By Ebony McQuinn.
After a long wait, Chief Racing finally made the journey North to Archerfield Speedway for their last-ever race. A staggering 71-car field to open the two-day event; a cause for some exciting racing and tough competition for Cameron Waters’ first and last visit to Archerfield.
Drama met the crew upon arrival at the track. The straps holding the car and mule down broke on the two-day drive to Queensland from Victoria. Being loose, both the car and mule had sustained damage. Most of the damage was sustained on both the top and front wing; to avoid using the spares, the crew straightened the wings as much as possible and replaced the supports for the front wing.
The first event of the evening was Hot Laps and Time Trials, there was slight concern with the crew over the potential performance loss from the damage sustained on the drive. Waters had minimal issues in Hot Laps, so the crew made minor changes before Time Trials. 12 cars in a time trial group, each car only having 2 laps around the circuit to put down their fastest time. Waters came through with a stellar lap of 11.648s, earning him quick time and 3rd fastest of the 71-car field.
Water’s efforts in time trials would see him start 8th in Heat 1 after a top-8 invert. Being stuck in traffic, Waters was unable to pass on the start. As the race progressed, Waters gained pace but was only able to make up two spots before the chequered flag to finish in 7th. Heat 6 would be the crew’s second and final heat with Waters starting on pole. With clean air ahead of him, Waters had a much smoother start, creating a gap between him and the field. The lead was held until the third lap when Waters made a slight mistake, allowing Brock Hallet in the Q5 to pass by.
Heading into the A-Main, Waters was lined up in 9th. Unfortunately, another car made contact with the rear of the V6, spinning Waters out. A restart was called, and Waters was made to start from the rear of the field. The race saw a myriad of stoppages and 7 DNFs, meaning Waters was able to make positions and narrowly avoid a few incidents across the 25-laps. Crossing the line on the final lap, Waters finished in 8th.
FRIDAY DRIVER’S QUOTE:
“Yeah, had a wild first night at Archerfield. Started the night really well with quickest in time trials which was pretty cool. First heat, we fought a little bit, but struggled to find rhythm. Second heat, I started off the front row and nearly got that win, but Brock got me in the last laps; I made a mistake when I jumped the cushion, but yeah, it was okay. For the finals, I started 9th but someone half-turned me at the start; had to stop and that put me at the rear. Had a bit of fun passing cars and getting back through the field. The track was pretty wild, still struggled to find that rhythm, but it was still a heap of fun. We’ll do it all again tomorrow night.”
No time trials for the second night, so the crew took advantage of the extra time to fix any damage on the car sustained the previous night. Waters was slotted to start out of 5th in the 13th heat of the weekend following a top 6 invert.
Waters made a good start to the heat and was able to maintain a steady pace. Waters and Hallet once again battling for position. Unluckily for Waters, on lap 8 the car in front didn’t have the same pace and Waters made contact with nowhere to go, before making slight contact with Hallet. No serious damage from the incident, meaning Waters continued to the restart. Waters was unable to make a successful restart and dropped multiple positions. In the final laps, Waters gained a couple of spots back to finish in 6th.
For the final race at Archerfield Speedway, the A-Main was to be 50 laps with 24 cars making the final cut. Waters was to start in 11th. Overall the V6 car held a steady pace, as Waters remained around 11th-13th position. On lap 39, Lachlan Quant in the N9 made a mistake that resulted in him running over Waters’ front right tyre. Waters suffered a bent steering arm that took him out of the race. While disappointing to not finish the race, it was an overall successful weekend with strong results. It was an honour to be part of the send-off for this historic track, we’d like to thank Archerfield for having us and all the Queensland fans for their support. We had a great weekend, and wish everyone the best.
SATURDAY DRIVER’S QUOTE:
“Nice to be part of the last ever Archerfield race. We had a fast car but didn’t really convert. The first heat I went forward, but I made a little mistake and then struggled on the restart, so I lost a couple of spots. So, instead of probably being in the shootout we started 11th for the A-Main, which is still pretty good. The car was speedy to start the A-Main, I was trucking around pretty well but got under a car that ran over my right front, a steering arm was bent putting me out of the race. So, a bit of a racing incident, it is what it is. I can’t thank the team and sponsors enough for making it happen. I had a lot of fun this weekend.”
Photos by Ebony McQuinn