Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not too shabby!

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Superstock Teams Nationals, Night 1
Waikaraka Park, Auckland Mar 8 + 9

Seven teams made the draw for the 25th running of the Teams Nationals meeting at Waikaraka Park for 2013. The Rotorua Rebels and Hawke's Bay Hawkeyes the notable omissions this year for various reasons. The teams entered though were a fine bunch and a bumper Friday night crowd were in for a treat with some no holds barred racing giving some value to the $30 entry fee.

The Wellington Wildcats and Manawatu Mustangs were first up and by lap 2 we had our first rollover of the weekend, 6w Dale Robertson (courtesy of 66p Jack Miers) taking that honour. Miers continued on and finished the race although the tank never appeared again for the night. 64p Kerry Humphrey put in one of the biggest hits of qualifying night on 52w Paul Gaskin. With four cars against only two Wildcats, the Mustangs cruised to a fairly easy win. Mustangs 160 v Wildcats 35. Race two was the one most people were anticipating, Palmerston North against the Bay Park Busters and it delivered! Both 8p Scott Miers and 12m Kyle Fraser had problems on the warm up laps and sat the race out. Two massive hits during the early stages of the race, Kerry Remnant on Shane Penn and David Elsworth on Peter Bengston left the usually invincible Panthers looking wounded and vulnerable, and so it would play out as 13m Elsworth drove the race of his career punting cars out of the way at will. With an out of sorts Peter Rees as the only Panther capable of halting a Busters win, he missed an opportunity on the penultimate lap and Elsworth seized on that mistake and took the flag. Busters 160 v Panthers 35.

Next up were the defending champion Waikato Wanderers and Auckland Allstars, and who would have thought a race between these local rivals would almost better the previous heat? Early dnfs for Bernie Fox and Brad Ridland meant someone would have to step up for the embattled Allstars and Mike McLaughlan was just he man, driving Frank Irvine's new car he became a one man demolition crew most notably removing the last remaining Wanderer, 95h Kyle Stove in spectacular style. 8a Bryce Marx surviving all the carnage and taking a most unlikely win in a thoroughly entertaining race. Nelson made their first appearance against the Mustangs and once again proved they would be a likely candidate for the title picking off Manawatu cars until a 4 v 2 race ended with an acrobatic roll right on the finish line for 62p Simon Joblin care of 82n Jared Gray. As usual, 85n Dale Ewers provided the heart and soul of the team brushing off attacks and taking a great win while 86n Blair Cunningham, so at ease in the tank, provided invaluable blocking. Tigers 165 v Mustangs 30

The Wildcats faced a huge task to qualify for the finals matched up against the Busters in their second heat. Individual brilliance seemed to be the theme for the night and both 13m David Elsworth and 91w Scott McIntosh were the stars of this race. Elsworth repeating his performance against the Panthers while McIntosh managed to remove Ashby's tank and put in shots on Decke, Remnant and oh so close to taking out Elsworth with a shot that may have been controversial had he connected with a pole line indescretion. Perhaps that is why 11m Kerry Remnant took exception to the 91w and repeatedly hit him on the grass in turn 4 late in the race risking the valuable points the Busters earned for the win. Baypark and Wellington ending their nights with 260pts and 120pts respectively. Next up was Auckland and Palmerston North and as any Allstar fan knows, the Panthers are tough on a normal night but coming off a rare loss they are fearsome. Unfortunately 7a Bernie Fox was injured in the pits pre race and so Scott Tennant went from 6th man to reserve. The actual race followed normal transmission with the Panthers taking control early, so the focus of the race was how many times Shane Penn could smash the 9a car of McLaughlan before one of them expired. The answer was four massive hits from Penn and then finally McLaughlan managing to block the Panther in the wall for a small victory of sorts. In two races, the HB driver had become an Allstar favourite providing some of the best action of the night. Panthers 165 v Allstars 30.

The last race of the night was all or nothing for the Wanderers, facing a huge hurdle against the Tigers. A fairly easy win ensued with some more blocking brilliance from 86n Cunningham basically neutralising 93h Daryl Hammond for most of the race while a solid thump from Ewers early in the race left a smoking wreck of the 96h car. A red light for 94h Neville Hazelton left Ewers and 84n Shane Harwood run home for easy points, despatching last years champs in style, and coming out top qualifiers without too much razzle dazzle. Night 2 Semi Finals: Nelson v Manawatu and Palmerston North v Baypark. Auckland and Wellington will battle it out for 5th and 6th place.

Nelson Tigers 330 pts
Baypark Busters 260pts
Palmerston North Panthers 200pts
Manawatu Mustangs 190pts
Auckland Allstars 130pts
Wellington Wildcats 120pts
Waikato Wanderers 75pts

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