Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A little ripper...

Waikato Superstock Title, Waikato Sprintcars, 
George Hazelton / Alex Gillan Memorial Stockcars
Huntly Speedway, December 8, 2012

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With not much else happening in the upper North Island this meeting should have had bumper fields but the two major classes featured, Superstocks and Sprintcars both contesting their respective Waikato titles failed to gather more than 8 entries, Sprintcars managing only 6. Despite that, and for whatever reason drivers chose not to run, Huntly served up a little ripper of a meeting and I'm pleased to say the Stockcars were the reason punters would have gone home very happy with their $15 investment.

The Superstocks and Sprintcars put on some good fast racing specially James Dahm in the 6m, but the titles seem a little devalued with fields of this size and the Waikato Superstock title carries a lot of prestige I would have thought. Anyway the Supersaloons managed to provide a whole reel of highlights themselves (good and bad ones), Lance Jennings won the Kevin Bates Memorial for heat three while 98h Greg Powell took the overall title, easily the most spectacular driver of the night.

The Stockcars running for the combined George Hazelton (overall points) and Alex Gillan (Heat 3) Memorials, three heats of mostly local cars (26 entries) served up some great racing and plenty of good old fashioned contact. Heat one set the tone from the green with 81h Rod Smythe being spun on the opening corner and dropped to last place. 53h Matt Hazelton lead out from there but this heat would see a stream of leaders removed, spun or bashed out of contention. Visitor 9a Cam Kenworthy provided the first big moment with a well timed walling and roll of the 27h car of Brett Aiken before ploughing into the stationery 34h Anton Leek who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Red lights and Ali Van Amsterdam was leading from 441h Andy Weir, 53h Hazelton, 37h Ben Caldwell, 36h Mark Caldwell and 168h Billy Neill. The long awaited return of the awesome looking 12h tank of Lionel Halse was mixing it up and took out 17k Ben Patrick in turn 4. 7k Dave Moore's stirring slowed up with a puncture before 48h Scott Gallop spun the leader Van Amsterdam, then 168h Neill and finally 9a Kenworthy on the same lap! 88h Justin Hutchby not one to miss out on the fun spun the new leader Wier handing the lead to the 36h Caldwell car. On the final lap almost every car in the leading group was tagged including 49h Tony Van Lieshout, 51h and 168h. As Malcolm Sines said, and I have to agree, "pull the chequered flag back in and let them keep going!"
36h, 53h, 55h, 51h, 86h, 37h, 441h, 49h, 81h, 63h

Heat 2 was all about 88h Justin Hutchby who went into complete stirring mode, focusing on Andy Weir and Rod Smythe in the first few laps before deciding anyone was worth a hit. The battle continued for 12h v 17k but the reds were brought on for 9a after 48h Gallop sent him heavily into the turn 4 wall wrecking the front right steering. Gallop also managed to spin 49h, but it was 55h Neville Hazelton leading and running a rather charmed race as the chaos reigned around him. Weir got some revenge on Gallop before 17k joined the battle and 49h Van Lieshout narrowly avoided becoming Gallop's final victim on the run for home avoiding a huge lunge from the 48h.
55h, 168h, 86h, 37h, 49h, 36h, 17k, 13h, 441h, 95h
Points after two brutal heats had 55h Hazelton on 50pts, 36h Mark Caldwell on 47pts, 86h Kris Allen 46pts, 37h Ben Caldwell 44pts and 49h Van Leishout rounding out the top 5.

Heat 3 49h Tony Van Leishout was 5th on points and lead early in the final heat but it was 86h Allen first to fall out of contention, Kenworthy the destroyer, next Hutchby removed the 49h and 55h Hazelton took over the lead and potentially the title if he could avoid trouble and that's exactly what he did. Kenworthy's next target was 37h Caldwell and 168h Neill got caught up in the mix. Hazelton's last test was avoiding a big meelee of cars on the last lap with 7k Moore in the middle of it all, which he did and took both titles winning heat three and overall points. An emotional Hazelton said he had been trying to win the George Hazelton title for years and couldnt believe he had finally done it, a well deserved win in a car that is unbelievably fast and strong AND for sale for 10k, amazing it hasn't sold. Both Hutchby and Gallop would have been worthy winners of the Stirrers Trophy, my money was on the 48h.  Alex Gillan Memorial: 55h, 27h, 81h, 36, 441h, 49h, 168h, 17k, 86h, 95h

Overall (George Hazelton Memorial)
55h  Neville Hazelton 76pts
36h  Mark Caldwell 70pts
86h  Kris Allen 64pts
49h  Tony Van Lieshout 62pts
441h Andy Weir 60pts

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