Friday, December 30, 2005

City of Auckland Classic

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Sounds like a BurgerKing meal but in fact it was the name of the meeting on December 27 at Waikaraka Park that me and about 200 other people went to... well there was probably more than that, but a pretty small turnout for a class that really holds the show together more often than not. Keeping with the BurgerKing theme this meal had been an 'upsized combo with fries' but due to lack of interest or whatever ended up being a 'McSalad with Diet Coke'. Huge prizemoney had been offered for a Stockcar Stampede two nighter but perhaps the timing or promotion or whatever the meeting was transformed into the previously rained out City Of Auckland one night meeting which ran the same night as the Superstocks in Rotorua.

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The title was to be decided over four races with money also for stirring which is always a winner in my book and after the first race I thought 96a would have it in the bag after rolling another two cars in the first two races including the 21a tank of Graeme Wood which ended up flat on it's roof, which brings to five cars that 96a has rolled in two meetings that I've seen him at, but NO! Pauly Rawiri 137k made even more impact and took the money with constant attacks on anything that moved even with a car that was starting to fall apart on the last laps of the final. Carlos Chestnutt 64a was one of the many who fell to the attacks of Rawiri and was neatly put up the wall while leading heat three.

Mark Wearing 34a won the title in the end with Kelly Layton and Andrew Weir filling the minor places but as with most stockcar meetings you tend to focus on the cars doing the damage and for that Pauly Rawiri definitely stole the show.

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The highpoint for me of course was seeing the return of original 'tank number 3' in the hands of Graeme Wood an old campaigner from years ago. He had a pretty solid night, and with a rollover, did something I doubt I've seen before outside of a teams meeting and that's to see a tank on it's lid! It was interesting seeing the crew looking at a copy of "The Tank" book before the meeting and especially the pics of the entire front torn off the car after a meeting at HB. A true piece of speedway history... that could be the car or the driver!

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The Modifieds on the support programme were excellent value as usual with the addition of Tony Galbraith and Scott Lane and have me thinking of perhaps going to the New Years Eve meeting which will feature Modifieds in their Grand Prix. WP could take a bath on this meeting if the numbers at the Classic were anything to go by, but at least they are giving us the option.

Meeting rating: 4/10

Top 5ive December

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Pluto : Long White Cross
The Church : Two Places At Once
Groove Armada : But I Feel Good
Prince : Cinnamon Girl
James Blunt : Wise Men

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here's your Christmas card

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Saves on postage I suppose, and so much feeling in the message! No matter what Christmas means to you, it usually means some excellent speedway meetings during the break from work. Lets hope the weather plays its part.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lets go to...

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Although I missed possibly the best meeting of the season so far (The North Island Stockcars at Huntly) I will console myself with the fact that I was in Sydney. Four days of 30+ degrees full on sunshine and staying at the Star City Hotel in Pyrmont was alright with me.

If your are going to Sydney try booking your accommodation on, we got our rooms for half the normal price and as you can see the view was outstanding.

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Demo Derby

December already and only meeting four for me, so instead of another speedway free weekend I decided to check out the Demolition Derby meeting at Waikaraka Park.

There was alot on in Auckland Saturday night and with big speedway meetings out of town also, I thought the fields might be a little light and the crowd would be less than usual. Derby Night always seems to get a huge crowd at WP but by 6.20pm when I went to sit in the stand the crowd was minimal to say the least but over the next hour the stand filled and the crowd would have been one of the biggest I've seen there for a while. This was to be the theme of the night for me, I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised.

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First, and most importantly as it seems these days, every class had a decent amount of cars. Stockcars had 20+, Streetstocks had about 20, 10 Modifieds, umpteen ATVs and Minisprints, and about 12 Saloons along with a bonus of two Superstocks running off the back of the Stockcars. Dave Tennant had the 75a in a new paint scheme hooking up much better than down at Huntly and 414a Warwick Ansty turned up for his first run of the season. It was at this point in the pits that my lack of mechanical and structural knowledge was sorely exposed as I commented to one of the 414a crew "that the car looked different this year" to which they replied "that would be because it's a brand new car" much hooting laughter. Apparently the old car has been sold to one of the Hunters. Both cars had what looked to be a great shakedown and were fairly even in pace, only action for them was when 14a Stockcar managed to take both of them out in one well timed hit in the feature race.

