Wednesday, January 17, 2007

NZ Superstocks Dunedin

I was unable to go to the NZ title in Dunedin this year but luckily I have received this report from Del & Rex Nield with a few of their thoughts on the meeting.


Well everybody is putting there two cents in about the NZ Champs in Dunedin, so now it’s our turn. Unfortunately due to our flights we only got to see the qualifying nights racing so our observations were on events up to the end of racing on Friday Night.

Our South Island Week

Flew to Christchurch on 31/12/06 and picked up Motorhome, spent the rest of that day with my (Del’s) Dad who is in a Retirement Home there and on Monday the 1st headed on our way to Greymouth to check out the track there, Rex has never raced at Greymouth but we were interested to go have a look, a nice looking surface it was even though there were no race meetings to see. Stayed the night there then headed down to Haast and across the Island through Cromwell and onto Dunedin where we arrived and booked into the Camping Ground, some speedway supporters and racecars had already started arriving.

Took a trip out Wednesday afternoon to the track to check out the facilities and race surface, when we arrived we were shocked to see the track being ripped so close to the meeting. The guy in charge of the track preparation came and spoke with us and explained the reasoning for this, apparently the track surface is so hard they have trouble getting water down into the track, it seems to sit on the top and the track surface always slicks off within a couple of races. The guy was confident all would be well and I must say both of us were a little apprehensive about the kind of surface the competitors would get.

Thursday was spent seeing competitors arrive at the camping ground preparing racecars ready for practice on Thursday Night, headed out to the track about 5pm and there was a good turnout of drivers to try out the track. The surface appeared to be very wet with constant amounts of water being put onto the surface but was a good indication for drivers for gearing. Very few drivers came to grips with the surface on practice night. Rees, Hemi, Miers and Steiner seemed to have got it sussed by their second practice, others just had their brains in neutral and their feet to the floor, forgetting about trying to get round the corners, hence a lot of cars pushing and sledging out towards the wall.

Friday morning headed down to scrutineering for a look see and of course interested in cars, weights and the process, reasonably casual approach to scrutineering and no issues of controversy seen. Most cars weighed round 1460kgs a few very close to 1500kg and the lightest we seen was Joblin’s at 1408kg.

Friday we decided we wanted to sit on turn 2, so we were parked out at the track at 1.45pm to wait in the queue to get in the gate… they were still trying to do last minute things at the track, unfortunately there was only one gate for the public to get in and out of so it was rather congested. We had no issue with the prices and there was a 2 day pass for $40 each adult, so we paid $80 for the 2 of us and got a couple of normal tickets you can buy at the stationery shop, we thought these are trusting lots down here anyone could go down and buy a roll of this tickets and anyone that flashed one at the gate got in and out, we guarded this little ticket incase we lost it… as it turned out after we purchased a programme and read it, it said 'NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES' guess what, the finals were a rainout and we paid $40 each to see the qualifying night BUMMER! No refunds… suckers eh!

It was a busy night for me as I was lap scoring in the stands and sending through txt to Yaz of the qualifying groups as I seen it, generally managed to get down to the top six or seven okay. We had expected the track to fall apart and slick off real bad, but it was pretty good considering the amount of traffic and the Dunedin Club did a good job of the preparation. We felt the racing was good, a lot more action than expected for a qualifying night and generally the meeting was run at a fast pace, can’t say we enjoyed the saloons or streetstocks at all, but had to have those other classes there as the fill ins for the premier class on the night... saloon races took ages because of so many yellow lights.

The main highs and lows of what we seen and heard:


Being there to see some of the racing and looking round the cars competing, The friendly atmosphere down South, Frankie Wainman getting his car sorted from practice to the qualifying and watching him peddle a car is a real buzz, Stan Hickey looking good after a bout of ill health, seeing past speedway competitors and speedway friends we hadn’t seen for some time, some great drives by drivers to qualify.


Rainout on the Saturday and missing the finals, lack of knowledge of the racers from local announcers, advertising on radio only mentioned South Island cars, no hype about drivers who had travelled as far as Auckland to compete, hearing about Ollie Browne’s passing, and hearing that John Hynd suffered a serious injury to his foot after him rolling himself, a boring programme – felt it should have had some history of the NZ Champs or something in it, it just wasn’t something special like some of them are.

Things that gave us a giggle or we wondered why it happened!

The announcer calling a 6 wheeler water truck a 10 wheeler, like it was some HUGE rig. The announcer telling us to go get some TUCKER from the food stalls. The meaning of FORD – Federation of Real Drivers (like that one) Trying to understand John Hynd’s reasoning about trying to destroy his car attacking other drivers in qualifying when he still had a chance of qualifying in a repercharge… it’s a long way to go to a championship if you don’t try and qualify.

Overall a good experience, Dunedin did a much better job of the Championship than Invercargill did in the 90’s, it was a much better show that we had expected, disappointed that the spectator area wasn’t full on the qualifying night, felt that for the most part this was due to boring radio advertising… it didn’t make it sound exciting at all, the atmosphere is created by the spectator area being full, big fields of competitors and a championship meeting hyped up by the media and announcers, thanks to Dave Birdling his part of the show was good.

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A great looking car and a driver who is still a champion

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Proof that you never give up on the chance of qualifying as no one would have picked the cow car as the winner to go through on the repercharge, well done Blyth

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The potential of this car has not been seen for some time...

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A nice looking machine that Frankie built & peddles, he is a legend, a nice guy, takes all the punishment the kiwis give him and still comes out smiling... thanks Frankie

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Congratulations to our newest superstock champion Simon Joblin, a quiet & sincere guy, a smooth driving achiever on the track who has helped build some history for stockcar racing following in his Dad's footsteps, a past NZ champ.

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