Brock Dean came into Round 5 of the Polar Ice Midget Series following a win in the previous round back in early January and went back to back with a convincing win at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday February 25.
The heat races proved troublesome for some with a couple of fancied runners crashing out but through it all Dean (All Car Engine Reconditioners Breka/Hawk) kept scoring points which enabled him to start from pole in the 20 lap feature. He led from the outset with Reid Mackay, Rusty Whittaker, Darren Vine and Mark George hot on his tail. Whittaker (Ti Bolts & Race Parts King/Esslinger) used the top of the track to surge to second after a handful of laps and began to close on Dean until the leader changed his line to the top of the track and again pulled away. Then began a torrid encounter between Mackay (Direct Plasterboard Outlet CP3/Brayton Buick), Whittaker with Vine (Mike Vine Turbos Spike/Esslinger) also in the mix. At one stage Mackay drew level with Dean in the main straight but Dean found some extra speed and pulled away.
Whittaker would get ahead of Mackay going into the corners only to see Mackay, who was using the low line of the track, to repass him exiting the corners. Vine managed to advance to third on a couple of occasions only to be shuffled backwards again. Troy Ware (Ware Constructions Spike/Mopar) also threatened to get amongst the leaders until his engine began to back fire and he settled in sixth position.
The group of drivers behind the lead bunch were also dicing backwards and forwards with Cal Whatmore (Speedy Air Conditioning Spike/Gaerte), Dallas Sharp, Dan Biner (NSW) and debutants Kristy Bonsey and Brad Harrison enjoying some close racing. The race went through without a caution period with Dean the winner ahead of Mackay and Whittaker. Chris Gwilliam’s car was repaired for the feature but obviously had further problems and only last a few laps.
Whittaker came into the round leading the PIMS points and just 25 points separating the Top 5. The Top 5 drivers probably remain the same but the positions would have been juggled around after Saturday night. Whittaker should still lead but with Chris Gwilliam a non-finisher Dean will have moved up to third.
Darren Vine started his night the way he wanted with Quick Time in hot laps timing in with a 13.907 with Troy Ware next on 13.951 and Brock Dean 14.149. Dallas Sharp (EastLink Air Eagle/Gaerte) scored his first midget win in the opening heat holding out Vine and Mark George (Flashlube Breka/Porsche). Gwilliam (Boss Chassis Aust/Esslinger recovered from a spin to finish fourth. Rusty Whittaker pulled in with a missing engine but the problem was sorted for his second heat. Mackay won the drag race to the first corner to lead heat 2 until Ware rode a wheel during the second lap and rolled a couple of times finishing against the fence. Mackay had the trio of Cal Whatmore, Dean and Dan Biner (Syndicate Communications Boss/Esslinger) battling for position behind him with Dean coming through for second ahead of Biner. Dallas Sharp was pitted beside Troy Ware and the two crews worked together to get Ware’s car repaired in time for the second round of heats.
Mackay, using his Brayton Buick after damaging his good engine during the international meetings, was too good again in heat 3 with Whittaker and George in the minor places and Ware fourth. The last heat didn’t complete a lap before mayhem broke out when Sharp spun and Gwilliam caught his wheel and rolled a couple of times. All the drivers behind had to take evasive action with everyone coming to a stop. Gwilliam, Sharp and Whatmore all missed the restart. On the next start, Vine and Dean came together with Vine taking a tumble. The race eventually started with just four cars with Dean the victor.
It was unusual to see the Sydney based Syndicate Racing Team, Jamie Hall and Dan Biner, in the Archerfield pits with the New South Wales title on at Parramatta the same night. The weather in Sydney had been poor all week and with rain predicted for the week-end they opted to get their racing fix in Brisbane. It looked like they had made the wrong choice when the Sydney meeting went ahead but when rained washed out the show before the title race could be run their decision had been vindicated.
Two new drivers made their midget debut on the night, Kristy Bonsey and Brad Harrison. Kristy has been racing sprintcars for a few seasons and had been offered the drive of the former Tony Michell GRP/Gaerte while Harrison comes from Lightning Sprints and has purchased Micheal Wilson’s King/Mopar. Both finished the feature and showed with more laps they will be providing plenty of opposition for the front runners.
Prior to January Brock Dean hadn’t won a feature race in four years. With the former Jack Berry/Brett Thomas Hawk engine fitted to his Breka and some new CSI shocks , Dean has again found his mojo and is confident of a good run in the second half of the season.
There is another major speedcar meeting next week-end, March 4, with Round 5 of the Diamond Air Group Speedcar Super Series at the high banked Hi-Tec Oils Toowoomba Speedway. The round will be called the Jim Holden Classic to honour the late Jim Holden who was the last Queensland driver to win the Australian Championship over thirty years ago. Holden passed away last year from leukaemia. Adam Clarke (NSW) won the last round at Murray Bridge and currently leads the points and with this being the penultimate round is keen to continue his winning way. In an illustrious career, Clarke has never won the Speedcar Super Series and wants to change that situation in 2017.
Darren Vine – 13.907
Troy Ware – 13.951
Brock Dean – 14.149
1 Dallas Sharp 2 Darren Vine 3 Mark George
1 Reid Mackay 2 Brock Dean 3 Dan Biner (NSW)
1 Reid Mackay 2 Rusty Whittaker 3 Mark George
1 Brock Dean 2 Jamie Hall (NSW) 3 Kristy Bonsey
Feature (Provisional result)
1 Brock Dean 2 Reid Mackay 3 Rusty Whittaker
4 Darren Vine 5 Mark George 6 Troy Ware
7 Cal Whatmore 8 Kristy Bonsey 9 Brad Harrison
10 Dallas Sharp 11 Dan Biner (NSW) 12 Jamie Hall (NSW)
13 Corey Stothard 14 Chris Gwilliam 15 Gavin McDowell 16 Shane McDowell