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The Stockcars again were in stirring form with 3 rollovers all initiated by the 96a who I thought was being piloted by Nick Krznic although later I heard Rinso's name mentioned so whoever was driving was the highlight of the night. 49a, 158a and 108a were the unfortunate victims. Had there been some bonus for tipping cars over he would have left WP with a decent payout. A few returning cars included the 441a of Andrew Weir who started slowly with a first heat dnf but won the feature, the car looked fantastic and you can add his name to the stars of this class, 14a, 96a, 89a who cause mayhem week in week out.

There was some talk during the week about the decision to run Modifieds at Auckland instead of joining the meeting at Rotorua and I can only speak for myself as a spectator, that it was the right decision. The racing was close, fast and much appreciated. One rollover for 33a, and some spectacular racing in the 11a vs 59a battle lifted the meeting from being 'well attended but average' to actually entertaining. Considering the size of the crowd, this was an important opportunity to showcase the class too.

I noticed the amount of advertising around the place for Hell Pizza, The Rock FM and also C4 Music who were all dragged in with the Derby and that there will be coverage of Jonno, one of the C4 presenters driving in the Derby on his Thursday night show, although WP may have shot themselves in the foot by sending him to the infield for not stopping on a red light in the first few minutes of the Derby!! Sometimes I think you just have to bite the bullet and think of the bigger picture, the opportunity to get free coverage was severely cut short.

I also have to mention Nevano Cowan in the saloons. His driving style is unorthodox to say the least but when he gets it right it's really exciting, when he gets it wrong... carnage! This class is missing some names like Steve Louden and Nigel Ross and is crying out for someone to step up and entertain and Nevano is the man.

So overall, I didn't expect much and got more than I hoped for. Also I swear they played Poi-E twice on the PA (which was working) so a bonus point for that.

Meeting Rating: 5/10

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Top 5ive November

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The White Stripes : My Doorbell
John Legend : She Don't Have To Know
Madonna : Hung Up
Two Tons O'Fun : Just Us
Che Fu : Lightwork

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The good, the bad and the ugly

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My third meeting of the season was the Stockcar Teams Invitation at Huntly Speedway. Finally the weather was playing it's part and a good sized crowd turned up to see six teams battle it out for the title.

The Good.

It's been a while since I've been to Huntly, but one thing I notice every time I go there is that it improves. There is a real desire in the club to lift their game and it shows. The track is looking great and although the seating is still a bit basic there is definately a more professional look and feel to the place. I could actually hear Malcolm Sines on the PA system which might be a first for me at Huntly.

The pits were full of stockcars, always a good start, and this was the first meeting I've been to in a while that had a decent Superstock field for a meeting that wasn't a championship of some sort. The fact that it took cars from four tracks to do it was a little worrying (A, H, R and K) but still it was better than watching ministocks or minisprints or mini anything else. Mini usually means hotdog time in my book and with the proposed MX Extreme display we didn't need any more filler classes.

The presentation of some of the teams was excellent, Auckland's new Mainfreight sponsored bodies really stood out and as always Rotorua and Huntly were well presented.

The sight of Dave Tennant in the pits meant one more 'A' car to add to the ranks but Dave had a night to forget with gremlins finishing him off early in the evening. Also the debut of a new Lance Ashton stockcar that had problems early on but as we saw in the final consolation race he started to mix it up and get the crowd excited.

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The Bad.

The Northland Hounds no-show was not a good start to the meeting but the organisers gathered together an invitation team that on paper looked good enough to take the title.

