Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Season Review 07/08



As seasons go, this was a very up and down one for me. It started off on a high seeing Pete Rees and Shane Penn racing for NZ in Birmingham, England at Wheels Speedway and ended with a rain out (yet again) at Waikaraka Park for their Auckland SuperStock and SuperSaloons titles which will now be run in October. I guess that means my viewing season has come to an abrupt end unless I go to one of the smaller meetings run by clubs like Taipa, Mercury Bay or Whangarei. I did make it to 21 meetings but for the first time in my memory, never made it to a single SuperStock grand slam event (NZ, NI, GP) and none of the Stockcar equivalents other than the qualifying of the Stockcar North Island title in Kihikihi. The sad facts being cost and time off work after my trip away to the UK. Also with the way the economy is heading I think alot of people will be forced into a similar position for next season and Speedway clubs are going to have to lift their game if they want to keep their share of that all important discretionary dollar. Here's a quick rewind of the meetings I went to and if you want you can click on them to read the actual review:

Wheels Speedway, Birmingham UK
WP Practice 1
WP Practice 2+3, Opening Meeting, Huntly 5/10
Opening Meeting, WP 5/10
King Of Crash, WP Meeting 2 4/10
Fireworks, WP 7/10
Ollie Browne Superstocks Round 1, WP 5/10
Stockcar Teams Night 1, Huntly 6.5/10
Celebrity Stockcar Cup, WP 6/10
North Island Stockcars, Kihikihi 7/10
Mad Butcher Demo Derby, WP 6/10
NZ Saloon Car Championship, WP 5.5/10
World 240's, Rotorua 8/10
WP Club Night 6.5/10
Palmerston North Superstock Teams 8.5/10
WP Rainout 0/10
Auckland Teams Night 1 7/10
Auckland Teams Night 2 8.5/10
Stockcar Invitation, Dargaville
King Of The Park, WP 7/10
Auckland Stockcar & Saloon Titles, WP 6.5/10
John Webster Memorial, WP 7.5/10


That's a rough average of 6.5/10 per meeting (not including the 0/10 for the bizarre rainout at WP that was beyond belief and not worth including). Last seasons average was 6.4/10, a similar result although I went to a few more meetings this year. The overwhelming feeling for me though, was that if the meeting was too hard to get to or had been less than spectacular on the first night of a two nighter, then I flagged it. The best meetings again this season for me were the two SuperStock Teams champs at Palmy and Auckland and the World 240's. From the reports on Macgors I guess the Stockcar NZ title at Stratford and the Welly Stockcar Teams were the other two meetings that hurt me most to miss.

On the homefront, Waikaraka Park appeared to have yet another change of direction and personnel mid-season but whatever happened was kept pretty much under wraps for a change and then the info that did come out was mostly racing related through "Georgia" on Macgors site and was appreciated by many. Will be interesting to see where the club is going next season, but I do have a horrible feeling that Huntly will be gaining a few more disgruntled Auckland competitors. SuperStock numbers were up again and had fairly decent fields, hopefully the days of four cars turning up are gone and on a personal note it was great to see Neil McCoard turn up at the last meeting with the ex Mohi 74r. Stockcars as always were the real entertainers and a few of the regulars have their cars up for sale, lets hope they are back for more when October rolls around. I'm hoping the thread "new cars for next season" gets an influx of postings to help us all through the winter. After a great season last year the Modifieds were barely a blip on the radar and the gaps between their appearances were too long for fans let alone the drivers. With the continuing growth of Sprintcars nationwide you have to wonder where this class is headed.

In Memoriam

One posting thread that did appear too often sadly was the news that someone connected to speedway had passed away, is it just me or did we really have a bad 12 months? Just look at a few of the names we have lost recently:

scott cameron
48h saloon huntly, gt race panels

andrew edwards
71m sprintcar racer from baypark

kevin arnold
former tq driver, scoopnz1

paul butler
former wellington stockcar driver

harry fredrikson
former stockcar driver + baypark president

shane turner
tq driver from western springs

keith hancox
former streetstock driver, baypark

andrew tree
solo bike rider

tony (junior) gowans
streetstock 56c

michael hardaker
95/96 new zealand streetstock champion

gary watson
motorsport rescue team, nelson

ross willetts
ex28a Stockcar driver

Competitor of the Year

On a happier note, my competitor of the season was without a doubt Phil Towgood in the 48a Saloon. Was there a single championship he didn't win this year? In a class that boasts some great drivers he was head and shoulders above the rest and just as important, entertaining to watch and a deserving New Zealand champion. A special mention also to 19c Malcolm Ngatai who I only saw race on two occasions but you get the feeling that next season he is going to be a major crowd pleaser. At WP for the Ollie Browne meeting he was breathtaking to watch and that new Gordge probably hasn't even reached it's potential yet.


Speedway's presence on the net grew again this year with even more competitors having some sort of website but amazingly some clubs still struggle to maintain a decent site. It's almost unbelievable in this day and age. Just like last year, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Woodford Glen lead the way with everything a club website should have, also joining the bandwagon are Wellington (excellent reviews and up to date info) and Stratford (resurrecting a long dormant site and doing a great job). The Wanganui club did an awesome job during the NZ Stockcar title with updates and results from that meeting. Although not a website, the updates on Macgors about the build on the 29s stockcar probably rate as one of my favourite reads this year (all 19 pages so far) and of course Macgors NZ Speedway, can you even imagine speedway without it now? Long may it continue.

Finally thanks to anyone who emailed me with comments about reviews, for sending me photos (Cuzz12h, Pallmall, Wal86) or programmes from meetings I couldn't make it to (Wal86, Del Neild), it was really appreciated. Sometimes you wonder why you feel the need to write down what you have seen, or posting photos online but I know that when I miss a meeting I'm straight on to Macgors looking for a link to read a review or see some photos of the event and I appreciate anyone else who does it, so hopefully my site is contributing something positive and filling that 'need' for other speedway junkies like me.

Roll on next season.

Season Review 06/07
Season Review 05/06

A few photos from this season:


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