Monday, October 24, 2011
A new beginning, again.
Grand Opening, Meeting 1
Waikaraka Park, Auckland
One of the major offseason points of interest during the winter months was the announcement of the new promoters at Waikaraka Park. Taking over the reins, the very successful duo of Bruce Robertson and Bryan Puklowski who run Palmerston North Speedway, home of the biggest meeting of the season and the most registered competitors of any track in New Zealand. A very successful operation by all accounts, so adding them into the mix with the 'graveyard of good intentions and grand plans' that we lovingly call Waikaraka Park, certainly makes one hell of an interesting equation. The short lead up to this meeting didn't give them much time to make obvious changes to the actual speedway and probably this season will be very much a steady-as-she-goes approach I'm guessing. So with the first meeting the numbers in the pits were very similar to what you would expect for an opening night. New cars were thin on the ground, new paint jobs were more the order of the day. 10 saloons, 17 stockcars, 9 Superstocks, 29 MiniStocks and 8 Modifieds rolled out the pit gate to a modest crowd.
Jamie Fox took honours on and off the track with the incredibly cool looking Anglia-bodied modified but close on his heels were a few of the MiniStocks with 13r one of the most beautifully presented stocks I've ever seen, stunning. The stockcar racing started off very tame which is understandable on the first night but for the feature they turned on some biff and bash with 85a Shannon Savage giving 59a Trevor Mason a ride up the wall. Superstocks 5k Brad Ridland won heats 1 & 2 but 414h Warwick Ansty made sure he didnt take the feature, that going to 115h Darren Short. Ray Chatfield took the biggest tumble in the Modified class, it looked painful and expensive too. Best battle of the night though was 2nz Phil Towgood v 46a Nigel Ross in the Saloons. The meeting ran smoothly and finished before 10pm. I left a bit before that though. As opening nights go, it was everything you would expect, safe racing mostly, lots of DNF's and not much else to write home about.
It feels like I have written this next sentence many, many times, BUT, always the optimist: "it was a fairly good start to the season and with this new promoter we are looking forward to some great meetings ahead..." just maybe with this new team things might really change for the better and the Waikaraka faithful might have something to cheer about in 2011/12! Last point, my bloody camera gave up the ghost so there are only a few photos sorry, will be seeking out a repair place this week pronto.
Meeting rating : 6/10
Programme : $1 black and white, adequate, no driver listings
Food : Some things never change, Hamburger $7
Competitor numbers : 73 over 5 classes
Driver of the night : 3nz Jamie Fox
Parking : Free