New Zealander Chris Gwilliam was an all the way winner of Round 2 of the Polar Ice Midget Series at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on October 8. With two wins from only three meetings in the Dwayne Neilson Boss/Esslinger he has carried on the winning culture created by the team over the seasons past and just when every one thought with the departure of Kendall was going to make life easier along comes another very fast Kiwi.
The first couple of attempts to get the A Main under way were hindered by minor incidents and a jumped start that saw Brendan Palmer (position 3) sent back a row. Both Scott Doyle (Boss Hogs Steakhouse Beast/Gaerte) and (Brad Young (Federal Tyres Spike/Gaerte) suffered damage in the skirmishes that sent them to the infield. When the race finally made it through the first corner Gwilliam (Boss Chassis Aust/Esslinger) was in front, after he sped from his outside front row starting position, ahead of pole-sitter Troy Ware.
Ware (Ware Constructions Spike/Mopar) had topped the qualifying points chart but didn’t appear to have the same pace in the feature as he showed in the earlier heats. Former Queensland Champion Rusty Whittaker (Ti Bolts & Race Parts King/Esslinger) was next in line and closing while Darren Vine (Mike Vine Turbos Spike/Esslinger) was also chasing hard. Unfortunately, Vine slowed during lap 8 and pulled in a lap later with his front wheels not pointing forward after a bolt broke in the steering. Young Reid Mackay (Duchy’s Concreting CP3/Gaerte) was now fourth but had his hands full with Brendan Palmer (EastLink Air Breka/Esslinger) who was all over his rear push bar.
At the 10 lap mark Gwilliam was still in front with Ware in close company while Whittaker was getting faster as the race went on and set the quickest lap time of the race (13.772) during lap 7. Lap 12 and Whittaker accounted for Ware and set out after the leader as they raced past lapped cars. In the last couple of laps Whittaker was up to Gwilliam but couldn’t find an opening and followed the Kiwi across the finish line with Ware third. Despite constant pressure Mackay didn’t waiver and held out Palmer for fourth. Brock Dean (ACERS Engine Reconditioning Breka/Gaerte) was a solid sixth after coming from the back of the field after being an innocent victim in one of the opening lap incidents. Some consistent laps from relative newcomers Dallas Sharp, Cal Whatmore and Corey Stothard will, no doubt, see them promoted from back of the field starts in the future. Gwilliam’s time for the 20 laps was 4:46.578 just a smidge slower that Matt Smith’s (NSW) 4.45.979 record.
Due to the hot conditions during the day promoter John Kelly had the track well-watered so everyone was mindful of the conditions during the timed Hot Laps. Rusty Whittaker (13.943) set the mark in the first group and was still the quickest man after the third group with Troy Ware (13.953) and Chris Gwilliam (14.090) just falling short.
Scott Doyle started from the front row in the opening heat and blitzed the field with Palmer and Ware in the places while Whatmore withdrew with an engine miss. Darren Vine started outside Reid Mackay in the second qualifier and led from start to finish with Gwilliam and Dean also getting past Mackay. A coming together in the first corner of the third heat left Ware parked and sent to the rear for the restart. He was now on a mission and with elbows up charged through the field to get to the front late in the race. His time of 2:18.680 was slower than Michael Pickens (NZ) 2:16.720 record but considering he had to pass a number of cars and make up a lot of ground, it was an excellent time. Charlie Brown (Rod Singleton Racing Spike/Esslinger) suffered an ignition failure during the race and was done for the night. Doyle scored again in the last heat winning by a large margin. Mackay suffered a broken oil line before the race started but noticed the oil pressure dropping and switched off the engine before any damage was done.
The next meeting for the Brisbane midgets is the opening round of the 2016-17 Diamond Air Speedcar Super Series at Archerfield on November 5. Included in the nominations are Adam Clarke, Mark Brown and Michael Stewart. In the past they have all been good performers at Archerfield so their battles with form drivers Gwilliam, Vine, Ware, Palmer and company should be sensational. Mark Brown has already announced this will be his last racing season but has some unfinished business and after winning the Speedcar Super Series five times in the past is keen to do it again.
It is now less than four months before Speedcar drivers from all around Australia, possibly including Tasmania, will converge on Brisbane to contest the Australian Speedcar Championship at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on February 3 & 4. A number of drivers from America and New Zealand have already indicated their intention to be here and more information will be forthcoming when it is available.
1 Scott Doyle 2 Brendan Palmer 3 Troy Ware
1 Darren Vine 2 Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 3 Brock Dean
1 Troy Ware 2 Brock Dean 3 Brad Young
1 Scott Doyle 2 Darren Vine 3 Brendan Palmer
A Main (Provisional results)
1 Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 2 Rusty Whittaker 3 Troy Ware
4 Reid Mackay 5 Brendan Palmer 6 Brock Dean
7 Dallas Sharp 8 Cal Whatmore 9 Corey Stothard
10 Jason McDowell