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.