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Kicking Up The Dirt - ECL Sprintcar Series - Round 2
Joanne White posted Sunday November 15, 2020.

Lachlan McHugh was nothing short of sensational at Archerfield Speedway last night as he raced to his fifth victory in six starts so far this season, racing essentially unchallenged to the chequered flag in the main event. It looked almost effortless for McHugh as he quickly opened a sizable and unassailable lead on each restart before weaving his way past the back markers after only a few laps. Cody Maroske ran a solid second for the first third of the race, but got caught up with a lapped car and ended up out of contention, handing second to Luke Oldfield. Oldfield, having already finished second on five occasions this season, had nothing for McHugh but seemed very much on track to secure his sixth consecutive second until Callum Walker closed in as they navigated lapped traffic and began challenging Oldfield for position. Walker slid underneath Oldfield, only for Oldfield to return serve almost immediately with a caution following only moments later, handing second back to the Walker for the restart. Walker crossed the line in second with Oldfield relegated to third, while Mitchell Gee secured fourth ahead of Kevin Titman. Brent Kratzmann ran a solid sixth as they raced closer to the chequered flag, embroiled in a race-long battle with Aaron Kelly, with Kelly eventually getting up the inside of Kratzmann, the pair racing side-by-side across the line, with Kelly beating Kratzmann to the line by just 0.028 seconds.

Qualifying got underway and it was Callum Walker who locked in the fastest qualifying lap, on the very last lap of the very last qualifying group. Walker stopped the clock at 11.867 seconds, beating the 11.885 benchmark set by Lachlan McHugh. McHugh was relegated to second quickest ahead of Luke Oldfield (11.920), Cody Maroske (12.001) and Mitchell Gee (12.028).

The Development Series cars were first on track with Nicholas O'Keefe and Jeremy Gaudry leading the eight-car field to green light conditions. O'Keefe quickly secured the lead in advance of Gaudry, with Brant Chandler and Jason King close behind. Gaudry challenged O'Keefe for control of the race, while deeper in the field Erin Vanderreyden searched for a way past Zack Howell as the pair started to close in on King. Nicholas O'Keefe went on to take the win ahead of Jeremy Gaudry and Brant Chandler, with Jason King, Zack Howell, Erin Vanderreyden and John White rounding out the finishers. Libby Ellis pulled out of the event with mechanical issues on board the NQ73 racer before completing a lap.

Heat one of the open Sprintcars saw Kevin Titman, who had endured some mechanical misfortunes in qualifying, from pole position with Andrew Baumber alongside. Titman got a brilliant start and quickly shot into the race lead, opening a comfortable margin while Baumber settled into second ahead of Nicholas Whell and Paul Rooks. Brent Kratzmann got around Kristy Bonsey before slipping underneath Rooks and challenging Whell for position just half a lap into the ten-lap journey, while from the rear of the field Callum Walker and Aaron Kelly began trying to make their way forward. Walker displaced Rooks and turned his attention to Bonsey, who was searching for a way back past Kratzmann, while closer to the front Whell was all over the back of Baumber as the pair raced for second position. Kevin Titman went on to take the win, almost two and half seconds ahead of Andrew Baumber in second. Nicholas Whell crossed the line in third and led Brent Kratzmann, Kristy Bonsey, Callum Walker, Aaron Kelly, Anthony Lambert and Paul Rooks home.

Mitch Gowland and Brad Ayers shared the front row for the start of heat two, with Adam Butler and Mark Pholi from the second row. Gowland and Ayers raced side-by-side into turn one, neither willing to compromise on the lead, while behind them Pholi and Butler fought over the minor places and had a moment in turn two, forcing the rest of the oncoming field to take evasive action, with Mitchell Gee and Dave Fanning both coming to a stop and bringing the race under caution. A full restart followed and while Gowland briefly got his nose in front, Ayers powered around the high side and into the race lead by the time they rounded the second corner. Ayers started opening a comfortable margin, while Gowland came under increasing pressure from Pholi and Butler, but deeper in the field it was Lachlan McHugh who was stealing the show. McHugh, who started back in eighth, began making his way forward, slipping underneath Darren Jensen and then Adam Butler in quick succession before setting out after Pholi, spending just a couple of laps chasing down the Q14 racer before slipping underneath as they rounded turn one. Pholi fought back, getting back underneath McHugh in turn two and maintaining his position for a number of laps, while mid-field Butler, Gee and Jensen were having their own battle for track position. McHugh soon closed back in on Pholi, and slipped back past the Q14 racer as they rounded turn four, with Pholi loosing some ground when he collected a rut and momentarily got off course. McHugh wasted no time catching Gowland and challenging the beautifully presented Q32 racer for second, the pair racing wheel-to-wheel until McHugh finally managed to emerge in front and set out after Ayers and control of the race. Brad Ayers though had built too much of a lead and went on to take the win ahead of Lachlan McHugh and Mitch Gowland, with Mark Pholi home in fourth and leading Adam Butler, Mitchell Gee, Darren Jensen and Dave Fanning across the line. Scott Genrich did not finish the event.