Some of the teams races lacked a bit of passion or teamwork or something, the spark just wasn't there. There were a few drivers though that never disappoint and Wootton, Rawiri, McIntosh and Chestnutt performed like they always do lifting the action and entertaining the crowd.

Although some teams go to all the trouble of getting matching team bodies I think they need to keep their normal racing number. With so many cars having the same shape, it can be difficult to keep up with who's who. Auckland stuck with their usual racing numbers and it makes all the difference for the punters.

Not a single tank in the pits! This is teams racing!

The Ugly.

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I'm sorry but the MX Bike display just did nothing for me. Maybe I'm a bad person but I really wanted one of the bikes to hit the guy with the mic standing on the ramp. Then when they came out for their second display it was dark and as they climbed the ramp you couldn't see them anymore! They could have had hamsters riding the bikes for all I knew. I'm sure some people enjoyed it and promoters have to try new ideas but for me it was a lemon. Starting the meeting with the first display was a mistake too, by 7.20pm we were hanging out for some stockcar action, not updates on how "Dave Clements" and his squashed nads were doing in hospital! *For those who weren't there, Dave was one of the MX riders who crashed off his bike before the meeting even started, and as the woman behind me said in a very loud voice "his balls went up through his eye sockets." I'm not sure if she was a nurse.

We can land men on the moon but we just can't make a roving microphone work. Poor Mintie probably had lots to add to the meeting but most of it was distorted and unlistenable and stockcar drivers must be the worst interviews you can possibly do. You could ask them what they had for lunch and the answer will probably be "yeah, nah", few if any of them are keen to talk and unless you have real characters like Barry Hunter present, it should be a no go area.

Overall the meeting was good, the programme was good by Huntly standards and the food was okay. I took a friend who only occasionally goes to speedway and asked for an unbiased rating out of ten for the meeting and was given a solid 6/10 which seems fair to me. For the record, Rotorua beat Palmy in a workmanlike but unremarkable final and although a few stars were missing from some of the teams only a few of these six teams will be in the running at the Teams Nationals in Palmy on January 13 + 14 when I assume Wellington, Bay Park and Hawkes Bay are added to the mix. Does sound like an exciting prospect though...

Meeting rating: 6/10

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Flashback 007

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John Mercer
Stratford 1986

This car has been mentioned lately in the MIA Stockcars on Macgors. It's under the thread about Steve Malaquin with someone asking did he build the space frame 'ladder tank' as it was called, but as another person correctly pointed out John Mercer had it first...

" ...wasn't it the other way around, after Steve Malaquin had that tank Red Jones, Ross Bryson raced it as a std stock out of Rotorua, then raced by Dayne Condor out of Huntly, I haven't seen this car 4 a while..."

I'd love to know where it is now, look at the siderails, solid little bugger isnt it! It's definately one of my all time favourite stockcars, which sounds like a good idea for another posting...

*The photo is from the 1986 Air NZ Teams Champs programme from Palmerston North and I'd like to put a credit but there are no photo credits in it unfortunately, and I'd love to get some more photos of this beastie.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Flashback 006

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Graeme Ward

As the NZ Standard Stock champ from the season before at Palmerston North, Graeme Ward bravely fronted at Huntly in 2003 to defend his title, but there was to be no fairytale back to back wins, massively outnumbered and with major damage to the car he failed to qualify for night two. His never say die attitude and spectacular driving style always makes him a target, but I'm sure the 1NZ will reappear on the car in the future.

Here's a site that has a report from his title winning meeting the season before: NZ Standard Stock Title

Monday, November 07, 2005


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My second meeting of the season was at Waikaraka Park on Saturday night for their fireworks "spectacular" which I think will be remembered more for being a fizzer than anything else. I arrived at around 6pm and there was a light amount of rain which almost had me turning the car around but I went in anyway and my first thought was that the pits seemed to have less cars than the opening meeting. I'm not sure of the numbers but unfortunately the first taste of Superstocks was going to be entree size as there were only six of them including two Huntly cars. Their first race was a little light on action and speed but understandable. The programme mentioned that Mark Decke will be running as 99a this season and that probably was the only highpoint for the Superstocks all evening.

