Kicking Up The Dirt - USC Queensland Grand Final
Joanne White posted Sunday April 22, 2018.
Sprintcars returned to Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba last night for the final night of the Queensland Ultimate Sprintcar Championship. And what a night it was! Sprintcars never fail to put on a thrilling show but last night had it all – from new track records, an entire championship that literally went down to the final race and which driver finished in front of the other and, potentially, which one of them led the final feature event for the most laps, to some monumental wrecks and disappointments – there were some incredible highs and some devastating lows, not to mention some of the most entertaining Sprintcar racing of the season. Robbie Farr and Luke Oldfield traded blows for virtually the entire A-Main race, with the lead changing several times as the pair navigated lapped traffic, but in the end it was Robbie Farr who got a hard fought and very much deserved win, and wrapped up the Queensland Ultimate Sprintcar Championship. For Farr it means a clean-sweep of the three Ultimate Sprintcar Championship around the country, having already taken out both the New South Wales USC and the South Australia USC, a mammoth effort and testament to not only his undeniable skill and consistency, but his, and his teams, commitment to the series across the country. Luke Oldfield crossed the line second last night, and secured second in the Queensland USC. He was absolutely phenomenal to watch last night as he held nothing back while challenging Farr, for not only the race lead but for the USC Queensland title as well. Sam Walsh finished third last night, rounding out the podium with Ben Hilder and Jayden Peacock completing the top five. Peacock also managed to secure third overall in the Queensland USC.
When qualifying got underway we quickly realised just how fast the track was going to be, with lap times for the first third of the field already hitting the low eleven seconds, and getting faster with each lap. Sam Walsh secured the quickest time of the first group, stopping the clock at 11.147 seconds, while Peter Lack was second quickest (11.202) and Bryan Mann third (11.250). By the time the second flight had finished qualifying, the quickest six from that group had all bettered the time set by Walsh. Ben Hilder, driving the NQ2 of Andrew Baumber for the first time, stopped the clock at a blistering 10.801 seconds, narrowly beating Luke Oldfield and his time of 10.850 seconds. Michael Saller (10.854), Jayden Peacock (10.870) and Tony Wynne (10.971) all managed to dip into the ten-second bracket. With the track getting quicker by the minute we were well and truly looking at potentially breaking the one-lap track record. Robbie Farr did not disappoint, lowering the record to 10.644 seconds, before immediately beating his own time and dropping it down to an impressive 10.550 seconds, taking quick time not just for his flight, but the entire field. Brent Kratzmann went second quickest in flight three, stopping the clock at 10.820, with Andrew Scheuerle (10.936), Danny Reidy (10.960) and Damien Hart (11.005) close behind. Just 1.576 second separated the twenty-eight drivers who recorded a qualifying time.
Heat one started with Sam Walsh from pole position with Peter Lack alongside, with Bryan Mann and Lachlan McHugh from the second row. While McHugh got a less than ideal start, Lack and Walsh argued over control of the race until Lack raced beautifully around the outside of Walsh to secure the lead. Lack started opening a small lead, pulling away slightly but with Walsh trying to stay with him. Mick Sauer came under pressure from a hard charging and determined Mitchell Gee, while Mann and McHugh fought over the minor places. Walsh caught Lack in lapped traffic, relentlessly pursuing Lack and the race lead, and had a massive, though unsuccessful, look on the inside of the Q5 racer as they raced closer to the chequered flag. Peter Lack took the win ahead of Sam Walsh, while Lachlan McHugh managed to hold on to third ahead of Bryan Mann and Mitchell Gee. Mick Sauer came home sixth and led Brett Minett, Kristy Bonsey (who absolutely smashed her personal best time around the Toowoomba circuit during the race), Dylan Menz and Libby Ellis across the line.
