Monday, November 21, 2011
TWS Stockcar Teams
How good it feels sitting here on a bright sunny Sunday reflecting on the Auckland Alleycats comprehensive win in the final of last nights stockcar teams meeting at Huntly Speedway. It has taken until now of course to warm up after a chilly night of viewing but if that's the only complaint from a weekend of top notch racing then it was a very small price to pay. How good were they? Well as a one-eyed Aucklander I have to say I was damn proud of the boys and I'll apologise now to the poor buggers filming the meeting either side of me who will no doubt have to edit out some colourful language and noisy celebratory cheering. It was worth it though, what a great final. Here then are a few short notes on the finals night match-ups. I forgot to take my trusty notebook so most of it was scribbled on the back of an old bank statement, so it could be a bit 'unofficial' shall we say.
Stratford Stormers v Meeanee Maulers
First up race for these teams meant a very wet track and it played out almost in slow motion. 85b Iremonger took off as HB runner followed by 404s and Beatle Tarrant, the entire rest of the field sat on the start finish line. Iremonger got held up by 406s on lap two giving the lead to 404s. 406s Sandy Flett put in a great shot on 86B Cooke, then took out 84b Tarrant. 81b O'Brien put in a great shot on 404s and did some great blocking instead of his usual runner role. 404s Hayden Barker had taken over the lead and looked set to give the Stormers a win but on the final lap O'Brien smashed him into the turn 1 wall giving the lead back to 85B for the win. Maulers go into the race for 5th and 6th.
Gisborne Gladiators v Manawatu Steelers
I understand 9p Gareth Edwards was injured so Manawatu only had 4 cars , 61g was the sub for Gizzy. Manawatu had pole and 510p Knight shot out in front followed by 971p Jayden Ward. 67g took a huge lunge at Knight that involved a bit of lawnmowing that would result in a fine later on but the damage done to 510p ended his race. 64g took out 97p Ward but damage to 66g Hutton meant he sat out a few laps trying to restart. He managed to get going again and held up the lead car 971p giving a brief glimmer of hope to the Gladiators with 62g in front. Rob Mason spun him, Jayden Ward assumed the lead role and held if for win to the Steelers. 67g came home second.
Wanganui Vulcans v Auckland Alleycats
Auckland won the toss and elected to start as far out by the wall as you can get. The race was almost immediately won with one simple hard hit on Vulcans hard man Dion Mooney. Bernie Fox spun him in turn four and Gary Lonergan smashed the spinning 6v taking out his left front wheel. 4 v 3 didn't mean it was over as the Wanganui boys gave everything they had. 96v was leading the race until 137a Fergusson held him up, 383a Lonergan moved into first place followed by 99v. 7v Cunningham got a great shot in on 333a Mark McNabb, smashed his mirrors which made it difficult, was blocking by hearing the cars come up on him, got some right and some wrong. Then 7v with 96v held 137a Fergusson in against the wall but with one car down and two trying to stop the 137a it left only Blair Lockett running. Lonergan won the race, 137a escaped and managed to finish of Lockett leaving the 7v tank the lone finisher for Wanganui. Auckland through to the final.
Waikato Raiders v Rotorua Rascals
204r and 94h were the subs and Waikato drew pole position. From memory Rotorua has usually had the better of the many encounters between these two old foes but after Friday nights qualifying Rotorua had looked a bit rusty compared to the Raiders sharp performances. 203r stood on the brakes, 202r lead from 95h. 97h took over the lead as 205r went off to the infield. 203r held up Scott Gallop, and 98h Hutchby managed to push 203r into 206r. Rotorua looked a bit disorganised and 97h managed to complete laps unscathed and the only car finishing on 12 laps. 94h had spent most of the race stalled on turned 2, so it had been a very good performance for the Raiders who would meet the Alleycats in the final.