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Stockcars were there in force and thankfully performed like they always do, in fact their first race was the standout of the night with 96a Nick Krznic driving his old car and causing all the mayhem after a long absence from the track. In their second race they were combined with the remaining superstocks and that was there lot for the night, which makes me wonder why the ATV's were given 3 races, in fact quite a few odd decisions were made throughout the meeting and the best one was the decision to stop the meeting and have the fireworks while it was still light because of incoming rain... the rain never appeared, some of the fireworks never exploded (which really summed up the meeting) and then there was a half hearted effort to restart the programme after the lights were turned back on only to be told by the commentator that there was some MORE fireworks so we'll stop the meeting and have those instead.

At this stage I made like a skyrocket and left the stadium.

As usual the sound system was below par, which is a pity because they managed to get Paul Vasey in to talk about the Superstocks (including his own which is still a few weeks away) and the Stockcars including the team to go to Huntly (89a, 71a, 12a, 99a... was all I heard) but most of the commentary is lost on the public as you can only ever hear it when there is no background noise.

I always think that these Meetings are a good chance to grab a few new punters who come along basically to see the Fireworks and yet the supporting meeting usually is pretty lame and reinforces the feeling that most people tolerate the racing just to see the fireworks. It's a major marketing opportunity that is completely wasted every season.

I'll try and end on some positive notes, the new track surface looked good, Kevin Moore and Shane McInteer were great in the Supersaloons, the Modifieds were good and the food was okay and... we've just found EVEN MORE fireworks!

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Monday, October 31, 2005

Book Club 3

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Heavy Metal
A Pictorial Review of Stock Cars in Canterbury
Allan Batt
Publisher Speedway Classics

I picked this book up through an advertisement in Siderail magazine a few months ago. As the title suggests it's a pictorial review of the first 21 years of stockcar racing in the Canterbury region from 1954 up until 1975 including the first year of racing at Woodford Glen. The collection of photos is amazing and credit must go to Allan Batt for undertaking the task of getting something in print. He mentions in the introduction that the original plan was "for a full history of stockcar racing, however it soon became apparent that little media coverage, combined with few club records and the passing of many of the sports identities meant that an accurate account was not going to be possible" and some things never change in regard to the "little media coverage". So he went for the pictorial option instead. It highlights the fact that an alarming amount of history is slowly disappearing and without the dedication of people like Allan and the Vintage Stockcar Clubs most of the sports proud past is going to be lost forever.

There is a short write up about each track featured including how they came to be and in most cases their demise including Aranui, Templeton, Doyleston, Ruapuna, Prebbleton, Kaiapoi, Ashburton, South Canterbury, Kaikoura and Woodford Glen. He mentions that "during the 60's every town worth a damn had a stockcar track" and what a pity it is that these days most cities are doing everything they can to get rid of the remaining tracks.

This book has 64 pages, black and white print and cost $25.
Add this to your Stockcar Library.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Flashback 005

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There's a section on Macgors site called "Stockcars Missing In Action" which is excellent for tracking down old stockcars. Someone has mentioned an old Lyall Rymney stockcar they are trying to find and so I looked at an old NZ Stockcar Champs programme from Rotorua 1985 and found these two beauties... 72r Lyall Rumney's standard stock with what looks like a Mini body on it and 5b Paul Demanser in a pretty cool looking Ford V8 Anglia special! They definately don't make 'em like they used to.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Meeting One Waikaraka Park

Finally the season has begun and my first taste, although delayed one week, was to be at Waikaraka Park for their season opener. The Stockcars were my focus of attention with the Superstocks not running and the standard of machinery just gets better every season.

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Dean Mulholland 71a and Kelly Layton 93a in the old Paul Vasey car were definitely the best presented with the 71a crew in matching Hawaiian shirts setting the standard. Blu Rawiri returned in the 137k car and performed his usual antics and made himself the instant centre of attention with absolutely no intention of running for the flag. This guy is an asset to the class and so it's a little disappointing to see a 'k' next to the number, lets hope that means he wont be missing from too many WP meetings.

