Sunday, March 02, 2014
Superstock Teams Champs
Palmerston North Speedway
They say change is good, and going by the crowd reaction on Friday night, the failure of not one but both Palmy teams to make the top four was met with disbelief and for some, no doubt, a sense of relief. Of the top four teams to qualify, only the Baypark Busters had ever won this title before, so for the Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes, Wanganui Warriors and Great Britain Lions there really was a sense of change and an air of expectation for night two. Saturday night delivered big time! A meeting that has always been a must see event for any true speedway fan, took the action to another level and with the Burger King Supersaloon Series providing some of the best support programme racing I've ever seen, the fans were treated to an incredible weekend of action and speedway at it's best.
But for me, the memory I'll carry away from this meeting was watching the entire arena give the Auckland Allstars a standing ovation when they beat the Palmerston North Panthers. It was like something from a dream, I really had to pinch myself and for the Allstars fans it had been a long time coming. It epitomised the whole meeting actually, there were no dead certs and any team could produce an upset. The days of easy beats are long gone. Many people will say the Wanganui v Manawatu race on Friday night was an all time classic and the race of the meeting when it looked as though no cars would finish. Bevan Humphrey just managing to drag his car across the line while Kyle Heibner held Adam Joblin in the wall just metres from the line.
A few drivers stood out and I believe Kyle Heibner was named the driver of the weekend which I would agree with, although I thought Carl Hodge and Ross Ashby were equally as impressive. Ashby did the business and only upon watching a highlights video of the Busters races do you realise how much work the big man put in. Carl Hodge was a sensation for the Allstars in his first appearance at the Palmy Teams and was almost a one man highlights reel including a rollover that he managed to continue racing from. Heibner was a big reason the Warriors made the final, the Wanganui team looked more structured than they have in years and with Kerry Podjursky blocking they were capable of the win.
Last season, the title for my review of this meeting was "Are the Panthers too good?" and lamented the lack of a serious challenger to their run of titles, 12 months on and I don't think anyone was ready for the spectacular fall from grace that occurred. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say they 'threw' their races to keep the traveling punters happy, but knowing the calibre of this team and their hunger for wins it was simply just a bad weekend for the Panthers. God help the team that meets them first up at their next race at the Auckland Teams Nats! The other side of the coin was the GB Lions who in their short history at this meeting have had astoundingly good results but this season were without mercurial leader Frankie Wainman jnr and with only Tom Harris having appeared before, were lacking in experience. Their only practice race against the Auckland Allstars a week prior resulted in a loss but once again on the nights that mattered and under the guidance of Tony Mac, they surprised everyone and made the top four, eventually car and driver damage taking its toll as they were bundled out of their last race with only 3 cars managing to make the track.
The decision to relaunch the Busters two seasons ago was met with anger in some corners and many thought the idea was not going to fly but with the class also being reignited at Baypark and the resulting win at Palmy I'm sure many are feeling not only justified in their decision but excited about the next chapter for the club. News that Kyle Fraser is retiring will be a massive blow to the solid crew that have formed this team for over a decade, but there is no shortage of cars wanting to join the Busters camp so I think this next era for the Mount based team could be requiring a larger trophy cabinet. Whether you agreed with the reformation or not, it has added some real competition into the teams racing arena.
Finally the refereeing decisions... wow! Obviously a call was made to stick to the letter of the law and the two teams that copped the game changing calls were Nelson and Palmy. There does need to be a strict adherence to the rules but you cant have races where both Scott Miers and Scott Joblin are removed from the racing - which is a HUGE call - and not inform the public why. Wanganui and Hawkes Bay also fell foul of the Refs and Malcolm Ngatai was made to leave the track but little info came through and this is only going to start rumours and pointless postings when a simple "refs call is..." from the ref or the commentary team will end it right there and then. I think it could actually be a really cool addition to the atmosphere like the third umpire TRY or NO TRY in rugby league. The Palmy promoters are on the ball with most things so maybe we'll see some innovation like that next year. Anyway all I know is, as far as teams meetings go, this really was one of the best I've ever been to. Just when I think I've seen it all, you go to a meeting like this one and your hooked all over again.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Sorry for the lack of updates, I've got about four meetings to upload and will attempt to over the next few days. I have been working on a project - a magazine based on one meeting rather than a whole season review - and should have a printed copy of it in a week or two, then I can hopefully sell a few to pay for it!
