Drivers tested, crash, one with engine troubles prevails
DUST, dirt and roaring engines. A puzzling Maryborough Speedway first bend. Drivers racing the final of the Tri-City Shootout V8 Sprintcars encounter everything on that corner including trouble.
Australian champion David Murcott's learns first, and he does so the hard way. He succumbs when the push to get to the corner's other side becomes too extreme - his exit's unspectacular but notable nevertheless because he's the champ and it's the first.
Race restarts, drivers roll over the start line again. Lights, camera, action … and the second driver comes to grief in such a mighty fashion that video footage is posted to YouTube (head to www.facebook.com/MaryboroughSpeedway to watch).
This turns out to be multi-Queensland champion Andrew Scheuerle, number 25 in the blue sprintcar. He lasts all of four fleeting seconds - barely time enough for the throttle to slam into the floor and the car to find something close to its top speeds before coming to a stop in a hurling, twirling twist of acrobatic wonder.
Going into the corner he's fourth and flying on confidence. Engines are roaring and the crowd's eyes are wide. But he cops a nudge from the car behind and his skews sideways, its momentum stunting and deciding there's little left to do but launch skywards. It does this before ingloriously rolling end over end a few times and thumping into a wall.
Whack. Game over. Scheuerle's unhurt and out of the race, but the 2500-strong crowd's getting their monies worth.
The baffling first corner begins to grow in mystery; 20 minutes of the final run already and not a lap complete; two of the biggest names crashed; one out of the running.
Race restarts, drivers roll over the start line. Four laps complete and this time it's the straight getting tongues wagging.
Maryborough Sporting Car Club president Wayne Moller takes up the story: "Robbie Farr was running second and hit the wall on the main straight at the control tower, got caught in the catch fence.
"It took us 10 minutes to get his car out of the wire. It was hanging from the wire in the air - so he didn't have much luck either."
The mystery of the first bend grows louder and louder. Ten minutes to ponder. A sprintcar's caught on a wire. Mind games continue.
And continue they do … this time the race's run in full, Brisbane driver Kevin Titman takes the chequered flag and the $5000, and he does so with engine troubles.
"(That first bend) was just a real narrow racing line, so you know, only really one car-width wide. So you've got two lanes of traffic and $5000 for the winner so everyone's racing for sheep stations on those first few laps," he tells the Chronicle.
"Give no quarter, that's the way I describe it. That's my first feature race ever so it was pretty cool. We actually had an engine drama during the way…so pretty much the engine was running on seven cylinders for the race."
Moller says it was the biggest turnout to a tri-series event in years.
And all there now know they spent Good Friday learning about the mysteries of that first bend, and seeing what happens when $5000 is offered up to first across the line from a pack of speed-hungry sprintcar drivers.