Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Not many regional titles can attract around 50 Superstocks but that was the prospect leading up to Sunday's King Country title at Kihikihi. Although the final number was somewhere around 32, the last chance (and for some the first time) to race on the new track surface before the NZ title is held there in late January was reason enough to be there. Drivers were split into two groups for qualifying heats with a one race final. 31p Andy McCabe took both wins for Blue group and 515r Stan Hickey matched him in the red group giving them the front row for the final.
After a first lap crush into turns 1 & 2, Stan Hickey took off from the pack until spinning a few laps later and eventually pulling to the infield. This left Saturday night's hero 85h Jared Wade with the lead followed closely by local 6k Kerry Remnant and 75a Dave Tennant. I was watching the leading cars for most of the race as you could see Wade's lead slowly disappearing and after a hesitant move around a slowly circulating 5k Brad Ridland, Remnant seized the opportunity and took the lead and the rest was history. 31p Andy McCabe managed to pass Tennant for the 3rd place podium position. There is an excellent review of the meeting on the Kihikihi website worth checking out here.
One of the really positive aspects of the meeting was a few drivers who's fortunes have been 'mixed' recently showing some good pace or flashes of brilliance in a couple of heats. 42p Robin Davenport, 39s Michael Willemson and 75a Dave Tennant who finished 4th overall. As with Saturday night, 62h Dayne Conder will be one to watch and the speed of both tanks 85h and 38r will no doubt be a prospect to relish for the NZ title. Kihikihi turned on a absolute scorcher of a day and dust was always going to be a problem later on but with the NZ's being run later into the evening hopefully this won't be a major. The track wasn't the only surface getting burned, I managed to get pretty rosey red myself so might I add an essential for January at this track will be SUNBLOCK!
As a dress rehearsal for the club, things seemed to run pretty smoothly. I spent a lot of time in the pits and on the pit side of the track which doesn't appear to have any speakers so missed much of what the commentary team said BUT I did manage to get a number of drivers to sign my speedway review book from last season and plenty of compliments on the book which I was really stoked about. Thanks to Kyle Fraser, Stan Hickey, Kevin Free, Paul and Jared Wade, Ross Ashby, Brad Ridland, Gary Ellis, Dave Tennant, Lance Ashton, Aaron King, Dale Robertson, Rick Taylor and a few others. I understand at the NZ title they will be having a signing session and a few other spectator friendly aspects to the meeting which is great, the public really do appreciate it. I dont tend to get involved much with driver/club side of things but I have to say without exception every driver was easily approachable and happy to sign the book or have a chat and in the case of Jared Wade who was already in the tank about to head to the track, it was not a problem.
Anyway, I'll be booking my seat for January 30/31, should be a fantastic meeting and could throw up an unexpected winner if this meeting was anything to go by. The track seems to be a leveller which makes it all the more exciting...
Meeting rating : (want to put 10/10 after meeting all those drivers but...) 7/10