Michael Kendall (Boss Chassis Australia Boss/Esslinger) came into the Grand Finale of the 2015-16 Polar Ice Midget Series with an unassailable lead but determined to finish the competition on a high which he did with a convincing win at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday April 30. However not everything went to plan.
He was quickest in the Timed Hot Laps until Chris Singleton (Spike/Esslinger) pipped him in the very last lap. He was third in his first heat but finished with a win in his second heat only to break a torque tube in the slow down lap. Luckily he had accumulated enough points to still give him pole for the 20 lap feature with Grant Draney, in the Jason Gray CP3/Hawk, alongside him. Darren Vine (Mike Vine Turbos XXX/Turbo Esslinger) and Lance Towns (I Custom Colours Phone Repairs Breka/Gaerte) had come into the last round close on points so every point was vital to both of them.
From the get go Kendall was never headed leaving the rest to sort themselves out. Draney was second in the line ahead of Singleton, Mark George, Ken Stanaway and Vine. Cal Whatmore’s bad luck continued with a blown right rear tyre in the opening lap forcing him out. Vine jumped ahead of Stanaway (Rod Singleton Racing Alach/Esslinger) a lap later but his run was short lived when he slowed during the fourth lap and pulled in a lap later. George (Breka/Gaerte Ford) advanced to third as the field settled down while Kendall had cleared out and only a problem or a caution light would stop him. The only yellow light occurred on lap 18 when Scott Wilson, in Terry and Tess Holland’s MAC/Eagle, spun and clouted the wall in turn 3.
This set up a 3 lap run to the end with Stanaway challenging Singleton and Michael Harders, who had come from position 11, stuck to their tails with the possibility looking to get both. Stanaway got to fourth only for Singleton to come back and then run wide allowing Stanaway to grab fourth on the run to the line. Kendall was a deserving winner with the consistent pair of Grant Draney and Mark George gaining the minor places. Michael Kendall had the won the Polar Ice Series for the fourth consecutive season.
At the release of this story the minor places were still to be determined between Darren Vine and Lance Towns. Vine came into the final with a slight points advantage but failed to finish the feature while Towns crossed the line in eighth. It may come down to the timed hot laps where Towns recorded a 14.387 and Vine a 14.388. A thousandth of a second may be the final decider!!!
At the beginning of the meeting any kind of close racing was looking doubtful as the track water truck had broken down. Engine starts were held on a very dry track and it was very obvious that any kind of racing was going to create a huge amount of dust. In a touch of irony the construction company doing the earthworks that would eventually cover the speedway had a water truck a couple of hundred metres away. After some hurried phone calls approval was given for the use of the vehicle and Scott Wilson climbed aboard to drive it. After a quick fill the track was watered and then packed by some sedan car classes before the midgets fronted for their Hot Laps.
Each group had some quick laps on the track to get the feel of it before the timer was put into action. Unfortunately for Michael Harders he broke a brake caliper before the timer was running and failed to secure a time thereby forcing him to start all of his races from the rear. As mentioned earlier Chris Singleton (13.827) was quickest ahead of Kendall (13.913) and Brock Dean (14.049).
Brad Young (Federal Tyres Spike/Gaerte) led the way in the opening heat but spun a couple of laps after being passed by Grant Draney and was just missed by Stanaway. The second encounter saw a torrid contest between Darren Vine and Michael Kendall. Vine was the leader from the green with Kendall coming from position 5 to soon be challenging. However Gavin McDowell brought on the red lights when he rolled in turn 3. He had glanced the wall in turn 2 and broke something and when he arrived at the next corner the car went to the fence and rolled. After the restart Kendall snuck passed when Vine had a half lose but in turn had his own moment and both Vine and Brock Dean shot past and that was how they finished. Unfortunately Dean’s car was blowing some smoke late in the race and it would finish his night with a suspected piston problem. With the threat of some rain in the area the third and fourth heats were combined but for the purpose of points kept as separate contests with one group starting behind the other. Kendall ran out the winner in his group while Ken Stanaway headed the second. Rolling around after the race Kendall broke a torque tube necessitating some quick work in the pits. As a precaution the tailshaft was also replaced with Michael Harders making his spare available to the Neilson team.
The 2015-16 Queensland Speedcar Racing Assn season will culminate on May 28 with the running of the annual American Tire & Racing Services Brisbane 50 lapper. There are still a few laps left if you would like to sponsor a lap at just $100 and this can be done by going to the QSRA web site, click on ‘Contacts’ and type in your details and message.
Both Rodney Harders and Anthony Chaffey qualified for the Sydney 50 lapper the same night at Parramatta but failed to go the distance. The race was won by Adam Clarke driving for Jack Berry Racing ahead of Nathan Smee and Michael Stewart.
1 Grant Draney 2 Ken Stanaway 3 Mark George
1 Darren Vine 2 Brock Dean 3 Michael Kendall (NZ)
1 Ken Stanaway 2 Mark George 3 Darren Vine
1 Michael Kendall (NZ) 2 Brad Young 3 Grant Draney
1 Michael Kendall (NZ) 2 Grant Draney 3 Mark George
4 Ken Stanaway 5 Chris Singleton 6 Michael Harders
7 Brad Young 8 Lance Towns