Sunday, December 12, 2010
A damp night in Vegas
House of Travel Stockcars & Superstocks
Paradise Valley, Rotorua
A spur of the moment decision on Saturday morning to go down to Rotorua looked like a bad one with the weather looking more cloudy the further south I went, but fortunately the meeting was run and although drizzle did its best to make it uncomfortable, big fields of Stockcars (30) and Superstocks (25) made the trip worthwhile. This meeting was round two of the House of Travel series and had attracted a few out-of-town cars in the Supers but from memory I think only two Huntly cars in the stocks. Although Rotorua has some of the largest fields in those two classes, with Baypark and Huntly both running, the support programme of Streetstocks, Productions and Saloons was mighty thin on the ground and decidedly average. Add into that two fields of Ministocks and there was room for improvement.
The good news is that as a taster of the NZ Superstock title in a fortnight, the thought of up to 100 of these beasts flying round the tight Paradise Valley circuit really got the blood pumping. 48n Brett Nicholls made the long trek up from Nelson and I'm guessing he was well pleased with his performance, taking out the first heat and looking extremely strong in heats 2 & 3. 351a Paul Vasey took heat two and 135r Scott Hewson winning from a depleted field in the final heat. The driver though that really impressed me was 87r David Elsworth. I haven't seen him before and he was carving through the pack like a seasoned pro, a real prospect for the big title if this performance was any indication of his ability. It would seem the Rotorua club have a number of contenders and if they work together it will be very hard for any outsider to leave with the title.
That is of course if they work together, which leads me to the Stockcars. Heat one for them was fairly tame I thought except for lap one, when Huntly visitor 83h Tony Whyte was prepared to have a go right from the green flag, sadly, the only other car that seemed out to cause trouble, 99r Shannon Orr was his first target and his race ended there. Heat two though and Whyte basically was free to attack anyone he liked with little or no retribution. 48r Ivan King was responsible for the only rollover of the night on 24r Shane Newland and remember that there were extra points available for rolling other cars. Fortunately the locals woke up in heat three and the action was far better. 48r King gave the tank a good beating and the Orr-Stanaway battle was great. Rotorua really have the makings of a great team here, lets hope the Rascals re-appear in the near future. Perhaps the reason why the action was down on what I expected and the Rascals team being in hibernation is that there are so many unbelievably cool looking cars at this track that they dont want to scratch them!
Finally, I had the chance to talk to Wayne and Mike Francis about the 21r Superstock and whether it will be out for the big title. It's looking shakey at this stage, so here's hoping with a bit of luck the boys get the green machine together and are able to compete. The track is looking amazing and going by some of the comments Paul Hickey made about the programme, merchandise and planned events its going to be an unmissable title.
Meeting rating : 6/10
Visit the webpage for the New Zealand Superstock title HERE for everything you will need to know.