Heat three started with Andrew Corbet from pole position and Lachlan Caunt alongside. Corbet got the better start and quickly secured the race lead once the green flag flew, with Caunt settling into second ahead of Allan Woods and Jayden Peacock, who raced around the top side of Tim Farrell in the first half lap of the race. Farrell was left to try and defend his position from Dylan Menz who was running the high side, and Luke Oldfield, who was trying to make his way forward from the rear of the field. Woods made his way past Caunt, with Peacock quick to follow when Caunt ran a little too wide in turn four, leaving Caunt with Farrell right on his tail. Farrell had a big but unsuccessful look on the inside of Caunt as they rounded turn two but to no avail with Oldfield quickly closing in behind. Farrell was relentless though and a lap later had another big look on the inside of Caunt, but things came undone when contact between the pair followed, with both Farrell and Caunt flipping out of the race. Luke Oldfield was left with nowhere to go and suffered damage to the right side board of his main wing as he tried to avoid the chaos, while Cody Maroske had no where to go and collided with Caunt before the N9 racer had landed. Corbet led the restart from Woods, Peacock and Oldfield with seven laps still to run. Corbet was strong out in front, while Peacock had a bold, but unsuccessful, look underneath Woods as they rounded turn two. Peacock was soon forced on the defensive as Oldfield started to challenge for third but it was still Andrew Corbet who went on to take the win ahead of Allan Woods, Jayden Peacock and Luke Oldfield. Dylan Menz finished fifth ahead of Cody Maroske and Brendon Claridge while Lachlan Caunt, Tim Farrell and Nathan McFarlane all failed to finish the event.

The second of the Development Series heats started with Jason King from pole position with Brant Chandler alongside and Jeremy Gaudry and Nicholas O'Keefe from the second row. Jason King secured the lead when the lights went green, with Brant Chandler securing second and challenging King for control of the race. Gaudry sat in third, with O'Keefe right behind, while at the rear of the field Libby Ellis had the advantage over Erin Vanderreyden, John White and Zack Howell. White had a brief look underneath Vanderreyden before Vanderreyden started challenging Ellis for position. Towards the front of the field Gaudry got around Chandler and turned his attention to King, spending several laps closing in on the race leader before racing around the outside of the NQ69 racer and into the lead. Zack Howell and Erin Vanderreyden had a great battle towards the rear of the field but it was Jeremy Gaudry who got the win ahead of Jason King and Brandt Chandler with Nicholas O'Keefe, Libby Ellis, Erin Vanderreyden, Zack Howell and John White rounding out the finishers.

Anthony Lambert and Kevin Titman shared the front row for the start of the fourth open Sprintcar heat of the night, with Lambert taking control on the low line and settling into the lead in advance of Titman while Mark Pholi and Nicholas Whell negotiated over third and fourth with Jayden Peacock on their tail. Brent Kratzmann and Lachlan McHugh started searching for a way forward from the rear of the field, with Kratzmann securing the advantage over McHugh before racing underneath Kristy Bonsey and turning his attention to Whell, who had surrendered a position to Peacock and dropped back a fraction from the battle for the minor places. McHugh followed Kratzmann underneath Bonsey before slipping under the Q2 racer of Kratzmann moments later and then looking underneath Whell soon after. Peacock displaced Pholi and turned his attention to Lambert, who had surrendered control of the race to a determined Titman, while mid-field McHugh searched for a way past Whell, as Kratzmann closed in on the pair. McHugh had a look on the high side of Whell, opening the door on the bottom and allowing Kratzmann to slip through, with Kratzmann getting past on the inside of Whell half a lap later just moments before the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Lachlan Caunt. Titman led the restart from Lambert and Peacock with six laps still to run. Peacock quickly moved past Lambert and into second, with Lambert fading further as Pholi came through and slipped past the Q90 racer, while behind them Kratzmann came under enormous pressure from both Nicholas Whell and Lachlan McHugh. McHugh got underneath Whell before racing around Kratzmann and then Lambert in quick succession, advancing three positions in just one lap before using the high line to catch and get around Pholi and turning his attention to Peacock. Kevin Titman got the win while Jayden Peacock withstood a late challenge from McHugh to secure second. Lachlan McHugh came home in third and led Mark Pholi Anthony Lambert, Brent Kratzmann, Nicholas Whell, Kristy Bonsey and Lachlan Caunt across the line.