Ben Hilder and Luke Oldfield shared the front row for the start of heat two. Hilder initially got the jump when the lights went green, only for Oldfield to immediately race around the top side to take the lead with just half a lap completed. Oldfield had remarkable speed in the Q17 racer, opening a sizable lead as the race wore on and, with some clear track ahead of him, lowered the one-lap record to a blistering 10.498 seconds. Hilder settled into second, the pair opening a very comfortable margin on the rest of the field, while Michael Saller tried to defend third position from Jayden Peacock. Peacock soon made his way into third, while behind them Cody Maroske began searching for a way past Randy Morgan. Oldfield entered lapped traffic with four laps still to run and while Hilder closed in a little as they began weaving their way past the back markers, there was little he could to do catch Oldfield. Luke Oldfield went on to take the win ahead of Ben Hilder and Jayden Peacock with Michael Saller home in fourth and leading Tony Wynne, Randy Morgan, Cody Maroske, Andrew Corbet and Shane Matthews home.
Robbie Farr and Brent Kratzmann started from the front row for the start of heat three to lead the field to the green, with Andrew Scheuerle and Danny Reidy from the second row. Farr managed to secure the race lead when the lights went green, with Scheuerle quick to race underneath Kratzmann to secure second. Danny Reidy almost immediately began challenging Kratzmann for third, only for Kratzmann to fight back and maintain his position. Reidy was absolutely relentless though, pushing Kratzmann all the way to the line, while Kratzmann refused to surrender third and Dave Whell, Mitch Gowland and Karl Hoffmans raced closely deep in the field. Robbie Farr got the win ahead of Andrew Scheuerle, Brent Kratzmann, Danny Reidy, Damien Hart, Dave Whell, Mitch Gowland, Karl Hoffmans, Scott Genrich and David Kenway.
Brett Minett started heat four from pole position with Mitchell Gee alongside for the start, with Lachlan McHugh, Peter Lack, Bryan Mann and Sam Walsh close behind. Minett secured the lead when the lights went green, but Gee was phenomenal on the high line and raced around the top-side in turn two to take the lead. McHugh and Mann battled as they searched for a way past Minett, but there was no stopping Gee out in front. Gee started opening a very comfortable lead ahead of Minett, while Mann, McHugh, Sam Walsh and Peter Lack battled for the minor places. As Gee extended his lead, Lack searched for a way past Walsh, while Walsh closed in on the back of McHugh and began looking for a way through. Walsh had a big look on the bottom of McHugh, but could not get the job done, so had a quick look on the high side before swapping back to the bottom for another look. Mitchell Gee got the win ahead of Brett Minett while Bryan Mann crossed the line in third. Lachlan McHugh came home in fourth ahead of Sam Walsh, Peter Lack, Dylan Menz, Mick Sauer, Kristy Bonsey and Libby Ellis.
Cody Maroske and Tony Wynne led the field to the green for the start of heat five, with Jayden Peacock and Michael Saller right behind. Maroske and Wynne raced side-by-side into the first couple of corners, but it was Wynne who eventually managed to pull ahead and secure the lead. Saller raced around the top side of Maroske to move into second, while Maroske fought back valiantly on the bottom. Saller began challenging Wynne for control of the race, attempting to slide underneath the NQ8 racer but was not able to get the job done and was forced to settle for second. Maroske and Peacock battled for the minor places, with Peacock soon leading the way, while Oldfield closed in fast on the back of Maroske. Oldfield made short work of finding his way in front of the Q22 racer and set his sights on Peacock, while Peacock closed in on Saller. With just four laps to run Wynne entered lapped traffic, giving Saller and Peacock the chance to close the gap even further and have a shot at displacing Wynne from the race lead. Peacock had a bold look on the inside of Saller as they raced closer to the chequered flag, only for Saller to deny him a way through, leaving Peacock to defend his position from a hard charging Oldfield. Tony Wynne was first to greet the chequered flag in heat five, with Michael Saller home in second ahead of Jayden Peacock and Luke Oldfield. Cody Maroske finished fifth and led Ben Hilder, Andrew Corbet, Randy Morgan and Shane Matthews across the line.
