Hobson is the New Wingless King, Oldfield Unstoppable

Victoria’s Todd Hobson has been crowned as the new Australian Wingless Sprint champion with victory in the 40-lap championship feature race at Archerfield Speedway on Sunday night (April 30). Having started from the inside of row three alongside defending champ Kyle Mock, it took just seven laps for Hobson to work his way into the lead and wrest control of the race. Preliminary feature winner Jacob Jolley could not repeat his Saturday night success and had to settle for a runner-up result. with Scott Thomsen finishing third to become the first Queenslander to secure a podium result in the event. Tyson Williams and Jack McCarthy completed the first five ahead of Tim Harris, while a stunning run from Michael Butcher saw him advance from 19th to finish seventh. Completing the top ten in the last ever national championship event to be staged at Archerfield were Rylan Furler, Travis Millar and Jason Bates.

In round eight of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, Luke Oldfield completely dominated proceedings from the outset and romped home to score an emphatic win in the 30-lap feature race. Oldfield was untouchable in his charge to victory, maintaining his perfect record of podium results this season and further extending his lead in the series standings. In a result that has been a long time coming, Brent Kratzmann finally found himself back on the podium with a strong drive into second spot, while a last-lap pass would elevate Jy Corbet into third and push Kevin Titman back to fourth. Previous round winner Taylor Prosser started alongside Oldfield on the front row but had fallen to fifth by races end, with Aaron Kelly climbing from 14th to secure sixth ahead of Mitch Gowland, Tim Farrell, Adam Butler and Mark Pholi.

Night 1

A last-start Wingless Sprint feature winner at Archerfield, Bailey Goodwin got the night underway when he romped home to win the opening heat by more than seven seconds over Hobson and Anthony Joyce.

South Australian champ Tyson Martin struck trouble in heat two, grinding to a halt along the back straight on the opening lap as Lachlan Robertson led every circulation to win ahead of Chad Gardner and Chris Catchpole, with Tyson Williams enjoying a similarly straightforward run to win heat three from Ian O’Toole and Casey O’Connell.

Heat four featured a great scrap between Tim Harris and Jenna Kervers, with the pair swapping the lead on more than one occasion before Harris ultimately prevailed, leaving Robert Mazzer third at the flag.

Travis Millar triumphed in heat five over Mark Blyton, who tangled with Millar in the early going, with Mason Cattell third.

Having driven splendidly to secure the lead after starting from the third row in heat six, Blake Walsh made a spectacular exit when he rode the wheel of fellow Victorian Brock Argus and flipped out. Argus would go on to take the race in advance of Liam Atkinson and Jolley, who started last in the 12-car field.

Heat seven proved costly for several drivers, the first casualty being Allan Woods with an end-for-end tumble through turn four on the opening lap. Lap six saw Andrew Sayre ride a wheel along the back straight before somersaulting to a halt in turn three. Having biffed, banged and barged his way through the field, Goodwin wiped himself out in the final turn as Tasmanian champ Brad Whitchurch led his South Australian counterpart Tyson Martin to the chequer, with Graham Flood third.

Luke Weel downed Brett Hehir and Ben Manson to win heat eight, with Bates besting Scott Irons and Ian O’Toole in heat nine.

Heat ten went the way of Rylan Furler over Robert Mazzer and Mark Blyton, who survived a scare on the opening lap when he rode a wheel along the back straight, only for his engine to expire after the chequer.

Jolley led throughout to win heat 11 over Jack McCarthy, who rounded up Brody Thomsen in the final corner, with Mock charging through the field in impressive fashion to clock the fastest lap of the race in his advance to fifth.

John Egan downed Tim Harris and Mitchell Broome to win heat 12 before Michael Butcher outpaced Cody O’Connell and Matt Gamble in heat 13 as Whitchurch fought his way back to fourth after spinning in turn four on lap two and launching Flood into a roll.

Hillyer led home Martin and Weel in heat 14, Hobson outpaced Casey O’Connell and Bates in heat 15, with Mock cruising home in heat 16 over Furler and Joel Buettel

The Thomsen brothers shared the spoils in the final heats of the night, with Scott downing McCarthy and Jolley before Brodie bested Cooper Wilson and Ian Milnes. In the final heat, Egan had second spot secured until a clash with Mitchell Broome sent him crashing out just two laps from home.

From pole position, Jolley jumped to the lead in the preliminary feature race and occupied that position across all 20 laps. Scott Thomsen held second spot initially but Bates took over that spot on lap two, with Hobson fourth ahead of Furler. Chaos reigned on lap five when Weel was launched skyward along the main straight in a wild moment that put the two-time podium placegetter on the infield with extensive damage. Mazzer and Nicholas Whell were also forced out, while Casey O’Connell was deemed the culprit and ordered to the rear of the field, but opting instead to head infield. Back underway and the first four set about distancing themselves from the pack, with Jolley leading Bates, Thomsen and Hobson. Despite the fact that all three of his challengers were clocking faster lap times, Jolley held firm at the front. In fact, Bates cut the quickest lap of the race but his refusal to move from the bottom of the track would see him fall to fourth as both Thomsen and Hobson advanced. In the end, Jolley was able to maintain his position to take the race and put himself atop the championship standings with one heat race remaining. Thomsen and Hobson joined him on the podium, with Bates fourth ahead of a fast-finishing Furler. Next best were Brody Thomsen and Mock, with McCarthy, Harris and Hillyer rounding out the top ten. Whitchurch, Williams and Butcher were next in line, leaving Wilson, Broome and Andrew Seery as the remaining finishers.

