get there we do have one more race to contest that will form part of the Sprintcars Queensland Club Championship. It will be next weekend, Saturday 20 May 2017 at Maryborough Speedway. It has been a number of years since we have ventured up to Maryborough but it is a superb track that is somewhat different to what most of our drivers are used to. The team at Maryborough always put on a brilliant show and next weekend is set to be no different so get yourself trackside, see the show for yourself and pop down to the pits after the show to meet the drivers and see the cars!

 

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