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Kicking Up The Dirt - East Coast Logistics Series - Round 2
Joanne White posted Sunday October 8, 2017.

Round Two of the East Coast Logistic Sprintcars Series was held at AusDeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night and what a magnificent night of racing it was! Luke Oldfield dominated right from the first green of the night setting quick time in qualifying, leading the points heading into the Dash, and winning the Dash event to earn pole position for the main race. Oldfield initially settled into second once the A-Main started but stole the lead from Andrew Scheuerle early in the race when they first approached lapped traffic. Oldfield soon opened a commanding lead as he weaved his way through the lapped traffic but as the laps wore on Scheuerle was able to close the gap. The final half lap of the race was unbelievable as Scheuerle challenged for the lead coming out of the final corner. Scheuerle sat on the bottom, Oldfield on the top, and a lapped car running mid-track as the trio raced down the main straight. It was a photo finish with Andrew Scheuerle managing to get his nose a couple of inches in front to steal the win in the very last moments of the race. The margin between the top two was a miniscule 0.016 seconds, which in itself speaks volumes about how close the competition is this year between these two drivers. While the battle for the lead was intense, so was the battle for the final podium position as Lachlan McHugh and Mitchell Gee put on a truly spectacular show, racing wheel-to-wheel for much of the race. McHugh eventually crossed the line in third with Gee home in fourth, while Callum Walker had a truly inspiring drive to come home in fifth and complete the top five, after tipping the immaculately presented Q33 racer on its side on the opening lap of the race.

Qualifying got underway and it was Luke Oldfield who topped the time board at the end of the qualifying run. Oldfield stopped the clock at a quick 11.721 seconds, only narrowly beating Mitchell Gee, who recorded an 11.751 second lap. Andrew Scheuerle locked into third quickest while Brad Ayers, who was first to hit the track for qualifying, impressed with 11.880 second lap, which was enough to see him sitting in fourth at the end of the qualifying session. Mark Pholi completed the fastest five while the top eight cars all recoded laps in the 11-second bracket. Less than one second separated the entire field and while it may have been a smaller field than what we have become accustomed to, it was most certainly not lacking in quality.

The first heat on the track was actually the Development Series cars, a group of eight drivers with various levels of skills and experience, looking to join the Sprintcar ranks but wanting a more economical way to start in the division and gain some practice along the way. Justin Snellman started from pole position with Kris Jennings alongside for the eight-lap affair. Jennings got the better start and quickly raced into the lead, while Peter Campbell was quick to follow on the high line to settle into second. Snellman looped the Q64 racer in turn two but managed to keep the car moving, re-joining the race at the rear of the field, while Jennings and Campbell started opening a sizable margin over the rest of the field. When lapped traffic came into play and Jennings was momentarily caught behind a lapped car, Campbell was quick to dart underneath both Jennings and the lapped car to steal the lead. Peter Campbell went on to take the win ahead of Kris Jennings with Shane Matthews coming home in third. Aleesha Woods crossed the line in a very respectable fourth and led Ashley Morgan, David Kenway, Justin Snellman and Libby Ellis across the line.

Heat one of the Sprintcars was supposed to see Karl Hoffmans start from pole position, but a mechanical issue on board the Q3 racer saw him fail to make the start. This elevated Lachlan McHugh to the front row, with Callum Walker alongside. The leading pair raced side-by-side into turn one but it was Walker on the high line who managed to secure the race lead. Walker was breath-takingly quick as he started to open a small margin over his rivals, while Peter Lack focused his attention on finding a way past McHugh. Luke Oldfield, who had started from position eight, raced magnificently around Stewart Craig and Brad Ayers as they approach turn one, before getting around Mark Pholi as they rounded turn two. Oldfield then raced around Dave Whell in turn three, just as Lack raced underneath McHugh in turn four. Three quarters of a lap later and Oldfield made his way underneath McHugh and set out after Walker and Lack, and, within, just a couple of laps, relieved Lack of second. Oldfield set out after Walker, who had built a margin of about a quarter of a lap, while mid-field Brad Ayers and Mark Pholi argued over the minor positions. Oldfield caught Walker in lapped traffic, and even managed to briefly get his nose in front, but Walker was unstoppable on the high side and persisted relentlessly on the top to make his way around the lapped car and maintain control of the race. Callum Walker went on to take the win ahead of Luke Oldfield and Peter Lack, with Lachlan McHugh home in fourth and leading Dave Whell, Brad Ayers, Mark Pholi, Stewart Craig, Mitch Gowland and Andrew Liebke across the line. Karl Hoffmans did not start the event.

