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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Series - Round 1
Joanne White posted Sunday October 6, 2019.

The East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Series kicked off at Ausdeck Patios and Roofing Archerfield Speedway last night, with a strong field of twenty-seven cars taking to the track and putting on a spectacular show for the large Brisbane crowd. Kevin Titman proved early that he is in magnificent form this season and dominated proceedings last night, from setting quick time in qualifying, advancing in both his heat events, winning the Dash and finally getting a long awaited win at the end of a tantalising A-Main. Andrew Scheuerle was forced to settle for second, after having come from tenth on the starting grid of the main race. Scheuerle had even momentarily taken the lead from Titman before a caution with eleven laps left to run saw him relegated back to second, where be spent most of the rest of the race defending himself from a hard-charging Luke Oldfield. Oldfield crossed the line in third with Lachlan McHugh, who had transferred from the B-Main, home a strong fourth, and Mitchell Gee, now onboard the Q43 racer, rounding out the top five.

Qualifying got underway with some of our best drivers first out on a greasy track. Luke Oldfield managed to get the quickest time of the first qualifying group, but slipped back to seventh by the end of the qualifying runs. Kevin Titman locked in the fastest circulation of the Brisbane venue during Qualifying, stopping the clock at 11.811 seconds, while Andrew Corbet was second with a 11.846 second lap. Michael Saller (11.913), Ryan McNamara (11.950) and Mitchell Gee (11.955) rounded out the fastest five, and were the only cars to dip into the eleven-second bracket. Dave Whell was just one thousandth of a second slower than Oldfield, while Mark Pholi beat Kristy Bonsey by the same tiny margin. The top twenty-three cars were separated by less than one second and made for an exciting night of very close competition.

Heat one started with Lachlan McHugh and Andrew Scheuerle from the front row. And yes, as strange as that sounds for a format where the fastest start towards the back, you read that right. Furthermore, the first start was aborted, officials deeming Scheuerle to have jumped the start and relegated the A1 racer to the second row for the restart. Luke Oldfield advanced to the front row alongside McHugh, and while McHugh initially managed to get his nose a fraction in front, it was Oldfield who led them all through turn one. It took Oldfield just half a lap to open a small lead, while McHugh and Scheuerle fought over second, the young gun defending his position from the Australian Champion, while behind them Kevin Titman quickly displaced both Glen Sutherland and Tim Farrell and started searching for a way past Scheuerle. Sutherland briefly challenged Farrell before being forced on the defensive as Brett Minett closed in but there was little anyone could do about Oldfield out in front. Luke Oldfield went on to take the win ahead of Lachlan McHugh and Andrew Scheuerle, with Kevin Titman home in fourth ahead of Tim Farrell, Glen Sutherland, Brett Minett and Mitch Gowland.

Dan Murray and Sean Rose shared the front row for the start of heat two, with Adam Butler and Dave Whell close behind. Murray and Rose raced side-by-side towards turn one, but it was Murray on the bottom who managed to secure the advantage and led the field through the opening turns. Rose settled into second as the leading duo started to open a small margin on the rest of the field, while Mitchell Gee started trying to advance from deep on the field. Gee made his way underneath Andrew Corbet before turning his attention to Whell but could not quite get the job done despite applying relentless pressure for the rest of the race. Dan Murray went on to take the win ahead of Sean Rose and Adam Butler, with Dave Whell, Mitchell Gee, Andrew Corbet, Steve Greer, Anthony Lambert and Libby Ellis rounding out the finishers.