Heat five started with Tim Farrell and Paul Rooks from the front row, with Andrew Corbet and Dave Fanning from the second row. Fanning got a brilliant start and quickly secured the race lead, with Rooks second until he spun in turn two, leaving Fanning nowhere to go, and brought the race under caution. A full restart followed with Fanning now alongside Farrell on the front row. Farrell secured the lead when the green flag flew, with Fanning challenging for control, while Aaron Kelly, who took to the restart from position four, quickly dispatched Andrew Corbet and settled into third with his sights firmly set on the duo out in front. Allan Woods began challenging Corbet for position while deeper in the field Mitchell Gee and Callum Walker we having their own intense battle for the minor positions. Kelly wasted no time and quickly began challenging Fanning for second, racing up the inside of the Q89 racer as they rounded turn four before turning his attention to Farrell and the race lead. Woods and Corbet negotiated over midfield positions until both Walker and Gee slipped in between them, with Walker and Gee putting on a spectacular show as they tried to move towards the front. Kelly caught Farrell and put all kinds of pressure on the Q51 racer before slipping underneath and into the race lead. Farrell tried to fight back, having a brief look on the inside of Kelly, but was not quite able to get the job done. Back in the middle of the field Gee had dispensed Walker and raced around Corbet, leaving Corbet to again defend his position from Woods, who had found his way back in front of Walker. Aaron Kelly went on to take the win ahead of Tim Farrell and Dave Fanning, with Mitchell Gee home in fourth ahead of Allan Woods, Andrew Corbet, Callum Walker, Paul Rooks and Scott Genrich.

Mitch Gowland started from pole position in the final heat event of the night, with Adam Butler alongside to lead the field to green light conditions. Gowland got the jump on the start and led the way through the opening two corners, but it was Butler who powered around the high side, taking control of the race with just half a lap completed, leaving Gowland in second ahead of Brad Ayers and Andrew Baumber. Darren Jensen and Luke Oldfield started trying to advance from deep in the field, with Jensen getting past Dylan Menz and turning his attention to Baumber, who had faded a little as Cody Maroske made his way forward. While Ayers and Maroske searched for a way past Gowland, Jensen and Oldfield continued to advance through the field, the pair closing in while Maroske spent several laps searching for a way past Ayers. Maroske eventually managed to get underneath Ayers, with both Jensen and Oldfield getting around the top side in quick succession before Oldfield raced underneath Jensen and set out after Maroske as the race drew to a close. Adam Butler got the win ahead of Mitch Gowland and Cody Maroske with Luke Oldfield fourth and leading Darren Jensen, Brad Ayers, Andrew Baumber, Dylan Menz, Brendon Claridge and Nathan McFarlane across the line.

The Development Series cars took to the track for the C-Main event, with Jeremy Gaudry and Nicholas O'Keefe sharing the front row for the start of the ten-lap journey. Gaudry got a brilliant start and secured the race lead ahead of O'Keefe, with both Brant Chandler and Jason King right behind and eager to make it into the top two to earn a transfer to the B-Main event. Zack Howell and John White had a close battle towards the rear of the field, while Nicholas O'Keefe pulled out of the event after just two laps. With six laps to run the race was brought under caution for the spun car of White in turn two. Gaudry led the restart from Chandler and King, with only the top two finishers to transfer to the back of the B-main line-up. Erin Vanderreyden briefly challenged King for third but in the end there was no stopping Jeremy Gaudry as he raced to victory and secured his spot at the back of the B-Main line up. Brant Chandler would join him after finishing second in the C-Main event, with Jason King third ahead of Erin Vanderreyden, Zack Howell, Libby Ellis and John White. Nicholas O'Keefe did not finish the event.