The sixth and final heat of the night started with Dave Whell and Damien Hart sharing the front row for the start, with Danny Reidy and Andrew Scheuerle close behind. Whell secured the lead in advance of Reidy and Hart but the race was quickly brought to a stop when David Kenway got up-side-down in turn two, with Karl Hoffmans also involved. Both drivers walked away from the incident, however neither were able to restart the race. A full restart followed, and while Reidy had a huge look on the bottom when the green flag flew, as he attempted to race underneath both Whell and Hart as they entered the first corner, Whell denied him a way through. Damien Hart settled into the race lead after a powerful run around the outside of Whell and Reidy, leaving Whell in second ahead of Reidy in third. Robbie Farr started chasing down Andrew Scheuerle, putting all kinds of pressure on the Q25 racer before sliding underneath and advancing to fourth. Scheuerle fought back hard and tried to return serve, but Farr shut the door, leaving Scheuerle to settle for fifth. Farr set his sights on Reidy and began trying to close the gap but ran out of laps and was not able to get close enough to make a move. Damien Hart got the win ahead Dave Whell, Danny Reidy and Robbie Farr, with Andrew Scheuerle home in fifth ahead of Brent Kratzmann, Scott Genrich and Mitch Gowland. David Kenway and Karl Hoffmans both failed to finish the event.
Brett Minett started the fifteen-lap B-Main from pole position, with Cody Maroske alongside and Mick Sauer and Randy Morgan from the second row. Minett immediately secured the lead the moment the green flag flew, while Sauer settled into second ahead of Maroske. Dylan Menz, from the rear of the field, began trying to make his way forward, searching for a way past Kristy Bonsey before sliding underneath the Q42 racer. Maroske began closing in on Sauer, searching both high and low for a way through as the pair fought over second and third, while Andrew Corbet came under fire from both Randy Morgan and Dylan Menz, with Menz making short work of finding his way in front of Morgan. Minett had opened a truly massive lead on his rivals but looped the Q94 racer, completing a full 360 degree spin before straightening the car and, somehow, maintaining control of the race. Unfortunately for Sauer, he lost several positions when he took evasive action while trying to avoid the spinning car of Minett, leaving Maroske in second and right on the tail of Minett. Brett Minett got the win ahead of Cody Maroske and Dylan Menz, who had a brilliant run from the rear of the field to earn a transfer to the A-Main. Andrew Corbet crossed the line in fourth, securing the final transfer position, while Randy Morgan crossed the line in fifth ahead of Mick Sauer, Kristy Bonsey, Scott Genrich, Mitch Gowland, Shane Matthews and Libby Ellis.
Robbie Farr started the thirty-lap A-Main event from pole position, with Luke Oldfield alongside. The pair who led the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship points chase entered the last race of the USC Series almost equal on points, with the winner to be determined by the results of the very last race of the Championship. Farr got a brilliant start when the lights went green, quickly settling in to the race lead ahead of Oldfield, and while Oldfield challenged on the bottom as he began searching for a way into the lead, Farr was quick to shut the door. With barely a lap completed the race was brought under caution for Brent Kratzmann who had made contact with the fence and come to a stop. Farr somehow managed to squeeze between the stranded Q2 racer and the fence to maintain his position at the front of the field. Kratzmann was unfortunately unable to restart the event.
Robbie Farr led the restart from Luke Oldfield, Sam Walsh, Ben Hilder, Peter Lack and Michael Saller with twenty-nine laps still to run. Walsh had a big look on the inside of Oldfield once the race resumed, but Oldfield refused to surrender second, while behind them Saller attempted to slide underneath Lack, only for Lack to fight back and maintain his position. Farr had started opening small lead over Oldfield and Walsh when the race was again brought to a stop. This time it was Damien Hart who had looped the NS75 racer, leaving Andrew Corbet and Dylan Menz little time to react. Farr was again exceptionally lucky to avoid disaster as the chaos unfolded in front of him, while approaching lapped traffic, and while both Hart and Menz restarted the race, Andrew Corbet was unable to continue, front end damage to the Q78 racer enough to bring about a premature end to his race.