Paul Reeves led the early laps of the opening heat for AMCA Nationals until Bruce Marshall swept to the front on lap five. The final lap would prove costly for Reeves as he fell to fourth behind Steve Price and Tony Blanch.

Steve Potts romped home to win heat two in advance of Lewis Gamble and Brett Robotham, while a terrific outside pass from Lee McKinnell would see him triumphant in heat three, with Tim Gamble and Price in the minor placings.

The final heat of would see Blanch chase down Nik Stacey to grab the lead and the win, with Marshall home in third spot.

Whilst it was Potts who would occupy pole position for the 20-lap Shock Absorber Therapy feature race, Marshall launched from the outside row to lead the field away. In a race that was interrupted on numerous occasions by spins from those running at the back of the field, Marshall remained in control through the various restarts, with Potts likewise maintaining possession of second spot. McKinnell occupied third spot until a flat tyre sent him backsliding through the field and elevated Blanch onto the podium. Price and Tim Gamble completed the top five, followed by Graeme Holland, Russ Hardy, Lewis Gamble and Reeves. Brett Robotham completed the top ten runners, with Maverick Dack and Robert Turner the best of the rest.

Australian champ Harry Stewart teased his rivals in the first of the Compact Speedcar heats before pouncing on the final lap to deny Luke Williams, with Dave Collins third. The second heat saw Stewart romp home to finish more than four seconds clear of Richard Treanor and third-placed Williams.

In the RJR Kitchens feature race, Stewart again toyed with his opponents, allowing Williams to lead the first few laps and even dropping to third behind Treanor before roaring around the outside of both on lap five to secure the lead and a clean sweep of the night. Williams finished second as Collins moved ahead of Treanor for third, leaving Queensland champ Andrew Parkes in fifth ahead of Ron Williams and Jeremy Ennever.

Night 2

In the wake of an action-packed opening night, 63 of the original 72 Wingless Sprint combatants returned in pursuit of championship glory and it was John Egan who got things underway with a win in heat 19, leading Brad Whitchurch and Tim Harris to the flag.

Mock made it clear that he wasn’t going to surrender his title without a fight, chasing down Bailey Goodwin to win heat 20, with Scott Thomsen home third.

Chris Catchpole looked to have heat 21 in his keeping, only for Kirby Hillyer to reel him in and grab the win, with Hobson third on this occasion.

Bates bested Cooper Wilson and Lachlan Robertson to win heat 22 and secure pole position for the championship finale, while Ryan Furler also improved his standing when he downed Tyson Williams and Mitchell Broome to win heat 23.

Having suffered some setbacks the previous night, Jenna Kervers bounced back to wrap up the preliminaries with a win in the final heat race, leading home Travis Millar and McCarthy.

The first of two C Mains went the way of Jaidyn Boulding, who was joined in transferring to the B Mains by Jaiden O’Toole, with Brittany Schmidt the best of the rest in third.

The second of the C Mains saw Archerfield regular Liam Atkinson take the win over Chris Ansell, who had to fight back after a spin to extend his championship campaign by one more race, confining third-placed Steven Hately to a spectator role for the remainder of the night.

Full fields would face off in each of the B Mains, with the first of these going the way of Travis Millar, who outjumped his front row partner in Michael Butcher to grab the lead immediately and skip clear of the field. Butcher remained second to the chequer ahead of South Australia’s Chad Gardner, whose advance from the third row would ultimately leave him devoid of a place in the feature.

In the second of the B Mains, Tyson Martin was first to the flag, only to find himself disqualified post-race and the win awarded to Kervers, The ousting of Martin proved a godsend for Mark Blyton, who fought his way back to third and subsequently secured the final spot in the feature race grid, a result that looked unlikely when he was carted uptrack by Catchpole and fell to seventh.