Aaron Kelly started heat three from pole position with Andrew Baumber alongside. Kelly got a great start when the green flag flew, quickly securing the lead before beginning to open a comfortable margin on the rest of the field. Baumber immediately came under pressure from a hard-charging Allan Woods, the pair negotiating over second as Kelly pulled away, while behind them Brent Kratzmann took to the high line to get around Bryan Mann before looking on the outside of Michael Saller. Saller however was not prepared to surrender the position and fought back, with Kratzmann then switching to the low side and having a look underneath the N56 racer. Before long though Saller raced underneath Mark Pholi, and while Kratzmann tried to follow him, he was unable to find a way through. Pholi challenged Saller a lap later only for Saller to maintain the advantage, leaving Pholi with Kratzmann on his tail. Pholi and Kratzmann came together in turn four, leaving Pholi with a damaged front wing, while Saller went on to challenge Woods, searching high and low for a way past the Q28 racer. Saller was relentless but timed his run perfectly, racing beautifully around Woods before turning his attention to Ryan McNamara. Aaron Kelly though was absolutely unstoppable out in front, racing to victory almost four seconds ahead of his nearest rival, with Andrew Baumber crossing the line second. Ryan McNamara finished third and led Michael Saller, Allan Woods, Brent Kratzmann, Bryan Mann, Mark Pholi and Kristy Bonsey across the line.

Heat four hit the track with Kristy Bonsey, who had broken a drive shaft in qualifying and, at one stage, was out for the night, and Andrew Scheuerle sharing the front row for the start. Bonsey got a brilliant start and secured the lead before they entered turn one, leaving Scheuerle in second while behind them Glen Sutherland tried to find a way past Mark Pholi, while Lachlan McHugh got the better of Kevin Titman and started challenging Sutherland. Scheuerle committed to the bottom and managed to get underneath Bonsey to take control of the race as they completed the first lap, while McHugh continued to pressure Sutherland and Titman started turning up the pressure on McHugh. Titman was absolutely magnificent as he chased McHugh and Sutherland, captivating everyone as he worked the high line before slipping straight between McHugh and Sutherland as they rounded turn three, the trio three-wide through the turn with Titman coming out in front. Titman then spent just one lap closing the gap to Pholi, slipping seemingly effortlessly underneath the Q14 racer and turning his attention to Bonsey in second. Sutherland, McHugh and Mitchell Gee had a thrilling battle for the minor positions, with Gee displacing McHugh before turning his attention to Sutherland. Bonsey pulled out the event with more mechanical dramas on board the Q42 racer, but it was Andrew Scheuerle who got the win ahead of Kevin Titman. Mark Pholi crossed the line in third ahead of Glen Sutherland and Mitchell Gee, with Lachlan McHugh, Anthony Lambert and Mitch Gowland rounding out the finishers. Sadly Kristy Bonsey did not finish the event.

Heat five saw Dan Murray and Aaron Kelly line up on the front row for the start. Both drivers already had a win on the board from the first round of heats, and both were determined to get back-to-back heat race wins, but it was Murray who got the better start when the lights went green, the Q44 racer quickly securing control of the race and leaving Kelly in second while Andrew Corbet and Dave Whell negotiated over third. The race was however quickly brought under caution when Brett Minett spun to a stop towards the rear of the field. A full restart followed but it was Murray who again managed to get the advantage, leaving Kelly in second ahead of Dave Whell. Michael Saller was breath-taking on the top side though, racing around Andrew Corbet and Sean Rose before turning his attention to Dave Whell. Bryan Mann made his way underneath both Rose and Corbet and set his sights on Saller and Whell, but out in front it was all about Murray. Dan Murray got the win, despite Aaron Kelly closing in as they approached lapped traffic, with Kelly home in second ahead of Michael Saller and Dave Whell. Bryan Mann finished fifth and led Andrew Corbet, Sean Rose, Libby Ellis and Brett Minett home.

