Sunday, March 29, 2009
King Flooring World of Stocks
Apparently this meeting was a scorcher last year so I made the trip down to Rotorua for Friday nights qualifying, quite possibly the coldest night of my speedway season so far. Unfortunately the action was a little muted and the crowd was well down on what I had expected. Apart from 11m Allen Dunn and 77r Ivan Lammas there were few drivers going for the wildcards by stirring up trouble, which meant that most of the racing was for the flag. 109r Jason Brown was the class act of the night easily making it through to the finals with some great driving. 77r Lammas picked up one wildcard and 557p Darrell Wallace got the other failing to qualify by mere meters with a missing wheel after two good finishes in his other heats. Surprise of the night for me was 5r Jeff Munro who narrowly missed making the top four who qualified.
Finals night stepped up a level with the inclusion of all the pre-meeting qualifiers and what a class field it was. Crowd numbers were also up but still nowhere near a sellout and a bit of a surprise considering the promotion that went into the event (on Macgors at least) and with a much stronger support programme than Friday too. I'll stick my neck out and say that I felt the Stocks in Paradise (non qualifiers) event probably had more action and most definitely had the best race (third heat) of the whole weekend but thats not saying the World of Stocks racing wasn't good. 78r Grant Savage showed in the first few laps that he was going to be a worth the $25 admission but fate intervened and he was involved in a hit on a stranded 113r Grendon Beazley that left both of them out for the night. 95r Dale Stewart, 48r Ivan King and 8m Scott Fredrickson finished 1, 2, 3 for the title and a comprehensive review can be found on the Rotorua website here.
Peter Rees as always was a major player in both the Stocks and Superstocks and even won a runoff at the end of the night for the BOP SuperStock title over Pat Westbury. The three South Island entrants in WOS, 24c Ivan McPhail, 18c Nick Sidaway and 28e Ralph Gillespie performed well against the cream of North Island stockcars but it was Gillespie who really stood out. I have to be honest and say most of the foreign entrants failed to fire. I really like the format of this meeting and given time I think it will be a must see, but looking around the pits on Friday there was a noticeable lack of entrants from some clubs that have strong numbers of cars. A third group of qualifiers on Friday would have been great. Hit of the weekend 98r Mark Costello on 77r or 68r Keith Spanhakes wall ride. Never say die award to 52v Francis Potaka who along with 29m Ryan Hunt felt the wrath of every car in the third heat of the non qualifiers and still managed to finish. The pre-meeting build up by the commentary team was first class, the printed programme was a winner and the speed with which the Friday meeting was run appreciated by the crowd I'm sure. Also I noticed that Aaron Iremonger driving the 71b of the late Peter Barry (the first wildcard entry that the Rotorua club had invited) qualified in the last position in the repercharge which gave him the grid 1 position in the opening heat, a completely unplanned but fitting tribute.
95r Dale Stewart 73pts
48r Ivan King 72pts
8m Scott Fredrickson 71pts
3nzp Peter Rees 70pts
1nzw Richard Gaskin 69pts
Meeting rating : 7/10
Monday, March 23, 2009
TWS Waikato Stockcar Champs
During the week, it was quite ironic reading the entry list for the Waikato Stockcar championship having a possible 19 entries from Auckland which would make it the most 'A' registered cars to appear this season and it was at a neighbouring track not Waikaraka Park! Read into it what you will, but the good news was that most of them turned up along with one from Baypark and only one from Rotorua. Adding in the locals this gave a field of around 45 stockcars.
Split into two groups the top 10 from each heat would progress to a two race championship along with 10 from a repercharge. Group one had problems with the ELS system and although 17a Murray Kitt appeared to win, the race seemed short to me (perhaps it was because there was so much action going on) but the officials deemed the race invalid and it would be rerun. Normally this would be a problem but the chance to see them race again seemed great to me. Group two and the last chance repercharge also provided great action, rollovers and the only downer being the 6h Tank of Lindsay Trotter failed to qualify after a HUGE hit into the pit gate that ended his chances although the car still managed to drive off the track, built tough or what! Trotter and 55h Neville Hazelton would share the 'stirrer of the night' award - both well earned.
The finals would be contested over two heats and basically it became a big A vs H teams race. Of course this is the whole reason I chose to come to this meeting as the rivalry between these two clubs in stockcars always makes great viewing. Massively outnumbered the Auckland cars still put up a great fight but it was 31h Rodney Smythe who had a clean run to take heat 1. The damage toll though was high and a few of the cars nights ended here. A good number of visitors made it into the top 10.
31h, 27a, 218h, 89r, 57h, 64a, 67a, 59a, 98h, 66h
Heat two was the final race of the night and didn't disappoint. Most visitors were set upon although 89r Mabey had a charmed run for quite a while looking a real prospect if anything happened to 31h. What I hadn't noticed was that 218h Alderton had taken the lead mid race and now was a real chance for the title. As it finished a runoff was needed between 31h and 218h for the title which Aaron Alderton won. A great result for him in the awesome ex Ashton stockcar.
218h, 89r, 31h, 98h, 59a, 67a, 95a, 27a, 22h, 168a
As a staunch supporter of Stockcars, this meeting provided everything you would expect and infact the amount of hitting surpassed what I thought would take place. Once again as mentioned earlier, the standout for me was Lindsay Trotter in the Peat Tank which during the repercharge was sitting just outside the last qualifying spot for much of the race. Had he qualified I hate to think of the carnage he could have caused... perhaps a wildcard for the World of Stocks this weekend at Rotorua? The rest of the programme involved 16 Production Saloons, 5 Modifieds, 11 Superstocks, 11 Saloons and a huge field of 30 Ministocks. A pretty good night then and well worth the drive down to Huntly.
