Australian Sprintcar champion Marcus Dumesny enjoyed a triumphant return to the scene of his national championship win when he emerged victorious in the opening round of the Speedway Australia QLD/NSW States Series at Archerfield Speedway on Wednesday night (January 11). Just as he did in the Australian Championship feature race six months ago, Dumesny played a waiting game and was perfectly positioned as those around him fell over each other in a series of incidents that ultimately eliminated half the starters. Jamie Veal set a cracking pace at the front of the field for much of the race until a miscued lunge from Carson Macedo through turn two on lap 32 resulted in contact that pitched Veal into the wall, sending the Victorian champ upside down and out of the race, a fate that had befallen second-placed Luke Oldfield at the other end of the track a few laps earlier following contact from Lachlan McHugh. Having fallen as far back as 13th at one stage, Brock Hallett would find himself in second spot at the chequer, with Justin Sanders the best of the Americans in third. Ryan Newton and Brooke Tatnell completed the top five ahead of Steven Lines and McHugh, with Matthew Dumesny, Macedo and Michael Saller the only others to go the distance.
The 37-car Sprintcar field was seeded into three groups for time trial qualifying, from which Jock Goodyer emerged as quickest overall with a best lap of 11.380 and, while Ian Madsen (11.533), Jy Corbet (11.587), Oldfield (11.597) and Newton (11.664) were next quickest overall, the format dealt a cruel blow for several competitors as it would be the fastest four from each group who would share the first two rows of the grid in all of the heats. Therefore, despite timing sixth overall, Carson Macedo would find himself relegated in the pecking order behind Sanders, Tatnell, Veal, Hallett, McHugh, Lines, Cole Macedo and Marcus Dumesny, who could time no better than 17th overall.
Needless to say, all of the heats were won from the front row with Cole Macedo prevailing in the opener, downing Marcus Dumesny and McHugh.
An untidy start to heat two resulted in Tatnell being spat out in turn two and coming to rest against the concrete, although he would resume from the rear as Hallett went on to take the race in advance of Oldfield and Sanders.
Corbet outpaced Newton and Madsen to win heat three, with Veal downing Marcus Dumesny and McHugh to prevail in heat four.
In finishing first ahead of Sanders and Tatnell in heat five, Oldfield would emerge as the top qualifier for the night, while a win from Goodyer in the final heat over Carson Macedo and Newton would place him second overall heading into the Pole Shootout.
A 20-car field faced the starter in the B Main and when Taylor Prosser wiped out in turn two on the opening lap and Texan teenager Chase Randall was unable to fire the USA#9 for the restart, Carlo Moiola would be granted a start as reserve. Whilst Michael Saller was largely untroubled in leading throughout, there were changes aplenty in the fight for the minor placings. Peter Doukas occupied second initially until Brent Kratzmann took over on lap 11. Having started on the third row after a surprisingly subdued qualifying performance, Randy Morgan was on the move and, after dislodging Jack Bell from fourth on lap eight, Morgan would take third from Peter Doukas on lap 14, only for the Victorian to bite back and reclaim third on the 19th of 20 laps. Bell, Trent Vardy, Cody O’Connell and Jackson Delamont were next best ahead of Tarhlea Apelt, who advanced from 14th, with Jeremy Gaudry rounding out the top ten.
The opening round of the Pole Shootout saw Corbet and McHugh outpace Marcus Dumesny and Cole Macedo to advance into a clash with Veal and Sanders. It was Veal who topped the timesheets on this occasion, with McHugh second best again to also advance into a final showdown with Oldfield and Goodyer. Carrying the momentum from the previous rounds into the final, Veal and McHugh proved too quick and locked down the front row for the 35-lap feature race.
Veal was lightning at the drop of the green to get the feature race underway, leaping clear of the field and clearing away. Oldfield immediately moved ahead of McHugh, with Goodyer in fourth ahead of Sanders initially, although Marcus Dumesny would advance to fifth before the first restart came on lap two when Kratzmann stopped in the back straight and subsequently headed infield. Having dropped seven spots in rapid time, Corbet also exited at this early stage. On a track that was challenging, but very fast, the exit of turn four was producing plenty of highlights with cars bouncing, wheel-standing and banging the wall as they rode the cushion. With Oldfield having closed the gap to Veal, his bid to snatch the lead was thwarted when a restart was needed to relocate a stationary Cole Macedo from turn one to the infield. Underway again and McHugh found himself under pressure as Dumesny grabbed third momentarily on lap 10, only for the positions to change again on the next circulation. A extended run without interruption saw Veal skip clear of the field and enabled McHugh to close in on Oldfield. Into turn three on lap 29, McHugh miscued a pass under Oldfield and the ensuing contact sent Oldfield crashing out and, with McHugh ordered to the rear for the restart, Carson Macedo now found himself in second spot having blasted past Marcus Dumesny and Goodyer prior to the stoppage. A spin from Jayden Peacock in the main straight on lap 32 saw him make it to the infield unscathed, but when fifth-placed Madsen executed a similar manoeuvre on the next lap, he found himself in the path of the pursuing pack, with both Hallett and Matt Dumesny making contact but able to continue as Madsen exited. Immediately upon resumption, Macedo sensed an opportunity in turn two and charged underneath Veal, only to slide up track before clearing the former national champ, sending into the fence and upside down, an inglorious end to what had been a dominant display. With Macedo also banished to the back, Dumesny now found himself at the front of the parade and he completed the remaining laps without incident to secure a $5000 payday and an early points lead in the series. After starting outside the top ten and struggling early, Hallett would end up second ahead of Sanders, who struggled with a lack of brakes, with Newton home fourth. Tatnell and Lines were next best, with McHugh salvaging seventh ahead of Matt Dumesny, Macedo and the only other finisher in Saller.
Ben Manson took out the first of the Wingless Sprint heats over Tom Robertson and Stuart Jefferies, while heat two went the way of Jamie Usher from Chris Catchpole and Lachlan Robertson. The third heat delivered a win for Jayden O’Toole, with the minor placings going to Andrew Robinson and Scott Thomsen.
Dave Sansby outgunned Tom Robertson and Usher to win heat four, while Tim Harris downed Bailey Goodwin and Andrew Seery in heat five. Brodie Thomson looked to have the final heat safely in his keeping until pressure from his brother and a lapped car conspired to send Brodie into a spin in turn four with just a lap to run. Scott inherited the lead and the win while his brother recovered to salvage fourth behind Peter Granger and Robinson.
The feature race produced no changes in the order at the front of the field with Scott Thomsen leading last-start winner Usher through all 20 laps. Tom Robertson ran third through the first five laps before backsliding to an eventual 7th-place finish behind Goodwin, O’Toole, Robinson and Seery. Next home were Harris, Sansby and Brodie Thomsen, although it was the action even further back that provided all of the highlights with three-wide running and positional changes aplenty.
Andrew Parkes downed Matt O’Neill and Richard Treanor in the first of the Compact Speedacr heats and it was the same trio who filled the top three spots in the second heat, although with O’Neill first on this occasion ahead of Treanor and Parkes.
Launching from pole position in the Paul Messer Memorial feature race, O’Neill woiuld face little resistance in his charge to the chequer, leaving Treanor to again fill the runner-up spot. Rob Stewart secured third on this occasion, with Parkes surging back after a spin to finagle fourth. Chris Serle-Thrussell, Andrew Rooke, Brock Byrne and Mick Hunter were the only other finishers.