Heat two saw Andrew Marks and Simon Jupe share the front row for the start, the duo racing wheel-to-wheel into turn one while Jayden Peacock had a massive look on the inside of Marks. Jupe used the high line to secure the advantage while Marks held down second, but when Peacock got a little sideways in turn two, contact with a hard-charging Mitchell Gee saw both drivers invert their cars, with Peacock rolling several times into the turn two catch fence. Both drivers walked away from the wrecks and while Gee was able to return to the track later in the event, Peacock was out for the rest of the night. A full restart followed with Jupe again getting a brilliant start on the high side and securing the lead while Marks initially held down second until Ben Hilder raced around the top and relegated Marks to third. Marks soon came under pressure from both Brent Kratzmann and Andrew Scheuerle, with Kratzmann racing underneath Marks as they navigated turn four a few laps into race, and Scheuerle going around the outside almost a lap later. At the front of the field Jupe and Hilder caught lapped traffic, with Hilder looking particularly strong in the Q95 Motorguard Motorsport racer and challenging Jupe for control of the race. Jupe, who made a last minute decision to compete in last nights event, held his own, and managed to keep Hilder behind him before going on to take the win. Ben Hilder crossed the line in second and led Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle, Andrew Marks, Nelson Reddacliff, Rob Hamilton and Bryan Zelinski across the line. Jayden Peacock and Mitchell Gee both failed to finish the event.

The second of the Development Series Sprintcar heats saw Peter Campbell and Shane Matthews share the front row for the start with Campbell getting the jump when the green flag flew and settling into the early lead. Matthews settled into second in advance of Kris Jennings and Justin Snellman, but it was only a couple of laps before Jennings raced underneath Matthews to steal second. Aleesha Woods and Ashley Morgan had a great battle for the minor places mid-field, but the race was soon brought to a stop when Snellman, who had for a while challenged Matthews for third, collided with the turn three wall and inverted the Q64 racer. Snellman walked away from the wreck but would not return trackside for the rest of the night. Campbell led the restart from Jennings and Matthews with half the race still to run. The front three were untouchable but Woods and Morgan resumed their battle when the lights went green once more. Peter Campbell went on to take the win ahead of Kris Jennings and Shane Matthews while Aleesha Woods did a magnificent job to cross the line in fourth. Ashley Morgan finished fifth and led Libby Ellis across the line. David Kenway and Justin Snellman both failed to finish the event.

Heat three of the Sprintcars started with Rob Hamilton and Andrew Marks from the front row, with Lachlan McHugh and Callum Walker right behind them. Hamilton got a great start and quickly secured the lead while McHugh raced up the inside of Marks as they rounded turn one. Marks valiantly fought back on the top-side but contact between the pair, and Walker who had nowhere to go, ended with McHugh parked on top of the front end of Marks. With the aid of the forklift McHugh was lifted back to the track and all three drivers restarted the event at the rear of the field. With both Marks and Walker now at the rear of the field Brent Kratzmann, who had originally started from position six, was now elevated to the front row alongside Hamilton for the restart. Kratzmann got a brilliant start on the high line and quickly secured the lead while Hamilton immediately came under pressure from both Dave Whell and Luke Oldfield. Whell stuck to the bottom with Oldfield on the top, the pair racing either side of Hamilton as the trio went three wide through turn one. Oldfield managed to secure second but Whell soon got sideways in turn two, leaving Hamilton, and the rest of the field no where to go. Whell got upside down after contact with Hamilton, with Brad Ayers, Callum Walker, Bryan Zelinski and Andrew Marks all also involved. No one was injured but both Whell and Zelinski were unable to restart the event. Another full restart followed with Brad Ayers, who initially started from position seven, now from pole position alongside Kratzmann. Ayers and Kratzmann raced side-by-side into the first corner but it was Kratzmann who was able to secure the lead. Ayers settled into second in advance of Oldfield and McHugh, but was quickly forced on the defensive as his rivals put the pressure on. Meanwhile from the rear of the field Walker was trying to make his way forward, racing around Andrew Marks, then underneath Andrew Liebke and Rob Hamilton before setting about closing the gap to Brad Ayers. Luke Oldfield closed in on Brent Kratzmann as the pair approached lapped traffic, and did not hesitate when a small gap opened on the bottom. Oldfield raced under both Kratzmann and the lapped car with just two and half laps left to run and immediately started opening a comfortable margin on Kratzmann. Luke Oldfield got the win with Brent Kratzmann in second and Lachlan McHugh home in third. Callum Walker managed to climb his way back into fourth and led Brad Ayers, Rob Hamilton, Andrew Liebke, and Andrew Marks across the line. Bryan Zelinski and Dave Whell both failed to complete the ten-lap journey.