Having usurped Jolley to secure pole position for the championship feature race, Bates got the initial jump at the green, only for Jolley to edge ahead by a miniscule margin as they completed the first lap. Running the outside, Bates went to the front again on lap two and remained in that position for another four circulations before Hobson pounced along the main straight, charging past both Jolley and Bates to assume the lead. From this point, Hobson took control of the race and was never headed, with Scott Thomsen advancing to third on lap 10. The only restart came on lap 11 when Kervers looped in turn three and, despite the extended run of uninterrupted laps that followed, lapped traffic never became a factor as Hobson maintained his advantage over Jolley and Thomsen, with Furler and Williams next in line. Bates dropped to the bottom briefly but, perhaps with the realisation that advancing from this position would require more rubbing than racing, he quickly headed back to the top, two-wheeling on several occasions and putting on show as he fought the cushion, no doubt having more fun than those down below. With Bates falling back as the laps wound down, McCarthy slipped into the top five ahead of Harris as Butcher surged into the top ten. Over the closing laps, Hobson would remain in control at the front of the parade, with Jolley fending off the persistent pressure from Thomsen to remain in the runner-up position. With Furler fading away, Williams would finagle fourth ahead of McCarthy, Harris and Butcher, whose charge from the back row earned him the Hard Charger Award. Furler, Millar and Bates rounded out the top ten ahead of Whitchurch, Hillyer and Mock, leaving Wilson, Blyton, Robertson, Broome and Kervers to complete the finishers, with only Brody Thomsen and Casey O’Connell failing to go the distance.

In round eight of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship, Luke Oldfield was dominant from the outset, stopping the clock at 11.341 in qualifying to score KRE Quick Time. Brent Kratzmann (11.591) was next quickest, followed by Ryan Newton (11.750), Ben Atkinson (11.805), Mitch Gowland (11.861), Randy Morgan (11.868), Andrew Corbet (11.875), with Kevin Titman (11.923), with Taylor Prosser (11.933) and Aaron Kelly (11.961) rounding out the top ten.

The opening laps of the first heat saw Adam Butler and Jy Corbet fight for the lead with Butler holding sway until lap seven when Corbet slipped ahead and skipped clear, with Jack Bell home in third spot.

It was Andrew Corbet who proved too pacey in heat two, making a successful return to racing with a win over Titman and Atkinson.

A brilliant start from Morgan in heat three saw him charge around the front row pair of Trent Vardy and Kaydon Iverson through turn two on the opening lap to emerge with the lead. Morgan remained in front to the end, with Oldfield surging into second ahead of Vardy.

Heat four went to Prosser over Tim Farrell and Jy Corbet, with Atkinson outgunning Gowland and Andrew Corbet in heat five.

The final preliminary proved an effortless stroll for Oldfield as he raced from pole position to defeat Kratzmann and Morgan.

Fortuitously selecting pole position in the pre-race grid draw, Oldfield blitzed the field in the Boss Hogg’s Steakhouse Dash. The only driver to lap under 13 seconds, Oldfield established a lead of more than three seconds across the six laps. Prosser finished second and Morgan looked like he would be third until he wiped out in the final turn, gifting the position to Atkinson. Kratzmann was next, followed by Andrew Corbet, Jy Corbet and Farrell.

The B Main saw Newton slot into the lead initially, only for his race to end after six laps courtesy of a recurring issue, inviting Jensen to take control of the race. Invitation accepted, Jensen prevailed over Aaron Kelly and Kaydon Iverson, while a last lap pass would carry Tyler Stralow into the feature race. However, with Morgan not taking his place in the feature race field following his Dash disaster, both Mark Pholi and Brad Ayers would also be granted a start.

Oldfield had already distanced himself from the feature race field when Atkinson crashed out through turn three on lap two, with both Stralow and Andrew Corbet also stopping amid the mayhem and finding themselves at the rear of the field for a restart that only lasted a lap before Ayers also tipped over in turn three. Back underway and Oldfield raced away again, with Prosser second ahead of Kratzmann. The remaining 20 laps ran without interruption and Oldfield never faced a threat, ultimately stretching his lead to more than six seconds. Kratzmann moved ahead of Prosser on lap 10, with Titman following suit a lap or so later. Gowland also moved ahead of Prosser briefly in what was shaping as his best drive of the season. With the top two spots settled, all interest centred around the fight for third that wasn’t settled until the final laps when Jy Corbet, having already relegated Gowland, gazumped both Titman and Prosser to steal the final place on the podium. A barnstorming run from Kelly would see him push Gowland back another spot to secure sixth, with Farrell, Butler and Pholi rounding out the top ten. Bell, Iverson, Jensen and Andrew Corbet were the remaining runners, Vardy heading infield on lap seven, to be joined by Kevin Britten on lap 13.

Darren Baldwin and Andy Kimm shared the spoils in the Lightning Sprint heats, with the latter also going on to take out the feature by a considerable margin. Kimm finished more than four seconds in advance of Victoria’s Ally Moore, who held firm in the face of pressure from Baldwin to secure second spot. Beyond Baldwin in third spot, Wayne Iacono and Michael Gollagher were the only other finishers.

A small field of Formula 500s offered little resistance to Liam Williams, who would take out both heats and the feature race with a minimum of fuss. Brodie Davis was similarly untroubled in securing second in the feature race, with Bailey Leeson snaring third ahead of Brady Argles and James Kennedy.

Racing continues at Archerfield Speedway next Saturday night (May 6), with a feast of V8 action from round nine of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship and the last ever Archerfield appearance form Dirt Modifieds, who have assembled a strong field for their last hurrah, with Modlites and Formula 500 Juniors also on the program.

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