Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stockcar Teams Update 2


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photo by Wazza Andrew

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photo by Wazza Andrew

Some more teams racing at both Palmerston North and Woodford Glen in Christchurch got a few more teams active on the table and hopefully the Huntly club will get to run their now 8 team meeting this Friday and Saturday weather permitting...

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November 8
Greenstone Park Speedway, Greymouth
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies

Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
KB Cowboys def Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def KB Cowboys
Canterbury Crushers def Eastern States Titans

Paradise Valley Speedway, Rotorua
Rees Shield : Wanganui Vulcans def Rotorua Rascals

Woodford Glen Speedway, Nov 15
North vs South
KB Cowboys def Canterbury Crushers
Canterbury Crushers def Wanganui Select
KB Cowboys def Canterbury Invitation
Canterbury Invitation def Wanganui Select

Palmerston North, Nov 15
Palmerston Probables def Manawatu Steelers

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Stockcar Teams Update 1

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Tasman Thunder photo by Allan Hoult

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Wanganui Vulcans photo by Andre Stenson

Only a week or two into the season and a burst of stock car teams racing already. The Rees Shield went on the line at Paradise Valley with the Rotorua Rascals taking on the Wanganui Vulcans (ranked teams 2 & 3 last season) and the Vulcans took the honours and the right to host the next challenge at Oceanview. Eastern States Speedway had three teams battle it out in Blenheim while Nelson and Greymouth took to each other at Greenstone Park. Next week will see the Huntly Teams meeting take place with 10 teams involved including the first South Island team, the Tasman Thunder making an appearance.

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November 8
Greenstone Park Speedway, Greymouth
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies

Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
KB Cowboys def Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def KB Cowboys
Canterbury Crushers def Eastern States Titans

Paradise Valley Speedway, Rotorua
Rees Shield : Wanganui Vulcans def Rotorua Rascals

Monday, November 03, 2014

Fireworks Opening Night at Paradise Valley

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Opening Fireworks Meeting
Paradise Valley, Rotorua
Nov 1, 2014

Something I've learnt over the years is when clubs don't put out lists of drivers attending, its usually because the roster is a little 'lean' shall we say, conversely when someone puts out a list like the Rotorua Club did mid week, they should be shouting from the rooftops! Despite the fact it was an opening night, which can be a snorefest, they had big numbers in the classes I like. So Saturdays weather played ball and off to Paradise Valley I went. I stupidly left my glasses and phone in the car and just as the pits closed I reached my seat realising I had left them behind, I spoke to the guy on the pit gate as my car was right by the back entrance to the pits and was given a stern "no, you have to walk around the track" I was pissed off but it was my own fault and so I can report that the pit policy at PV is robust and as per club rules!

About 35 stock cars were in the pits and so they ran the format of having 3 groups of cars with 2 of those groups racing together in each heat. We had four heats with about 24-26 cars racing at a time. Heat one was pretty good with a bit of niggle going on specially between 141k Matt Nilsson and 78r Tony Savage but we had little idea of how these guys would turn it on later in the night. I got the feeling the Rascals members were going to use the racing to test their cars and that they did. 95r Dale Stewart winning the first race. 93r Brent Stewart the second and third heats and 81r Damian Orr the last race. Heat 3 though was the race of the night with 3 cars being rolled in spectacular fashion, 33r Roger Hines the best one I saw. Despite the fact there are some pretty flash cars registered to Rotorua, there was no lack of contact and a core group of drivers were behind most of the mayhem, Nilsson, Holland Snr, Holland Jnr, Savage, both Orr cars 81r and 99r and 29r Terrence Peri-Woods. There is also some incredible pace and visiting drivers will do well to survive let along win a race at this track. Kihikihi visitor Nilsson was dealt to eventually by a group of three cars including 9r Malcolm Gray leaving the black tank stuck in the wall on turn 1. I hadn't expected too much from this meeting, but this class alone was worth the entry fee. Only a few seasons back I lamented the fact that Rotorua stockcars were fast but boring with little or no contact. Ironically they had no Rascals team racing at that time either, but how things have changed.

