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Kicking Up The Dirt - Queensland Title - Night 1
Joanne White posted Sunday October 4, 2020.

Sprintcars Queensland kicked off the Archerfield Speedway 2020-2021 race season last night with night one of our Queensland Title. Originally scheduled to have been run earlier in the year before the global health pandemic hit it was a long time coming but what a way to open the new season in Brisbane. By the end of the twenty-lap Preliminary A-Main the podium was a duplicate of the podium from Hi-Tec Oils Speedway last weekend, with Lachlan McHugh unstoppable in the NQ7 racer as he raced to victory ahead of Luke Oldfield and Cody Maroske. Brent Kratzmann this time secured fourth with Mitchell Gee completing the top five.

Qualifying got underway with Luke Oldfield securing the quickest time after hitting the track early in the qualifying session. Oldfield stopped the clock at 11.743 seconds ahead of Cody Maroske (11.898) and Adam Butler (11.938) with Brent Kratzmann the only other car to dip into the eleven-second bracket, stopping the clock at a quick 11.942 seconds. Lachlan McHugh managed to secure fifth in qualifying with a 12.007 second lap despite a late qualifying run. Just 0.073 of a second separated McHugh, Callum Walker, Mitchell Gee, Andrew Corbet, Kevin Titman and Dave Fanning, while Aaron Kelly beat Allan woods but a tiny 0.002 seconds. The top twenty-four cars were separated by less than one second, while Scott Genrich did not record a qualifying time and took no further part in the event.

Heat one started with Randy Morgan and Nicholas Whell from the front row with Whell getting the jump when the lights went green, quickly securing the lead ahead of Morgan while Allan Woods and Mark Pholi negotiated over third and fourth until Pholi spun as they rounded the final corner of the first lap, leaving Callum Walker and Mitchell Gee with nowhere to go. A full restart followed with Morgan this time getting the better start and taking control of the race while Whell settled into second. Whell immediately came under pressure from Luke Oldfield as he tried to make his way forward, with Allan Woods soon joining the pair as they battled for the minor positions. The trio raced three abreast as the rounded the final corner of the first laps, with Oldfield on the bottom, Woods up top and Whell sandwiched between them. They remained three-wide all the way down the main straight and into turn one with Oldfield managing to get his nose in front before Woods powered around the high side and secured the advantage as they raced through turn two. Oldfield fought back, racing underneath Woods half a lap later, and while Woods tried to fight back, he lost ground and surrendered a position back to Whell when he ran too wide in turn three. Walker and Gee had a thrilling battle deeper in the field, while Kristy Bonsey started challenging Woods for position. The race was brought to a stop at the half way mark for the spun car of Zack Howell in turn three, with Morgan, Oldfield and Whell to lead them back to green light conditions. Morgan did a magnificent job out in front, while Oldfield sat in a comfortable second, but deeper in the field it was hard not to watch Gee as he took to the high and raced around Walker and Bonsey and began challenging Woods, soon slipping underneath the Q28 racer and turning his attention to Whell. Randy Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Luke Oldfield, with a sizable gap back to third placed Nicholas Whell. Mitchell Gee came home in fourth and led Allan Woods, Kristy Bonsey, Mark Pholi and Callum Walker home. Zack Howell did not finish the event.

Brendon Claridge and Paul Rooks shared the front row for the start of the second heat, with Claridge quickly taking control when the race got underway. Rooks soon came under pressure from Darren Jensen, with Jensen relentlessly searching for a way around the Q43 racer, while from the rear of the field Cody Maroske and Lachlan McHugh began to make their way forward. Maroske got underneath McHugh and Andrew Corbet in quick succession, setting his sights on Aaron Kelly, while Corbet soon fought back on the inside of Maroske, with McHugh right on his tail. McHugh made his way around Corbet and turned his focus to Maroske and when Maroske raced up the inside of Aaron Kelly as they raced through turn four, McHugh took the high line, racing three-wide with Kelly in the middle, before McHugh and Maroske emerged ahead of Kelly. McHugh had truly incredible momentum on the high line and made short work of racing ahead of Maroske as they exited turn two, then spending just a couple of laps chasing down Jensen before racing through underneath the Q75 racer. Maroske followed soon after and while McHugh closed in on the race leaders with just a few laps to run, the battle for the lead between Claridge and Rooks was fierce enough on its own. Rooks had several big looks on the inside of Claridge over the final couple of laps, the pair crossing the line side-by-side, with Brendon Claridge securing the win just 0.078 seconds ahead of Paul Rooks in second. Lachlan McHugh finished third ahead of Cody Maroske and Darren Jensen with Aaron Kelly, Andrew Corbet, Brock Dean and Nathan McFarlane rounding out the finishers.


