Sunday, November 30, 2008
Put off by the idea of paying money to see 'boyracers' doing burn-outs at WP (I get them in my street at 3am in the morning and it's annoying but free at least) an opportunity to stay with friends who have moved to Papamoa and a posting on Macgors mentioning heaps of Stockcars for the Gold Cup meeting at Baypark made my decision easy. Baypark is one of those tracks that seems to exist with little or no profile on the internet, although recently a few people have been putting up photos and small reviews of the action, it is a shame as the facility is one of the best in New Zealand and as I found out they can run a damn good meeting with huge numbers in most classes - exactly what most people want to see - AND in three hours with no delays! Isn't this something they should be shouting from the rooftops?
22 Saloons, 30 Ministocks, 5 SuperSaloons, 19 Sprintcars and 32 Stockcars were in the pits for a night supported by the Fredrickson family to honour Harry and Ron Fredrickson, avid supporters of Baypark (the old track and the new Baypark) who had recently passed away. For the Stockcars race one and two were to get grid positions in the final heat for the impressive gold cup. Heat 1 had a lot of dnf's with major damage to 56r and plenty of Rotorua cars being taken to by the Mount cars particularly 1nz and 291r. 109r Jason Brown took an emphatic victory. Heat 2 had more of the same and 109r lead most of the race until a puncture 2 laps from the end dropped him back heaps of places. The 1nz when not being attacked showed plenty of pace but gave a glimpse of how hard his title is going to be to defend in Wellington later this season. 8m Scott Fredrickson's chances weren't helped with a spin into the front straight wall leaving him stranded for a while. 81r Damien Orr taking the win. There were noticeably more hits in this heat - great stuff.
Heat 3 was the big final with a front row of 81r, 82m and 35m. With so many cars on the track it is hard to know where to look so I stayed with the leaders who for most of the race was 82m Brent Haynes. 48m + 46m did most of the stirring and it wasn't until 2 laps from the finish that 97m Stacey Keach was spun infront of the leading three cars only to be punted into the wall heavily by 82m gifting the lead to 14m Graham Keatinge. Half a lap later and reds were activated for the ailing 97m. Upon the green a slow start cost 14m his lead and 82m pounced and held it for the gold cup. 82m, 14m, 86r, 46m, 35m, 8m, 81r, 109r, 29m and 31m Ivan Parrish in 10th.
In the supporting races 66m Skinny Colson was unbelievably fast taking all three heats in the sprintcars, absolutely stunning to watch. A nasty rollover for Shay Oliver in the feature. Three wins also for 84m Ryan Smythe (11 wins from 11 starts according to the commentary team this season) in the Ministocks, and 61m Mark Orchard winning all the SuperSaloon races. Saloon wins went to 15m, 46m and 2nz. It's been years since I've been to Baypark, but last nights racing was great, starting on time, running smoothly and a great nights racing means it wont be long before I venture back down. A hidden gem.
Meeting rating : 7/10
Sunday, November 23, 2008
A few photos from todays first "club day" at Waikaraka Park which had pretty good numbers in most classes including visitors from Huntly, Baypark and Rotorua. Saloons had 17 cars present and provided the best racing, also about 23 Ministocks and 12 Stockcars. I hope this idea takes off, was a casual relaxed atmosphere and was great up in the stand on my third day of speedway in a row... perfect end to the weekend.
Huntly Teams - Night 2
On a finals night at the Huntly Stockcar Teams meeting that featured golden oldie drivers and historic stockcars, it was a team of veterans with years of experience who showed a youthful Huntly team just how to win in an exciting final that capped off a great weekend. Carlos Chestnutt, Billy Neill, Ron Tye, Neil Coley and Jason Patrick as the Manawatu Steelers took the title for 2008/09.
Runoff for 7th & 8th : Meeanee Maulers v Stratford
On track it was a fairly simple win for Stratford although they lost by protest due to an infringement (attacking from the grass) and were eventually placed 8th, Ricky Kuru and Beatle Tarrant were the only HB cars left going after 83B Hingston was dealt a major hit into the wall and problems for the 81b ended his race early. 509s expired big time at the end of the race. Lots of work to do for both these teams before the Wellington Teams meeting.
