Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Workshop update 2

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17k Ben Patrick (Benjet)
Hometrack: Kihikihi Speedway, Waikato

Here's some history and a workshop update from Ben Patrick who pilots the 17k machine and has become a popular driver on the Northern tracks with his stirring and teams racing ability.

The car was originally built by Ray Miller in 1995 and run as 333r from what I've heard, the history as far as I know was Ray Miller, then Grant Littlewood 99a brought it, then Neville Hazleton 55h, then we got it. Over the three seasons I've had the car, we have changed just about everything and with another big rebuild this season there is now even less of the original car left. This season I am looking foward to more teams racing although at the time of writing this, it's not clear if Kihikihi will have a team, so I might look at contracting elsewhere to teams race.

During the offseason we are doing all new bumpers and siderails and a new schedule 40 rollcage to keep up with the rules, aswell as some other minor changes around the car to try save some weight and just generally improve the car overall. We are changing the colour scheme as we do every year to keep things fresh and a change of signwriting with some new sponsors and a couple not continuing for different reasons. I started racing in ministocks for three seasons out of Huntly and learned heaps as most kids do, I really think its a great way of boosting kids confidence and car control. After a season off from racing I got a production saloon and after 3/4's of a season and more walks up to the control tower than ever, I decided they weren't for me and a deal came up for the stockcar, so we took it.

The car I ended up with was actually Dad's to start with, but when he got his going and mine was still in the shed waiting, he got injured in his so we set his up for me to race and then we set mine up for him to race and although it meant more work for dad, he took it in his stride and we got one season of racing and teams racing together before he changed his weapon of choice. I have been fortunate to teams race with and learn from some very experienced teams racers like Lee Patrick (Dad), Kevin Ngakai, Neville Hazleton and of course Bruce Harding, all really nice guys and I'd teams race with them again in a heartbeat.

I have a tank chassis in my possesion now (ex 51h Ali Van Amsterdam) which I will get going in the near future and have a go at racing. At some stage I would love to race/teams race a superstock but at the moment I'm happy in stockcars and will keep the superstock as a goal for the future. At the start of last season I was offered a streetstock for a good price and with Kihikihi having the Streetstock NZGP, I decided to take it and have a go. The first meeting we got it to was the Bay of Plenty champs, which on the track was a good time with some fun had, but off the track some people took it too seriously and it all got out of hand, but it's water under the bridge now. For the grand prix a plan was devised to put me in 88k streetstock and dad in my streetstock to get another Kihikihi car on the track, unfortunately the grand prix didn't go to plan for either of us, with me blowing the diff on the start line of the first final and dad getting taken out in qualifying, but that's racing.

Thanks Ben, all the best with this season and looking forward to seeing the 17k Stockcar doing what it does best come the new season.  I've included a few 17k shots I've taken over the years below also. If you have a workshop update, sent me photos and a bit of info and I'll post them on the website. Contact me at gregobro@xtra.co.nz

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17h Lee Patrick

Friday, August 09, 2013

Workshop update

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78r Grant Savage
Hometrack: Paradise Valley Raceway, Rotorua

Savage by name and savage by nature, well on the track anyway! I remember a couple of years back going to a stockcar meeting at Paradise Valley and being shocked at how tame the racing was. I remember it caused quite a stir on the internet, but I'm guessing Grant can't have been racing that night. He is renowned as one of the great stirrers at the track, and has owned some of the coolest looking cars of recent seasons too. So I was really pleased to see on Facebook an update of a new car coming out of the workshop, a tank no less! I contacted the team with a few questions and Brendan Erskine-Shaw was able to give me some detail on what's going on:

"Yip, the car is Grant Savages new beast and he calls it a 'Flank' as it's a cross between a flat chassis and a tank, but it's more of a corrugated flatty then a tank to be honest, which is what he's so great at building. It's actually pretty similar to his son Tony's flatty underneath all the tank looking exterior. It's a stockcar not a super as you said and it will be Ford powered. He started work on the tank the week after easter and reckons he's put in around 160 hours so far. Not too far to go and should be ready for paint in the next couple of weeks.

The white chassis in the background is Kevin Free's old orange 36r Superstock that he owned. Grant never raced the car as a Super, he changed it to a stockcar and raced it for a season and now it's owned by a new driver who will hopefully have it ready for this season.

In the background is a chassis Grant used to own a long time ago and it's now back with him. He works on it when he finds spare time, not that he has a lot at the moment while building the tank. That one won't be ready for quite a while yet. I know plans may have changed for it now, and it might not have that VW body after all, but again I'm not entirely sure of that as it's all sort of on the backburner at the moment."

Thanks Brendan for the update and if you want to check out more photos and history, go to Grant's facebook page HERE. I've included a few 78r shots I've taken over the years below also. If you have a workshop update, sent me photos and a bit of info and I'll post them on the website. Contact me at gregobro@xtra.co.nz

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Video of Stockcars from Rotorua 1971/2

The link is HERE for a great look back at Stockcar racing at Paradise Valley from the 1971/2 Season uploaded by Woodward Video. How many famous cars can you recognise?

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