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Welcome to the Sunset Slayers from Westport Speedway in the South Island. Their first hit out at their home track was against the Greymouth Grizzlies from Greenstone Park, hopefully the beginning of another South Island track joining in the Teams racing scene that is growing every season in the mainland. Rotorua Rascals are having their best season ever and remain unbeaten on top of the table. a few teams have moved up after the Peter Barry teams event ran on Friday night, but rain stopped the show and it will be a complete rerun.
Top of the South Speedway, Nelson
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies
Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
Ken's Cowboys defeat Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def Ken's Cowboys
Eastern States Titans def Canterbury Crushers
November 15 & 16
Woodford Glen, Christchurch
Eastern States Titans 140 def Team Heibner 45
Ken's Cowboys def 150 def Canterbury Crushers 25
Ken"s Cowboys 150 def Eastern States Titans 35
Canterbury Crushers 150 def Team Heibner 35
November 15 & 16
Huntly Speedway, Waikato
Rotorua Rascals def Gisborne Gladiators
Stratford Stormers def Meeanee Maulers
Auckland Alleycats def Manawatu Steelers
Wanganui Vulcans def Waikato Raiders
Rotorua Rascals def Meeanee Maulers
Stratford Stormers def Gisborne Gladiators
Manawatu Steelers def Wanganui Vulcans
Auckland Alleycats def Waikato Raiders
Manawatu Steelers def Gisborne Gladiators
Huntly Hawks def Baypark Bulldogs
Waikato Raiders def Meeanee Maulers
Auckland Alleycats def Stratford Stormers
Rotorua Rascals def Wanganui Vulcans
Meeanee Maulers def Gisborne Gladiators
Manawatu Steelers def Waikato Raiders
Wanganui Vulcans def Stratford Stormers
Rotorua Rascals def Auckland Alleycats
Stratford Stormers def Wanganui Vulcans
Baypark Bulldogs def Huntly Hawks
Rotorua Rascals def Auckland Alleycats (Rees Shield)
Huntly Raiders def Gisborne Gladiators
Nelson Thunder def Canterbury Crushers
Palmerston North Pumas def Wellington Young Guns
Wanganui Vulcans def Stratford Stormers
NZ Stockcar Teams Champs Qualifying
Rotorua Rascals 175 def Waikato Raiders 20
Wellington Young Guns 160 def Gisborne Gladiators 35
Canterbury Crushers 160 def Baypark Bulldogs 35
Tasman Thunder 185 def Auckland Alleycats 0
Stratford Stormers 135 def Eastern States Titans 60
Meeanee Maulers 165 def Wanganui Vulcans 0
Palmerston North Pumas 145 def Waikato Raiders 50
Rotorua Rascals 150 def Wellington Young Guns 45
Gisborne Gladiators 160 def Canterbury Crushers 35
Auckalnd Alleycats 110 def Baypark Bulldogs 85
Stratford Stormers 165 def Tasman Thunder 30
Wanganui Vulcans 145 def Eastern States Titans 50
Palmerston North Pumas 155 def Meeanee Maulers 40
NZ Stockcar Teams Finals
Wellington Young Guns def Canterbury Crushers
Gisborne Gladiators def Meeanee Maulers
Rotorua Rascals def Tasman Thunder
Palmerston North Pumas def Stratford Stormers
Stratford Stormers def Gisborne Gladiators
Wellington Young Guns def Tasman Thunder
Rotorua Rascals def Palmerston North Pumas
At World 240's, Paradise Valley Raceway
Rotorua Rascals def Waikato Raiders
Peter Barry Teams, Meeanee Speedway
Wellington Young Guns def Waikato Raiders
Palmerston North Pumas def Meeanee Maulers
North Island Select def Stratford Stormers
Wanganui Vulcans def Gisborne Gladiators
Waikato Raiders def Hasbeens
Baypark Bulldogs def Meeanee Maulers
Wellington Young Guns def North Island Select
Meeting abandoned due to rain.
Feb 2 Sunset Speedway
Greymouth Grizzlies def Westport Slayers
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Waikaraka Park, Feb 1
Brilliant conditions and the pits bursting with cars, all the ingredients you need for a great night of speedway at Waikaraka Park last night. The feature events were the Auckland Saloon title and a Superstock teams race between the Auckland Allstars and the Great Britain Lions in their first run before the NZ Superstock teams meeting in Palmerston North next weekend. The British won this event in style last season and then laid waste to the local cars in the open races.
