This is the End, Archerfield Bids Farewell

This weekend (June 2 & 3) will be the end of an era when the chequered flag falls on one of Australia’s most storied speedway venues, a place that is entrenched in the memories of competitors and race fans from across Australia and around the world. After 40+ years of operation, Archerfield Speedway will host its last ever race meeting with two massive nights of competition that have attracted more than 200 competitors and will include no less than three 50-lap feature races and culminate with the running of the The Last Race, a $15 000-to-win Sprintcar feature race on Saturday night (June 4). Additionally, every lap of the feature race is sponsored to the tune of $100 to whoever is leading at that time, which means if somebody is able to lead every lap, they will pocket a cool $20 000. This last hurrah will serve as a fitting farewell to the Brisbane venue, with Sprintcar competitors from across Australia having nominated for a final fling of the Archerfield clay. The closure of Archerfield will no doubt imbue a great many people with a sense of loss as they reflect on the time they have spent here, whether competing on the track, toiling away in the pits, working as an official or viewing the action from their favourite spot on the hill, or perched in the bleachers or from within the grandstand. However, whilst the end is nigh, the magic moments from so many great events will live long in the memory of those who have witnessed the very best drivers from across Australia and around the world take on a track that has proved a challenge for many, but has never failed to deliver dirt track competition of the highest order.

It is fitting therefore that this final weekend of Sprintcar action has lured Australia’s very best drivers back to Brisbane for a farewell celebration befitting a track so rich in history. As expected given the occasion, Australian champion Jock Goodyer and Grand Annual Classic champ Brock Hallett head the entry list, along with former national titleholders Jamie Veal and Robbie Farr. In fact, 70 Sprintcars will hit the track over the weekend for what will double as the final rounds of the East Coast Logistics Track Championship and Petzyo Development Series. In fact, unless a replacement venue is established somewhere in the greater Brisbane region, this weekend will serve as the final opportunity for local fans to see these competitors showcase their considerable talents. Beyond this quartet, drivers from every state other than Western Australia are amongst the nominations, including V8 Supercar star Cameron Waters in what will be his only ever appearance at Archerfield. Now a few seasons into his Sprintcar side-hustle, Waters is proving a contender whenever and wherever he competes, so it will be very interesting to see how he copes in the face of such a stacked field and a circuit that few have mastered in their first attempt.

Other interstaters making the pilgrimage for the farewell fixture include South Australia’s Lachlan McDonough and a couple more Victorians in Harrison Swan and Charles Hunter, along with two Territorians in Ben Atkinson and Will Carroll and an octet from New South Wales comprising Brett Hobson, Lachlan Caunt, Jake Baines, Jai Stephenson, Daniel Needham, Luke Thomas, Sam Walsh and Michael Stewart, several of whom are also making their first ever appearance at Archerfield and face a monumental challenge in coming to terms with the circuit and somehow finding a way to upstage current ECL Championship leader Luke Oldfield. The Gold Coast-based Oldfield has finished on the podium in every ECL feature race he has contested this season and, despite missing one round, he sits more than 100 points clear of the field in the championship standings and comes into this weekend having won the previous two rounds, the second of which came on the back of his decision to forego a pole position start and elect to start from position 16 in the feature race.

Oldfield has completely dominated the season and, given the record of success and level of popularity he has accrued as a result of his hard charging never-say-die attitude, it would certainly be a fitting result if he was to prevail in the last ever Sprintcar race staged at Archerfield. However, given they have absolutely nothing to lose in their own bid for a place in the history books, expect every other driver in the field to attack the track with a no-holds-barred pursuit of victory in front of what will be a capacity crowd. Young guns Ryan Newton, Taylor Prosser, Randy Morgan and Jy Corbet have proven to be Oldfield’s biggest nemeses throughout the season and whilst the likes of Brent Kratzmann and Kevin Titman bring a potent mix of experience and good form into the contest, the reality is that, with so many cars and so much at stake, anything can happen over the course of two nights of competition, and success will be just as much about survival as it is speed. Having been dogged by bad luck all season, a strong result from former track champion Aaron Kelly would certainly be a welcome change of fortune, while the likes of Allan Woods, Tim Farrell and Adam Butler, who finished on the podium at the previous round, have proven themselves capable of running at the front of the field.

