Are you ready for this years version of the John Webster Memorial? Here are a few reviews from the last couple of years:
8th John Webster 2007 Here
9th John Webster 2008 here
10th John Webster 2009 here
11th John Webster 2010 here
...and a bit about John Webster here.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
World of Stocks
Paradise Valley, Rotorua
Hard to believe, but yet ANOTHER meeting affected by rain! My plan had been to miss qualifying night and just head over for the finals which is pretty much what has happened over the last few seasons. The heavy downpour on Friday meant my plans changed and not being able to stay on for Sundays finals just summed up my spectating season this year. Some speedway is better than none so I headed for Paradise Valley not expecting the world to be set on fire going by the last few 'World of Stocks' qualifying nights but was pleasantly surprised by the action that was served up. Perhaps the difference was the inclusion of 12e Zac Thompson who basically spent the night stirring up trouble in the bright yellow flat chassis that was at the centre of most incidents in his group. 83h Steve Gray also added to the dramas and is fast becoming a stirrer of note with a tank that can actually go fast when needed. One of the other standouts was 24m Karl Daniel also in a tank that was deceptively fast and only narrowly missed out of qualifying after a runoff but would be given the wildcard to get through.
When the dust had settled, the field of 60+ entrants had been narrowed down to 12 qualifiers, 4 from each group with a last chance repercharge adding another one, and the wildcard entry of course joining the 14 already confirmed starters. The results for finals night can be found on the Rotorua website here with 8r Scott Fredrikson finally landing a big title, so often missing out with little support when he was registered to Baypark. It appears the Rotorua drivers really did band together on this occasion which is sometimes not the norm. This was the fifth running of the World of Stocks title I believe, and its future seems assured with a good mix of action and good hard racing. It has been an expensive few weeks for stockcar drivers with the amount of meetings they are expected to travel to for what is essentially a budget class. I did have a fear that after four or five weeks of titles in a row that the field would be depleted, but luckily it wasnt the case. Just from a spectating point of view, I know the amount of Fridays I need to take off work to get to these titles and wonder how many high profile meetings a class like this can sustain before the bubble bursts, just food for thought. Also (small gripe warning) what happened to the awesome programmes that were coming out of Rotorua? Maybe a cost cutting measure but I miss those AWS graphics...
Finally, Peter Ress may not have made the podium for this title but he did take out the BOP Superstock title on Saturday night despite a great effort from 37r Ken Hunter to take him out in the third heat. Has any driver ever had a season as spectacularly successful as Rees is having this year? Its almost a privilege to watch him drive. So a qualifying night that I didn't think would offer up too much excitement presented Rees at his best and the much vaunted Zac Thompson from Blenheim living up to the hype that we in the North Island have heard so much about.
8r Scott Fredrickson 80pts
95r Dale Stewart 76pts
17b Aaron Iremonger 69pts
71w Benji Sneddon 67pts
2nz Peter Rees 63pts
2010 review here
2009 review here
Monday, March 21, 2011
Superstock Teams Nationals
Waikaraka Park, Auckland
With a fairly successful first night, not only were the weather Gods playing the game but also a much bigger crowd turned up for finals night and most would have left well pleased with the teams racing at least. The support programme included the Minisprint GP, 18 Modifieds for the Auckland title and 10 Supersaloons.
First Semi Final
Palmerston North Panthers v Waikato Wanderers
Waikato were going to have to really raise the bar if they were to beat the Panthers and just a lap in it was looking good when 96h Aaron Headington managed to roll 8p Scott Joblin in turn 4. At the same time 95h Ansty was being blocked by 7p Bengsten. The red lights came on for Joblin and there were good signs for the Wanderers but unfortunately 93h Karl Ross who had been put into the wall on turn 1 would remain stuck there for the rest of the race, so any advantage had just been lost. Upon the restart Palmy assumed its usual tactic of 2 runners with Bengsten left to do the blocking. 97h and 96h both ran for Waikato and only Ansty slowed to block. The hallmark of this Panthers team is that they never seem to panic and no matter what happens in the first few laps they seem to have a composure and sense of purpose that other teams lack. Shane Penn took the win with 97h, 96h and 5p Rees all on the same lap. Win to the Panthers and a place in the finals.
