Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is this what I've come to expect?

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As is typical with Auckland weather, the closer it got to racetime the darker the clouds became, and rain it did during the hotlaps for the saloons but luckily it was just a short burst and that was it.

I was going to give this meeting a miss and go to the 'Symphony in the Park' event but as Superstocks are a pretty rare sight up this way I went along. Now after reading some comments on the Harwood Racing Team website that were not exactly flattering towards WP, I tried to look at the place through fresh eyes and as I sat in the grandstand in the cold light of day with a minimal crowd, you have to agree that WP is looking a little tired. Crowd numbers for this meeting were not great and as the sound system fizzed and popped you couldn't help but think that this brand of entertainment is not long for this world. In other towns you might get crowds no matter what you dish up, but in Auckland there is always something else on, and WP needs to get it's act together and present something a little more classy than what's currently on offer. I've always been a "go no matter what" follower of speedway but those days are ending. I work hard for my money and sitting down in a run down old stadium with average food, poor sounds, low numbers on the track and unusual classes filling in the gaps, 'lap record attempts' which we got for Streetstocks and ATV's isn't good enough. If you run a speedway with amazing on track action maybe you can get away with it, but if your presenting a show with quite a bit of downtime, the punters eventually start to ask questions.

On paper this meeting looked pretty good but within seconds of going through the pit gate you were greeted with ATV's, there was no previous mention of them racing and not being one of my favourites, was not a good start. Now I'm sure the ATV guys are great people blah blah, but it's not what I go to WP to see. As it turned out they got four goes at 'racing' plus the aforementioned lap record attempts and it was just as they came out for their last race that I finally packed up and left even though there was one more stockcar race to go, and of course some presentations that 'might happen' before the stockcar race. Yawn.

The stockcars, who were down on numbers (only 12 fronting for their second race) were still the standout class of the night with almost everybody in a stirring mood. I've said it time and time again but if it weren't for these guys (and gals) the meetings would be completely lacking in action. 168a Billy Neill won most of the heats. 441a, 96a and 24a did most of the stirring.

The features for the night were the $15,000 Superstock series round three decider and Stan Hickey came into this meeting almost assured of the win unless something untoward happened and apart from an accidental tip over in the second heat he won it pretty easy. His only challenge was from Kerry Remnant as Rodney Wood was not in attendance, in fact only 15 cars fronted after 20+ cars in the two earlier rounds. Kelvin Gray drove the 66r Hampton machine and took to the field with ease winning two heats. There must be something about Mac Chassis and Gray brothers that is magic and imagine for a moment if you will a 'dream Superstock team' of Darren Gray, Kelvin Gray and Tony Mac in Mac built cars and back them up with two tanks driven by Scott Miers and Dave Evans... perfection! Anyway stop dreaming and get back to the dull reality of a fairly tame 3 heats of Superstock racing and a final result of Stan Hickey 1st, Kerry Remnant 2nd and a much improved 99a Mark Decke 3rd. Stan Hickey well and truly deserved the title, he makes it all look so simple.

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The other feature was the Saloons Gold Coast Travel Series where a trip to the Gold Coast was up for grabs and would go to the car that passed the most cars in the course of the night, not the winner of each race which actually worked quite well because sitting on the pole line playing follow the leader wasn't going to get you many points. The Saloons put on a pretty good display because they HAD to! Passing was the name of the game and 58a Gavin Hinsley obviously passed the most, something he does on a regular basis and something that should be rewarded more often in saloon racing. I think this series was a winner for the spectators.

Modifieds were down in numbers and not too much else happened to report on them except that 19r Scott Lane won. 45a Bill Peat easily won most of the streetstock races and little else happened in a fairly tame night of racing.

I left the meeting not unhappy but not exactly buzzing. It was a workmanlike meeting that pretty much followed expectation. Is that what I go to Speedway to see or is it just what I accept as the norm? Maybe I expect too much because just occasionally you go to a meeting like the Superstock Teams at Palmy and see something special and you just want to see it every week at your OWN speedway, there I go dreaming again...

Meeting rating : 4/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gota agree with ya WP sucks some times. As a racer we don't know when were racing till the web is updated and thats at the last minute. Really thinking of racing at Huntly next season. Ha love ya reports tho keep it up Grego