Sunday, March 30, 2008

King of the Park 08

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A pretty good turnout in the pits for competitor numbers, it always looks impressive when a class from Western Springs turns up, they lift the professional look of the place with their pit setups and the buzz they bring too. Whether it brough extra punters through the gate is anyones guess but there was a fairly good size crowd (perhaps like me desperate for a speedway fix) but after the first race a huge number of that crowd had upped and moved from turns 1 + 2 after being covered in waves of dust from the Ministocks of all classes after a new track surface had been layed. As the night wore on the surface improved although dust was going to be a problem all night but a small price to pay if you think of the long term picture and the bedding in process required. I stood on the hill on turn 1 (the fool on the hill!) later in the evening after getting some food but more about that later in the footnote* Because WP are on the ball now with reviews on their website usually a day or two after the meeting I dont need to go into great detail about the racing or results but will mention a few things.

MiniStocks numbered 20 and had a filmcrew from Campbell live on the scene for an item on girls in the sport apparently. Should be good positive coverage for the class just a pity Chloe Corbin was away in Aus representing NZ as she has been the standout driver this season. Anyway I thought the format for the evening was two heats for starting position in a final race for the King of the Park for each class but I may be wrong on that having read the 14a website review but for the purposes of this review I'll just put what I thought was the format. Aggressive racing by the MiniStocks had wins for 36a and 75a in the heats but after a big pileup in the final race 11a Ben Ellis took advantage of damaged 75a's misfortune and held the lead for the rest of the race winning by a big margin from 10a and 9a for second and third.

TQ's had 19 cars and although the racing was good a few problems with restarts after yellow lights was annoying with drivers continually circling contesting restart positions which of course brings out the blackboards. Heat wins to 98a and 61a I think, but the 15 lap feature was won by 14a Paul LeCren. It would be interesting to know what the TQ drivers think of WP, they certainly looked like they were going fast and when everything goes right like heat 2 with 3 + 4 wide racing they are an awesome addition to the programme.

SuperSaloons numbered 9 with Jennings, McInteer, Cardwell and Hemi the big names in this group. There was a bit of action in their feature with 6a Torrey losing a wheel in an incident with Cardwell which I missed (through the dust!) which lead to some verbals on the infield. 38h Hemi did enough to hold out 99a and claim the King of the Park title for this section. There was a bit of confusion as to who was driving the 8h and may have been Craig Cardwell having a skid.

Twenty-one Stockcars fronted and provided a bit more action than has been seen for a while in a class that rarely disappoints. 67a Krsnic tipped the first timer 49a over in heat two which was a rough introduction to the club but it was heat three that provided possibly the best race of the night. After wins in heat one for Billy Neill and a heat two win for 81a Rodney Smythe it became a four way race between them, 14a and 29a in the feature. A huge hit in turn three for 137a, 17a, 27a and 67a who almost went over brought on the red lights. On the restart 168a who had been leading and 14a were slow to get away relinquishing the lead to 81a who held it for a while until 71a took out the lead group giving 29a Gavin first place until a move around 137a proved fatal taking him to the wall gifting the lead back to 81a who held it for the win from 14a, 168a and 117a in fourth. Awesome stuff.

Of all the classes the Streetstocks probably were the hotdog class tonight. 11 of them provided few thrills and a predictable win for 45a Bill Peat in the feature ahead of a ragbag bunch of cars. These guys were really firing a few season ago but this hasn't been a year to remember so far.

SuperStocks had 12 cars on hand and probably the wettest track for their first heat which evened things up for everyone. Wins to 23h and 16a in the heats and a good feature where 16a Headington held off 816h Lucey for the win in an 8 car final.

Sixteen Saloons had another Twogood benefit although he had to work hard for the win in the final with great challenges from 9a Louden and a hard charging 61a Roy Walker who had to work his way up through the field. What a season Twogood is having.

Overall a good meeting, got to speak to Pallmall and Rich49a from Macgors, thanks guys always a great start to the evening. Summer has officially finished in the grandstand if coffee sales are anything to go by and it's hard to believe we are winding down for the offseason with only 4 meetings left at WP. For the record (assuming the format was as per my take on it!) the Kings of the Park were:

Ministocks : 11a Ben Ellis
TQ's : 14a Paul LeCren
Stockcars : 81a Rodney Smythe
Saloons : 48a Phil Towgood
SuperStocks : 16a Aaron Headington
SuperSaloons : 38h Peter Hemi


Meeting rating : 7/10

Footnote*
I want to be clear that this comment isn't a dig at WP or anyone who works at the club but something they perhaps should be aware of. After getting some food before the SuperStock feature I stood on the hill on turn 1 and looking down towards the food caravans noticed a group of about 4 guys (gang 1) and another group of about 7 guys and girls (gang 2) were having a standoff in particular two guys who both looked about 16 years old with the most ridiculous 'gangsta' posturing and what I call 'homey hand signals' in a display of pure cliche. Anyway some of the girls in gang 2 intervened and dragged their guy towards the open gate behind the main grandstand when gang 1 decided it wasn't over and headed out to the carpark to what became an all in brawl that went on for about a minute. I couldn't see all of what happened but many families that were leaving at that stage had to stop and view this with scared kids and probably adults. Gang 1 then decided to come back in the gates licking their wounds by the cemetery wall before strutting past the grandstand with the most pathetic arrogance and looking no doubt for more trouble. So much bloody attitude in kids so young. Is this their idea of a good night at the speedway?

Now I'm not naive and know that fights happen but it was the viciousness of the whole debacle and the 'gang like posturing and look' that bothered me most. Can someone please explain to me why the youth of NZ seem to think it's cool to identify with American gang stereotypes? When did being a thug become something a kid aspired to? I'm not sure how a club like WP can deter this kind of activity as it's obvious they weren't there for the racing and the damage it does for all the hard work WP put in is quickly forgotten by a family exposed to that sight as they left. Even increasing security is no guarantee that it wont happen again. Anyway, sermon over, and just to make me feel even more angry, I've just re-read what I wrote and it makes me sound like one of those 'first time callers' on talkback on the wireless! Get off my lawn you kids..!

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2 comments:

Phil Marx said...

Hey Dude,
Any chance you could send a copy of the 53a and 73a pic? I managed to take some from the back and across the pits but forgot about from the front?
If possible could I also put it on our next site update?

Cheers
Phil Marx (53a)
53a@marxmotorsport.com

gregobro said...

No worries Phil, photos sent.

Cheers