Andrew Pezzutti, Matt Hardy and Michael Kendall were the big winners at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday night (April 30), winning their respective feature races on a triple-bill program that produced action aplenty. Backing up from his Australian Championship triumph a few weeks earlier, Hardy clinched the Queensland AMCA Nationals Championship, with Pezzutti proving too quick in the Super Rooster Dirt Modified Feature race. In the final round of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship, Kendall led throughout the feature race to clinch his fourth consecutive series win.
A few late withdrawals left 30 cars to contest the Queensland AMCA Nationals Championship, with competitors from four states in the field looking to wrest the title from Victorian Tim Reidy.
Lismore’s Shane Newstead kicked things off with a win in the opening heat, with Luke Frenken scoring a narrow result in heat two. Matt Hardy was gifted a win in heat three when some first corner nonsense left several cars on the infield and elevated Hardy to the front row for the restart.
Jason Molle triumphed in heat four, Reidy proved too rapid in heat five and then Matt Hardy doubled up to take heat six. Current Victorian champ Steve Potts triumphed in heat seven, Thomas Vickery was victorious in heat eight and then Steve Price wrapped up the preliminaries with a win in the final heat.
The B Main was a somewhat tame affair given some of the craziness that transpired in the heats and it proved to be Jason Dreaver who emerged with the upper hand, leading Lewis Gamble, Vickery and Reidy in transferring through to the feature, the latter now needing to pull off something special to retain his title.
In the championship final, Matt Hardy shot away from pole position to lead the field, a position he occupied through to the chequer. Potts was the early pursuer, remaining in close company until he exited on lap 13, elevating Jim Knight into second spot. With Potts on the infield, Hardy encountered little resistance for the remainder of the race, cruising to the chequer to snare his first state crown. Having been competing in the category since it began, a resurgent Knight turned back the clock in bringing his 16-year-old car home in second spot ahead of Tasmania’s Daniel Brooks. Fresh from his win in the New South Wales Championship last weekend, Brooks was impressive through the latter stages of the race. Running seventh at the halfway point of the 30-lap feature, Brooks started his charge to the front, passing high and low to advance into third spot by lap 25. Through turn four on the penultimate lap, Brooks dived under Knight through turn three, only to run wide exiting turn four and allow Knight to reclaim the runner-up spot.
Another Tasmanian in Rodney Bassett was running strongly inside the first four for much of the race until he dropped off the pace and ultimately headed infield on lap 25, leaving Stuart Hall and Steve Price to complete the top five. Matt Enders, Newstead, Dean Ballard, Vickery, Molle, Peter Greer and Luke Geraghty the remaining finishers. Reidy’s championship reign ended on lap 18 when he joined a congested infield gathering that also included Dreaver, Geoff Hayes, Russ Hardy, Michael Mason and Lewis Gamble. Ultimately, it was a pretty emphatic performance from Matt Hardy in front of his home crowd, seeing off the interstate challengers and his regular rivals to bring the championship trophy back home to Queensland for the first time in several years.
Despite a distinct lack of brakes in the closing stages of the event, Michael Kendall held on to win the final round of the Polar Ice Midget Track Championship and secure the series title in the best possible way. At one stage, Kendall had established a sizeable lead, until a late-race restart negated his advantage and allowed Grant Draney to loom large. Hampered by his lack of stopping power, Kendall had to draw on his years of experience to keep Draney at bay, with Mark George finishing a little further back in third. Ken Stanaway, Chris Singleton, Michael Harders, Brad Young and Lance Towns were the only others.
Earlier in the evening, Singleton surprised when he top scored in time trials, outpacing Kendall and Brock Dean. Heat wins were shared between Draney, Kendall and Darren Vine.
In Dirt Modified action, the racing was reminiscent of days of old with argy bargy aplenty that ultimately left just seven of the 17 starters still running after 25 torrid laps. At the drop of the green, Australian champ Kevin Britten pounced to lead the field away from pole position. However, charging through turn three with Lee McKinnell threatening to take the lead away from him, Britten spun to a halt and was banished to the back for the ensuing restart. Pezzutti inherited the lead and, despite Scott’s persistent pursuit for the duration, the former national champ remained resolute in his defence and greeted the chequer ahead of Scott and McKinnell, who was subsequently relegated two positions by race officials following a couple of altercations during the race. McKinnell’s banishment elevated Scott Quirk onto the podium, Andrew Firth into fourth, with McKinnell awarded fifth. Phil Roberts and Jeff Holland were the only others to survive what proved a gruelling event. Britten had surged back into fifth after restarting from the rear, only to spin again and exit on lap 15.
Heat wins were shared between Scott, Britten, Pezzutti and Scott Conlin, who was another to strike trouble in the feature.
Wayne Kirkman took out the Open Sedan A feature, while the Open Sedan B feature saw Ben Robertson sneak home by the measliest of margins, never leading until the final lunge under the chequer saw him pip Allan Pearson by just 0.032 seconds.
Bernie Wright won the Ford vs Holden vs Sigma sedan feature race and Randy Morgan was again the standout in the Formula 500 Juniors, winning all four heats.
Next Saturday night (May 7) at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway, Sprintcars return for round three of the East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial Series, along with Formula 500s, Compact Speedcars and Modlites.