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There's a great review of the meeting on Percy's website, so I wont go into much detail other than to post some photos I took in the pits.

I did notice that the cemetery bend has had some terracing put in and the lapscorers are now in some converted cargo containers which are the first improvements to the place I've seen in a long time. If I remember correctly the last time "no frills Frank" was in charge at WP the place was fairly basic in the amenities and food departments but the ontrack action was always superb. Whether you love or loathe the man, he seems to deliver on the track, so any other improvements that happen are icing on the cake in my opinion.

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A small mention about the Modifieds too with 8 turning up to the first meeting and not one of them being a dud, including a few new drivers who all showed heaps of promise. Jamie Fox and Allan Haigh though are a cut above the rest and you only need to see them weave their way through the 'newbies' unpredictable racing lines with speed and precision to realise how awesome these drivers are. I think this will be an excellent season for the Modifieds.

The programme was also worthy of mention as it carried a few pages of photos from the last NZ Stockcar title held at WP in 1993 shot by Ian Abrahams (hopefully they are for sale) and listed the registered Superstocks for this season with some noticeable omissions in Gary Ellis, Ricky Mitchell and Dave Tennant. Hopefully they are just slow to front... the full list was: 8a Graham Goldsmith, 35a Paul Vasey, 36a Blair Mitchell moving up from ministocks, 51a Wayne Whittaker, 53a Phillip Marx, 73a Bryce Marx and 414a Warwick Ansty.

All in all a typical first meeting, but the signs are good for an important season ahead for the Auckland club.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Flashback 004

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Kevin Free
Early 1970's

Recently restored and actually for sale on Magors site.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


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Either Scooby Doo or the A-Team have moved into our neighbourhood! I had to take a photo of this appalling abomination of a van. The photo doesn't do it justice... it's sooo big and takes up two rare-as-hens-teeth parking spaces and it has every attachment you could think of. I hope the owner is living in it or fighting crime with it, because I cant think of any other reason why you would want this vehicle.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

2006 Championship

Now that I've listed all the past winners going back to 1986 (I haven't got any programmes previous to that championship so that solves the mystery as to why I chose 1986!) it brings us nicely to the upcoming title in Auckland in February 2006.

The first thing worth noting is the lack of superstocks Auckland has had for the last few seasons. The timing of this champs couldn't be better, as we have seen recently the title seems to bring out cars from the garage that haven't had any track time for a while and also brings back some of the old legends who want 'just one more shot' on their home track.

At the tail end of last season 75a Dave Tennant re-appeared in the old 78a car of Darryl Clarkson and made it to about 3 meetings. Ricky Mitchell who has appeared off and on (mostly off) for the last couple of seasons made a triumphant return in the 36a machine and rumours abound that Paul Vasey and Mark Wearing will be moving up from the standard stocks. Also talk of a return from Clark Proctor the "Metalman" would be excellent news and add to that the cars that did front last year, 73a Bryce Marx, 53a Phil Marx, 8a Graham Goldsmith, 414a Warwick Ansty, 11a Gary Ellis, 15a Steve Pribicevich and the 87a of Greg Thompson and you have a fairly decent line up.

With news of the decision not to run superstocks at Baypark this season you wonder how many of them might make the big jump up to Auckland and having drivers like 119m Kerry Remnant, 38m Ross Ashby, 15m Rick Taylor, 2nz Rodney Wood, 92m Kyle Fraser and the like looking for a new home, I hope the Waikaraka promoters are on the phone...

..and if we are going into fantasy land lets imagine that 46p, 171r, 17v and 7r all decide to re-register with an "A" on the car! Also a few of the missing-in-action like 51a Wayne Whittaker in the old Darren Gray car and 21a Peter Drake turn up for the party. Could this be the revival of superstocks at WP?

