Friday, February 29, 2008
Some more good stockcar coverage in the Central Leader newspaper by Scott Morgan who seems to get a few stories in each month, there is even one this week about Western Springs and the ongoing noise problems and a short bit about whether Waikaraka is in the same boat or not, in an interview with Steve Clout. The story below is about Greg Spooner who was at the first meeting at WP and was back for the 40th anniversary celebrations in his 1935 Ford V8 sedan. You can usually find the full size article on the Central Leader website.
If you are desperate to read the article, just send me an email and I can forward you a scan of it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, February 25, 2008
"Each year we invite a group of top drivers to our favourite steering pad to see which of them has the best car control. The discipline itself couldn't be simpler; each competitor has to hold a car in a perfect power-oversteer drift for one lap of the wetted steering pad within two concentric circles roughly 150 metres in diameter and five meters apart. Traditionally we've selected one relatively easy going road car and one not-so-easy competition car, averaging out the scores between the two..."
Found this old story from Autocar magazine (August 2000) about drifting or 'sideways challenge' as it was called then featuring Frankie Wainman Jnr and a 15 year old go kart racer tipped as the next big thing... Lewis Hamilton. Hopefully the scans are big enough to see, but if not, the final result was Wainman coming in second out of 16 competitors.
"Outsider who so nearly beat the Lotus specialist. Fantastic in both disciplines and super-smooth."
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Meeting canned before I even made it to the food caravan. Odd decision as I had my sunglasses on at the time but apparently rain was coming... pity as there was a team of Rotorua stockcars ready to battle the Auckland development team. Numbers in other classes were pretty light so who knows.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Despite the best efforts of a deranged Somalian woman hijacker causing chaos with our flights down, we arrived at 5pm, dumped our bags and headed straight for the track. It's been a while since we were in Palmy so I was getting a bit 'tense' until we actually got through the gates and with no chance of rain for once things were looking up. We had front row seats in the grandstand which is great for the teams races but can be like the front row at a movie when the fields are bigger for the consolation races and when the saloons raced on Saturday night we got sandblased big time, but it's a small price to pay when you get to see the 53p tank smashed into the wall RIGHT in front of you, awesome stuff!
I love the buzz in the pits pre-meeting and it was great to catch up with Wal86 who had some programmes for me and one of his DVD's which was much appreciated, these can be ordered from his website here. It's fairly hard to get photos of some cars and as a scale of popularity then the 9p silver bullet, 8p tank, 6p black waka and the 85h tank are streets ahead of anyone else. I also missed out getting any shots of the historic stockcars as the grandstand was evacuated for a fire alarm meaning everyone was out in the carpark standing around the old cars unfortunately.
I've always thought that the Friday night racing is better than the Saturday night because it's undiluted teams racing and again this year it didn't disappoint. The teams I thought would be strongest (Palmy, Waikato and Hawkes Bay) all made it through but the South Island teams didn't quite fire although the Nelson v Hawkes Bay race was one of the best of the night. Our Auckland team started off well but fell to a rampaging Waikato Wanderers in their second race. A full review of both nights racing can be read here and there are some great photos too. The hit on UK driver Stu Smith featured on the front page of the Manawatu Standard, a fantastic photo by Graeme Hughes.
There has been a few comments on Macgors Discussion board about the delay and switching of cars by Scott Miers prior to the final against Wanganui. Whether it's against the rules (I'm not sure that is was) the point is didn't everyone in the crowd want to see the Miers tank out there against Kerry Podjurski's tank? Unfortunately for Wanganui 14v Darryl Taylors car broke as he raced round to join his team which complicated things more but if I had a dollar for every time someone told me last years final was an anti-climax then whats a few minutes at the beginning of the race to ensure we have the best possible teams out there? I dont believe Taylors car was fixable anyway? The outcome was that the best team did in fact win and no matter what the Panthers do they will always be accused of some form of cheating which is unfair. In actual fact they are a great team, fully deserving the title and it will take a massive effort to dethrone them.
Another highlight was the Stratford Scrappers attempting to grid up for their first race and having only two cars mobile before somehow managing to get a full team out there, looking pretty much like dog tucker only to go on and spectacularly win the race! Proving the theory that if you can slow the other team down with good blocking then you don't need mega dollar cars to win. One for the underdogs.
Kerry Podjusky was easily the driver of the weekend, what an asset to the Warriors. He makes it look so easy disposing of cars with amazing timing and brutal force. Also worthy of mention was the 686s standard stock that helped in the win for Stratford, pity he didn't run in their second heat.
Hearing the guy behind us rip strips of the security guard who foolishly stood on the stairs in front of his row of spectators only to be told "I paid forty bucks to watch stockcars, not your fat arse!"
Anyway, I'm sure every facet of the meeting will be discussed at length on Macgors so I really don't need to say much more, except that I was happy to be back at the Teams Champs which still is the very best meeting on the speedway calendar in my humble opinion. Even if (as we amazingly still heard so many times) the draw is still rigged!
Meeting rating : 8.5/10
Sunday, February 03, 2008
I forgot that WP was having a meeting until someone posted a query on Macgors asking what was happening at the park this weekend, so it was a small consolation for not going to the NZ Stockcar title at Stratford. The meeting was listed as a club night, and that was pretty much what is was. I do have to say that the field sizes were pretty good and probably for the first time in my memory there were more SuperStocks than Stockcars but considering quite a few would have been down in Stratford that was understandable. During the course of the evening Aaron Drever mentioned that 168a Billy Neill had gone into the last heat in 5th place and as I understand it he finished 5th overall which is a great achievement for the lone Auckland finalist.
14 Superstocks turned up including two new ones, 11a Gary Ellis debuted his brand new car and 737a Carl and Darren Ross with the former 73a of Bryce Marx. The SuperStock racing was great with wins for 351a Paul Vasey, 414a Warwick Ansty and 6k Kerry Remnant. 13 Stockcars took to each in an 'odd numbered cars versus even numbered cars' sort of teams race which added a bit of biff. 66a Peter Church got a bit mongrel and used the bumpers more than usual but it was 919a Shane Bessant and 23a Tony Baldwin who were into most of the action although I was most impressed with the new 47a who didn't complete many laps but certainly provided some great hitting action! Not sure who was driving but he'll be one to watch in future. Wins going to 23a, 919a and not sure who took out the LeMans style feature but I think it was 23a again. There were some issues with receiving the chequered flag and as far as I remember only a determined Shane Bessant and 8a Gary Chapman got to do a victory lap all night.
The other classes making up the night were 5 Sidecars, 12 MiniSprints, 22 MiniStox, 15 Saloons and 6 SuperSaloons. Great racing in most classes and a few new cars too. One of the only complaints of the night beside the chequered flags and lack of a programme was the dust coming off the track, the crowd in the cemetery bend got really sandblasted towards the end of the night but with the amazing weather we have been having in Auckland for what seems like ages, again its probably been a nightmare preparing the track. The meeting was run efficiently, so efficiently that I think it was done and dusted (excuse the pun) by about 10pm. Awesome effort guys.
Meeting rating : 6.5/10
PS Thanks to the people that texted results from Stratford and to those who posted them on Macgors. The refresh button on my computer is still smoking and slightly melted which is why I'm gonna start the savings plan for Wellington next season...!