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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