Monday, April 22, 2013
Into it's sixth year and still pulling the big names and classes that make it live up to its 'best of the best' billing, last nights Speedfest at Huntly PlaceMakers Speedway provided enough thrills and tight racing to ensure it's still on everyones' must do list for next season. A few names that will be associated with this years meeting will be Daniel Thomas in the 55h Sprintcar and 71h Tony Wootton in the Superstocks for very different reasons. The Saloons were first to hit the track and gave no indication of how good the rest of the nights racing would be as they drew the short straw and circled in slow motion on a pretty slushy track, the rest of the nights racing was edge of your seat stuff. 3nz Brent McClymont becoming the very first three time Speedfest champion after claiming the overall points from three heats.
In the Stockcar teams race, the Rotorua Rascals managed to eliminate the Waikato Raiders runner Mark Caldwell, and remove a wheel in the process and then gang up on remaining Raiders laying in some big hits including a last lap of carnage that was a joy to watch. Justin Hutchby given a dealing to in turns 3 + 4. Shannon Orr taking the win for the Rascals and a 2-0 home and away victory over the locals. In the open Stockcar races a field of 23 cars mixed it up, wins going to 33s Tyler Walker and Peter Rees taking heats 2 and 3 and the overall points also.
In both the Sprintcars and Midgets one driver stood out in each class above the rest. Midget 27a Hayden Williams and 55h Daniel Thomas who blitzed the Sprintcar field. Williams had a mishap in heat 2 for a DNF but his performances in the other two heats were spectacular. In the SuperSaloons Grant Flynn continued where he left off on his last visit in the 24a Harding car and although major drawcard 1nz Mark Osborne had a wretched (and short) night, 3nz Ian Burson and 7m Brett Emerson kept things honest in one of the classes of the night.
The Superstocks provided plenty of interest because 71h Tony Wootton decided to have a bit of a stir and his main target was 10p Peter Rees. In heat one Rees had a flat right rear tyre making him vulnerable to attack and Wootten took advantage for a number of big shots. 1nz Shane Penn made light work of a decent field of 21 cars for the win. Heat 2 and 49r Chris Brown notched up his maiden win in the new Superstock but once again all eyes were on the Wootton/ Rees battle, this time the 71h with a flat tyre before retiring infield. After an early spin Penn managed to recover to 3rd behind 87r Elsworth. Penn was leading on points going into heat 3 ahead of Elsworth, Ashby and Harwood. Rees was one of a number that missed out on fronting the 15 car field and so Wootton needed a new target and took a well timed shot on Penn, eliminating both cars in dramatic style. Elsworth, Darren Short and Shane Harwood top three in heat three. Overall points had Elsworth on top, Ross Ashby in second and a run-off between Nelson clubmates Shane Harwood and Thomas Stanaway for third, Harwood winning a four lap run-off with a massive punt in turn 3 that left both cars stalled in the wall before the 18n refired and crossed for a great win.
Overall not too shabby, as I've said before, I would really love to know what a V8's fan or non regular visitor to the meeting (I believe this was the original intent of the Speedfest meeting, hence the Thursday night running) think of this representation of what Speedway is like? I think Huntly have the mix perfect at the moment - in as much as the classes that were on show. Whether the formats are the best Im not too sure but do you want to blind the visitors with complicated formulas and results? That is of course assuming we are attracting a new crowd. If it is just a show for the already converted, then I think a few little tweaks here and there really will make it a best of the best season finale.