GWILLIAM DOMINATES BUT CLARKE CONCOURS

The Polar Ice Midget Series continued at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday March 11 with Adam Clarke (NSW) winning Round 6 and his second feature win of the season at the Brisbane venue.

Chris Gwilliam (Boss Chassis Aust. Boss/Esslinger) sat on pole for the 20 lap main and led the opening lap before Adam Clarke, who started in the second row, took control. Rusty Whittaker (Ti Bolts & Race Partz King/Esslinger) also surged ahead of Gwilliam into second with the New Zealander dropping back and then out with an engine not running on all cylinders.  Behind Whittaker was a battle royal with Troy Ware, Mark George, Rodney Harders, Adam Wallis in a tight group until Ware spun and was sent ROF.  On the restart, Brock Dean (All Car Engine Reconditioning Services Breka/Hawk) was running the high line with Reid Mackay (Direct Plasterboard Outlet CP3/Gaerte) and Scott Doyle (Boss Hogg’s Steak House Beast/Gaerte) in tow as they worked their way forward.  Dean secured third on lap 6 with Mackay still right on his tail.

Rob Stewart (Spike/Brayton Ford) spun as the race approached the half way point closing-up the field for the next start. Clarke (Jack Berry Racing Spike/Esslinger) continued to maintain his lead while Whittaker was now under attack from Dean who was persisting with the high line.  Lap after lap Dean tried to secure a pass but just couldn’t make it stick.  With the laps running out Reid Mackay came up on the inside of Dean and was ahead as they took the white flag.  Clarke went on to collect the points for the win ahead of Whittaker while Dean fought his way back to grab third in the run out of the last corner.  Troy Ware (Ware Constructions Spike/Mopar) worked very hard to get back to fifth by the end of the race.

At the drivers briefing Rusty Whittaker drew the double points marble which meant that everyone on the night earned double the normal Polar Ice Series points. It was critical for Whittaker to finish ahead of Troy Ware and Brock Dean in the feature to maintain his lead in the Polar Ice Series. With just two rounds remaining there is only a very few points separating the top three.

The ‘draw and invert’ format was used for the qualifying heats with Ware and Gwilliam the winners in the opening round with both races going non-stop. The reverse grid heats began with Adam Clarke claiming the win from Whittaker and Darren Dillon (Supercharged Graphics Eagle/Gaerte) after Reid Mackay was spun around and collected by Cal Whatmore who had nowhere to go.  Mark George looked to have heat 4 locked in until Gwilliam came on the scene late in the race to collect his second win of the night.  Gwilliam finished top of the qualifying points ahead of Whittaker, Clarke, Ware, George and Rodney Harders.

Mackay and Whatmore were parked side by side in the pits and with the latter suffering a lot of front end damage in their skirmish looked to be out of the feature. However, the Mackay team came to the rescue providing a couple of shock absorbers for Whatmore to use to get him back on the track.  Mark George nearly missed the meeting when a blown head gasket was discovered when his car was started late on Saturday morning.  He and car owner Chris Foreman raced home and set about replacing the gasket which is no easy task with a DOHC engine.  They finished just in time to arrive at the track for the drivers briefing.

With Brad Young out with an injured wrist suffered during the international meetings he offered the drive of his car to his crew man, Tony Eickenloff. Eickenloff was due to debut at Toowoomba but the rain delayed it for a week.  At Archerfield, he stayed out of trouble and apart from a minor spin kept his car owner from reaching for the valium.  New drivers Kristy Bonsey and Brad Harrison continue to run up plenty of laps with both finishing the two feature races they have contested.  Bonsey, the more experienced of the two, has finished in the top ten on both occasions.

The next outing for the Brisbane speedcars is the 2017 running of the Queensland Speedcar Championship at Archerfield on Saturday March 25.  This time-honoured event has a rich history dating back to 1946 with some of the sports greats amongst the winners.  Will Michael Harders successfully defend the title he won in Bundaberg last season?  Will former winners Adam Clarke (2013) or Rusty Whittaker (2015) add another title to their resume?  Will Chris Gwilliam take it back to New Zealand?  Be at Archerfield on March 25 and find out who will be the 2017 Champion.

Heat 1

1          Troy Ware                   2          Rusty Whittaker          3          Adam Clarke (NSW)

Heat 2

1          Chris Gwilliam (NZ)    2          Rodney Harders         3          Mark George

Heat 3

1          Adam Clarke (NSW)  2          Rusty Whittaker          3          Darren Dillon

Heat 4

1          Chris Gwilliam (NZ)    2          Mark George              3          Brock Dean

Feature

1          Adam Clarke (NSW)  2          Rusty Whittaker          3          Brock Dean

4          Reid Mackay              5          Troy Ware                   6          Adam Wallis

7          Darren Dillon               8          Mark George              9          Kristy Bonsey

10        Scott Doyle                 11        Rob Stewart                12        Rodney Harders

13        Brad Harrison

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