NZ Stockcar Champs 02, 03, 04 + 05

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Awapuni Speedway, Gisborne
59w Wayne Hemi

Stratford Speedway, Stratford
85h Jared Wade

Top Of The South Speedway, Nelson
46p Kelvin Gray

Arena One, Palmerston North
121p Bryce Penn

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

NZ Stockcar Champs 98, 99, 00 + 01

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Paradise Valley Raceway, Rotorua
116a Craig Pierce

Huntly Speedway, Waikato
7n Craig Boote

Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
1nz Craig Boote

Meeanee Speedway, Hawkes Bay
94r Murray Hobbs

NZ Stockcar Champs 94, 95, 96 + 97

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Riverside Raceway, Invercargill
69s Barry Podjursky

Oceanview Speedway, Wanganui
72r Lyall Rumney

Te Marua Speedway, Wellington
71w Kim Lace

Woodford Glen, Christchurch
7n Craig Boote

Monday, July 25, 2005

NZ Stockcar Champs 90, 91, 92 + 93

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Stratford Speedway, Stratford
38r Barry Hunter

Top of the South Speedway, Nelson
4p Gary Parkes

Palmerston North Showgrounds
69s Barry Podjursky

Waikaraka Park, Auckland
36h Kevin Free

NZ Stockcar Champs 86, 87, 88 + 89

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Bay Park, Mt Maunganui
8s Russell Joblin

Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
7s Bruce Simpson

Meeanee Speedway, Hawkes Bay
85hr Paul Wade

Awapuni Speedway, Gisborne
75a Dave Tennant

Friday, July 22, 2005

Flashback 003

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John Blokker

Tank number two in the series and still going strong after 30+ years. This flashback 'celebrates' the absolute disaster that was the NZ Stockcar Grandprix held in Auckland in 1998. Look at the packed pits! We had paid our money, bought our food and gone into the pits only to hear that the qualifying night was canned because they only had 26 cars (including a std stock) for the title... many angry punters finished their hotdogs and left. Of course the weather was unusually sunny and it would have been a cracker, the only thing missing was stockcars. John Blokker made it all the way from Blenheim, what happened to everyone else...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Book Club 2

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Stock Car Racing
25 Years at Palmerston North
Gavin Rosvall
Stylex Print

This book was released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of stockcar racing at Palmerston North in 1988. It details the background of the first race on February 23, 1963 with fourteen brave drivers (the first chapter) up until the release date of the book. Gavin Rosvall had the unenviable task of compiling the history of one of the sports proudest clubs in times when records weren't meticulously kept. Every season has been covered with plenty of photos and even includes major statistics and listings of the registered drivers and officials. The 1982/83 season had a staggering 54 stockcars registered to the club.

There are profiles and recollections by drivers, promoters and supporters. The book finishes with the announcement of the anniversary year 'new look' Panthers team to take on the Hawkeyes, Evan Mooney (Capt), Dave Evans, Robin Briggs, Robin Wildbore and Norm Dempster as the reserve. They lost by the way.

Once again all the photos are in black and white, the overall quality of the book is pretty good and was purchased at the Palmy Fan Van for $10 which is excellent value for such a sizeable book (240 pages). My only gripe is that there hasn't been a follow-up but I suppose the logical step would be a '50 year anniversary book' in 2013... I hope Tim Savell has started writing!


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Flashback 002

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Malcolm Ngatai

Malcolm had just won the South Island title at Blenheim and made his first appearance at the NZ Stockcar Champs at Gisborne. Although he didn't qualify he was spectacular to watch and has proved his class since. This car is now in the hands of his brother Matthew racing as 55c.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Flashback 001

Blair Ireland

One of my favourites, orginally driven by Eddie Hawkins and now in the hands of 37g Ricky Kuru. This photo was taken at Huntly during the NZ Standard Stockcar Champs in 2002.

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Now owned and driven by Stacey Macken from Whangarei and registered for the 2007/08 season to Waikaraka Park as 344a.

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