Sunday, October 31, 2010
A bit rusty and dusty, but good to be back!
Waikaraka Park, Halloween Opening Meeting
Saturday 30th October
A pretty dull Saturday morning must have been a worry for the team coming from Gisborne for their annual start-of-the-season challenge with the Auckland Alleycats stockcar team, but as the day wore on, the skies cleared and it was all go for the 2010/11 season at WP. The pits were full to bursting with cars and a small group of dedicated volunteers had got the place looking shipshape over the winter months.
Six streetstocks kicked the season off with the first race and thankfully they and the Supersaloons (6) were the only classes to have low numbers. Ministocks (26) Stockcars (25) Mods (7) and Saloons (17) made up the nights programme. Feature of the night was the teams race between Auckland and the Gisborne Gladiators resulting in a very narrow win to the home side. Gisborne took a short lived lead before a great piece of teamwork had three A cars cruising around the track in a group until 62g Nick Hutton started to cause the home team trouble with some great blocking and a few big hits. Suddenly Gizzy were back in it and it came down to two cars from each team being on the last lap racing for the flag. Gary Lonergan got home first and was ploughed into the wall just after the flag for good measure. 65g Ian Barron second and 61g Andrew Powell in third. I think if the race had gone one lap more there was most likely going to be a very different result. At race end there were a number of blue cars littered around the track but they got the result they wanted. An awesome teams race.
In the open races that followed, a few new rookies hit the track in a good size field of 19 cars - a few damaged team cars never made it out. Three brave Gisborne guys did front and weren't afraid to mix it up. 65g Ian Barron and 45a Glen Taylor in particular battled all night and I think
Barron may have won that battle for now, he also recorded the fastest lap for the night too. It was great to see the 45a getting all mongrel! Wins went to 17a Murray Kitt, 61g Andrew Powell and 34a Mark Wearing taking the feature. Billy Neill appeared in his old Murphy Buses car which has basically sat in a container for the last decade and looked very capable and beautifully presented as always.
The Saloons were the class that almost stole the limelight from the stocky boys, four of the best from Baypark added to an already strong field and put on some of the best racing of the night. Wins to 46m Corrin, 9a Louden, 2nz McClymont and 75m Wymer winning the top 8 shotout. This class is really one of the best at WP and numbers look good for the season ahead, lets hope we are not so generous letting the M cars win almost everything next time. Phil Crumpe was the other major talking point of the night after riding up the wheel of 29a Wade in the first Modified race and ending his night up on top of the wall in a spectacular wild ride that left quite a bit of damage - hope we see him out again soon, check his website for the full story.
Only downer was the track surface which broke up in the corners and didn't provide the best racing, but its early days yet. The stunt utes were good (if you could see them through the smoke) best viewing was probably on the back straight. A big crowd turned out too which is a surprise - opening night can be a bit dull... and bloody cold. Strong start then for WP, keep the competitor numbers up, provide a few new ideas like stunt utes, teams races, VISITING cars and the crowd numbers will hopefully keep rising. If Huntly got the 30+ stockcars they were hoping for, imagine how many the two clubs can pool together when they arent running on the same night...
Meeting rating : 7/10