Sixteen cars lined up for the fifteen-lap B-Main event, with Dylan Menz and Kristy Bonsey to lead them to the green flag. Menz led the field to the first corner, with Bonsey spectacularly challenging on the high side, but the race was quickly brought under caution when Nicholas Whell spun the Q21 racer coming out of turn one. A full restart followed, with Menz again leading Bonsey with Brad Ayers and Mitch Gowland negotiating over third. Bonsey had a big but unsuccessful look on the inside of Menz as they raced through turn two, with the race again brought under caution a few laps later as Lachlan Caunt slowed to a stop high on the track in turn three. Menz led the restart from Bonsey, Ayers and Tim Farrell with ten laps still to run. Farrell came under pressure from both Andrew Corbet and Anthony Lambert, while behind them Andrew Baumber and Mitch Gowland held nothing back. Another caution followed soon after with Menz again leading the restart, Ayers started challenging Bonsey for second while Farrell tried to hold on to the final transfer position as both Lambert and Corbet tired to take it for themselves. Lachlan Caunt began making his way forward from the rear of the field while the battle between Farrell and Corbet over the last transfer position heated up as the pair traded places back and forth as they raced closer to the chequered flag. Dylan Menz got the win ahead of Kristy Bonsey, with Brad Ayers home in third and Tim Farrell hanging on to finish in fourth and secure, along with Menz, Bonsey and Ayers, a start in the main race. Andrew Corbet finished fifth and led Anthony Lambert, Paul Rooks, Mitch Gowland, Nicholas Whell, Andrew Baumber, Lachlan Caunt, Brendon Claridge, Brant Chandler and Scott Genrich across the line. Nathan McFarlane and Jeremy Gaudry both pulled out of the event before the fall of the chequered flag.

The Bronze Shootout hit the track with Jayden Peacock, Callum Walker, Mitchell Gee and Brent Kratzmann the first cars to hit the track. Mitchell Gee was quickest of the quartet, stopping the clock at 12.504 seconds and transferring to the Silver Shootout. Second quickest was Callum Walker (12.697) who also advanced, while Brent Kratzmann (12.858) and Jayden Peacock (13.141) were eliminated from the shootout events.

For the Silver Shootout Mitchell Gee and Callum Walker were joined on track by Cody Maroske and Aaron Kelly. A mechanical issue on board the Q33 racer of Walker saw him slow to a stop as the group were about to get the Silver Shootout underway, thus eliminating him from the event. Cody Maroske ended up the quickest of the three remaining cars, stopping the clock at 12.426 seconds, and advancing to the Gold Shootout, while Mitchell Gee was second quickest (12.676) and would also advance to the Gold Shootout and a chance to start on the front row for the main race. Aaron Kelly (12.707) was eliminated from the shootout event.

Lachlan McHugh and Luke Oldfield joined Cody Maroske and Mitchell Gee on track for the Gold Shootout event, with Lachlan McHugh securing the quickest time (12.218) and earning pole position for the main race. Last start winner, and the only driver other than McHugh to win a main race so far this season, Cody Maroske locked in the second fastest time in the Gold Shootout, a 12.576 second lap, and would share the front row with McHugh for the A-Main. Mitchell Gee (12.588) and Luke Oldfield (12.624) finished third and fourth respectively in the Shootout events and would line up alongside each other on the second row for the start of the feature.

