Monday, April 01, 2013

Sunday Speed N' Smash Fest

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Speed N' Smash Fest
Kihikihi Speedway, March 24

The incredible run of weather continued and Kihikihi Speedway served up a scorcher of its own with Stockcar teams racing, the King Country Superstock title and the all-in 25 lap Rosetown Classic for Stockcars as the days feature race. Big fields in all classes and some really great racing made this a meeting worth attending.

Kihikihi Crusaders v Stratford Stormers
There were big hits before the race had even started as 17k Ben Patrick smacked into the back of the outside row of cars on the start line to warm things up for a cracker of a race. 47k Keegan Orr was the runner for the Crusaders chased by 408 Kurt Vickery. 7k Dave Moore and 17k Patrick provided the blocking and at one stage had three Stratford cars locked in battle. Mid-race the front right tyre of Orr was going down and he was vulnerable with 409s Justin Robinson having two good goes at him and finally spinning the race leader. 408s Vickery and 405s Willy Bolland took up the running for Stratford. 404s Shane Kells stopped 17k with a massive hit but 7k Moore was able to block the leading Stratford car as 47k Orr took the chequered flag and the victory lap only for it to be overturned post race. It appeared one of the Stratford cars had managed to pass Orr on review for a Stormers victory.

Gisborne Gladiators v Waikato Raiders
68g Keaton Batt and 97h Scott Gallop took off from the rest of the pack and by turn two Batt had been spectacularly rolled. Four cars were yet to even move off the starting grid! The worst possible start for the Gladiators was almost evened out when 65g Jason Jones nearly put 98h Justin Hutchby over in the exact spot where Batt's race had ended. 65g and 67g Nick Vallance took up the running for Gisborne and with Hutchby spun by Jones and then 96h Neville Hazelton receiving a massive hit, also from Jones, ending his race. It was back to three on three but the Raiders luck was about to end with punctures to 99h Robbie Neill and Hutchby and the tyre coming off the rim of Gallop's car. 65g Jones got the white flag and a last gasp attempt by the Raiders cars of Hutchby and Gallop almost held up the Gladiators to let 99h Neill through for a victory only just beaten by Jones car on the line. Close win to Gisborne.

3rd and 4th
Waikato Raiders v Kihikihi Crusaders
47k Keegan Orr once again stormed to the lead as the Kihikihi runner ahead of 94h Mark Caldwell and 7k Dave Moore but by lap two 14k Andre Robinson was rolled by 99h Neill and on the restart Orr's car failed to move more than 10 feet before crawling to the infield. 98h Hutchby spent the rest of the race blocking Moore and with Ben Patrick the only other Kihikihi car running it was a fairly easy run to the flag for Caldwell and a Raiders win. Despite this, Keegan Orr's debut for the Crusaders was impressive to say the least.

Gisborne Gladiators v Stratford Stormers
404s Shane Kells spun the Gisborne runner 65g Jason Jones while 406s Haydin Barker and 409s Justin Robinson lead out from the field while the 67g tank of Nick Vallance held up the majority of the field at one stage before the first killer blow was struck by the Stormers. 408s Kurt Vickery rolling Jason Jones big time between turns one and two, bringing on the reds. 66g Bruce Harding spun Barker before Barker was hit again by 67g. Unfortunately for Gisborne Harding's car cruised to a halt and with only the two tanks left running it seemed the game was over. Someone forgot to tell 63g Sam Hughes who went on a mission to hit every car while still running at incredible pace with a flat right rear tyre! In fact his last few laps of this race were some of the best of the day. 406s Barker took the win but Hughes got all the applause! The Stormers though were the class act and fully deserving of their win, a huge turnaround in fortunes for this team and a great lead in to the Peter Barry teams meeting coming up. If they can continue this form they will be a real contender.

King Country Superstocks
17 Superstocks turned up for this title which was a vast improvement on last year. A strong field including reigning champ 5r Laurence Christini competed over 3 heats but there was only one car that would be waving the chequered flag and that was 173a Karl Ross. I've barely seen this car this season and this was a reminder of what we have missed, truly dominant and three emphatic victories left the rest of the field fighting for the scraps. 71h Tony Wootten had no intention of running and spent the day attacking the very impressive 23k Tony Fabish hotrod spoiling any chance of a hometown victory. 118r Bryce Steiner would eventually claim second place overall ahead of an impressive 5a Brad Ridland having a better day on his former home track. My only complaint of the day centered on the amount of time it took this class to grid up. For all three heats the delay was way too long, there were a number of red light stoppages during many races during the day so time lost gridding-up was one delay too many.

Rosetown Classic Stockcar Feature
Unlike many 'all in features' that gather a few left overs from the days racing, this one had a decent field of 25 cars and was a real war of attrition with at least 6 red light stoppages. At various stages of the race Sam Hughes, Anthony McNeill, Richard Keijzer and Les Hepworth were leading but through it all 631r Luke Dilworth and 218h Ashley Potts (driving Aaron Alderton's car) were near the front and when Dilworth took the white flag it seemed like the win was his until 31h Kyle Symons blocked him and Potts drove underneath the Rotorua drivers car in turn three and grabbed a great feature win. 2nz Damian Orr put in two massive shots on 7k Dave Moore in turns 2 and 4 to round off a massive afternoon. Less than half the cars that started finished the Rosetown Classic and it indeed was a race worthy of the name classic. A perfect finish to a perfect afternoon at Kihikihi Speedway, well done to everyone involved.

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