Sunday, October 28, 2012
Waikaraka kicks off
Delayed a week due to the weather, Waikaraka Park kicked off its second season under promoter Bruce Robertson and immediately you would have noticed a change in the pits pre-meeting... Superstocks! What a welcome return, particularly for a number of cars that used to have the letter A grace the side of the car, falling back into the fold it would seem. Hopefully the promise of full fields of a class that all but died save the efforts of the Marx team and Paul Vasey. The programme had listed 15 drivers not including Tim Nicholls who ran the 63a Super last night. Bryce Marx, Phil Marx, Wayne Whittaker, Lance Ashton, Darren Short, Karl Ross, Gary Ellis, Kerry Remnant, Gavin Entwistle, Brad Ridland, Ricky Mitchell, Paul Vasey, Warwick Ansty, Aaron Headington and Ryan Harrison from the UK.
Anyway onto the meeting, similar to Huntly last week, WP decided to offer an incentive for the Stockcar class by running the City of Sails Stockcar title on opening night. Whereas Huntly canned their Waikato Title due to low numbers, the City of Sails title was contested with only 14 cars which is a pity as this title has been a huge highlight these last couple of seasons. One little nitpick I will throw in here that I have noticed happening at ALL clubs over the last few seasons, there is little or no history of the event being contested mentioned in the programme, no previous winners, defending champs etc. So just to fill in the gaps, last seasons running of this event was won by 59a Grant Littlewood ahead of Gary Lonergan and Bernie Fox. In 2010 it was a run-off between 81h Rod Smythe and 69a Dave Seymore to find the winner, Smythe taking the honours. This year Gary Lonergan improved one position and took the title from visitor and main threat 8r Scott Fredrickson, 29a Scott Tennant by virtue of a heat three win took third place.
Heat one was fairly tame as expected being the very first race of the season. 8r Fredrickson took an easy win although he did have to avoid a few attempts by 9a Cam Kenworthy to impede him, 29a Tennant, 95a Lonergan, 21a Dixon and 741a Chatfield filled out the top 5 places. 11 cars fronted for heat two. Spins for Chatfield and Tennant would cost them plenty of places and Bernie Fox almost had the win until riding up over the wheel of 33a Haydn Cossey. Lonergan able to take the lead and win. Fox finishing second ahead of a tentative Fredrickson who looked like he was waiting for the big hit that never came. 21a Dixon running well and getting his second 4th place finish ahead of 441h Andy Weir. This left 8r and 95a tied on 26pts, 21a and 29a on 22pts, 441h on 19 and 741a on 16pts. We were down to 10 cars although the 9a managed to get back on track and provided most of the action. With 33a sitting on the brakes at the start and 9a having a jab at Lonergan, Tennant took off in the lead. Lonergan saw an opportunity to end Fredrickson's chances and just missed with a big lunge in turn 4. Kenworthy had another go at Fredrickson and Lonergan paid back the earlier hit from 9a. Kenworthy had one more good go at 95a forcing him into the wall and a shower of sparks before the 9a car eventually died. 2nz Fox then took over the stirring and after holding up the Rotorua driver, Lonergan passed them and took outright second behind Tennant and the points win over Fredrickson. Chatfield finished 4th ahead of Dixon who was another target of Fox. Good stuff but at times with a field of only 10 cars it wasnt really going to set the park alight.
The support programme consisted of 14 Saloons, 24 Ministocks, 9 Superstocks and 6 Modifieds. Bodie Abrahamson in the saloons and Luke Brown and the Ministocks really stood out and the battle between 55s and 64a Modifieds in their feature race was a great. Superstock wins went to 11a Gary Ellis,115a Darren Short and 5a Brad Ridland.