Eighteen cars lined up for the thirty-lap A-Main event with Lachlan McHugh and Cody Maroske to lead them to green light conditions. McHugh got a brilliant start and quickly secured the lead before beginning to open a sizable margin on the rest of the field. Maroske settled into second, he too opening a small margin over his nearest rival while Luke Oldfield and Mitchell Gee negotiated over third and fourth and Callum Walker and Brent Kratzmann raced for fifth. Aaron Kelly quickly joined Kratzmann and Walker making for an exciting three-way battle for the minor positions, while Gee and Oldfield continued to negotiate over third, Gee moving in front and holding the advantage with Oldfield all over the back of the Q65 racer and relentlessly pursuing his rival. Walker soon got the better of Kratzmann and moved far enough ahead to join Oldfield and Gee, with Gee falling back to battle with Kratzmann and Kelly as Oldfield and Walker advanced. Jayden Peacock and Kevin Titman soon arrived on the tail tank of Kelly, the trio having a great battle as Kratzmann pulled ever so slightly ahead of them. Titman got underneath Peacock and then raced up the inside of Kelly, only for Kelly to immediately fire straight back. Titman again returned serve and made his way in front of Kelly, leaving Kelly with Peacock on his tail, while Lachlan McHugh began weaving his way through the back markers. Maroske, still a ways behind McHugh but also with a healthy margin on Oldfield, was in heavy lapped traffic when contact with Mark Pholi, as he attempted to put the Q14 racer a lap down, ended with Pholi riding out a wild ride into turn four. Pholi walked a way from the wreck but was unable to continue the race, while Maroske was sent to the rear of the lead lap for his part in the incident.

With twenty laps still to run it was Lachlan McHugh who led the restart with Luke Oldfield now in second ahead of Callum Walker, Mitchell Gee and Brent Kratzmann. McHugh opened a sizable lead on Oldfield in just half a lap, with Oldfield pulling a couple of car lengths ahead of Walker on the start. Walker and Gee battled for third, the pair trading places back and forth a few times while Kevin Titman found a way past Brent Kratzmann and set out after Gee and Walker. Aaron Kelly and Jayden Peacock battled behind Kratzmann as Kratzmann tried to close in on Titman once more, with Kelly soon getting the better of Peacock and closing in on Kratzmann. Kelly and Kratzmann had a breath-taking battle, trading places back and forth several times, with Kelly sliding underneath Kratzmann as they rounded turn three, only for Kratzmann to return the favour in turn four. Elsewhere in the field Adam Butler, Cody Maroske and Dylan Menz raced three-wide as they fought over minor positions as Maroske tried to make up lost ground, while McHugh and Oldfield again began making their way past lapped traffic. Callum Walker caught Oldfield in traffic, sliding quietly underneath the Q17 racer as they rounded turn four, with Oldfield getting back past Walker in turn one, just moments before the lapped car of Tim Farrell spun in front of the pair and brought the race under caution.

Lachlan McHugh led the restart from Callum Walker and Luke Oldfield with eight laps left to run. While no one seemed to have anything for McHugh who again quickly opened an unassailable lead, Oldfield tried to challenge Walker for second, while behind them Mitchell Gee came under enormous pressure from Kevin Titman, and the battle for sixth continued to rage as Brent Kratzmann and Aaron Kelly negotiated over the position. Another caution followed for the spun car of Adam Butler in turn two, with Jayden Peacock getting out of shape on the opening laps of the restart and leaving a luckless Cody Maroske with nowhere to go, the collision leaving Brad Ayers no choice but to spin the Q4 in an effort to avoid contact, the trio bringing the race under caution less than a lap into the restart.

Lachlan McHugh led the restart from Callum Walker and Luke Oldfield with three laps left to run. Oldfield began challenging Walker for second in a frantic final three laps, while behind them Mitchell Gee and Kevin Titman argued over fourth and fifth, with Titman getting underneath Gee only for Gee to quickly slip straight back through moments later. Brent Kratzmann was comfortable in sixth but Aaron Kelly seemed to have other ideas, challenging Kratzmann for the position with one lap left to run. Lachlan McHugh got win number five for the season while Luke Oldfield pushed Callum Walker all the way to the line but it was Walker who finished second leaving Oldfield in third, not quite how he had hoped to get off the second step of the podium. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in fourth ahead of Kevin Titman, while Aaron Kelly had a massive look on the inside of Brent Kratzmann on the final lap, the pair side-by-side as they crossed the line with Kelly snatching sixth as they greeted the chequered flag. Brent Kratzmann was forced to settle for seventh with Dave Fanning, Darren Jensen and Dylan Menz rounding out the top ten. Tim Farrell finished eleventh with Cody Maroske climbing back to twelfth ahead of Adam Butler, Kristy Bonsey, Brad Ayers, Jayden Peacock and Allan Woods. Mark Pholi was the only starter who did not finish the event.

Sprintcars Queensland will head back to Hi-Tec Oils Speedway in Toowoomba next Saturday night, 21 November 2020 for another big night of racing on the high banks. See you trackside race fans!

 

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