Runoff for 5th & 6th : Baypark Bulldogs v Gisborne Gladiators
Out to prove Friday night was no fluke the Gizzy boys gave their all and were leading this brutal race until 64g Sam Hughes came upon 14m Scott Gallop who took his lead and his wheel bringing on the red lights. Upon the restart only 65g Simon Allen was still mobile still giving the Bulldogs a hard time, great blocking by usual runner Scott Fredrikson finally brought the Gladiators run to an end with 15m Brent Haynes taking the win for Baypark.
Semi Final 1 : Rotorua Rascals v Waikato Raiders
This was a great race with 97h running for Huntly and 202r & 203r running behind. On lap 3 the reds came on to check on 94h Jamie Marshall-Carter after a king hit into the wall. 205r and 96h became locked and then for the rest of the race it was whether Nick Vallance for Rotorua could stop the ailing car of Tony Wootten with attack after attack, Wootten managed a hugely popular win after a meelee just before the finish line, Waikato finally make the final of their own teams event for the first time.
Semi Final 2 : Manawatu Steelers v Wanganui Vulcans
This race was basically over after turn two when Billy Neill managed to put the Vulcans runner 44v up the wall and over. He repeated the dose on 22v but the Vulcans never gave up pinning the 168p for the only time over the whole weekend. 64a Chestnutt took the win ahead of 11v and 99p. Steelers through to the final.
Runoff for 3rd & 4th : Wanganui Vulcans v Rotorua Rascals
Wanganui could only front three cars and from the get go the Rascals each took a car leaving 203r to do the running. Wanganui could do little to halt an inevitable win for Rotorua who took out 3rd place.
Final : Manawatu Steelers v Waikato Raiders
I didn't manage to write anything down for this race, it was too action packed to look away from the track. 38p Coley was out and so 17h Patrick was brought in for the final. He performed well but it was the core team of Chestnutt, Neill and Tye who showed awesome skill in every race. A change of tactics with Chestnutt not running looked ominous to begin with but Waikato failed to immobilise Neill as the Vulcans had and although a nail biter to the very end the team that deserved to win took the chequered flag. Winners : Manawatu Steelers.
It's the closest I was going to get to an Auckland victory for the weekend so I was well pleased as I sprinted to the car to avoid the Huntly carpark dust fest traffic jam! The support racing on the night would have pleased most people (on a pension) but it took an eternity to get the golden oldies racing going, but once they ran the two heats it was worth the effort I suppose. Small gripes I guess but most people will remember this weekend for great teams action and that's what we were there for. The only big question left is will we see 64a and 168a in an Alleycats team..?
Meeting rating : 8/10
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Huntly Teams - Night 1
I've been to this meeting every year for the last few seasons and never managed to make it to the second night, sometimes because the action didn't quite 'go off' or because night two was easier to go to my local track Waikaraka Park but this year WP is racing on Sunday for their club day AND more importantly the on track action in the teams races was so good you'd be mad not to go and see the finals!
The eight teams present were all pretty good on paper and the only disappointment for me being that Auckland had no team and that Palmerston North sent a Manawatu team that had to be bolstered by two Auckland and one Huntly car - but as we saw later this didn't exactly hamper their progress.
The draw for the two groups was done out in the crowd and so Group 1 consisted of Waikato Raiders, Baypark Bulldogs, Stratford Stormers and the Wanganui Vulcans. Group 2 had the Manawatu Steelers, Meeanee Maulers, Rotorua Rascals and the Gisborne Gladiators. All races were for points 1st 100pts, 2nd 50, 3rd 30, 4th 10 and 5pts for 5th.