Auckland Saloon Title
Two groups of about 9 cars each had two heats and then the top eight would compete in a pole shuffle for a final 20 lap feature. Numbers had dropped somewhat from the early indications during the week, but the field was still a classy bunch. Group one heat wins went to 4a Anita Sloot ahead of 3nz Nigel Ross. While Ross would win the second heat ahead of 166h Geoff Webb and 27a Stephen Corry. The track for heat one was pretty slushy but most handled it, 59a Bryan Skelton the only one to encounter any problems and dropped well back during the race. Race two again fairly tame although Ross was able to move up from grid 6 for the win, spins for 75a and 25a dropping them well back.
Group two and 49h Bodie Abrahamson snatched the lead early and took a convincing win from one of the favourites, 48a Phil Towgood. 11a Lynn Yates and 61a Roy Walker having a moment when both cars touched but both able to finish. Heat two for this group had the most action of the night with 21h Steve Williams clearing out for the win while 89a Tom Roberts punctured early. 47a Mark Oldfield spun on turn 2, causing a bottleneck of following cars, 61a Walker riding up over the wheel of heat one winner Abrahamson who would be left with a flat left rear tyre and circling for points only. Towgood and Yates also coming together in the same corner, Yates sent to the rear of field for the restart.. 66r Peter Church finishing second behind Williams.
The top 8 shootout started well for Bodie Abrahamson defeating 166h Webb, 27a Corry but then all hell broke loose in the race off with 4a Anita Snoot and a big rollover in turn 3 for the Whangarei driver stopped the meeting as the ambulance was brought out. Abrahamson then raced against Walker who took the win. Towgood defeated Walker, Williams defeated Towgood and Ross as top points scorer had the measure of Williams for the feature race pole. The 20 lap feature had a full on start with Ross almost overcooking it on the first lap as he took the lead, then a big mid pack pile up of cars in turns 3 and 4 and by lap 3 we had 26a, 27a, 166h, 49h, 63a all on the infield. Ross cleared out in the lead and the rest of the race was the battle between Williams, Towgood and Walker for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Despite some close moments with back markers that's how they finished, Ross winning by over half a lap. Result: 3nz, 21h, 48a, 61a, 66r, 77k, 75a, 11a. All three podium drivers did a victory lap before the presentations which was well appreciated by the crowd. Nigel Ross really is deserving of the success he is picking up this season, always the entertainer at WP, its great to see.
Auckland Allstars v Great British Lions
This was a bit of a turn-up, after some practice hot laps Auckland driver Jamie Fergusson had problems with the car and so the team had 2 races to get the car fixed. When this failed 11a Carl Hodge stepped in. On the hot laps warm up to the race proper, the 01 tank of Daz Kitson had ignition problems and couldn't front so 42a Bernie Fox became 42gb to even things up. Fox was first to strike spinning 5a Steve Guilford as 00gb Neil Scothern took the lead chased by 11a Hodge. 7a Scott Tennant then put in a brutal hit on 04 Chris Fort in turn 3. Hodge was spun and then played aggressor putting Fox up the wall in turn 4. 8a Bryce Marx blocked the British runner and Tennant reading the race perfectly took up the running role for the Allstars. 04 Fort was now running for GB until Marx was able to block him and effectively give Tennant room for a clear run to home. 5a Guilford never restarted from turn 1 and so the three car Allstars took a great win and the impressive trophy. 04gb put in a massive hit on 8a Marx after the chequered flag for good measure! Both teams will need a bit of work before next Friday but it was an impressive showing for essentially a new GB side (Tom Harris will rejoin next week) and the new look Allstars.
28 Stockcars turned up to party and put on some great action, 95a Gary Lonergan picked up the heat 1 win and during the course of the race must have had a small altercation with one of the Wearing clan who now number three cars. This turned into all out war in heat 2 with 37a Ash Wearing and 34a Mark Wearing having goes at the 95a and finally both working together to get the Alleycat. 741a Craig Chatfield took the win ahead of 69a Dave Seymore. 21 Cars fronted for the feature and the war continued with 32a joining in before Lonegan's car expired in turn 4 mid race. 37a Wearing then focussed on 54h smashing into the wall in turn 4, before 57a Aiden Eustace put the Huntly visitor up the wall in turn 2. Chatfield took advantage of the chaos and picked up the feature win. 11a Carl Hodge had the best of the Superstock open races with 2 wins and a second, this driver really getting to grips with the car and not afraid to dish out some hits when needed. 00gb Neil Scothern picked up the other win.