Is there any better way to start the New Year than with a night of V8 dirt track action at Queensland’s premier speedway venue? The answer, obviously, is no and therefore Archerfield Speedway is the only place to be this Saturday night (January 1) to kick off 2022 with a huge double-header program featuring round nine of the East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship and the Paul Britten 44 for Dirt Modifieds. Also on the card will be Wingless Sprints, Lightning Sprints, Open B/Limited Sedans and a spectacular fireworks show.
For 30 of the Sprintcar competitors taking part on Saturday night, it is reasonably safe to assume that amongst their resolutions for the year ahead will be winning an ECL championship feature race. After all, from the start of the season to this point in time, only three people have achieved that feat, with Luke Oldfield and Lachlan McHugh having won seven times between them. The likes of Robbie Farr and Jamie Veal have tried, and failed, to upstage the two Gold Coast guns, with Tasmania’s Jock Goodyer the only person to outpace both Oldfield and McHugh in a feature race at Archerfield. The previous round on Wednesday night saw Oldfield back in victory lane, while in round seven on Sunday evening it was McHugh who prevailed.
On Wednesday night, a spin from McHugh saw him relegated to the rear of the field for the subsequent restart and it was his inability to climb back through the field that should boost the confidence of other competitors. Having progressed as far as sixth, McHugh encountered persistent resistance from the likes of Goodyer, Brent Kratzmann and Aaron Kelly and was subsequently unable to make any further progress, ultimately forced to settle for his worst finish of the season. The dogged determination displayed in keeping McHugh at bay is exactly the kind of effort that will be required again this weekend, and at every round thereafter, if we are going to see any significant change in the championship pecking order. Kelly has been particularly strong of late and is surely closing in on another podium appearance and, while Kratzmann must be frustrated by the fact that he seemed certain to finish on the podium until Goodyer pounced on the final lap, both drivers should be confident of their chances this weekend given they proved more than a match for the defending series champion for more than half the race. Also at the previous round, both Ryan Newton and Kevin Titman qualified very strongly, Allan Woods was a resurgent figure and South Australia’s Brock Hallet also looked good until a flat tyre intervened just two laps from home, all of which sets the scene for a terrific contest in what will be the final ECL round for a few weeks to accommodate the Speedway Australia Sprintcar State Series which gets underway on Wednesday night (January 5).
With the exception of the Australian Championship, the Paul Britten 44 is perhaps the most prestigious and sought after race on the Australian Dirt Modified calendar and therefore always attracts a quality field, as is the case once again this season. Nominations have been received from New South Wales and Victoria for the annual memorial staged to remember and recognise the late Paul Britten, a passionate and hard working administrator who was instrumental in raising the profile and popularity of the Dirt Modified division. As such, the format for the event is in keeping with Paul’s desire to deliver quality racing and maximum entertainment, with drivers encouraged to start from the back of the grid in the 44-lap feature race. It goes without saying that four-time national champion Kevin Britten will take the challenge, while all drivers who qualify into the Dash will also be afforded the opportunity to start the feature from the rear. In previous years, those who have declined the invitation have invoked the ire of fans whilst serving as motivation for the backmarkers to fight their way to the front.
Although he has been focussed on his Sprintcar endeavours in recent weeks, Britten is the clear favourite for the event and always serves up a dazzling display in memory of his father. Two other Australian championship winners in Mark Robinson and David Clark will also be in the field for what will be the final Dirt Modified show at Archerfield before the national title is decided here on January 21 and 22. Other potential memorial winners include Mitchell Randall, Chris Corbett, Dale Corbett, Geoff Phillips, Ray Klarich and Victoria’s Todd Hobson.
In Wingless Sprint competition, the Blytons are returning and the locals will need to be at their best if they hope to tame the Dubbo-based father/son team of Mark and Marshall Blyton. At the last round on Sunday night, Mark was leading the feature before a lapped car proved problematic, the resultant contact pitching him into a spin and handing the lead to Marshall, who went on to win finish more than 3.5 seconds clear of the field. Another New South Welshman in Andrew Smith finished second on that occasion and he is also in the field again tonight, joined by another five from south of the border. The best chances from the Archerfield regulars perhaps lie with Rob Mazzer, who has two feature race wins this season, or Jamie Usher, who finished third behind Blyton and Smith on Boxing Night.
No doubt a little bit embarrassed about his unceremonious exit from the previous round whilst leading the feature by a comfortable margin, former national champ Kurt Wilson heads the entry list for round eight of the Lightning Sprint Club Championship. Andy Kimm returns in a bid to secure consecutive feature race wins and veteran steerer Keith Blatch is back in the fold as part of a three-strong Toowoomba contingent comprising Scott Genrich and Wayne Iacono, with Tyler Stralow also expected to be a contender.
Gates open at 3.00pm for online ticketholders and general admission ticket sales are from 4.00pm, with early racing at 4.30pm. The main program, which will also feature a combined field of Open B and Limited Sedans, will get underway at 6.00pm.
East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship round nine nominations: Aaron Kelly, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Andrew Baumber, Anthony Lambert, Brent Kratzmann, Brock Hallet, Dan Moes, Dan Murray, Darren Jensen, Dave Fanning, Erin Vanderreyden, James Matthews, Jock Goodyer, Jy Corbet, Karl Hoffmans, Kevin Titman, Kristy Bonsey, Lachlan McHugh, Libby Ellis, Luke Oldfield, Luke Thomas, Mark Attard, Mark Pholi, Nelson Reddacliff, Randy Morgan, Richie Robb, Ryan McNamara, Ryan Newton, Sam Bylsma, Tarhlea Apelt, Tim Farrell, Trent Vardy
Dirt Modified Paul Britten 44 nominations: Adam Thomsen, Andrew Firth, Brendan Cherie, Brock Gardiner, Chris Corbett, Dale Corbett, David Clark, Geoff Phillips, Jay Davey, Josh Rose, Kevin Britten, Kevin Stow, Luke Dunn, Mark Robinson, Mick Reid, Mitchell Randall, Phil Roberts, Ray Klarich, Sam Bruggy, Scott Quirk, Shane Laurie, Taylah Firth, Terry Leerentveld, Todd Hobson
Wingless Sprint Club Championship round ten nominations: Adam Hotchkis, Andrew Robinson, Andrew Seery, Andrew Smith, Ben Manson, Chris Catchpole, Corey O’Toole, Daniel Barton, Ian Milnes, Jamie Usher, Jayden O’Toole, Josh Thompson, Kevin Willis, Lachlan Robertson, Lance Dawson, Mark Blyton, Marshall Blyton, Michael Butcher, Robert Mazzer, Ross Guy, Stephen Pocock, Steve Pilkington, Stuart Jefferies
Lightning Sprint Club Championship round eight nominations: Andy Kimm, Darren Baldwin, Harley Graham, Keith Blatch, Kurt Wilson, Luke Graham, Scott Genrich, Scott Jukes, Tyler Stralow, Wayne Iacono, Wayne Jukes
Open B/Limited Sedans nominations: Anthony Harrison, Ben Harris, Daniel Taylor, Dylan Craft, Haiden Grantz, Hans Van Der Ryken, Harry Gills, Luke Frisina, Mark Anderson, Merv Price, Michael Laver, Nathan Lowe, Ricky Price, Robert Gorman, Russell Davis, Sean Flood, Shaun Donnelly, Tim Swart
For further information and event updates, please stay tuned to Facebook or the track website at www.brisbanespeedway.com.au