Adam Clarke, driving the Jack Berry Spike/Esslinger, led from green to chequered to win the opening round of the Diamond Air Speedcar Super Series at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday November 5. During his stellar career, he has won numerous rounds of the Super Series but never the Series itself. This is the first step up the ladder to achieve one of the goals he has set for this season. The race was held in memory of long-time local Speedcar driver Stan Burrow who passed away in June of this year.
The feature field was led around by one of Stan Burrow’s old cars as they paraded before the fans. Clarke began the race from pole and shot straight to the lead only for Troy Ware to go wheels up during the second lap. This caused a major traffic jam with eleven cars coming to a stop completely blocking the track. This reset the field for the next start with the original back markers now up near the front. Clarke again led away only for Rusty Whittaker to cop a hit and spin in the second turn and be hit by Brad Young and was out.
The restart order was Clarke ahead of Darren Vine, Michael Stewart (NSW), Nathan Smee (NSW), Matt Hunter (NSW), Rodney Harders and the rest. A couple of laps later Whittaker spun on his own and the car dug in, spiraled in the air and rolled back onto its wheels. Unluckily the youngster was out. Lap 9 was eventful in the fact that Mitch Haynes (Foreman Stealth/Porsche) began to have smoke coming from his car which then intensified before breaking out into a major engine compartment fire. The yellow lights were on in an instant while he came to a stop and climbed out in a big hurry without any injury. The fire was quickly extinguished.
During the stoppage Vine, Ware, Hunter and Scott Doyle all withdrew with problems. Some relating back to the earlier accident. Clarke again pulled away from the field when racing resumed with Stewart now second and Smee on his tail followed by Rodney Harders (Eagle/Eagle) fourth. Brock Dean (ACERS Engine Reconditioners Breka/Gaerte) had suffered a bent front axle in the initial accident but was pushing on despite the car being a handful to drive. He held sixth for a long time behind Aidan Corish (NSW) but when he tried to pass was baulked allowing Paul Murphy to go past.
In the concluding stages of the race Stewart closed on Clarke but was never in a position to challenge while Smee dropped back a little but was secure in third place. The trophies were presented by an emotional Lerlene Burrow, Stan’s wife, who was always at the track when Stan was racing and is friends with many of the speedcar fraternity.
With one round down and five to go Clarke has set the mark for everyone else to chase. Defending champion Nathan Smee (Illuminated Industries Spike/KRE Chev) is keen to do well for his new team and won’t give up his crown without a battle. Young Michael Stewart continues to impress and shows a lot of maturity in his driving for one so young. Rodney Harders was the quiet achiever finishing a well-deserved fourth in a polished performance. Regrettably Mark Brown (NSW) missed the round as the engine for Peter Ghent’s car, that he was to drive, still wasn’t ready.
Adam Clarke was quickest in Time Trails with a 13.316 ahead of Michael Stewart (13.558) and Troy Ware (13.693). In fact, the top ten were all very close with Chris Singleton tenth with a 13.944 lap. Cal Whatmore, Reid Mackay and Corey Stothard all suffered problems during engine starts but apart from Mackay were ready for the heats.
The field bunched up in the first corner of the first heat which resulted in Brendan Palmer (EastLink Air Breka/Esslinger) rolling with the damage putting him out. Paul Murphy (Rod’s Auto Care Fontana) won the heat from Mark George and Smee. Rob Stewart (Jester Race Engines Spike/Brayton Ford), who hasn’t raced a midget very much in recent seasons, drove away from the field to win heat 2 from Chris Gwilliam (NZ) and Scott Doyle. Brock Dean won heat 3 from the front row of heat 3 after having a poor Time Trial with Whittaker (Ti 64 Bolts and Parts King/Esslinger) and Darren Vine (Mike Vine Turbos Spike/Esslinger) following him home. Clarke was second coming into the last turn but backed it into the corner so hard to try and pass Dean that he almost stalled the engine and lost a couple of spots before he regained speed.
Aidan Corish (Spike/Esslinger) led early in heat 4 only for Smee to take over after a stoppage. Corey Stothard (Aggressor/Ed Pink Ford) had something break in his steering and he slammed the wall hard and rolled. The only damage was to his car. Clarke took over from Vine late in race to win heat 5 after starting from the back of the grid (8th). Dean again led all the way in the last heat but had Gwillian (Boss Chassis Australia Boss/Esslinger) on his tail in the last couple of laps. Exiting the last corner, the driveline in Gwilliam’s car let go and he rolled across the finish line in sixth place. Whittaker and Brad Young (Federal Tyres Spike/Gaerte) finished second and third respectively. Even though Dwayne Neilson’s team endeavoured to fix Gwilliam’s car there was too much damage and he was out of the A Main.
The top six point scorers faced off in a 6 lap Dash and with Adam Clarke drawing marble 4, Vine and Ware were on the front row, Whittaker and Clarke behind them and Smee and Stewart in the third row. There was some jostling in the first corner that resulted in Ware spearing off the track and coming to a stop. The race was restarted with Ware at the back and Vine opening a small gap on the field from the start. Clarke chased and soon caught the leader and took over the front running to claim the win. Matt Hunter came from the back to win the B Main with Corish, Mitch Haynes and Charlie Brown (Rod Singleton Racing Spike/Esslinger joining him at the back of the feature grid.
The Speedcar Super Series moves to the Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway in a fortnight, November 19. The speedcar action on the showground track is always spectacular so do yourself a favour and make the journey to the picturesque Lismore track but remember daylight saving so you will need to leave an hour earlier.
Adam Clarke (NSW) 13.316
Michael Stewart (NSW) 13.558
Troy Ware 13.693
1 Paul Murphy (NSW) 2 Mark George 3 Nathan Smee (NSW)
1 Rob Stewart 2 Chris Gwilliam (NZ) 3 Scott Doyle
1 Brock Dean 2 Rusty Whittaker 3 Darren Vine
1 Nathan Smee (NSW) 2 Aidan Corish (NSW) 3 Troy Ware
1 Adam Clarke (NSW) 2 Darren Vine 3 Michael Harders
1 Brock Dean 2 Rusty Whittaker 3 Brad Young
1 Adam Clarke (NSW) 2 Darren Vine 3 Nathan Smee (NSW)
1 Matt Hunter (NSW) 2 Aidan Corish (NSW) 3 Mitch Haynes
1 Adam Clarke (NSW) 2 Michael Stewart (NSW) 3 Nathan Smee (NSW)
4 Rodney Harders 5 Paul Murphy (NSW) 6 Brock Dean
7 Mark George 8 Michael Harders 9 Aidan Corish (NSW)
Photo Credit Jigsaw Photography