From Archerfield Speedway
Andrew Scheuerle and Michael Pickens both scored hard fought victories in Brisbane on Saturday night March 10, winning the KRE Race Engines Sprintcar Track Championship and Polar Ice Qld Midget Series Feature races respectively at Supercheap Auto Archerfield Speedway. For both drivers, it was their first trip to the top step of the podium in Brisbane this season.
Scheuerle’s chances of victory received a significant boost when Dash winner Danny Reidy took up the Kratzmann’s Caravans Challenge to invert the top fourteen qualifiers for the thirty lap Feature, placing himself and Peter Lack on row seven and Steven Johnson and Dan Murray on the front row. Reidy’s decision may have moved Scheuerle from position eleven to the second row alongside last start winner David Muir but there was still plenty of work ahead of the defending Series Champion before he could lay claim to victory.
Scheuerle lost a spot to Muir on the opening lap only to get it back in dramatic circumstances when Muir flipped in turn four a lap later and brought out the reds, then battled with Murray and early race leader Johnson for a number of laps before finally taking over the point on lap thirteen. Johnson chased the Ausdeck #25 for another four laps before Darren Jensen swooped past both Bryan Mann and Johnson in the space of half a lap to take second and set sail after Scheuerle, reeling the leader in as Pete Thorley, Reidy and Todd Wanless got together in turns one and two to bring out the yellows.
As he has been on a number of occasions this season, Jensen was again fast on the top and he stole the lead from Scheuerle momentarily with an outstanding pass on the high side late in the race only for Scheuerle to return serve and steal the lead back again to set up a dramatic run to the flag on the final lap. And dramatic it was.
Entering turn three and carrying a huge amount of speed, Jensen was committed to the top and having shown his hand earlier, Scheuerle knew where to expect the pass to come from and tried to cover some of that ground in order to slow Jensen’s progress. Contact between the two sent Jensen headlong into the turn three wall, a huge hit that resulted in significant damage to Jensen’s car and ended his chances of a second KRE win this season.
Scheuerle restarted from the front and led the final two laps to greet the chequers ahead of Mann, Peter Lack, Reidy and Thorley who both recovered to post top five results. Paul Morris, Matt Butler, Brent Kratzmann and Ben Hilder were the only other finishers in a race that took its toll on the eighteen car field.
In the Polar Ice Series Feature, reigning New Zealand Midget Champion Michael Pickens showed why he is regarded as one of the world’s best with a clear victory over Todd Wanless, Grant Draney, Mark Brown and Brock Dean with last start winner and Series leader Brendan Palmer home in sixth spot.
Pickens topped the qualifying points after the Heat races and then drew the six marble to invert the front three rows of the Feature. Like Scheuerle in the Sprintcars, this looked to be a bonus for Wanless who quickly raced his way to the front as Pickens began the task of passing Dean, Jeremy Hassell, Brown and then Draney before he had a shot at Wanless for the lead.
Matt Greenwood was the biggest casualty of the race, bringing out the reds just before half-race distance when Hassell got loose in front of WA visitor Dene McAllan who was left nowhere to go and Greenwood clipped the two of them and flipped the #98 in the middle of turns three and four.
As fast as Wanless was though, it seemed only to be a matter of time before Pickens would run him down if he got clear air and that came on lap eleven after the restart, Pickens moving past Draney at one end and Wanless the other to take the lead and from that point he was never headed as Wanless, Draney and Brown battled for the minor placings.
In other racing on the night, Chris Paolini won the Gazza’s Rubbish Removals Compact Speedcar Feature from Wayne Corbett and Gary Hudson while Scott Lehfeldt, Chris Ruane and Steve Collins finished one through three in the Modlites Feature. Dudley Ward won the ten lap Stockcar Feature race.