Darren Vine logged up his second feature win of the season with victory in Round 3 of the Polar Ice Midget Series at the Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Saturday November 4.
The returning Brendan Palmer (EastLink Air Breka/Esslinger) topped the points table after qualifying and led the way on the green in the 25-lap main event only for the red lights to appear before the field reached the back straight. Darren Dillon (Eagle/Gaerte) had climbed Adam Wallis’ right rear wheel in the first turn and rolled a couple of times. He was uninjured but out of the race due to the damage while Wallis was also sidelined with a broken right rear shock.
When the race resumed Palmer again led away only for Darren Vine (Mike Vine Turbos Spike/Esslinger) to surge past and head the field at the completion of the first rotation. Rusty Whittaker (P2) also accounted for Palmer during the opening lap while Scott Farmer, Michael Harders, Reid Mackay and Anthony Chaffey pushed towards the front. A spun car during lap 8 brought on the yellow lights and caused the demise of Dan Biner (NSW) with a bent front axle and Brad Harrison a flat right front tyre.
The restart gave Whittaker (Ti Bolts & Pace Partz King/Esslinger) a chance to attack Vine but it all came to nothing when he spun and although he was avoided by the cars behind was rear of the field for the restart. On the next start Scott Farmer (Spike/Esslinger) moved inside Vine to take over the front running only for Vine to recover the lead before the lap was completed. Whittaker quickly picked up some positions but encountered a bunch of cars including Scott Doyle, Scott Wilson and Jason Bell which momentarily slowed his progress while he threaded his way past.
Vine continued to lead with Farmer settled in second and Palmer next, but it was clearly visible that both Anthony Chaffey (Western Landscape Supplies Spike/Mopar) and Whittaker were gaining places as the laps began to run out. Chaffey succeeded in passing Palmer for third near the end while Whittaker managed to climb his way back to sixth. The top six were Darren Vine, Scott Farmer, Anthony Chaffey, Brendan Palmer, Michael Harders and Whittaker. Michael Harders also had the honour of winning the first allocation of bonus money from Bob Baker’s Random Draw and picked up $ 500 in addition to his prize-money.
The Timed Hot Laps were run on a fast track and the quickest time see-sawed between a couple of drivers. At the completion it was Rusty Whittaker (13.664) just ahead of Brendan Palmer (13.681) and Scott Farmer (13.709). In all, there were ten cars that timed in under 14 seconds.
Reid Mackay (Direct Plasterboard Outlet CP3/Hawk) showed good speed to charge from the second row to win the opening heat from Farmer and Whittaker. Scott Wilson (Western Landscape Supplies Boss/Stanton SR 11) swept into the lead of heat 2 but proceedings were brought a halt during the second lap when Brad Young (Federal Tyres Spike/Gaerte) spun and was collected by Dan Biner (Syndicate Communications Boss/Esslinger) and Adam Wallis who finished with wheels up. Wilson continued to lead after the restart but Darren Vine (P5) was on a mission and grab the point with a couple of laps remaining.
Vine tasted success again in the next heat with Adam Wallis (Boss Chassis Aust Boss/Esslinger) and Rusty Whittaker chasing him all the way to the end. In the last qualifier, pole man Scott Wilson was in trouble for jumping the start and sent back to the second row. Reid Mackay took charge of the lead from the start and again showed plenty of speed only to roll during the second lap. With the race back under way there was a three-way battle for the lead between Brad Young, Scott Farmer and Brendan Palmer. They ran wheel to wheel for a couple of laps before a touch caused Farmer to spear into the fence in turn 3. Palmer eventually fought his way to the front where he finished ahead of Young and Darren Dillon.
The damage to the cars of Farmer and Mackay was extensive with Farmer’s Spike needing a new front axle and replacement diff while Mackay had a hole in his oil tank plus a broken Jacob’s Ladder and other suspension components. With many people pitching in to help with the repairs ever effort was made to get the cars ready for the feature. However, without another diff it looked like Farmer was finished for the night only for Rusty Whittaker to offer his spare. These two young guns battle hard on the track but respect each other’s abilities and it was a very generous gesture by the defending Polar Ice Champion. Mackay needed an oil tank and Michael Harders came to his aid with one and helped with the fittings needed to connect the hoses and fit the tank. Young Mackay made the race just in time and battled with a car that wasn’t handling the best to salvage a hard earned 8th.
Good to see Scott Doyle, Brock Dean and Brendan Palmer making their first appearance for the season. Dean suffered an engine miss early in the night which didn’t help his qualifying points but after changing a crank trigger was 7th in the A Main. Doyle, in his own Beast/Gaerte, had contested the first round of the 2017/18 Speedcar Super Series at Gunnedah a couple of weeks prior and picked up a Top 10 finish at Archerfield.
New South Welshman Dan Biner had a night he would rather forget being innocently involved in other people accidents on two occasions. Team owner Jamie Hall (Syndicate Communications Racing) was philosophical about it and said they would be back again during the season.
The Malt family has been involved in Brisbane speedway for decades and now they can add midgets to the many divisions in which they have competed. Audie Malt joined the ranks after buying the Scott Glazebrook Spike/Hawk from Perth. This night was his first time behind the wheel and he was happy to just run up some laps. Unfortunately, some damage forced him out of the feature.
Both Rob Stewart and Nathan Mathers were early withdrawals after hot laps. The oil filter on Stewarts engine came loose and it dropped some oil so the it was decided not to run it again until everything was checked. Mathers had endured a roll-over in his Compact a week ago and with his neck still sore found it too irritating for a night of rigorous racing.
The last meeting for 2017 for the Brisbane midgets will be at the Archerfield Speedway on Saturday November 25 for the Polar Ice Series Round 4. With the car count growing at each show and the high calibre of racing thus far this season, it will, no doubt, be another night of thrills and spills and exciting wheel to wheel action.
Timed Hot laps
Rusty Whittaker – 13.664
Brendan Palmer – 13.681
Scott Farmer – 13.709
1 Reid Mackay 2 Scott Farmer 3 Rusty Whittaker
1 Darren Vine 2 Scott Wilson 3 Brendan Palmer
1 Darren Vine 2 Adam Wallis 3 Rusty Whittaker
1 Brendan Palmer 2 Brad Young 3 Darren Dillon
1 Darren Vine 2 Scott Farmer 3 Anthony Chaffey
4 Brendan Palmer 5 Michael Harders 6 Rusty Whittaker
7 Brock Dean 8 Reid Mackay 9 Scott Wilson
10 Scott Doyle 11 Mitchell Rooke 12 Brad Young