Superstocks had a strong field of locals numbering 14 cars although the 4r of Ian Elsworth never made it out onto the track. Rotorua is the home of the Top Gear Superstock and both 118r Bryce Steiner and 23r Lance Ashton made a meal of all three heats, Ashton winning two and Steiner the other one. Some good fast racing with a bit of action bringing on a few red lights. Ex Auckland driver Paul Vasey looked right at home and despite a puncture in heat 2 when he was running third, managed a 2nd and 3rd placing in the other two heats.

Ministocks (2 groups), Production Saloons and 10 Streetstocks completed the programme. An impressive first night out, lets hope they can keep the action and numbers up and I'm guessing a few more people will choose this track when tossing up where go when multiple upper North Island tracks insist on running on the same night.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

And so it begins again...

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Meeting 1
Waikaraka Park
October 25, 2014

The off season whizzed by pretty quickly I thought, maybe its because of the 'access all areas' world of Facebook where we can see what's happening in sheds all over the country and 'from the horse's mouth' updates from drivers and crews. Sometimes its a good thing but I do miss the surprise of a new car you've never seen or an unexpected return of a driver from past days on opening night. I have to say, as I wandered around the pits on Saturday I fairly much knew every car apart from a few new saloons although there were plenty of rumours of interesting machinery that should be turning up in the next few weeks...

Overall numbers looked good although when you split them into their actual classes some were a bit light, Superstocks 5, Modifieds 5 and Streetstocks 8 will need to get their act together if they want to provide good entertainment. Superstocks have been rebuilding over the past few seasons but with Paul Vasey, Sean McKenzie and who knows who else leaving during the break, its a blow to the class.  29a Scott Tennant the pick of the bunch showing his continuing climb up the ranks and will be one to watch this season. 316a Greg Mitchell driving the car Scott had last season a welcome addition also. I hope Bruce can weave his magic and entice a few more to the Park. Modifieds look as though they will have good numbers (on paper) and provided some great racing on the night, Ray Chatfield in particular driving like a spring chicken for a win and two second placings. Jamie Fox as always all class in the renumbered 99a Mod for this season. Streetstocks thankfully had a few visiting cars making up numbers but this is one class that could be so good, but has been struggling for ages its seems.

Ministocks 20, Stockcars 25 and Saloons 13 (including some supers) on the other hand had strong numbers and provided most of the entertainment. The ELS system was down so any results we got for the night were via the old fashioned manual lapscoring, commentator Mike Howe did an awesome job getting results through to the public which wasn't easy considering some scum have helped themselves to some of the sound system. I heard Rosebank Speedway has suffered the same fate too. Anyway, the commentary all night was great (thats $10 bucks thanks Mike) keeping the freezing punters entertained and informed when you are flying blind with no computer system to speak of. As far as I could tell 651a Troy Power, 5a Mike Harris and 69a Dave 'Flag Racer' Seymour took out the wins although there were a few cars showing their hands early with the 98a Eustace car showing good pace and 23a Che Takarua testing out the bumpers guest driving the Tony Baldwin car for a few meetings. 44h Anthony McNeill the only visitor bravely fronting, but I think he only made it out for heat one, placing 2nd.

A brief burst of fireworks ended the night, the crowd size seemed okay for a holiday weekend when most of Auckland leaves town. The place looked like it always looks, no obvious make overs that I could see but with the "super city" council coming up with absurd ideas for it's stadiums, you have to wonder why anyone would invest money in WP when you have no firm indication of its future. I hope it has a future as I love this place but if the Western Springs operation does get moved to Mt Smart I would be surprised if two speedways were run at either end of Neilson Street. Funny how the residents of Onehunga (me being one of them) have been told the new speedway could have up to 25 meetings a season whereas currently they have about 12 at Western Springs. I would like to know why they can have more at one stadium than the other as they are similarly surrounded by residents?

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