Meeting rating : 7/10
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Auckland Superstock Teams
Not sure what to write about this meeting. I was only able to make it to the qualifying on Friday and although there seem to be mixed reviews about it I thought the night was pretty dire. It did rain just before the racing started and with a poor support programme of TQ's and MiniStox the first actual teams race didn't run until 8:40pm which is unbelievable. I'm not sure what support racing was on the Saturday night but I'm guessing no Stockcars were in attendance which was a strange decision for the crowd that would be attending this meeting. The teams racing was tame although a couple of races provided some great action and close finishes.
I've heard that the racing on Saturday night was much better and if you didn't already know, the Palmerston North Panthers once again took the title for the 4th year in a row. Even on Friday it looked a forgone conclusion to me. Is there any team who can beat the Panthers? Big thanks though to the drivers and crews that did turn up for the meeting, there are a lot of people out there shutting up shop at the moment and it sure as hell aint cheap to race. Cant think of any other positives to add to this review so we'll just leave it there and put a few photos.
Meeting rating : 5/10
Sunday, March 01, 2009
North Island Superstock Title
The weather was always going to be the winner this weekend but with some fortune the WP club did manage to squeeze in the qualifying on Friday night and the finals were run Sunday afternoon. I wont write much about Friday as the club cant be blamed for the weather, although they do have some explaining to do in regards competitor numbers and support programme. 33 SuperStocks were in the pits up until two late arrivals (8p and 77r) took the total up to 35 I believe. The Modifieds were a no show, ATVs raced along with a small field of Stockcars and the MiniStox. I only stayed for the first two heats of qualifying for each group before leaving, damp and bored.
The finals were predictably rained off on Saturday and so Sunday afternoon only 26 Supers were in the pits meaning no repercharges would be needed. The support programme included MiniStox (again) and MiniSprints along with a few saloons and very few Streetstocks, a fairly appalling support programme. As for the planned Superstock Stampede for non qualifiers...
This race was the first time this weekend that I got excited, it had a full field of 26 cars, rollovers and action galore. 351a Paul Vazey shot to the lead and was looking great for the first few laps. Meanwhile 31b Andy McCabe had been spun in pit bend taking a few cars with him to the wall including 1nz, 22r and 6v and as they tried to rejoin the race 351a was clipped as he passed rolling big time and bringing on the reds. On the restart 8p Miers was left stationery until 16a Headington was fed into the front straight wall rolling over and back onto his wheels, reds again. He was allowed to restart and by this stage we already had 99r, 8p, 6v, 5v all out with a few damaged cars, 45v being one of them, slowly circling. 5g Faram had the lead and managed to hold it to the finish in an action packed first heat, things were looking up!
Results: 5g 135r 515r 72p 75a 23h 15v 1nz 82s 6k 73a 11a 66r 94a 61a 22r 414a 45v 24b
22 Cars rolled out for this heat. 515r Hickey took control early and looked the goods taking an effortless win and putting himself in the prime seat leading the points going into heat three. The 8p tank finally got things going and had his best heat of the meeting finishing third. Early spins for 1nz and 66r Hampton cost them big time and also 73a Marx stuck in the pit bend for a few laps unable to find a gap to rejoin the race with the field well spread out. Less action than heat one but no complaints, it was good racing. It had been a really hot afternoon but it was at this point my blood really started to boil... yes the points and results being relayed to the public, how many times does this have to be mentioned? Once again what results we got were read at high speed either names or numbers only as they cross the line so you cant actually hear them and if you could you cant write them that fast anyway! Then there is silence as we wait for the next race and you get nothing or music from the Venga bus. Unbelievable.
Guessing these are the results: 515r 135r 8p 82s 135r 5g 45v 72p
Going into heat three Stan Hickey was on 50pts, Scott Hewson and Joe Faram both on 48pts and a gap back to 72p Joblin on 42pts. I didn't get the rest as the speedreader wasn't stopping for breath and there was no chance they would be read a second time. From what I could see as they gridded up Faram was on grid 10, Hickey on 21, Hewson on 8 and Joblin right up the front on grid 3. 20 cars fronted and on turn two both 72p and 5g were caught up allowing 135r to take the lead (well I thought he was in the lead but apparently 45v Guildford was?) 99r Decke had been bashed and spun and was facing the wrong way on the backstraight and on lap 4 the reds came on just as Hickey (who had made it up to the top five) erupted into a huge cloud of smoke, race over for the 515r who looked a cert for the win. At this stage I had 72p in 8th, 5g in 12th, 66r in 2nd and 135r leading. Upon the restart 5g made up heaps of ground and for the rest of the race it was whether he could pass 72p and 135r. He did get passed 72p and was closing on Hewson but never got close enough to challenge. Like me, 135r Hewson must have thought he had won the heat (and title) but was refused the flag - I guess as 45v had won? Anyway the title was Hewson's and well deserved. Faram grabbed runner up and 72p Joblin took third. Well at least I think that's what happened...
Results: 45v 135r 5g 72p
So there you have it, WP's last official SNZ title for some time thanks to the Smashfest fiasco. $45.00 to go through the gates and buy a programme, add to that the cost of food (if you could find an open food stand) and basically three good races for the weekend, is that value for money? A substandard presentation, poor turnout of SuperStocks, even worse attendance by the public after plenty of radio advertising during the week. If alarm bells aren't ringing after this meeting then it wont be long before even the Venga bus isn't coming to WP.
Meeting Rating : 4/10