When the race resumed it was Robbie Farr who again led the field to the green, with Luke Oldfield and Sam Walsh still on his tail and Ben Hilder, Peter Lack and Michael Saller close behind. Walsh did not hesitate on the start and dived straight underneath Oldfield when they took the green, while behind them Peter Lack raced underneath Ben Hilder as they fought over the minor positions. In just a couple of laps Farr began navigating lapped traffic, while Lachlan McHugh started challenging Michael Saller and Ben Hilder. McHugh had a look on the top side of Saller but couldn’t quite get in front, with Saller then racing swiftly around the outside of Hilder. McHugh switched to the bottom and slipped underneath Hilder to stay with Saller, while back at the front of the field Farr found himself under pressure from Oldfield. Oldfield was relentless and single-minded as took to the high line as he raced around Farr in lapped traffic and took the lead. The pair exchanged control of the lead several times, in thick lapped traffic, until the race was brought to a sudden stop when Michael Saller took a nasty ride in the N56 racer, with Mitchell Gee and Dave Whell amongst those involved. Saller was unscathed in the incident, though he was unable to restart the race, while officials allowed Gee and his crew to work frantically on the Q36 racer in order to try and get it back on track. Unfortunately for the team they ran out of time and Gee would watch the rest of the race from the infield.
With seventeen laps still to run it was Luke Oldfield who led the field to the green, with Robbie Farr in second ahead of Sam Walsh, Peter Lack, Lachlan McHugh and Ben Hilder. Walsh had a massive look on the inside of Farr when the lights went green, but Farr refused to surrender, and while Oldfield initially started opening a small lead, Farr was quick to close the gap. Once the leaders again entered lapped traffic the fight for control of the race really began heating up, with Farr sliding back underneath Oldfield to regain the race lead. Oldfield fired back almost immediately, racing back underneath Farr and into the lead, only for the race to be brought to a stop once more. Lachlan McHugh raced boldly up the inside of Peter Lack, in a move that ended in disaster for both drivers, with the pair crashing spectacularly out of the event. McHugh admitted in a post-crash interview that it was a move that, in hindsight, he perhaps should not have attempted, and tried to apologise to Lack, but Lack, whose USC championship hopes ended the moment the pair came together, was none too impressed.
Robbie Farr led the restart with eleven laps left to run and Luke Oldfield on his tail ahead of Sam Walsh, Ben Hilder, Jayden Peacock and Bryan Mann. Farr as usual got a brilliant start, quickly opening a small lead over Oldfield and Walsh, while deeper in the field Brett Minett collected the fence before limping the Q94 racer from the track. Andrew Scheuerle and Dylan Menz battled deep in the field, the pair exchanging positions a couple of times as Menz tried to make his way further forward after starting at the rear of the field. Farr began making his way through lapped traffic once more, with five laps still to run, while Oldfield closed in a little as they made their way through the back markers. Scheuerle finally regained his position from Menz and set his sights on Dave Whell, having a big look underneath the Q4 racer as they fought over mid-field places. But all eyes were on the trio at the front and with just two laps left to run the race winner was far from decided. Walsh was right on the tail of Oldfield while Oldfield had one last look underneath Farr on the final lap, but it was Robbie Farr who took the win ahead of Luke Oldfield and Sam Walsh. Ben Hilder finished fourth, a solid debut in an unfamiliar car, with Jayden Peacock rounding out the top five last night. Bryan Mann crossed the line in sixth and led Cody Maroske, Danny Reidy, Andrew Scheuerle, Dave Whell, Dylan Menz, Tony Wynne and Damien Hart past the chequered flag. Brett Minett, Peter Lack, Lachlan McHugh, Michael Saller, Mitchell Gee, Andrew Corbet and Brent Kratzmann all failed to finish the event.
Robbie Farr took out the Queensland Ultimate Sprintcar Championship, clean-sweeping the USC in three states. Winning one USC is no easy feat, which makes taking championship honours in all three championships this season even more impressive. Congratulations to Robbie and his team on what has been a massive, and undeniably memorable season. Luke Oldfield took out second place in the Queensland USC, challenging Farr for the Championship quite literally until the final chequered flag of the series. Young gun Jayden Peacock has had a remarkably consistent run in Toowoomba this season, and managed to snare third overall this season.
Sprintcars Queensland return to Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night, 28 April 2018, for another round of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series and our last race meeting before the Queensland Sprintcar Title the following weekend.
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