Here are a few photos from the Huntly pits from yet another rained out meeting this season. I believe it's the 5th one for Huntly. There was a decent field for the Stockcar title so it was very disappointing but understandable when they made the call to end it. I ordered some chips as I was leaving and the guy in the caravan said "are you sure you wouldn't like 30 hamburgers to go with that?" at least they have a good sense of humour, I had lost mine by then.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Monday, March 19, 2012
King Country Supestocks
Kihikihi Speedway, Te Awamutu
You cant beat a sunny Sunday meeting at Kihikihi Speedway. A few more cars in the two Stockcar classes would have made the meeting better but after missing the War of the Stocks at Rotorua I was happy just sitting back and enjoying some racing. Superstocks were contesting the King Country title and drew a fairly even field of just 10 cars. Heat 1 and 66k Connor Garrett's meeting was over before it started, failing to move from the green flag. He was joined on the infield by 115h Darren Short, 73h Karl Ross and 91r SJ Cavell who was red lighted for a loose wheel guard, also a DNF for 23k James Ford driving the Rick Taylor car. This basically left a 3 way fight between 5r Laurence Christini, 39s Michel Willemsen and 7r Kyle Stove and that's the order they finished in.
5r, 39s, 7r, 5k, 58k
Heat 2 had 39s and 5r on grids one and two and with the Stratford car managing a pass mid-race on Christini, it meant they finished the first two heats with a win and a second place each. 5k Brad Ridland came home third ahead of 7r Stove and 58k Steve Frost. DNF's for Ross and Cavell.
39s, 5r, 5k, 7r, 58k
Heat 3 came down to whoever finished ahead of the other driver between the two most dominant, Willemsen and Christini. Ridland lead out early but 5r and 39s reeled him in and Christini held his nerve and first place to take the title with the heat 3 win.
5r, 39s, 5k, 91r, 7r, 58k
Stockcar wins went to 98k Rhys Beaumont, 11h Hayden Webster and Beaumont having to dish out a severe hit to 13h to claim the feature race. The support programme also included Production Saloons, Tq's, Midgets and Saloons.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Superstock Teams Nationals
Waikaraka Park, Auckland
The 'Teams Nats' held at Waikaraka Park last Friday and Saturday night have had a turbulent history in recent times. Once a huge drawcard managing to host sixteen teams, only to become a poor imitation of itself a few years ago when six teams full of ring-ins were scraped together to contest the title. It's future looked bleak, but with nine clubs represented at this years event, including returning favourites Nelson and Wellington, the Nats appear to have made a rather welcome return. The crowd size on Saturday was also a reminder of the glory days and an action packed final between reigning champs Palmerston North and the Waikato Wanderers the icing on the cake.
Semi Final 1
Rotorua Rebels v Palmerston North Panthers
Rotorua had the momentum going into this semi having beaten Palmy on the Friday night but as everyone knows, the Panthers are never down for long and so it would be with this race. Rotorua had pole, 99r Mark Decke stood on the brakes and held up the inside row. 5p Rees made the first telling move by taking 95r Scott Hewson into and up the wall puncturing his right front and eliminating Rotorua's obvious runner. 98r Bryce Steiner was stationary next to the pair as the rest of the field got underway. By turn 4 Peter Bengsten had tipped 99r Decke on his side bringing on the red lights. So within one lap, Palmy had Penn and Joblin in first and second ahead of 92r Kyle Fraser, with damage to Hewson, and Decke towed off. The race was effectively won already. In the next few laps Rees put in a huge hit on Steiner, and then put Hewson up the wall on the front straight bringing on the reds again for both to be removed. Rotorua's sensational hitman this season Steiner, had trouble restarting and both Penn and Joblin reeled off the laps for an easier victory than most expected. A clinical Palmy win with the added bonus of most cars being damage free for the final.
Semi Final 2
Waikato Wanderers v Wellington Wildcats
Sometimes it can be really hard supporting the Wanderers but when they race like they did in this semi, they are a joy to watch. 93h Karl Ross lead out from pole with 5w Alan Levien. The two came together on the back straight with Ross managing to put the 5w up the wall and almost over with the Wildcat managing to come back down straddled across the track. On lap two, Ross came across Levien and hit the 5w side on in possibly the biggest hit of the weekend. Red lights to remove Levien's car and the Wanderers with a 4 on to 3 advantage. Ross and 97h Darren Short were running for the Wanderers while 95h Ansty slowed 52w Paul Gaskin. It was about mid race when the Wildcats suddenly seemed to come alive, 6w Dale Robertson taking Ross to the infield with some great blocking and a little bit of controversy considering what would happen later in the final, Ross not circling back to rejoin where he went on to the grass. Gaskin put a huge hit on Darren Short before 96h Tony Wootten ended the Wildcats chances by firing the 15w Paul Fairbrother car up the wall, bringing on the reds. Robertson had one more go at race leader Ross as he crossed the finish line but it was too little too late, Waikato into the final.