Heat three with the track with Kevin Britten from pole position and Andrew Baumber alongside. Britten settled into the race lead when the green flag flew with Baumber second while Kevin Titman and Dave Fanning raced either side of Tim Farrell as they rounded the second corner. Titman settled into third ahead of Fanning while Farrell got a little sideways and almost came together with Brent Kratzmann as Kratzmann tried to follow Titman on the low line. Kratzmann recovered well, racing underneath both Farrell and Fanning in quick succession and turning his attention to Titman, only for Fanning to fire back on the low side half a lap later. Kratzmann had a big look underneath Fanning soon after looking to return serve but could not quite get the job done, biding his time and trying again the following lap, this time racing underneath Fanning and Baumber in one beautiful inside run. Fanning again fought back, slipping underneath both Baumber and Kratzmann as they rounded turn two half a lap later, only for Kratzmann to spectacularly race back in front as they rounded turn four. Meanwhile at the front of the field Kevin Titman had closed in on Kevin Britten, with Titman soon moving into the race lead and opening a very comfortable margin on his rival. Kratzmann closed in on Britten in the closing stages of the race but ran out of laps. Kevin Titman got the win ahead of Kevin Britten and Brent Kratzmann, with Dave Fanning home in fourth, leading Andrew Baumber, Adam Butler, Tim Farrell, Dylan Menz, Brodie Tulloch and Libby Ellis across the line.

Heat four saw Nicholas Whell start from pole position with Andrew Baumber alongside. Whell got the jump and led the way through the first couple of corners but Allan Woods soon raced underneath Baumber, getting by on the inside of Whell as they headed down the back straight for the first time and taking control of the race. The race however was soon brought under caution when Baumber spun the NQ2 racer in turn three, leaving Kevin Titman nowhere to go. The race restarted with Whell from pole position and Allan Woods elevated to the front row. Whell again secured the lead when the green flag flew, with Woods settling into second while Kristy Bonsey raced around Paul Rooks, and Kevin Titman took to the high line to try to make up lot ground. Titman was in fine form, racing around Luke Oldfield and having a big look on the high side of Mitchell Gee and Paul Rooks, the trio three wide through turn four. Gee made his way underneath Rooks, as Titman raced around the high side, with Gee then slipping underneath Bonsey, with Titman right on his tail tank. Gee and Titman had a fierce battle as they closed in on those out in front, while Luke Oldfield began making his way forward from the rear of the field, soon catching the tail of Titman and Gee. Titman looped the Q59 in turn four, and while he was able to keep from stopping, he lost several positions as he straightened the car. Nicholas Whell went on to take the win ahead of Allan Woods and Mitchell Gee with Luke Oldfield, Paul Rooks, Kristy Bonsey, Kevin Titman and Andrew Baumber rounding out the finishers. Libby Ellis did not finish the event.

The fifth heat of the weekend saw Kevin Britten and Mark Pholi from the front row, with Randy Morgan and Aaron Kelly close behind. Britten got the jump when the race got underway, with Pholi valiantly charging around the top side in an effort to steal control. Pholi was relentless, persisting on the high side for the whole opening lap, but it was still Britten who had the lead. Pholi ran in second but soon surrendered the position to a hard-charging Morgan, while behind them Callum Walker, on the bottom, and Cody Maroske, on the top side, raced either side of Adam Butler as they rounded turn four on the opening lap of the race. Walker emerged in front and immediately set out finding a way past Pholi, having a big but unsuccessful look on the inside of the Q14 racer before Maroske joined the battle on the high side, challenging both Walker and Pholi for position. Walker got underneath Pholi a few laps later and set out after Morgan and Kelly, joining them in a fierce battle for the minor positions. Walker got underneath Kelly, getting the nose of his own Q33 racer a fraction ahead of Kelly while still searching for a way past Morgan, while Kelly was strong on the high side, fighting back on the top side of Walker in a spectacular battle that captivated the crowd. Kevin Britten got the win ahead of Randy Morgan, while Walker and Kelly crossed the line side-by-side in a dramatic photo finish. Aaron Kelly secured third, beating Callum Walker to the line by just 0.010 second, with Walker forced to settle for fourth. Cody Maroske crossed the line in fifth and led Adam Butler, Mark Pholi, Brock Dean and Nathan McFarlane home.