The final heat event of the night saw Tim Farrell and Andrew Baumber lead the field of eight to the green. Farrell got the jump on the start, with Allan Woods and Adam Butler quick to follow while Baumber faded to deep in the field. Farrell led them through turn one, while Butler took to the high side and raced around Woods, but continued the momentum through turn two and around Farrell as they headed down the back straight. Butler took control of the race with only half a lap completed while behind him Luke Oldfield and Brent Kratzmann both began looking for a way forward. Oldfield started looking for a way around the high wide of Allan Woods, while Kratzmann followed Ryan McNamara under Baumber. Kratzmann then made his way underneath McNamara and began challenging Oldfield, the Q2 racer briefly making his way in front, using the low line beautifully, until Oldfield took to the high side to try to get around Woods. McNamara rejoined the battle, getting back underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn four, while Oldfield was all over the back of Woods, searching high and low for a way through. Oldfield eventually got around Woods before turning his attention to Farrell, getting past the Q51 racer just moments before Farrell spun and left McNamara with nowhere to go. Farrell was able to keep moving but the caution for the unlucky McNamara saw the Q88 racer relegated to the rear of the field with only three laps left to run. Oldfield made short work of Farrell on the restart, taking over second and setting out after Butler, while Kratzmann got underneath Woods. Oldfield got around Butler shortly before the while flag flew, with Luke Oldfield going on to take a popular win ahead of Adam Butler and Tim Farrell. Brent Kratzmann crossed the line in fourth ahead of Allan Woods, Ryan McNamara, Andrew Baumber and Steve Greer, who spun to a stop on the final corner of the race.

Kevin Titman went into the Dash event as the highest points scorer of the night and started the Dash from pole position with Luke Oldfield alongside. The pair raced side-by-side into the first corner with Oldfield challenging hard on the high side, but Titman refused to surrender control of the race. Titman settled into the lead, with Oldfield in second and Michael Saller a solid third. The battled for the minor places was intense, with Mitchell Gee getting past on the inside of Andrew Corbet before starting to chase down Glen Sutherland. Kevin Titman got the win ahead of Luke Oldfield and Michael Saller, with Ryan McNamara home in fourth ahead of Mitchell Gee, Glen Sutherland, Andrew Corbet and Dave Whell.

Twelve cars lined up for the start of the fifteen-lap B-Main event, but with names like Lachlan McHugh, Brent Kratzmann and Bryan Mann starting deep in the field, and only the top four finishers to transfer, it was never going to be an easy race. Tim Farrell and Sean Rose shared the front row for the start, with Farrell getting the jump when the lights went green. McHugh made short work of settling into second and immediately turned his focus to Farrell and the race lead, while behind them Kratzmann had a look underneath Baumber, nearly rode a wheel, and dropped back a few positions, leaving Kristy Bonsey and Bryan Mann to find a way past Baumber. Farrell led from McHugh and Rose, while Bonsey, Mann, Baumber and Kratzmann fought over the fourth and final transfer position. Kratzmann made impressive progress on the top-side, getting around Baumber before following Mann underneath Rose. Out in front Farrell was doing a remarkable job holding off the advances of McHugh but the race was soon brought under caution when Kratzmann uncharacteristically spun to a stop in turn three. Sean Rose and Steve Greer came together as they tried to avoid Kratzmann, and made heavy contact with the wall, leaving Rose with a flat left rear tyre and sadly out of the race. Farrell led the restart from McHugh and Bonsey, with Mann now sitting in the final transfer position with twelve laps still to run. McHugh made his way into the race lead just half a lap into the restart while Mann chased Bonsey, and Anthony Lambert and Mitch Gowland fought over minor positions deep in the field. The race was however soon brought under caution again, for Brent Kratzmann who had spun to a stop in turn four, bringing about an early and disappointing end to his night of competition. McHugh led the restart from Farrell and Mann, with Bonsey sitting in the final transfer position. Steve Greer had a look underneath Bonsey once the race resumed, but Bonsey refused to surrender her position, while Lambert soon got underneath Greer as Greer faded before pulling out of the event. Lachlan McHugh got the win ahead of Bryan Mann and Tim Farrell, with Kristy Bonsey doing a magnificent job to finish fourth and secure her spot in the A-Main. Brett Minett finished fifth but would later get his start in the main race when Andrew Corbet pulled out. Mitch Gowland crossed the line sixth in the B-Main event and led Andrew Baumber and Libby Ellis across the line. Anthony Lambert spun in the final corner of the race and was credited with ninth place while Steve Greer, Brent Kratzmann and Sean Rose all failed to finish the event.

