Monday, December 21, 2009
North Island Modified Championship
Twenty Modifieds turned up for the 09/10 North Island Modified title hosted by Waikaraka Park on Saturday night and when the dust finally settled it was 3nz Richard 'Bunter' Pierce who came up trumps ahead of local hopes 6a Brian Jesen and Garry Parker in the immaculate 21a. The one name missing from that sentence that you automatically expect to see is 11a Jamie Fox.
A first heat, first lap incident involving 64a Grant Harris spinning in front of Wellington's 5w Brian McPhee would have major repercussions on the nights result. Three other mods sustained damage including Fox who had a flat left front tyre but was still able to continue and lined up for the restart. Then indecision as drivers parked up at the pit gate for repairs only to be waved away. Then the decision was reversed and repairs made and the night continued (well at least it did for the crowd who were in ignorant bliss). A drivers meeting apparently resulted in drivers being excluded from the race and from there on controversy was going to dog this title.
Because I'm only in the crowd, I won't comment on what went on because to be honest I have no clue - and I really mean I have no clue. When the 25 lap final lined up I heard that 11a Fox was starting off grid 16! No info, no detail, nothing! Obviously there had been 'trouble in pit' but nothing had been relayed to the crowd which was pretty disappointing. Stratford's 1nz John Jackson and 3nz Pierce started on the front row and Pierce was able to hold that position for the entire race. I'm sure more will come out about what went down and the Foxy team website will be the place to read it! It's just a pity that an opportunity to really get the crowd in on something so important was completely missed. Something I did notice in the programme was a list of previous North Island title winners and 10s Willie Noonan placed third in 1989, 1990, 2nd in 1991 and a 1st in Auckland in 1993. Great longevity and a not too shabby 4th place at this meeting, long may he continue. Garry Parker previously had a 2nd at Huntly in 2000.
Anyway the supporting programme included some messy saloon racing with quite a few incidents and yellow lights but some great driving from 27a Stephen Corry although it was a night to forget for 61a Roy Walker. There was some excellent Stockcar racing with a 24 car field taking to each other in the first two heats but relatively tame in the "bash for cash" feature. A good night for 15a Carl Campbell. A fairly decent sized crowd had turned up and the meeting finished in good time. This was the last WP meet for the year with the 16th January 'Night of Stars' the next outing for the locals.
Meeting rating : 6.5/10