7th and 8th Place
Gisborne Gladiators v Stratford Stormers
66g and 404s subs. It had been a hard weekend for both teams but Stratford proved too strong for a Gisborne team that really faded in this race. A 1-2-3 finish for the Stormers and a complete capitulation from the Gladiators, 407s taking the win from 408s and 406s.
5th and 6th Place
Manawatu Steelers v Meeanee Maulers
The 501p car was damaged and out but I have a feeling Jay Knight was driving the 9p, 83b Andrew Powell was the other no show obviously. HB had pole. 971p Jayden Ward did the running for the Steelers and 97p Graeme went out to do the damage! He put Maulers runner 81b on the grass then launched big time at 84b Tarrant. It was looking good for the Palmy boys until 971p found himself isolated and on the back of 3 HB cars, he punctured his rear tyre and his running was over. 85b Aaron Iremonger assumed first place and apart from a red light incident late in the race he was untroubled for the Maulers win and 5th place finish.
3rd and 4th Place
Wanganui Vulcans v Rotorua Rascals
206r was the sub for Rotorua. Maybe the race of the weekend? It will be remembered for the monster hit from 86v Francis Potaka on 205r Jeff Munro who was leading the race. My notes say "205r smeared across the wall" between turns 3 + 4 and the car was quite a wreck as they towed it back to the infield. You could see the hit coming half way down the back straight and boy was it a big hit. There was more carnage throughout this race, a red light for a fire under 6v Mooney's car and a huge hit on 86v as he crossed the line for the win. Wanganui take third place with only 2 Rotorua cars finishing.
Auckland Alleycats v Waikato Raiders
This was the final most people were wanting (well at least the people sitting around me.) It was also the race that 833a Bernie Fox delivered big time for the Alleycats putting in a huge roll on Scott Gallop and eventually winning the race. Gary Lonergan had lead out for the A's but on turn two 98h Justin Hutchby turned in front of the 838a car and did some serious damage. Fox rolled Gallop and the red lights came on. Hutchbys race was over, Gallop was out and things were looking good for Auckland. On the restart Lonergan was stationery and as with all good finals there has to be some controversy, 333a Mark McNabb reversed a few car lengths and push started Lonergan. I believe he was fined for the incident but luckily neither car won the race so in my eyes it wasn't so bad, and because Im biased I believe he actually 'accidentally hooked reverse' before realising the mistake and then bumped into Lonergan who had missed the green light because he was concerned with Scott Gallops well being... anyway 137a Fergusson managed to put yet another car up the wall and by race end it was a fairly comprehensive victory for the Alleycats. It came at a price looking at the damage to the cars, the 333a toasted the engine, the 137a front end and body were munted, also the damage to Lonergan's car but a great victory none the less. The Raiders cars also looked very second hand and epitomised the incredible effort teams put in to make this meeting a success.
1st Auckland Alleycats
2nd Waikato Raiders
3rd Wanganui Vulcans
4th Rotorua Rascals
5th Meeanee Maulers
6th Manawatu Steelers
7th Stratford Stormers
8th Gisborne Gladiators
Some final thoughts then, compared to just a few seasons ago, the quality of racing at this event has improved immensely. There are no 'easy' teams anymore and this event could become the equivalent of the Palmy teams for superstocks. I know there is an official Stockcar teams champs for this class but that travels to the winners club each season, this one stays put. You meet up with your mates, you sit in your favourite seats and diss each others teams! The quality of the support racing was light years better than past shows and hotdog classes were few and far between. And did I mention the Alleycats won? Huge thanks to all the teams that participated, I feel like my 2011/12 season has just kicked off for real.
Meeting rating : 9/10
Driver of the Meeting : 137a Jamie Fergusson
Honourable mentions : 86v Francis Potaka, 510p Jay Knight, 6v Dion Mooney, 7v Justin Cunningham, 971p Jayden Ward
Previous Huntly Teams reviews:
2010 night 1 here night 2 here
2008 night 1 here night 2 here