Kevin Titman started from pole position in the A-Main, with Luke Oldfield alongside, not to mention an incredibly tough field behind them. Titman and Oldfield raced side-by-side into turn one but it was Titman on the bottom who managed to secure the lead, and while Oldfield tried to challenge on the high side, he was soon forced on the defensive as a hard-charging Michael Saller tried to steal second. From towards the rear of the field Lachlan McHugh immediately started making forward progress, while Bryan Mann ran the high line and raced around both Allan Woods and Dan Murray. Mann soon caught Aaron Kelly and Glen Sutherland, while Ryan McNamara began boldly searching for a way past Andrew Scheuerle. McHugh got around Mark Pholi before racing underneath Allan Woods and turning his focus to Dan Murray. It took only a few laps for McHugh to make way past Murray, and then Sutherland and begin to close in on Aaron Kelly, who had moments before surrendered a position to Mann. Race leader Titman approached the back markers and started skilfully weaving his way through, but Oldfield was closing in fast. Oldfield caught Titman in traffic and began challenging for control of the race, but the event was soon brought under caution for Aaron Kelly who had stopped in turn four. Woods did everything he could to lessen the unavoidable contact with the stranded Kelly car, while Michal Saller spun to a stop as he took evasive action, throwing away virtually any chance of what was almost certainly going to be a podium result.

Kevin Titman led the restart with seventeen laps left to run and Luke Oldfield and Andrew Scheuerle on his tail. Mid field though Mitchell Gee was coming on strong, racing around Adam Butler and beginning to challenge Ryan McNamara for fourth, while behind him Lachlan McHugh continued his methodical charge towards the front. Scheuerle got the better of Oldfield and set out after Titman, while Gee came under fire from Butler, and Bryan Mann and Lachlan McHugh searched for a way past Dave Whell. Scheuerle closed in on Titman, stealing the lead as they rounded turn two, only for the race to be brought to a stop half a lap later. Adam Butler and Bryan Mann were both involved in the stoppage, with Mann suffering front-end damage on the Q16 racer and eliminating him from the event.

It was Kevin Titman back in front to lead them back to green light conditions when the race resumed, with Andrew Scheuerle and Luke Oldfield on his tail and Ryan McNamara, Mitchell Gee and Lachlan McHugh next in line. McHugh searched high and low for a way past Gee, while behind them Michael Saller was making impressive progress towards the front. McHugh eventually got underneath Gee and set out after McNamara, but the race way brought to a stop soon after with McNamara into the turn one fence.

With only seven laps left to run there was little anyone could to do to catch Kevin Titman out in front. Luke Oldfield had a massive look on the inside of Andrew Scheuerle, momentarily stealing second, only for Scheuerle to fire back around the high side to maintain the advantage. Lachlan McHugh closed in, putting a challenge to both Oldfield and Scheuerle but it was Kevin Titman who was first to greet the chequered flag and secure a long awaited and well-deserved win. Andrew Scheuerle crossed the line in second ahead of Luke Oldfield, while Lachlan McHugh finished fourth after transferring from the B-Main. Mitchell Gee rounded out the top five and led Michael Saller, Dan Murray, Glen Sutherland, Mark Pholi, Dave Whell, Tim Farrell, Brett Minett, Kristy Bonsey, Aaron Kelly, Adam Butler and Allan Woods across the line. Ryan McNamara and Bryan Mann did not finish the event.

Sprintcars Queensland will head back to Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway next Saturday night, 12 October 2019 for second round of the Queensland USC Series. We are only two nights in to our 2019-2020 race season in South East Queensland and already the competition is fierce. The action continues next weekend so make sure you get yourself trackside to see it all for yourself….


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