Sunday, October 27, 2013

...and we're back!

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WP Opening Meeting
October 26th, 2013

I haven't been so excited about a new season in a long time. To say I've had a rough year is putting it mildly, but I guess it's all relative, there are plenty of people doing it tough out there. So the simple pleasure of turning up to speedway, meeting up with good mates and enjoying a few hours of entertainment in the brilliant sunshine that blessed Auckland yesterday put all those trials of the past few months on the back burner, and its part of the reason this sport of ours continues to thrive I guess. Its just great to be a part of it all. Anyway, unlike many opening night meetings which can be a bit thin on the ground in the competitor count, WP had a pretty full pit area and lots of new machinery and drivers raring to go. Since I'm in a good mood, I'm going to gloss over the opening race which was 4 Minisprints that dropped to 3 Minisprints mid race, and perhaps point out that this isn't the way to start your brand new season! So let's imagine it didn't happen, and that the Stockcars were first out, 27 of them which must be some sort of record for opening night.

Gary Lonergan in the beautifully presented 95a did what he does so often and took out the first race of the season after 741a Craig Chatfield and 15a Mike Harris eliminated each other early in the race while leading. 14r Matt Nilsson started to stir things up but was rear ended by 27a Trent English after putting the 28a car into the wall, bringing on the reds and ending his race. Not to worry the 14r tank was back out for heat 2 and ran riot putting 69a Dave Seymour up the turn 4 wall, putting a huge hit on 441h Andy Weir before 169h Phil Mortenson (one of the standouts of the night) ended Nilsson's run with a shunt into the wall on the pit end of the track. 29a Scott Tennant held out Lonergan for the win. The feature was the race of the night with 2 rollovers,  7a Laurie Maber and 94a Brendon Ashton the unlucky drivers one courtesy of 169h and I didn't see the instigator of the Ashton roll. 29a Tennant looked good for a win until a front right tyre popped and that man Lonergan just holding out 741a Chatfield for the win. Only sour note of the night was the decision to put 23a Tony Baldwin on to the infield after putting the 25a Jason Rowe car up the wall in turns 3 & 4. Apparently this is a new rule that when the reds are activated both cars are removed. Hopefully common sense will prevail, the crowd reaction was unanimous with plenty of booing!

Superstocks numbered 9 and featured a few of the Baypark boys. Karl Ross in the 73m made his intentions very clear during the first heat while battling with 351a Paul Vasey and 5a Brad Ridland for the lead deciding to put Ridland into the wall and finish the Aucklander's night right there and then. Heat two it was Vasey pushing Ross out of the way on lap two and running away with the win from 99m Mark Decke and Ross recovering for third. The feature and Ross sat on the brakes to hold up Vasey on the start line and club mate Ross Ashby in the immaculate 38m tank powered away for the win again followed home by Decke and rookie 4a Sean McKenzie in third. 65r Mark Flower and Paul Vasey had a good race long tussle and it was great to see a fairly evenly matched field not afraid to mix things up a bit. Best of all for local fans was the sight of 7a Jamie Fergusson stepping up from the Stockcar class and the prospect that perhaps we will be seeing more of him in the Allstars lineup?

Saloons (9) mixed in with Supersaloons (4), Ministocks (24) and Modifieds (7) made up the balance of the programme, and the standout for me was the 9a Modified of Bryce McCall. What a great addition to the class this guy will be if that showing was anything to go by. The night was rounded out with a brief fireworks display. With Streetstocks and Six Shooters yet to have a run, the question has to be asked whether one of these classes or the Minisprints, have done their dash at WP? I think if you can't guarantee a good field you miss out. Streetstocks and Minisprints have failed to bring numbers to the track for some time, and Six Shooters are the new game in town - its going to be a tough call but it should be made at some stage. The food caravans took a pounding every time the Minisprints came onto the track so maybe its not all bad!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

WP practice 1 + 2

A fairly good turnout at todays practice at Waikaraka Park, but the weather was not going to play its part and eventually the rain put paid to proceedings. Was good to catch up with a few speedway people and see a few new cars. The only superstock was a new one for 4a Sean McKenzie although there was talk of about 15 Supers and 43 Stockcars registered to Auckland which sounds great. Some very nice looking Saloons also present and I'll put more photos up later... its good to be back!

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