Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
World of Stocks, Rotorua
I went to this meeting last year and was underwhelmed by the qualifying on the Friday, but the finals night was fantastic. This year I couldn't afford to take Friday off work so it kind of worked out okay in the end I guess. Not too sure how qualifying went but the first race of the night for me was the repercharge which ended in a very close and as it turns out controversial finish between 218h Aaron Alderton and 14b Gemma Palmer. Palmer was awarded the win and a place in the finals and the wildcard I thought would be a no brainer going to 84b Mike McLachlan but not so, 48r Ivan King got it. I'm guessing his performance on the Friday must have been impressive and behind the decision.
Anyway, as we have seen in so many championships recently the main event threatened to be upstaged by the non-qualifiers. 'Stockcars in Paradise' offered the winner an automatic entry into the finals for 10/11 and after the first heat you wondered if any cars would front for the next two heats! Heat 1 of the World of Stocks seemed a little bit tame in comparison but by nights end we were well and truly entertained with some brutal racing and a third heat that had so many changes in points leader, it was as if it had been scripted and rehearsed. Up until about 3 laps from the finish it was looking good for a Palmerston North win; both 15p Rob Miers and 1p Peter Rees were in the box seat but a concerted effort by the locals (not reknowned in recent years as great at backing their clubmates in similar situations) managed to despatch any non R car and local boy 94r Shaun Stewart took the title. 46v Alan Levien got home for a very hard earned second place and joining him on the podium was Baypark racer 82m Brent Haynes in the borrowed 48h Gallop car. Special mention to 88h Justin Hutchby who dared to not only take on the Rees tank, but put it up the wall and end his title hopes. Good luck and God bless! 74r Mike Hohneck picked up the automatic qualification from the non-qualifiers winning the Stockcars in Paradise title from 86r Richard Keijzer and 36h Mark Caldwell in third.
This meeting is into its forth year now and I was a little bit surprised at the crowd size. It was a fairly good crowd but not what you would expect for a meeting of this calibre. Add into it the fact the the support programme included the BOP Superstock title (won by 135r Scott Hewson) and it is a bit of a mystery. You should definitely pencil this one into your calendar for next season, the Stockcar class really know how to turn up the action and they deserve a massive crowd and the atmosphere that comes with it. One of my only criticisms though would be the amount of time it takes to get the field ready for the "Start your engines" routine before the first heat, instead of building the atmosphere it ironically does quite the opposite and for the first time in a long time, the normally great track surface was not the best with holes developing in the corners that did cause problems.
As I mentioned earlier, there is one driver I haven't seen much of the past few seasons because I hardly ever make it to Meeanee and that is 84b Mike McLachlan. He has quite a reputation and after watching this guy on Saturday night I can confirm it is well earned. How that car keeps going is beyond me but he alone is worth the price of admission. Perhaps not a driver you would pick at the TAB for a podium but I bet you more eyes were on him than who ever was leading any of the three heats he took part in. Huge respect.
Meeting rating : (Saturday night only) 8/10
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Auckland Superstock Title / Ollie Browne Memorial
Twenty-one Superstocks in the WP pits is not a regular feature these days sadly, so anyone who failed to take advantage and attend missed out a cracker of a meeting Saturday night. Going by the very average crowd size perhaps a few people have thrown in the towel when it comes to this glamour class, but word of mouth and a few more meetings of this calibre will only do good things as far as crowd numbers are concerned. Top marks then for Paul Vasey and Dave Tennant who I believe were the driving force behind the meeting. Not to be outdone, two of the support acts for the evening, Saloons and Stockcars really were entertaining and if the Streetstocks had a few more numbers then I think you could have added them in there too.
Auckland SuperStocks Heat 1
Twenty cars made it out of the pits, 86h Chris Allen failed to make the start of any of the four heats unfortunately. Rick Campbell and Tony Wootten diced for the lead for the first few laps before Woottens night became one of blocking, stirring or DNF's in the impressive looking 71h. Biggest mover was 351a Paul Vasey moving up from grid 20 to second behind a seriously slick looking 99r of Mark Decke who took the first heat win. 38r Ross Ashby had the tank flying for a 3rd place finish. There were a number of DNF's including 9k Baker, 71h Wootten, 23k Taylor and 28h Drabble.
99r, 351a, 38r, 5k, 73a, 6k, 73h, 63a, 22r, 37r, 52r
Eighteen cars made it out for heat two, 71h Wootten being spun on the first lap then deciding to have a play with whoever was unfortunate enough to be in his vicinity. First up it was 37r Ken Hunter who was able to power away without too much difficulty. The same could not be said for the luckless Vasey who was forced up the wall and over ending his title hopes. On the red light, Hunter was leading from Ridland and Karl Ross. Upon the restart 99a was in block mode with no one keen to pass resulting in a bottleneck of cars until 5k Ridland decided to have a go. 99a Mason spun him. 5k hooked reverse and sent the passing 63a Campbell up the wall and over on to his side in turn 2. I think by this stage we had seen two rollovers and more hitting than the entire rest of the season! Ken Hunter held his lead and took the heat two victory from local hope Bryce Marx.