Second Semi Final
Rotorua Rebels v Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes
Personally I wanted Rotorua to win this because they looked the stronger of the two teams and it would make a better final in theory. HB's chances were looking shakey after the warm up laps with smoke coming from 31b Long's car resulting in a 3 minute bell before withdrawing from the team. This meant 34b Mike Mac would take his place and he had been a massive asset to the team so far with his blocking. From the green light 32b Palamountain stayed on the brakes blocking the entire row while the other row almost completed a lap (which would be a huge talking point later) 95r Hewson was leading but was taken out by 34b. This gave the lead to 35b Steve Jude and then a passage of the race where hits were going in everywhere. Easily the most action of any race from the whole weekend. It ended with a group of cars piling into each other by the start finish line resulting in Jude being spun and facing the wrong way where upon he was hit by two Rotorua cars. Now I'm just guessing, but one of the hits was by 95r Hewson and a red light was activated and he was removed to the infield. With 8 laps still to run there were plenty of damaged cars. It appeared at this point that 98r was leading from 33b and 97r Horse in third. 32b Palamountain spun 98r giving the lead to Foley which set up a nail biting finish where Foley was held up just metres from the line while the tank raced passed for a great win to Rotorua, or so it seemed. The flag was given to Foley and the win to HB with the news that 97r was a lap down.
5th and 6th Place
Auckland Allstars v Kihikihi Kings
Essentially the fight for the wooden spoon. Auckland only had four cars with 9a Hammond out. Paul Vasey took on the blocking role and 8a Bryce Marx did the running. 7a Mitchell was off early and although the Kings had many attempts, particularly Dion Mooney, Marx was able to continue on and take the flag for the Allstars first win of the weekend. No disgrace either for the Kings, as both teams had been worthy additions to the weekends racing.
3rd and 4th Place
Rotorua Rebels v Waikato Wanderers
With both Ansty and Hewson as reserves both teams had lost a potent team member. 97h lead early by was held up by the omnipresent tank of Ross Ashby, giving the lead to 98r. In fact the tank was really the difference between both teams, Ashby seemed to have a hand in everything. The lead changed a few times but Waikato seemed unable to capitalise and the structure of their race fell away. Rotorua's Bryce Steiner coming home for the win ahead of Karl Ross and Mark Decke.
Another strong result for Rotorua but as with the teams meeting in Palmy, they showed alot more cohesion than in recent years and this team really does look the goods for next season.
Palmerston North Panthers v Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes
The odds-on favourites up against fierce rivals Hawkes Bay who really had quite a challenge ahead of them. Perhaps wisely, maybe not with hindsight, the stockcar of 34b Mike Mac was reserve along with 6p Wayne Hemi. From the green flag 7p Peter Bengsten took the lead followed by 9p and 8p. HB's usual runner Steve Jude walled Peter Rees but then had problems and went to the infield. 31b Long blocked Bengsten until being put up the wall leaving 4 Palmy cars running against 3 as Jude had rejoined the race. Before the green light was activated 32b limped to the infield effectively ending HB's chances, 4 v 2. From there on Rees blocked Gary Foley and Bengsten blocked Jude leaving 9p Penn and 8p Joblin reeling off the laps towards an inevitable Panthers win. It almost felt as though the drivers orchestrated the finish with Penn winning the race in his last teams appearance for the Panthers, a fitting way to go out with the chequered flag for one of their strongest assets.
So that was it for another year, 5 wins in a row for the most successful race team in the sport for many years, possibly ever. Was the meeting a success? Well I guess the acid test will be whether it runs again next season, hopefully it will and the noises since the meeting seem to indicate it didnt make a loss, lets hope that is the case. Roll on next years Teams Nationals, hopefully with at least 8 teams and a full house!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Superstock Teams Nationals
Waikaraka Park, Auckland
Last season this meeting got the chop leaving Palmerston North with the only viable Superstock teams meeting, a sad indictment on the class. This year, the new promotion team at Auckland's Waikaraka Park decided to give the Teams Nats a lease of life, and over the last few weeks it has been a massive effort by those involved, to not only stage the meeting but getting enough teams to front and make some money. Then came news of the price increase and all sorts of negative feedback about unrealistic charges and threats of no shows from spectators. The good news is the meeting did in fact proceed with six decent teams and most importantly the reigning champs fielding a full strength Panthers team giving the meeting some credibility.
So how was it? Personally I thought it was as good as any recent teams meeting at WP, had some great action, a very strong support programme and although Friday nights crowd was light, the Saturday crowd was large and the atmosphere pretty good. The big question will be whether costs were covered, if the price increase was a good move and more importantly, if it is possible to get at least 8 teams back for next season, if WP do in fact run the meeting again. I hope they do, it has a great history and who in their right mind would turn up the opportunity to see Superstock teams racing in Auckland for $15 more than a club night? How much would you spend in gas to travel to some other track to see a similar meeting - quite absurd the fuss that was generated over the increase in entry.