Manawatu Steelers came up against the defending champ Meeanee Maulers in their first race and any thoughts that this team was making up numbers were quickly dispelled as they picked off every car bar the tank, standout performance from 64p Carlos Chestnutt as the car took a beating and just kept on going. 168p Billy Neill took the win. Their second group race was looking like it would be the race of the night but the Rotorua challenge ended very quickly for 202r McRobbie and ultimately there were no Rotorua finishers. Win for 64a and a team that has gelled immediately look the favourites for the finals tonight if they can repeat this display. Old dogs dont need new tricks when they're this good.
Baypark Bulldogs took a beating in their first race against home team Waikato Raiders although Scott Fredrickson managed to come home second securing a valuable 50pts but leaving them needing a big win over Wanganui to qualify. Unfortunately a second, third and fourth placing wasn't going to be enough. Did not qualify.
Gisborne Gladiators were the rank underdogs and in their first appearance here came up against Rotorua in an action packed heat involving the first rollover of the night, 62g Jason Jones. Never say die attitude and going into their final race, which was without a doubt saving the best until last, a huge amount of action, another massive hit on Jones by Ricky Kuru leaving him smeared against the wall looked as though they did enough to qualify at Rotorua's expense but a harsh penalty against standout driver 65g Simon Allen cost them points. 63g Bruce Harding also showed years of teams racing experience. My favourite team of the night but sadly not qualifying.
Waikato Raiders looked way more consistent then in recent years with a new look youthful team. Justin Hutchby read the first race against Baypark like an old pro almost eliminating Fredrikson on the last lap while nursing a team mates car round the track for valuable points, nearly a clean sweep. Huge hits in the race against Stratford and a standout performance from Tyson Wootton whose car refused to stop no matter what 72s Bevan Phillips threw at him. Finalists and looking strong contenders for tonight.
Rotorua Rascals qualified but did it the hard way and after the last race looked to have been pipped by the Gisborne team they beat earlier in the night. That win over Gisborne and a loss to Manawatu meant they just got through but will need a bit more cohesion and some luck to win. Rotorua will meet Waikato in the semis but have a pretty good track record of wins between these two old foes.
Wanganui Vulcans boosted by ex 46w Allan Levein and 4w Josh Kahui came up against neighbours Stratford in race 3 of the night. One of the more tame races which had almost everyone running came down to a flag race finish that 55v took over 510s I think. Second heat was against Baypark and 44v Dion Mooney securing the victory to get the team through for a massive challenge against Manawatu in the semis.
Stratford Stormers gave out some of the biggest hits but had reliability problems and their runner always seemed to get picked off during their two heats against Wanganui and Waikato. I think Chris Flett brought in to drive the 45s after Daniel Reade was injured in the first race against Wanganui and scored their only points in race 2. Entertaining but did not qualify.
Meeanee Maulers came in as defending champs but were bundled out pretty quickly. 81b O'Brien had problems with steering in first race and was fed into the backstraight wall in the second heat eliminating one of their best weapons in his new car (which looks awesome if it's any consolation). As always though their two heats provided the nights best action involving Kuru, Hingston and Cooke. Beatle Tarrant became the unlikely runner in the first heat after a disastrous first lap for HB and damage to the tank stopped him just short of the finish line. Did not qualify.
Overall a great night for me after a very low key start to the season. Can't complain about the racing, the support programme maybe was offering too much support as the night finished late and perhaps only needed two classes not three (TQ's, production saloons and Ministocks). Sound system was great where I was (backstraight leading into turn 3) and as always the comments team were excellent. I've said it before and it's worth noting that the Huntly club really does have a great vibe going and this meeting improves every season, this is a club that is on the way up, always a joy to visit. Last thing I'll mention is that I ran into Yaz in the pits who kindly offered to take some shots of the cars on the infield with my crappy little camera as the pits was nearly empty when I arrived with the teams being displayed infield (one of my personal hates - and as Wal86 from StockcarScene joked "send in a remit to SNZ and get it banned" might just have to do that!) so thanks again Yaz and Eddie.
Roll on the finals tonight...
Meeting rating : 7/10