The fourth and final heat of the evening saw Stewart Craig and Nelson Reddacliff share the front row as they led the field to the green. Reddacliff got a brilliant start and quickly shot into the race lead, leaving Craig in second ahead of Mitchell Gee and Simon Jupe. Craig however was not going to let Reddacliff get away with the race lead without a fight and charged hard on the low line as they raced down the back straight, having a massive look under the Q85 racer as they rounded turns three and four, slight contact between the pair almost ending in disaster. Reddacliff prevailed on the top-side and maintained the lead but behind them Mitch Gowland climbed the fence in turn four. While Gowland was uninjured he was unable to restart the race. Stewart Craig suffered a flat right front tyre, which ultimately saw him make contact with the fence in turn three and prematurely end his night of racing also. Race leader Reddacliff had a flat left rear tyre, and, while his crew were allowed to change the tyre during the stoppage for Gowland, he was relegated to the rear of the field. Mitchell Gee inherited the race lead with Mark Pholi on his tail and Peter Lack sitting in third. Gee got a great start and initially opened a small lead, but Pholi was remarkably quick in the Q14 racer and swiftly closed the gap while further back in the field Andrew Scheuerle searched for a way past Simon Jupe. Pholi took to the high line and raced around the outside of Gee in truly spectacular fashion to briefly take control of the race, with Gee fighting back on the bottom half a lap later to regain the advantage. Pholi was relentless and Lack was closing in, but the race was soon back under caution when Simon Jupe bumped the turn two wall and came to a stop. Mitchell Gee led the restart from Mark Pholi and Peter Lack while mid-field Ben Hilder spent a couple of laps challenging Andrew Scheuerle for position. Mitchell Gee got the win with Mark Pholi a strong second ahead of Peter Lack, Andrew Scheuerle, Ben Hilder, Karl Hoffmans and Nelson Reddacliff. Simon Jupe, Stewart Craig and Mitch Gowland all failed to finish the event.

The Development Series feature event held over twelve laps, saw Peter Campbell and Kris Jennings share the front row for the start with Campbell getting a great start and quickly securing the lead. Jennings settled into second while Aleesha Woods used the high line to get the better of Matthews and settle into third. Matthews slowed to a stop on the inside edge of the track and brought the race under caution just moments after David Kenway made his way underneath Ashley Morgan. Campbell led the restart from Jennings and Woods and from there they were untouchable. Campbell and Jennings weaved their way through lapped traffic as they raced ever closer to the chequered flag with Peter Campbell taking the win ahead of Kris Jennings, both drivers earning the opportunity to start at the back of the Sprintcar B-Main event. Aleesha Woods crossed the line an impressive third ahead of David Kenway, Ashley Morgan and Libby Ellis. Shane Matthews did not finish the event.

The Sprintcar Dash event saw Luke Oldfield and Andrew Scheuerle share the front row with Brent Kratzmann and Ben Hilder from the second row. Oldfield got the jump when the green flag flew, with Scheuerle settling into second while Kratzmann lifted the front wheels from the track and allowed Hilder to snare third. Mitchell Gee was quick to race around the outside of Kratzmann and into fourth, with Mark Pholi having a look on the inside of the Q2 car of Kratzmann as well. Brad Ayers, who qualified for his first Dash event, ran at the tail of the field but challenged Peter Lack for position for a lap before Lack made his way past Pholi and left Pholi and Ayers to battle at the rear of the field. Lack set about chasing down Kratzmann, while Kratzmann tried to close the gap to Gee. Nothing could stop Luke Oldfield taking the win though, and he raced past the chequered flag more than second before second-placed Andrew Scheuerle. Ben Hilder finished an impressive third and led Mitchell Gee, Brent Kratzmann, Peter Lack, Mark Pholi and Brad Ayers across the line.

Just six cars took to the track for the eight-lap B-Main event, with Rob Hamilton and Karl Hoffmans from the front row. Hoffmans got a brilliant start and quickly secured the race lead ahead of Hamilton and Andrew Liebke, but Liebke wasted no time in making a move on Hamilton and sliding into second. Bryan Zelinski briefly challenged Mitch Gowland for the final transfer position but there was no stopping Karl Hoffmans out in front. Hoffmans went on to take the win and earn a transfer to the A-Main race, with Andrew Liebke in second and Rob Hamilton and Mitch Gowland rounding out the top four and transferring to the main race. Bryan Zelinski and Kris Jennings rounded out the finishers of the B-Main.

