Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Huntly Stockcar Teams Night 1

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Huntly Teams Night 1, Nov 21, 2014
PlaceMakers Huntly Speedway

Delayed a week due to bad weather, 3 teams pulled the plug during the week for various reasons from the original 10, Baypark Bulldogs, Tasman Thunder and the Manawatu Steelers. A North Island invitation team filled one gap and brought the meeting back to 8 fairly even squads. The weather might have been a problem again this weekend but the Huntly Promotion did everything within their power and somehow managed to get both nights run and all necessary races completed, an excellent result.

Stratford Stormers 165 v Wanganui Vulcans 30
A 2 min bell for Dion Mooney would be the start of a weekend to forget for this hard man of teams racing. Wanganui won the toss and that was about the last thing they won all weekend. 404s Todd Duthie took the lead early and held it for the whole race apart from a brief stint when 66v Ian Barron found himself leading. Once 402s Bevan Phillips had disabled the Mooney car with a massive hit in turn 1 the wheels really did start coming off for the Vulcans and only Barron's car managed to finish. The Rees shield holders had just been handed a beating and the Stormers had signalled their intentions with a brilliant win.

Rotorua Rascals 140 v North Island Invitation 55
The North Island team was thrown together at the last moment but had a great mix of youth and experience with Gisborne's Bruce Harding nearing his target of competing in 100 teams races - currently sitting on 96. The defending champs from Rotorua had a perfect record last season but were on the back of a loss last meeting at their home track. Despite that, they were heavy favourites to win. The Rotorua numbers are a nightmare to read but from what I saw 538r Brent Stewart picked up the win in a tougher than expected encounter. Damian Orr had gearbox troubles and retired early but any advantage the NI team might have had was lost when 141k Matt Nilsson also retired after two big hits in turns 1 + 2. 5h Andre Stenson had a few moments in the lead but 538r Stewart sent him off into the wall in turn 1 leaving him sitting there. Great blocking from 8g Harding kept the NI team in with a chance but the Rascals prevailed with a good haul of points.

Meeanee Maulers 155 v Auckland Alleycats 40
83b Brett Loveridge was the standout in this race, taking on the running role he took no prisoners and was dishing out the hits en route to a great win for the Maulers. The HB team's tactic appeared to be stopping 383a Gary Lonergan at any cost with both Loveridge and 82b Jeff Hart getting in early shots, Loveridge also managed to bash 388a Leigh Cossey who picked up a flat let front tyre. 833a Troy Power was taken to the wall in turn 4, hit side on by Hart and stayed there for the rest of the race. Lonergan was taken hard into the wall by the start line by Hart and then he almost tipped over Hart's car driving over the front of it, but all to no avail as Loveridge took the flag and win.

Waikato Raiders 135 v Huntly Hawks 60
With two local teams in the competition it was pretty bad luck to draw each other. What could have been a yawn fest was a fairly even match early on. The Raiders drew pole but the Hawks took the early lead with 36h Brett Aitken running. Our first red light of the night was to retrieve parts off 39h Tyson Wootton's car after a hit from 94h Mark Caldwell. 97h Brendan Vincent had taken the lead by now and when 36h Aitken's car gave up on turn 3, we had 4 v 2 cars, the writing was on the wall for the Hawks. 35h Ali Van Amsterdam and 37h Anthony McNeil keep running but despite one last hit on 95h Cody Webster, the Raiders picked up a haul of points.

Rotorua Rascals 135 v Wanganui Vulcans 60
The Vulcans would need to demolish Rotorua to qualify for the finals and with only 4 cars emerging from the pits (no 66v the only car that finished the first heat) it was going to be a massive task. Rascals won pole and pushed the Wanganui cars to the very outside of the track, Steve Gray sat on his brakes and 89v Dan Matthews took the lead from 538r Brent Stewart. Matthews would lose the lead when he came back around to face the tank of Gray who he despatched into the wall. Red lights came on for a stricken V car in turn 1 and at this stage 98v Dion Mooney had a flat right front and collapsed left front wheel. This left 96v Francis Potaka and Daniels against four Rascals. I think at this point the Wanganui cars thought they had the lead and ran for several laps before a big pack of cars came together on the start line with Grays tank being dragged backwards. 835r Damian Orr claimed the win although the Wangas cars pulled up to the flag also after a valiant effort by the two drivers. Rotorua took the win and would qualify easily.

Stratford Stormers 160 v North Island Invitation 30
54h Nigel Hazelton came in as a last minute replacement for the NI team and with 141k Nilsson as reserve he got his chance to shine in his debut teams race. The select team won pole and 47m Keegan Orr took off in the lead but 405s Haydin Barker almost tipped him over for our elusive first rollover on the back straight wall. At the same time 408s Mark Woods hit 8g Harding, 54h hit them both and 8g took the full force of the hit. Red lights came on for the stricken 47m and with the 5h Stenson tank retiring, it was 4 v 2 cars. Both Harding and Hazelton took some huge shots but after an initial flurry in the opening laps it was game over and the Stormers cars wrapped it up with minimal damage and big points as top qualifiers. 404s Todd Duthie taking the win.

Auckland Alleycats 100 v Huntly Hawks 80
Hawks won pole for this race, both teams coming off a loss and like Wanganui earlier, one team would need a big win to qualify. 838a Dave Seymour and 383a Gary Lonergan got the jump at the start and things were looking good for an Auckland win when 37h McNeil pulled off on lap 1. Unfortunately after some good blocking by 883a Nic Krisnic he pulled infield with some major damage. Seymour was taken to the wall and Lonergan took over the lead before we had our first controversial ruling of the meeting, the red lights coming on and Seymour who was running second sent to the infield for an infringement (cutting the grass I believe).This left two Alleycats against 3 Hawks. 35h Alistair Van Amsterdam had shown great pace and began hunting down Troy Power, a number of close shots on corners not quite connecting and when Lonergan took the white flag, Power was in second giving the Aucks a chance with some decent points. The final lap though was a coach killer with 36h Brett Aitken timing a perfect shot on Power in turn 4 and ramming the Alleycat into the wall damaging his steering and leaving him short of the finish line. Lonergan's win not enough to get them through, Hawks also missing the cut.

Meeanee Maulers 140 v Waikato Raiders 55
Both these teams could qualify if the race didn't end in a whitewash but there were no gentleman's agreements here as there was plenty of action. Another line up of cars close to the wall and when 99h Brad Philpott sat on the brakes 81b Randal Tarrant jumped out to the lead for the Maulers. Its a lead he kept for the whole race not shy to attack he also sent 99h packing with a hard shot in turn 1, Philpott stranded bringing on the reds.  85b, 83b and 81b then began running in a train like fashion before Loveridge was stopped and Brendan Vincent moved up to second place for the Raiders. Jeff Hart and Neville Hazelton spent a few laps in the wall before Harts steering gave up and Loveridge ended up stuck on the 94h car of Mark Caldwell. Maulers taking a confident win but both teams still managing to qualify for the semi finals.

Stratford Stormers 325pts
Meeanee Maulers 295pts
Rotorua Rascals 275pts
Waikato Raiders 190pts

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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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