Friday, April 16, 2010
Huntly PlaceMakers Speedway
If the objective of this meeting was to attract new spectators to Speedway and showcase the sport, then I think the Huntly club did a great job. Hell, I enjoyed it so much I want to go to THAT kind of speedway every week! The number of competitors in the pits was fantastic, bulging at the seams and quality in every class. A pre-meeting photo opportunity with seven of the current 1nz's was a testament to the pulling power of this meeting which is just going to grow and grow each season (if that is infact possible) AND it was on a Thursday night too which is not a traditional race night and didn't seem to have much effect on the big crowd size.
I'll be honest and say that usually when speedway clubs try to go a bit 'Hollywood' or punch above their weight it can be cringe-inducing and plain awful. I dont think speedway as a sport can be accused of being cutting edge but at no point last night did you get that feeling that V8 crews, drivers and newbies to the sport would have been anything but impressed with what they saw and I didn't have that "I wish they'd ramp it up a bit" feeling as you nervously look about the crowd hoping they aren't mocking this sport we love. The commentary was great, the interviews plenty, and many of the drivers interview well and have lots to say these days. Jared Wade, Shane McIntyre and Steve Williams were particularly good.
I liked the music that was constantly on in the background during the short downtime between races which gave the meeting atmosphere and the fact that the sound system could be heard during the racing which has to be a first. But as Randy Jackson would say on American Idol, "There were a few pitch problems dawg but is was all good!" As for the racing, well that was the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. Any car with a 1nz on it might not agree as our class champions seemed to fall one by one with Brendan Higgins probably having the worst night after a huge pile-up in turn three. First lap of his first heat, night over.
For the record I think the winners for each of the classes were 48h Scott Gallop in the Stockcars, 24m Ben Harding Supersaloons, 11r Nicole Waugh in Minisprints, 8a Ryan O'Connor in Sprintcars, 10p Peter Rees in Superstocks and 2nz Brent McClymont surviving a controversial final for the Saloons which just added to the night. Speedway and drama aye, can't have one without t'other! I'm loathe to admit it, but a class I've never really had much time for (Minisprints) was very entertaining, proving that with a decent field and top drivers you will see this class in a new light. Maybe because the only times I've ever seen them is usually with about 7 or 8 cars of varying ability. Stockcars were good, 17b Aaron Iremonger looking super fast and 1p Peter Rees getting a hard time from a few of the locals including 77h Kevin Ngakai and 34h Anton Leek. Without a doubt though 99p Ron Tye was the standout of the night in heat one causing absolute mayhem. Rees had a much easier path in the Superstocks although 351a Paul Vasey had a shot at him in heat three. 16r Mark Osborne getting up for 2nd and 18n Shane Harwood 3rd overall.
Waikaraka Park gets its turn this Saturday for the 'John Webster' with what essentially is the same meeting with a few different classes thrown in the mix. Huntly have set a high standard, lets hope we get another top class show. In a season that has had some miserable weather and some less than spectacular meetings, it all seems to be coming together these last few weeks.
Meeting rating : 9/10