Monday, November 16, 2009

New book!

After what seems an incredibly long off season, I finally managed to finish my book containing reviews of last seasons meetings featured on this website. I got a finished printed copy of it in the post on Friday and I'm pleased to say it's an improvement on the 2007/08 book and with some photos contributed by Gavin Evitt (PallMall) and Graham Hughes (SportsWeb) it's got some classy track shots to go with my pit photos. There are 473 photos in fact and all of the reviews good, bad or ugly for 2008/09 are included. Of course its not a comprehensive recap of everything that went on last season but it is a good snapshot and even looking back at the first book I did, the amount of cars that have changed colour, changed hands or simply gone awol is amazing. I like to think in 10 years these books will be a great reminder of what was going on.

Preview of the first 15 pages and the back cover is here and if you want one you can also order on that page. Mine took about 5 days to get here using FedEx but you can pay heaps less for standard postage. Remember the prices are in US dollars.

154 pages, full colour, christmas just around the corner...

King Country Stockcars


The third meeting of my 'stockcar addicts' weekend was at Kihikihi Speedway for the King Country Stockcar title. I had been pretty lucky with the weather on Friday night at WP when it was looking threatening but it finally caught up with me Sunday after about the first round of racing had been completed. Around 26 cars had turned up and were split into two groups for qualifying. When the weather did pack in I thought they had no chance of finishing the meeting and having had my fill of racing already, I decided to call it quits and head on back to Auckland.

The club managed to soldier on and complete the programme so well done to them and the people that stayed on would have appreciated it I'm sure. For the record 95a Gary Lonergan took the title from 116h Steve Halse and 218h Aaron Alderton. The track looks really amazing and I like the unique infield layout. Thinking outside the box (or the oval) in this case.

Meeting rating : 5/10

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baypark Gold Cup Stockcars


Last year this meeting was worth the trip down to Tauranga, so with the usual amount of Baypark promotion (none) it was good to see about 33 Stockcars in the pits. The breakdown of cars had about 16 locals and the rest visitors from Auckland, Huntly, Rotorua, Meeanee and Kihikihi. The format was two heats for points and then most points off the front for a grand final winner take all.

Heat one was okay with most cars having a good run and grabbing as many points as they could. Major casualty was 291r Chris Brown who started from pole postion only lasting about 1 lap before retiring. 109r Jason Brown looked good for a win but a spinning 66a Peter Church cost him vital seconds and he settled for second behind clubmate 81r Damian Orr. 8m Scott Fredrickson took third from 84m Ryan Smyth and a hard charging 17b Aaron Iremonger rounding out the top five.

81r, 109r, 8m, 84m, 17b, 82m, 218h, 48m, 81h, 13r

Heat two was a humdinger! Any local car who hadn't performed well in the first heat went into stirring mode and best of them was 24m Ian Daniel. At various stages of the race he managed to spin, hit or eliminate 98r, 218h, 109r, 66a and made a general nuisance of himself - top stuff and his battered car just kept on circulating. At the front of the field it was 29m Ryan Hunt for most of the race until a problem saw him head for the infield leaving a fantastic tussle between 95a Gary Lonergan, 81h Rodney Smythe and 82m defending champ Brent Haynes. Lonergan looked to have it until the last corner when Smythe managed to half spin him but fortunately Haynes tucked in behind righted the 95a and kept him moving forward for the win.

95a, 81h, 82m, 48h, 8m, 81r, 35m, 98r, 84m, 26m

For the 15 lap Fredrickson Gold Cup feature race the three-wide front row consisted of 81r, 8m and 82m. What followed was one of the best stockcar races I've seen in a long while. Hits going in left right and centre with the overall theme of the race seemlingly to eliminate whoever was at the front! One by one every leading car seemed to be taken out. 81h spun, 109r puncture, 95a spun, 8m spun, until a red light stoppage 5 laps from the end showed that 82m defending champ Brent Haynes was leading from 81r Orr and 17b Iremonger. Upon the restart the carnage continued and it looked like Haynes was home for the money until he clipped Scott Fredrickson's rear bumper while he was taking a car into the wall sending the 82m heavily front first into the wall. At this stage the teamwork from the Mount cars paid dividends and 35m Graham Keating inherited the lead taking the win from 84m Ryan Smyth and I believe 81r Damian Orr grabbed third place.

The rest of the programme included 15 Sprintcars, 22 Saloons, 8 Supersaloons and 38 Ministocks. I will mention that the only real problem of the night was the continual dust coming off the track - maybe there is a special place to sit because during the Sprintcar and Saloon races you could hardly watch such was the red dust cloud and if you were foolish enough to be eating food it got a few extra spices even the Colonel wouldn't touch. When I got back to my friends place in Papamoa I almost had to be hosed down outside before I could go in the house - I kid you not! Anyway, dust aside it was a step up from last years meeting and definitely a stockcar meeting worth venturing to Baypark for if you love heaps of contact. Outside of a teams meeting you wouldn't see this much action at most tracks.

Meeting rating : 7/10

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Black Friday Biff & Bash


One thing you can say about Auckland is that not only is the weather fickle but so are the crowds going by the sparse turnout for WP's second meeting of the year. The Black Friday 'Biff and Bash' was essentially a club night meeting and I thought that car numbers would be light given the fact is was being run on a Friday but although down on the opening meeting the pits was still very full and included a number of new cars.

Paul and Craig Chatfield made they first appearances in a while sporting what can only be described as "Chatfield Racing Green" on two very slick looking cars. Also debuting was 9a, 82a, a very welcome return of 441a Andy Weir and 24a Trevor Cook. Numbers for the stockcars (19 in the pits) are very impressive this early in the season. Superstocks managed 9 cars which isnt too bad considering Rotorua only pulled in 8 last night at their meeting. Huntly cars took out all three wins but 61a Nicholls looked promising in the first heat although gremlins appear to have ended his night early ("We burst a pressure line from the oil pump, nothing sinister, we will be back next week") emailed from Tim. 85h Jared Wade learned the hard way that if you take on one Marx car (there were three of them racing: 53a, 63a and 73a) you will be punished and so the honour of first rollover in this class for the year was his after a perfectly timed hit by 63a. Don't mess with the Marx! 28h Glen Drabble won heat one, was second in heat two and took out the feature.

Supersaloons managed a very decent field of 10 cars and once again 99a McInteer was the one to watch although 38h Peter Hemi kept him honest. Keep an eye on 51a in the beautifully presented Mainline car, this guy has really stepped up a gear. 61a Roy Walker took a clean sweep of the Saloons and looked the goods in a field that could only muster 11 cars. The rest of the racing included a whopping 35 Ministocks, 8 Modifieds and 9 Streetstocks in some pretty tame racing. My only real gripe perhaps is the starting grids for some of these races with Jamie Fox barely tested with front row starts, likewise for McInteer in the Supers.

So a another small step forward in regards the actual show being put on, I'm sure the crowd will be huge at the next meeting being a Demo Derby. Special thanks to whoever was in control of the flow of events as there wasn't a single break in the programme and the 21 races were completed before 10pm giving the Modifieds a bonus race at the end of the night. When its as cold as it was last night, simple things like this make a huge difference. Also putting up stirrers money for all three Stockcar races made them the standout class for the night. Not sure of who took the money but 441a Weir, 007a Fergusson and the real surprise of the night 21a Brett Dixon who found his inner mongrel must have been contenders. Onwards and upwards then for this new promotion hopefully.

Meeting rating : 6/10