In addition to the pursuit of overall success, several separate battles will be fought through the field, such as that between Harry Stewart, Tyler Stralow, Kye Jensen, Josh Fort, Jack Bell and Nash Morris to stand tall as the best performed rookie over the weekend, or the fight between former Formula 500 rivals Kaydon Iverson, Nathan Pronger, Liam Williams and James Kennedy, a quartet who have accumulated 11 state F500 championship wins between them, including the last eight in a row. Whilst Iverson and Pronger have been the standouts thus far, Kennedy is fresh from winning a second state F500 title last weekend and Williams qualified inside the top ten at the previous ECL round and had climbed into the top five before ultimately failing to finish.

Libby Ellis will be sentimental favourite amongst the Development Series competitors and the crowd would certainly come alive if she is able to wrangle a win, with Luke Manttan, Noah Ball, Jared Desmares and Anthony Vanderreyden perhaps the her biggest threats.

The Friday night program will also feature the final round of the Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship, along with Open Sedans and a 50-lap feature race for Wingless Sprints, while Saturday night will include the 50-lap Midget feature race plus Modlites and fireworks.

Whilst it hasn’t been a particularly memorable final season for the mighty Midgets, they are certainly set to end their season in style with more than 30 drivers to fight for a place in the field for the 50-lap feature race. A very exciting inclusion to the field is New Zealand superstar Michael Pickens aboard the N70 that carried American ace Brady Bacon to victory in the Australian Championship in Sydney earlier this year. Having accumulated a plethora of feature race wins and championship successes in New Zealand, Australia and America, Pickens presents as a huge challenge for the rest of the field to overcome in their pursuit of victory. Former national champs Nathan Smee and Kaidon Brown head a strong interstate contingent that includes South Australia’s Jack McCarthy and another half a dozen from New South Wales in Alan Day, Daniel Griffiths, DJ Raw, Braydan Willmington, Matt Jackson and current state champ Michael Stewart, who will have a busy weekend also contesting the Sprintcar events.

Newly-crowned Queensland champ Dylan Menz, another who is doing double duty across the weekend, leads the locals into battle and will have plenty of support I trying to repel the interstate and international challenge. The likes of Charlie Brown, Rusty Whittaker, Brock Dean, Troy Ware, Scott Farmer, Darren Vine and expat Kiwi Michael Kendall are proven feature race winners and will be fighting furiously to ensure that it is a local who enters the annals of history as the last ever Midget victor at Archerfield.

The Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA action will no doubt see Bruce Marshall, Steve Potts, Lee McKinnell and Steve Price at the forefront of the feature race field once again, with the quartet having completely dominated the results this season. It is the likes of Tony Blanch, Shane McKinnell, Nathan Tomkins and Paul Reeves who perhaps offer the best chance of springing an upset to claim the honour of winning their last ever Archerfield outing.

The Wingless Sprint marathon is looming very much as a State of Origin showdown as Queensland’s best take on a strong New South Wales contingent. Brody and Scott Thomsen have been the dominant forces within the local ranks and they will be leading the troops into battle against a NSW contingent comprising the likes of Jacob Jolley, Mark Blyton and Jason Bates.

If their last outing is any indication of what we can expect, the best action in the Open Sedan events will most certainly be within the B division as Matthew Hannigan, Tim Swart, Ronnie Young, Michael Cheeseman and Neil Crawford take on a returning Ben Harris and more than a dozen others, including the longest serving Archerfield competitor across all divisions in Merv Price.

Modlite numbers are very impressive and it is Sean Rose who comes into the weekend as the most recent feature race winner at Archerfield. Whilst Rose upstaged Terry Leerentveld on that occasion, there is no doubt that Leerentveld would love to cement his legacy as the standard-bearer for the category by adding a final entry into his already extensive collection of Archerfield feature race wins.

Gates will open at 12.00pm on both days for competitors and online ticketholders, with general admission tickets available for Friday only from 3.00pm. As Saturday night is sold out, no general admission tickets will be available. Both nights will kick off with early racing from 4.30pm, with the main program scheduled for a 5.30pm start. Restrictions will be in place for trolleys, karts and large (hard) eskies to ensure maximum comfort for all patrons.

