2020 QUEENSLAND SPEEDCAR CHAMPIONSHIP – BY BARRY LANE

2020 QUEENSLAND SPEEDCAR CHAMPIONSHIP – BY BARRY LANE

Saturday night December 19 at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway will feature the biggest night of midget racing this year with the running of the 2020 Queensland Speedcar Championship.  When the Covid-19 virus closed the country earlier this year speedway came to a complete stop.

Through the financial support of Nathan Mathers (Ink Sane Tattoo Studio – Oxley) and Speedcars Australia and the co-operation of promoters John and Kathy Kelly, it has been become possible to stage this long-standing event before the end of the year.

It is over 74 years since the inaugural title was won by future Hall of Famer Ray Revell on April 5, 1946. Since then, the title has been won many of the heavy hitters from around the country and overseas.  National champions Revell (NSW), Johnny Stewart (NSW), Blair Shepherd, Ron Mackay (NSW), Ron Wanless, Jim Holden, Steven Graham (NSW), Craig Brady (NSW), Nathan Smee (NSW) and Adam Clarke (NSW) have tasted success in this event.  Some on more than one occasion.

Barrie Watt sits on top of the win total with five victories followed by Ron Wanless and Danny Davidson with four and Eric Mitchell, Mark Brown (NSW) and the reigning champion Nathan Smee (NSW) with three. The only international drivers to claim the title are Frank Brewer (NZ) in 1954, Leroy Warriner (USA) in 1961 and the most recent Michael Kendall (NZ) in 2014.

Queensland drivers Blair Shepherd and Bill Goode, who have been inducted into the Australian Speedway Hall of Fame, also have title wins against their name. During the 1960s they were household names around the country as they chased glory in the Craven Filter National Speedcar Championship in their potent Offenhauser powered cars.

The most unexpected win belongs to former solo and super-modified star Keith Blicharski who led home national champion Johnny Stewart in the 1967 event. He did it in a car that he built himself using a Renault engine.  When he debuted the car earlier that season, he claimed he would be able to mix it with the best in their Offenhausers which the experts viewed as being rather optimistic.  Within two months he proved he was right, and the knockers were wrong!

Fast forward to 2020 and the crazy year everybody has endured. This title had originally been set for Toowoomba in April, but the pandemic forced a change in plans.  When speedway recommenced in south-east Queensland back in October everyone hoped that there would not be any further lockdowns and that racing would continue.  Fortunately, we are now at the stage that the title can be run and even drivers can travel from interstate to compete.

At this point (7 December), 30 entries have been received but with nominations not closing for another week that number could rise. Rusty Whittaker (2015) is the only former champion amongst them and will again be a major contender while three times runner up and reigning club champion Brock Dean is very determined to go one better.  Darren Vine has been a top competitor in compacts and midgets for many years but is yet to add a Queensland Speedcar Championship to his long resume. Will 2020 be his year?  Charlie Brown has won numerous championships in junior sedans and F500s and knows how to win. If he fails, it will not be from a lack of trying.  Last start winner Chris Singleton has come into form at the right time and being a former Queensland Compact Champion is no stranger to standing at the top of the podium.

A handful entries have been received from south of the border including third generation driver Kaidon Brown and fourth generation racer Reid Mackay. Brown won the Australian Championship in 2018 while Mackay was successful in the 2018 Australian Speedcar Grand Prix.  He is fully recovered from a horrific accident at Parramatta the same year and is itching to get back behind the wheel after being in lockdown in Sydney.  If Brown, also a former New South Wales champion, does take out the Queensland crown he will join his father, Mark, as only the third father/son combo to hold the title joining Ron/Todd Wanless and Sid/Rusty Whittaker.  If Mackay wins, he will join his grandfather Ron (1979) and become the first grandson/grandfather winners.

The main event will be over 30 laps with the drivers vying for the John Mulchay perpetual trophy which was inaugurated in 1996 to honour the memory of John Mulchay who was a long-time car owner, administrator and official in Brisbane. His son Gary, a former accomplished driver, will be ‘Grand Marshall’ for the event and be on hand to present the trophies.

If you enjoy close side-by-side, wheel to wheel speedway action book your tickets for the ‘Ink Sane Tattoo Studio’Queensland Speedcar Championship at the Archerfield Speedway on Saturday December 19.

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