Andrew Scheuerle is the 2019 Australian Sprintcar Title Champion
(Archerfield Speedway PR) In a faultless display in front of boisterous home crowd, Andrew Scheuerle etched his name into the record books with a stunning victory in the 2018/2019 BK Trading Australian Sprintcar Championship at Ausdeck Patios Archerfield Speedway on Sunday night (January 27). Having qualified on the outside front row for the 40-lap championship feature race, Scheuerle played a waiting game behind James McFadden before surging into the lead on lap 21 to become only the second Queensland driver to win the event in it 57-year history. A winner of the championship on two occasions, McFadden finished second ahead of Jamie Veal and another two-time titleholder in David Murcott, with Ian Madsen finishing fifth. Steven Lines, Lachlan McHugh and defending champion Kerry Madsen were next best, with Brooke Tatnell and Matt Dumesny rounding out the top ten.
In yet another memorable chapter in the history of Australias most important Sprintcar race, Scheuerle cast aside self-doubt and the reputations of his rivals to score a memorable win. The self-proclaimed "local club racer" rose to the occasion on the biggest stage of all and, in so doing, becomes only the 24th driver to have held the Australian Championship trophy aloft.
The night started with Garry Brazier taking his second heat win for the weekend, leading home McHugh and Michael Saller, while a fourth place finish for Robbie Farr was enough to secure pole position in the feature race.
Sydneys Daniel Sayre led home a trio of famous names in winning heat 12, prevailing over Matt Dumesny, Tatnell and Veal.
It was heat 15 that ensured Scheuerle would join Farr on the front row, the current Archerfield track pointscore champion racing from sixth to win ahead of Ryan McNamara and Randy Morgan.
Kerry Madsen suffered a significant setback in his championship defence during heat 14 when he spun in turn four and was collected by a luckless Brendan Rallings, putting both cars out. Jordyn Brazier went on to take the race in a narrow result over Murcott and McFadden.
The final heat of the weekend saw Brent Kratzmann survive an opening lap clash with Jock Goodyer to prevail over Luke Oldfield and Darren Jensen, who proved to be one of the quiet achievers of the weekend by securing direct qualification into the feature race. Dan Murray and Tony Wynne crashed out hard with synchronised somersaults in turn two and whilst Murray tried valiantly to make it back on track, both drivers were done for the night.
The first of the alphabet races saw David Whell take out the D Main, while a great outside pass from Kevin Britten saw him round up Adam Butler in the closing stages to secure the final transfer position.
The C Main proved a contrast in fortunes for Whell when he rode out a heavy crash through turn one. Up front, Mitchell Gee found the form and good fortune that had deserted him thus far in what may prove to be his final outing in a Sprintcar. A late surge from Marcus Dumesny propelled him into second spot, leaving Jack Lee and Allan Woods to secure the final invitations into the B Main.
The final chance to secure a feature race berth came via the B Main and it was NSW-based duo of Jessie Attard and Michael Saller who filled the top two spots ahead of Kevin Titman. In a remarkable finish, Ben Hilder snatched the final transfer spot with Ben Hilder snatching the final transfer spot courtesy of a tactical blunder from the Braziers. Garry had moved ahead of Jordyn a few laps earlier but, having found himself unable to reel in Titman, he slowed exiting the final turn to enable Jordyn to take fourth and progress to the feature, only for Hilder to pounce and beat them both to the line, leaving Jordyn Brazier to serve as a reserve for the main event. Both Lee and Gee made big progress through the field but couldn't climb high enough to secure a feature race start, while Max Dumesny finished on the infield in what may prove to be his Queensland swansong. Worse fortune befell Mark Pholi during the race though when he launched into a frightening crash along the back straight from which he thankfully emerged unscathed.
With the grid for the feature race finalised, Farr and Scheuerle shared the front row with Tatnell and Oldfield on row two. McFadden and McHugh were next, followed by Veal, Ian Madsen, Steven Lines, Matt Dumesny, Murcott, Peter Lack, Morgan, Jensen, Kerry Madsen and Danny Reidy, with Attard, Saller, Titman and Hilder completing the line-up.
At the drop of the green, Farr ran low into turn one as Scheuerle swept high. Through turn two, Farr shifted wide to keep Scheurele at bay before switching back in an attempt to thwart McFadden's inside run. However, McFadden would make the pass stick and lead the opening lap. Scheuerle moved ahead of Farr on lap five, only for a spin from Lack in turn three to negate the pass. At the restart, McFadden wobbled out of turn four to take the green and was hit by Farr, who subsequently stopped in turn three to bring his championship chase to an end. In what would be the final restart of the race, McFadden scooted clear of the field with Scheuerle now second ahead of Veal, Oldfield and McHugh, with Murcott on the move.
At lap 10, McFadden continued to lead, although his advantage was shrinking as Scheuerle started closing in. Further back, Oldfield was running so high that he was, quite literally, running out of track and, as the race progressed, he was unable to match the pace of the leaders and would eventually fall outside the top ten. Tatnell was another who found himself backsliding down the order as Lines and Ian Madsen advanced. By lap 20, Murcott had moved ahead of McHugh for fourth and it was on the following lap that Scheuerle pounced to snatch the lead from McFadden. Seemingly able to run anywhere on the track with impunity, Scheuerle distanced himself from McFadden, who soon found himself under pressure from Veal. After 30 laps, both Lines and Ian Madsen had moved ahead of McHugh as Scheuerle continued to hold sway. Veal grabbed third for the briefest of moments on lap 35, but McFadden responded immediately to reclaim the position and hold it to the finish, closing on Scheuerle in lapped traffic to eventually finish 1.4 seconds in arrears. Veal remained third ahead of Murcott, who was followed to the flag by Ian Madsen, Lines, McHugh and Kerry Madsen, who advanced seven spots to finish eighth. Behind Madsen came Tatnell, Dumesny, Attard, Reidy and Jensen, while young Morgan wrapped up a highly impressive weekend in 14th. Oldfield, Titman, Saller and Hilder completed the finishers with Farr and Lack the only casualties.
A main results:
1. Andrew Scheuerle Q25
2. James McFadden W17
3. Jamie Veal V35
4. David Murcott V88
5. Ian Madsen N49
6. Steven Lines Q83
7. Lachlan McHugh Q23
8. Kerry Madsen W2
9. Brooke Tatnell V55
10. Matthew Dumesny N57
11. Jessie Attard N53
12. Danny Reidy NQ5
13. Darren Jensen Q75
14. Randy Morgan Q54
15. Luke Oldfield Q17
16. Kevin Titman Q59
17. Michael Saller N56
18. Ben Hilder Q12