Eighteen cars lined up for a gruelling thirty-lap A-Main race, with Luke Oldfield and Andrew Scheuerle to lead the field to the green. Both got a brilliant start first time around but the race was quickly brought to a stop when Callum Walker and Simon Jupe came together in turn four, with Walker tipping the Q33 racer on its side. Walker was able to restart at the rear of the field but unfortunately for Jupe his race was over. A full restart followed and once again Oldfield and Scheuerle raced side-by-side into the first corner but it was Scheuerle who took control of the race and settled into the race lead, albeit with Oldfield all over the back of the Q25 racer and Mitchell Gee, Ben Hilder and Peter Lack all arguing over the minor places. Lachlan McHugh took to the high side and started making his way forward, while Callum Walker started charging from the rear of the field and quickly making up lost ground. Mark Pholi and Brent Kratzmann had a great battle mid-field, while the leaders hit lapped traffic less than five laps into the race. With lapped traffic in play Oldfield worked the bottom and slid beautifully underneath Scheuerle to take over the lead. Just one lap later, with only six laps completed, the race was brought to an abrupt stop when Brad Ayers went for a wild ride coming out of turn four and getting some impressive air in the NQ11 racer. Fortunately Ayers walked away from the wreck but his otherwise incredibly impressive night, was over.

Luke Oldfield led the restart from Andrew Scheuerle and Lachlan McHugh, with Mitchell Gee and Ben Hilder close behind and Callum Walker already back inside the top ten. Dave Whell made his way past Andrew Liebke and began looking for way past Nelson Reddacliff, while mid-field Mark Pholi and Brent Kratzmann exchanged places as they argued over track position. Again it was not long before Oldfield entered lapped traffic, and while he had built a significant margin over Scheuerle in second, there was still no room for mistakes. Oldfield began weaving his way through lapped traffic with Scheuerle several car lengths behind, while McHugh and gee put on a spectacular show as they fought over third. It was a captivating race as some of the best young talent in the sport traded places whilst navigating lapped traffic, weaving past the back markers and clearly having a lot of fun at the same time. Ben Hilder was right on their tail and, within just a few laps, Callum Walker joined the fight, having made his way past several more rivals in his quest to get back towards the front. Walker quickly raced underneath Hilder and set his sights on Gee and McHugh, while Hilder was forced to defend his position from a very hard-charging Peter Lack. Deep in the field Andrew Marks and Andrew Liebke traded places a couple of times before Liebke secured the advantage, but all eyes were on the front of the field. In lapped traffic Scheuerle had managed to close the gap to Oldfield, a significant feat in itself, and, as they rounded turn four for the final time, the chequered flag in the air and a lapped car mid-track right in front of them, Scheuerle committed to the bottom and challenged Oldfield for the lead. They raced side-by-side down the main straight and crossed the line two abreast, with Andrew Scheuerle getting the win by just one hundredth of a second in perhaps one of the most exciting ends to a Sprintcar feature race that you can get. Luke Oldfield crossed the line in second with Lachlan McHugh eventually getting the better of Mitchell Gee to secure third. Gee crossed the line an impressive fourth, a magnificent comeback after his crash in the earlier heat, while Callum Walker had a huge drive to come home in fifth after his incident on the opening lap sent him to the rear of the field. Ben Hilder crossed the line sixth and led Peter Lack, Brent Kratzmann, Mark Pholi, Nelson Reddacliff, Dave Whell, Andrew Liebke, Andrew Marks, Karl Hoffmans and Mitch Gowland. Brad Ayers, Rob Hamilton and Simon Jupe all failed to finish the main race.

Andrew Scheuerle has now won the first two rounds of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series and is certainly the man to beat this season. Can he get the win in Round Three? Or will Luke Oldfield, Lachlan McHugh, Mitchell Gee, Peter Lack or Callum Walker, who are all searching for their first win of the season, stand in his way? Or can Brent Kratzmann break through to get his first win at his home track? There are any number of drivers who could stand atop the podium and this season has already proven that anything can happen, even in the final second of the race, that changes everything. Sprintcars will be back at AusDeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night, 14 October 2017, for Round Three of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series. Come along and see it all for yourself -it is sure to be a MASSIVE night of Sprintcar racing! See you there!

 

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