The final heat of the night saw Tim Farrell and Brendon Claridge share the front row for the start with Darren Jensen and Andrew Corbet from the second row. Farrell was quick to secure the lead with Claridge settling into second while Corbet initially dropped back before charging on the high side to get around Jensen. Dave Fanning raced up the inside of Jensen as they headed down the back straight for the first time, the race was soon brought to a stop when Jensen made heavy contact with the turn three wall and inverted the beautifully presented Q75 racer. Jensen walked away from the wreck but his night of competition was over. A full restart followed with Farrell again securing the lead in advance of Claridge and Fanning. Fanning soon made his way underneath Claridge and into second, while behind them Brent Kratzmann got underneath Lachlan McHugh and then Andrew Corbet before getting underneath Claridge as well, all before the end of the first lap. Unfortunately for Kratzmann he promptly spun the immaculately presented Q2 racer and brought the race under caution. Farrell led the restart from Fanning and Claridge but when the lights went green it was Lachlan McHugh who was quick off the mark, making his way underneath Corbet and Claridge in quick succession before switching the to the high side to chase down Fanning. McHugh made it look easy as he got around Fanning to move into second and had started to slowly close the gap to race leader Farrell when Farrell looped the Q51 racer in turn four, handing the lead to McHugh. Farrell recovered well and avoided a stoppage, but had surrendered position to both McHugh and Fanning. Farrell faded further as both Corbet and Claridge came through, with Corbet and Claridge having a brilliant battle until Corbet spun to a stop in turn three. McHugh led the restart from Fanning and Claridge but there was no stopping Lachlan McHugh as he raced to victory ahead of Dave Fanning and Brendon Claridge. Tim Farrell finished fourth ahead of Brodie Tulloch, Brent Kratzmann, Dylan Menz, Andrew Corbet and Zack Howell. Darren Jensen did not finish the event.

The top eighteen cars lined up for the twenty-lap Preliminary A-Main, with Luke Oldfield and Lachlan McHugh from the front row and hard-chargers Cody Maroske and Brent Kratzmann right behind them. Oldfield got the jump when the lights went green and quickly secured the lead in advance of McHugh, Maroske and Kratzmann, while the mid-field battle for minor places raged fiercely with most of the field running two and three abreast for the first several laps of the race. Kratzmann raced underneath Maroske, with Maroske quick to fight back, while McHugh searched high and low for a way past Oldfield as they fought over the race lead. Dave Fanning, Callum Walker and Aaron Kelly had a close battle mid-field, the trio soon catching the tail of Adam Butler while Allan Woods closed in behind and joined in the negotiations. McHugh made his way past Oldfield and into the race lead, with Oldfield quickly coming under pressure from a hard-charging Brent Kratzmann. Cody Maroske though was not prepared to sit back and let Oldfield and Kratzmann have all the fun, with Maroske soon racing through underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn three to move himself into a podium position and began challenging Oldfield for second. McHugh was opening a very comfortable margin, weaving his way through lapped traffic, when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Andrew Corbet in turn two.

With ten laps still to run it was Lachlan McHugh who led them back to green light conditions, with Luke Oldfield, Cody Maroske and Brent Kratzmann close behind. When the race resumed Kratzmann came under pressure from Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman, while Allan Woods quickly made his way past Adam Butler to join Gee and Titman in their search for a way past Kratzmann. Callum Walker and Aaron Kelly battled each other while searching for a way past Butler, while at the front of the field it took McHugh only a couple of laps to reach lapped traffic again. Maroske challenged Oldfield for second as they navigated their way through the back markers, but it was Lachlan McHugh who took the win with Luke Oldfield second and Cody Maroske again rounding out the podium. Brent Kratzmann finished fourth ahead of Mitchell Gee, while Kevin Titman, Aaron Kelly, Allan Woods, Callum Walker and Adam Butler rounded out the top ten. Dave Fanning had a stellar return to Sprintcar racing, crossing the line in eleventh ahead of Kevin Britten, Tim Farrell, Randy Morgan, Nicholas Whell, Andrew Corbet, Paul Rooks and Brendon Claridge. All eighteen starters finished the event, with only the one caution during the twenty-lap journey, and sets us up for a truly MASSIVE Queensland Title Finale tonight.

Sprintcars Queensland will return to Archerfield Speedway in Brisbane tonight for Night Two of the Queensland Sprintcar Title and while Luke Oldfield and Lachlan McHugh are most definitely the current front-runners, there are plenty of others who could easily beat them to the chequered flag at the end of the main event tonight. Come and join us at Archerfield Speedway tonight (please follow the COVID-Safe rules in place and if you are feeling unwell or have been in a COVID hotspot in the past fortnight please reschedule your trackside visit) and follow us on Facebook for race night updates. See you trackside race fans!

 

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