Palmerston North Panthers v Waikato Wanderers
Waikato won the coin toss and took pole position with 93h Karl Ross on grid 1, 9p Shane Penn on 2, Bengston and Ansty on 3 and 4, Short and Rees on 5 and 6, Miers and Wootten off the back grids. The green flag dropped on what would be a spectacular final. Ross was the first casualty sent into the wall early giving the lead to Penn and Bengston. Ansty managed to slow Penn, Bengsten continued leading alone. 8p Miers slowed Ross but the first major incident involved Ansty holding up Bengston only for Rees to barrel into the fight tipping his team mate on his side. On the red lights the running order had been 7p, 5p, 9p and 97h. Rees was now leading and began charging around the track. Miers had been spun by Wootten and when a group of cars merged on turn 1, Rees powered into the back of the 96h who in turn fired the 8p tank into the wall and up on its side. Red lights again and the crowd was beginning to wonder which team Rees was working for with two superb hits eliminating his own team mates. Unfortunately for Waikato, Wootten was also removed. On the red, Rees was still leading but Waikato's runner Ross had problems with the car and was not running at any pace.
There were 7 laps to go with Penn and Rees vs Ross, Ansty and Short. The next significant event was a huge blow for the Panthers when 97h Short managed to damage the right front tyre of Rees slowing him considerably. Ansty and Short took on Rees and the three of them headed towards the backstraight wall with Short sent skywards and coming down on top of the Rees chassis, linking the cars together. Red lights and Rees was given the opportunity to get his car free but was unable to, both cars eliminated. This left two Waikato cars, both not running 100% against Penn's car which appeared to be undamaged and leading. The last remaining laps were great as Penn played cat and mouse with the Huntly boys, avoiding them until finally having to engage with Ansty in a decisive move that caused the Palmy car to cross the pole line to get by the 95h. It barely registered with me as a moment of huge importance but Penn crossed the line and the Panthers had taken another teams racing title. Post race and as we all know now, the result was overturned and Waikato handed the trophy because of the pole line infringement.
It seemed like a harsh call to me. I have to admit I was cheering for the Waikato boys but in light of the many, many pole-line indiscretions over the weekend and the bearing this one had on the overall race, which to me was minimal, it was still a BIG call. One thing you can always rely on with Superstock teams racing is there will be controversy and it doesn't get much bigger than losing the title in these sorts of circumstances. The Rotorua Rebels managed to head off the Wildcats in the fight for 3rd and 4th with Bryce Steiner coming home first ahead of the hard charging 6w Dale Robertson in the Rees tank - what a combination. Hewson and 84w Mike Pye rounded out the top four and what was a great comeback for the Wellington team after many seasons away. The Manawatu Mustangs dished out some pain to the Nelson Tigers in the race for 5th and 6th with both 85n Dale Ewers and 86n Blair Cunningham being rolled in a fairly one sided affair.
I've been coming to this meeting for umpteen years and Saturday night really felt like a return to the good old days, the crowd size was impressive and the racing was back to its best. There's a few areas to fix but unless you were a diehard Palmy fan, there was little to complain about. One thing that does seem to have been overlooked amid all the controversy was the end of what must be the longest winning streak of any team at any meeting of this type. Huge congratulations to the Palmerston North Panthers on setting a record that I doubt any team will match again. I think we have been blessed to watch the almost unbeatable Panthers combination of Miers, Hemi, Joblin, Bengsten, Penn and Rees. As for the Teams Nationals, I think we about to enter another golden phase of teams racing at Waikaraka Park...
Meeting rating : 7/10
Programme : SOLD OUT! Anyone got a spare?
Driver of the weekend : 98r Bryce Steiner, new car, new attitude, best season in ages.
Parking : Free
Best Moment : The final was a stunner
For the Record, Night 1 Results:
Panthers 85 v Rebels 110
Allstars 45 v Rebels 150
Panthers 160 v Allstars 35
Totals: Panthers 245, Rebels 260, Allstars 80
Hawkeyes 125 v Mustangs 60
Wanderers 70 v Mustangs 125
Hawkeyes 40 v Wanderers 155
Totals: Hawkeyes 165, Mustangs 185, Wanderers 225
Tigers 85 v Warriors 110
Wildcats 170 v Warriors 25
Tigers 130 V Wildcats 65
Totals: Tigers 215, Warriors 135, Wildcats 235