The Last Race (East Coast Logistics Sprintcar Track Championship round ten) nominations: Aaron Kelly, Adam Butler, Allan Woods, Andrew Corbet, Ben Atkinson, Brad Ayers, Brent Kratzmann, Brett Hobson, Brock Hallett, Cameron Waters, Charles Hunter, Cody O’Connell, Dan Murray, Daniel Helmore, Daniel Needham, Darren Jensen, Dave Fanning, Dylan Menz, Erin Vanderreyden, Harrison Swan, Harry Stewart, Jack Bell, Jai Stephenson, Jake Baines, James Kennedy, James Matthews, Jamie Veal, Jayden Peacock, Jeremy Gaudry, Jock Goodyer, Josh Fort, Jy Corbet, Kaydon Iverson, Kevin Britten, Kevin Titman, Kye Jensen, Lachlan Caunt, Lachlan McDonough, Liam Williams, Luke Dougherty, Luke Oldfield, Luke Thomas, Mark Pholi, Michael Stewart, Mitch Gowland, Nash Morris, Nathan McFarlane, Nathan Pronger, Peter Campbell, Randy Morgan, Richard Morgan, Robbie Farr, Ryan Newton, Sam Walsh, Tarhlea Apelt, Taylor Prosser, Tim Farrell, Trent Vardy, Tyler Stralow, Will Carroll

Petzyo Sprintcar Development Series nominations: Adrian Josefski, Anthony Vanderreyden, Carlo Moiola, Jared Desmares, Jason Rae, Libby Ellis, Luke Manttan, Noah Ball, Ron Hendrickson, Steve Bateman, Thomas Clarendon-Blair

Midget 50-lapper nominations: Alan Day, Barry Gibbs, Brad Dawson, Braydan Wilmington, Brock Dean, Cal Whatmore, Charlie Brown, Chris Pidgeon, Dan Griffiths, Darren Dillon, Darren Vine, DJ Raw, Drew Fenton, Dylan Menz, Glen Prowse, Jack Bell, Jack McCarthy, Kaidon Brown, Matt Jackson, Matt O’Neill, Michael Kendall, Michael Pickens, Michael Stewart, Nathan Smee, Rusty Whittaker, Scott Doyle, Scott Farmer, Tim Devine, Troy Ware, Ty Horne

Shock Absorber Therapy AMCA Nationals Track Championship Grand Final nominations: Bruce Marshall, Conor Stephan, Gary Stacey, Graeme Holland, Kevin Stow, Lee McKinnell, Mark Taylor, Maverick Dack, Michael Denning, Nash Granger, Nathan Tomkins, Nick Stacey, Paul Reeves, Peter Greer, Robert Turner, Russ Hardy, Scott Hitchcock, Shane McKinnell, Steve Potts, Steve Price, Tony Blanch, Wayne Stacey

Wingless Sprint 50-lapper nominations: Brody Thomsen, Casey O’Connell, Chris Catchpole, Dave Sansby, Ian Milnes, Jacob Jolley, Jacob Waller, James Grady, Jason Bates, Jayden O’Toole, Jeremy Burt, Lachlan Robertson, Lance Dawson, Liam Atkinson, Mark Blyton, Matthew Brown, Matthew Gamble, Mitchell Allan, Peter Granger, Robert Mazzer, Scott Thomsen, Stuart Jefferies, Tim Harris, Timothy Harris, Zane O’Toole, Zeth Cox

Modlite nominations: Adrian Reinke, Abi Meehan, Alex Coward, Beau Laverty, Brendan Tucker, Callum Beerling, Cameron Lamb, Chae O’Brien, Cruise McVie, Dan Lewis, Donika Gower, Fergus Coutts, Gavin Thomas, Jake McRae, Josh Leerentveld, Kyle Honour, Luke Harrison, Mark Troth, Mark Webster, Mitchell Gee, Mitchell Pammenter, Nathan Politch, Sam Gollschewsky, Sean Rose, Terry Leerentveld, Terry O’Brien, Tim Jackson, Tyson Snow

Open Sedan nominations: Aaron Stone, Ben Harris, Bob Ware, Chris Blackburn, Colin Morris, Declan Brownsey, Drew Craft, George Twin, Jonah Blackburn, Kyle Rolands, Mark Anderson, Matthew Hannigan, Merv Price, Michael Cheeseman, Neil Crawford, Robert Gorman, Ronnie Young, Scott Atkins, Shane Ellis, Shane Wright, Shaun Donnelly, Tim Swart

For further information and event updates, please stay tuned to Facebook or the track website at www.brisbanespeedway.com.au

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