37r, 73a, 73h, 38r, 22r, 99r, 28h
Going into the final heat, three cars were tied on 37pts; 38r Ashby, 73a Marx and 99r Decke. Further back on 34pts were 73h Ross, with 37r Hunter on 33pts and 6k Remnant on 30pts. A healthy 17 cars made it out considering how much action had taken place in the first two heats. Decke was off grid 4, Ashby off 6 and Marx on grid 9. Ross and Hunter were both starting near the ROF. Dave Baker had had a fairly quiet night up to this point but certainly made his presence felt with attacks on a number of cars most notably Ashby who's challenge basically ended fairly early with 53a Marx managing to block him. 22r Bryce Steiner almost had Decke spun early on infront of the pack but was able to button off and let the 99r correct himself and eventually power away for the win and the title. Throughout the race it was whether local hope 73a Bryce Marx could catch Decke and late in the race had his best chance when the other two Marx cars had Decke blocked and slowing only for 9k Baker to be doing the exact same thing to Marx further back in the field. A great nailbiting finish though. Plenty of action and one of the best Auckland titles in years. Vasey took the win and proved how costly that DNF in heat two was. Final points: 1st 99r 56pts, 2nd 73a 55pts and 3rd 22r 47pts.
Ollie Browne Memorial
The 4th heat for SuperStocks on the night was the Ollie Browne. 14 cars made it out for this race and although not as much action as the Auckland title we still got a rollover for the 99a, plenty of argy bargy and only 9 cars managing to finish. 22r Steiner pulling off a well deserved win from 6k Remant and 73a Marx first local home in third.
Not to be outdone, Stockcars went ballistic all night. 67a Krizo in heat one alone managed to give 33a a massive wall ride, then another huge hit on the 43a Smith car (sister car to 34a Wearing's back from Stratford, the old coupe sold to Huntly) and then rolling 69a Dave Seymour. Billy Neill managed to take the win. Heat 2 Krizo was back at it, taking out 46a, then 43a then 34a before 22a Leigh Cossey gave him an enormous serve into the pit gate. It didn't stop him but retribution came from the Pick-a-Part cars before 69a gave him a massive hit up the rear that he took exception to, and some infield hitting may have ended his night as he didn't return for the final heat? 95a Lonergan took the win. Not too much action in the remaining heat but 9a Cameron Kenworthy picked up his maiden win and two buckets of water for his efforts in the 12 car feature. 82a and 22a took out the other placings.
Meeting was all over by 10pm and the actual Auckland Superstock title was completed by 9pm which was great. Good commentary too it has to be said with points updates and Aaron back behind the mic which injects a bit of life into proceedings. There were a few incidents not mentioned though (Krizo coming out for heat 3 but parking on the grass?) that would have been worth knowing but these are small issues. Once again a great show put on by WP, perhaps fewer classes with shorter shows and bigger fields is the answer?
Meeting rating : 7.5/10
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
One good thing with having done this website for nearly five years (hard to believe but June 2nd, 2010 will be 5 years of reviews) is I can look back and see what last seasons version of an upcoming meeting was like. This Saturday at Waikaraka Park is the Ollie Browne Memorial and Auckland Superstock titles combined. Both separate meetings last year, reviews are here:
Ollie Browne Superstocks 2009
Auckland Superstock Title 2009
Defending champs for the Auckland Superstock title are 87r Pat Westbury, 515r Stan Hickey and 135r Scott Hewson. Westbury has just been confirmed as entered. Last years Ollie Browne was taken out by 66r Steve Hampton, 515r Stan Hickey and 414a (now an H) Warwick Ansty rounding out the top three. Talk of a field of 25 Superstocks would be quite a tasty prospect.
There is a thread on Macgors here.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
What was originally going to be the finals night of the Superstocks Teams Nationals morphed into a Dunny Derby of all things, ironically capturing the mood of this speedway season it would seem. Most people are by now aware of the problems and subsequent cancellation of the teams meeting and with hindsight it probably was a good call (not even taking into account the cost of such a meeting) with Friday night being wet and cold and Saturdays replacement Derby meeting also serving up a chilly night with a sprinkle of rain but at least able to go ahead. Someone forgot to change the entry price though and $20 seemed a bit steep for what was on show. Ignoring that fact, the racing was good and finished by 9.30pm (that has to be a record for WP) and included four heats for most classes before the Derby did its thing.
Crowd was pretty good and Stockcars, Streetstocks, Saloons, Supersaloons and Mods were the classes running. Jamie Fox and Peter Hemi took all the wins in their respective classes (Modifieds 7, SuperSaloons 12). Saloons (13) had wins to 59a Bryan Skelton, and two wins for 74a Scott Lansdown with a great 3 way battle between these two and 6a Torrey/Shane McInteer in their feature. 45a Bill Peat took the feature win for the Streetstocks with 21k Blair Castleton taking the heat wins.
Stockcars (25 including 3 Supers) were the class of the night with visitors from Huntly and Rotorua. 69a Dave Seymour was rolled on the first lap of their first heat and the carnage continued for the rest of the night with wins going to 32r Nicky Johnson, 95a Gary Lonergan, 34a Mark Wearing and 5k Brad Ridland taking the feature in his Super although I think first Stockcar home was probably 82a Robert Neill. Visitor 4h Matthew Nilssen was given grief in every heat and then spectacularly rolled by 84a Brendan Morrison in heat 3. 72r David Rumney took on the locals in the feature until losing a tyre off the rim hampered his attacks. Scott Tennant drove the 75a Super in a warm up to next weeks Auckland Superstock title which appears to have a strong field fronting. The Cossey bros had a tough night with 22a Leigh being rolled while leading the feature and 33a Hayden being hit by almost every car while stalled on the front straight facing the oncoming traffic. This guy either has thumbs that dont go down or is as staunch as Jake the Muss! Great stuff. The Stockcar boys really know how to warm up a crowd and a big field like this was awesome.
Meeting rating : 6/10