Monday, May 22, 2006


With Kihikihi running their last meeting on Sunday, effectively the 2005-06 speedway season came to an end. It actually ended for me after the Tiger Woods meeting in Huntly which was a pretty good way to finish, leaving you wanting more. This was the first 'season' of my website too, and one spinoff from that is being able to look back and see how many meetings I actually went to and what I thought of them. Yes, this posting is going to be like one of those episodes of Happy Days when the scriptwriters couldn't be arsed writing something fresh and so they have lots of flashbacks and dream sequences and tweak it so it all looks new!

Doing a quick recap of my reviews, I went to 17 meetings, more than I thought I'd gone to but way down on past years. It seems I've left my "go no matter what" speedway persona behind and I've started to pick and choose... not great news for the promoters if that sort of attitude takes off but after years of sitting through some pretty ordinary meetings it was inevitable. Yes I've become one of a new breed of mouthy casual visitors! Now get ready for some are the meetings and the ratings they got and if you're really keen you can click on them and relive the moment.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Opening Meeting WP 4/10
Fireworks WP 4/10
Huntly Stockcar Teams 6/10
Demo Derby WP 5/10
City of Auckland Classic WP 4/10
NYE Modified GP WP 4/10
NZvAUSvUSA Midget Series Western Springs 7/10
NZ Supersaloon GP WP 6/10
NZ Stockcars HB 8/10
NZ Superstocks WP 6/10
Palmerston North Superstock Teams 9/10
Saloons Gold Coast Travel/15k Superstock Series WP 4/10
Auckland Superstock Teams 7.5/10
North Island Modified Series WP 4/10
Rotorua Easter Champs 7/10
King of the Park WP 6.5/10
Valvoline Celebrity Teams Huntly 8/10

Now there's a few mean scores there and sometimes as the review stated it wasn't the headline act that let the side down (the North Island Modified Series for instance) but if you get all Krypton Factor-ish and work out the average score per meeting it was (drumroll) five out of 10. The top rated meeting for me was unsurprisingly the Palmy Superstock Teams and the biggest disappointment was probably the NZ Superstock title, but only because I probably hyped myself up beyond reasonable expectation. It's one of the few meetings we travel to no matter where it is and it's a pretty good way of touring the country (we've been doing it since Rotorua 1998) and maybe the fact that we didn't travel away which is part of the fun dulled things a little. I think a great promotional idea that could be started is perhaps a badge or medal sold at each NZ title unique to that event and track for speedway types like me who make it a mission to attend these titles every year...very collectable and a great reminder of each championship, almost a 'badge of honour'. Having looked at a few of the 'souvenir huts' at tracks I've visited the pickin's are pretty slim.

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Although the Palmy Teams got my highest score I think the NZ Stockcars at Meeanee was my favourite meeting of the season by far. A huge turnout of competitors, heaps of action and a worthy winner. As far as tracks go, I went to Waikaraka Park, Western Springs, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Huntly and Rotorua. All but one track have improved but The Springs still leads the way in presenting a professional and welcoming environment (if you ignore the neighbours that is). The night I went was the first round of the International Midget Series which was great BUT if I wanted to follow the series I'd have to go to Christchurch to see the final rounds which was a no go. It's the only meeting I went to that I didn't review and I was disappointed that it was not completed in Auckland like previous years but thems the breaks. It's always been one of the best series of meetings of the Christmas/New Year speedway calendar for me but with all the problems the Springs have been having with noise and the locals something had to give.

My local track Waikaraka Park lurched from good to bad every week it seemed, but their final meeting of the season 'The King of the Park' was a cracker and proved that the place is capable of great things. Next season they host the NZ Stockcar title and hopefully it will be as good as this years effort at Hawkes Bay. It deserves to be because the Stockcars were the standout class at WP with healthy numbers of cars and great action. The Modifieds are another class that really entertained and will only get bigger and better.

The Speedway awards are coming up soon and so I'll give a few of my own out for what it's worth:

Stockcars Peter Rees
Superstocks Rodney Wood
Modifieds Jamie Fox
Streetstocks Bill Peat
Super Saloons Lance Jennings

Yeah I know, way too many Auckland cars in there but you have to base it on something and these are the ones that stood out for whatever reason to me particularly Lance Jennings who just seems to become more exciting every season.

Some new things that appeared this season that got the gregobro thumbs up...

Macgors "Missing in Action" section, my absolute favourite part of his site and the first point of reference for me (followed by the buy and sell, always dreaming) whenever I log on. The photos and stories that have been posted on there are brilliant. Special thanks to both PallMall and Wal86 for their outstanding contributions. Whoever came up with this idea was on to a winner. I dont know if any of you remember Pete Frame but he used to do Rock Family Trees for NME magazine years ago following the history of bands and now having seen some of the amazing histories of cars a book done in the same style with photos would be a great thing.

The continuing growth in Driver Websites like the Harwood Racing site that are great reading and a real insight in to what goes on just getting a car to the track. Also good to hear what's happening in the South Island Superstock scene.

The Teams Champs Greatest Hits DVD put out by SMS. A celebration of 25 years of Palmy Teams champs and worth every penny.

Biggest downer of the season had to be the fact that I noticed alot of action happening on the far side of the track was out of focus... I knew the cars weren't going that fast, so off to the optician and sure enough a dodgy pair of spectacles later... at least I can see whats happening now.

Well that's my quick recap of the season, not all 'happy days' but still good enough to make me count the days until the new season starts. To celebrate the one year anniversary of my site (June 2) I'm going to give away a copy of the "Weekend Warriors" book by John Webster and a copy of the Auckland Superstock Teams DVD. Woo Hoo! Alls you have to do is send an email with your name and postal address and I'll pick one name out of a hat and post them off to you. Easy.

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Thanks to anyone who has emailed and offered photos, words of encouragement and feedback, it makes up for the fact that I have to wear Joe90 glasses now. It's great just being a part of the internet speedway community which is thriving. Back in the 80's we actually had a union meeting at work to vote on whether we would allow 'computers' into the workplace... seems absurd now but we thought they were a fad!

Oh, and the email address for the giveaway is:


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