Palmerston North Panthers v Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes
When your team can leave someone like Peter Bengsten on the infield as reserve it really does make the opposition wonder what they have to do to beat this squad! 6p Wayne Hemi took 31p Murray Long straight into the wall from the green flag, Shane Penn and Peter Rees did the running for Palmy and 33b Foley for HB. Apart from a big shot by 32b Palamountain on 8p Scott Joblin, it was a fairly easy win for the Panthers. Panthers 165 v Hawkeyes 30
Rotorua Rebels v Waikato Wanderers
Rotorua won the toss and after a false start 95r Scott Hewson took up the running duties for the Rebels. This race would be noted for the incident involving Ross Ashby and Tony Wootten resulting in Wootten rolling over on the infield. 97h was out and on the red light Rotorua were holding positions 1, 2 and 3 with the tank still able to continue in the blocking role. As many cars would over the weekend, 95h Ansty went over the bonnet of the tank and rolled to a halt on the infield. By the end of the race only 96h Headington was still mobile for the Wanderers and Rotorua took a convincing win. Rebels 185 v Wanderers 10
Auckland Allstars v Hawkes Bay Hawkeyes
The long awaited return for Allstars fans took a bit hit with 9a Daryl Hammond being tipped over just feet from the start line by Murray Long and Mike MacLaughlin. 8a Bryce Marx took the lead early on, great blocking from 7a Ricky Mitchell kept the Allstars in with a show until 34b spun Marx and 35b Steve Jude took over the lead and held it. A good even race but a vital win for HB.
Kihikihi Kings v Waikato Wanderers
Wootten sat this one out along with 29k. 93h Karl Ross took the lead early, Ansty held 25k in the wall. 94h Remnant took 27k Ridland up the wall leaving him perched there but damaged his own front end. On the restart after the red, 95h Ansty dealt a massive hit to Ian Barron. This left 3 Waikato cars against 2 Kings. Ansty and Remnant finished off 25k Guilford and only 28k Mytton was left running. Win to 93h Ross.
Auckland Allstars v Palmerston North Panthers
Talk about daunting! 5a Vasey was out with damage from their first race and Joblin sat out for the Panthers. Penn immediately tried to take 4a Phil Marx up the wall but he was able to ride it out. Hemi and Bryce Marx both ground to a halt early. Rees put a big hit in on 7a Mitchell but the veteran withstood it and at one point had 3 Panther cars attempting to take him out. It was an awesome sight to see Mitchell's blocking skills back on show. A couple of red light incidents saw the removal of both 8a and 7a for infringements and ended any hopes the Aucks had although a great drive from Phil Marx got him home in second behind Penn and ahead of the only two other finishers, Bengston and Rees.
Rotorua Rebels v Kihikihi Kings
This would turn out to be the race of the night with the biggest crash too. From my scribbled notes I had 27k puts 98r up wall, Decke leading but has problem and slows, 29k goes up and over the bonnet of Ashby's tank and 95h Ansty puts him up the wall. Decke retires and 28k Mytton is leading but makes the fatal mistake of running around the tank on the front straight. The tank clips him and Steiny finishes him off send him flying into the wall and up into the fencing in a spectacular crash. On the red light, there was still 7 laps to go and with 25k Guilford still leading it was looking like an upset was on the cards. 97r Ashby managed to spin Guilford and 95r Hewson took over the lead and held out for the win. Guilford coming home in second from 27k. A great race to end the night and a taste of things to come on finals night.
Support racing for Friday night included the Stocky boys who really turned on some great action. Race one and the sight of 65a Adam Mills sitting on top of the wall between turns 3 & 4 was the standout moment. I missed the incident but I believe Grant Littlewood was the culprit. I spent most of the race watching 137a Jamie Fergusson making life difficult for visitor 162p Adam Joblin and anyone else he felt like attacking, great skills. 22 starters and only 10 finishing summed this race up, a great start to the night. 95a, 741a, 21a, 168a
Heat two featured a great duel between 95a Gary Lonergan and 59a Grant Littlewood that had quite a few lead changes and also 162p Joblin got a fairly clear run in this race managing to pip Lonergan for second place once Grunter had cleared out for the win. Again a lot of action featured in this heat setting up a good third heat. With 59a winning, the points after two heats were: 95a Lonergan on 48pts and starting on grid 16, 741a Craig Chatfield on 46pts but way back on grid 21, 162p Adam Joblin, 29a Scott Tennant, 91a Paul Chatfield and 57a Ryan Eustace all on 39pts off grids 9, 19, 1 and 17.
Heat 3 suffered a few casualties with most of the front few rows empty. Visitor Joblins run ended early with tyre problems and 95a Lonergan was able to take advantage and win the race and title. Craig Chatfield took second and second overall and 29a Tennant continued his great debut season with a third in heat three managing third overall. 95a, 741a, 29a, 9a, 45a, 13a, 168a, 77a. Overall points 95a 73pts, 741a 70pts and 29a 62pts.
A great first night, the two obvious contenders being Rotorua and Palmerston North. The four teams that got through to the semis on points being Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Waikato. Auckland and Kihikihi would fight it out for 5th and 6th.
Night two review coming...