Thursday, November 21, 2013

Teams Update 3

The Rotorua Rascals make their first appearance at the top of the table after a succesful visit to the Huntly Teams Invitation meeting over the weekend, while the Palmerston North based Ken's Cowboys completed a successful visit to the South Island.

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November 2
Top of the South Speedway, Nelson
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies

November 9
Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
Ken's Cowboys defeat Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def Ken's Cowboys
Eastern States Titans def Canterbury Crushers

November 15 & 16
Woodford Glen, Christchurch
Eastern States Titans 140 def Team Heibner 45
Ken's Cowboys def 150 def Canterbury Crushers 25
Ken"s Cowboys 150 def Eastern States Titans 35
Canterbury Crushers 150 def Team Heibner 35

November 15 &16
Huntly Speedway, Waikato
Rotorua Rascals def Gisborne Gladiators
Stratford Stormers def Meeanee Maulers
Auckland Alleycats def Manawatu Steelers
Wanganui Vulcans def Waikato Raiders
Rotorua Rascals def Meeanee Maulers
Stratford Stormers def Gisborne Gladiators
Manawatu Steelers def Wanganui Vulcans
Auckland Alleycats def Waikato Raiders
Night 2
Manawatu Steelers def Gisborne Gladiators
Huntly Hawks def Baypark Bulldogs
Waikato Raiders def Meeanee Maulers
Auckland Alleycats def Stratford Stormers
Rotorua Rascals def Wanganui Vulcans
Meeanee Maulers def Gisborne Gladiators
Manawatu Steelers def Waikato Raiders
Wanganui Vulcans def Stratford Stormers
Rotorua Rascals def Auckland Alleycats

2012/13 Season Final table HERE  Winners Eastern States Titans
2011/12 Season Final table HERE  Winners Waikato Raiders
2010/11 Season Final table HERE  Winners Palmerston North Pumas

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rascals bring it home!

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Waikato Sandblasting Teams Invitation
Finals Night, November 16th

A big crowd and a balmy Waikato evening set the scene for a spectacular finals night at PlaceMakers Huntly Speedway on Saturday. Along with a feast of teams racing, Golden Oldies Stockcars, a decent field of open Stockcar races, Superstocks and the Waikato Saloon championship, it was a fitting way of celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Huntly Speedway. A very well put together printed programme with a bonus reproduction of the first ever programme was a novel idea and a great souvenir to keep. As always the commentary team excelled with Malcolm Sines, Mintie and Aaron Drever adding to an already amped up atmosphere from Friday's excellent meeting.

The first teams race was Gisborne v Manawatu and with the left rear wheel on the 66g Harding flattie collapsing early in the race, the Steelers engaged a car each leaving 10p Josh Prentice a free run home. The 63g tank of Kerry McIlroy put in two decent hits on Taniwha and Prentice but with a car short they couldnt match the Steelers. A development team called the Huntly Hawks then raced the Baypark Bulldogs in their first teams race in quite a few years, providing some great hits and a win to the Hawks, 98h Brendon Vincent taking the flag. Ryan Hunt showed great speed for the Bulldogs but excellent blocking from 97h Brad Philpott was a standout of the race.

Home team the Raiders were up next against the Meeanee Maulers and the teamwork from the Waikato team finally gelled resulting in a comprehensive win. The Hawkes Bay team were down to two cars early on and Justin Hutchby had put in the big hits that mattered on 85b Tony Palmer and 81b Grant Hollyman. The remaining Maulers put in a last chance block but 94h Mark Caldwell showed great skill to weave his way through for the win.

Semi Final 1
Stratford Stormers v Auckland Alleycats
The old adage "it aint over till its over" was never truer than in this race. Todd Duthie and Shannon Savage sat this one out as reserves. From the green flag there was action aplenty and 333a Tony Baldwin found himself up on the bonnet of a Stratford car doing a fine balancing act! Gary Lonergan was targeted and a massive hit ripped the front left wheel off the car in turn two, as he dragged the car along the wall into turn three, 406s Tyler Walker made a fatal mistake by trying to eliminate the 383a car which was as good as done anyway and rolled himself just before the red light for Lonergan's wheel was activated. Lonergan and Walker's cars removed on the red, Baldwin's car still sitting on the bonnet of the Stormers car left an interesting 2 v 2 race as both Craig Chatfield and Bevan Phillips changed lead a number of times. Baldwin eventually managed to free his car and then it looked as though Haydin Barker was going to take a win for the Stormers only for a Scott Tennant blocking move giving Craig Chatfield a gap to sneak through for a 0.09 second win. The Stormers run coming up just short, an awesome race that the crowd really appreciated.

Semi Final 2
Wanganui Vulcans v Rotorua Rascals
358r Shannon Orr lead out early from 99v Wayne Wright but both early leaders would be taken out, Orr by Mooney and Wright by Steve Gray in the tank who managed to rip off the left front wheel bringing on the reds. Rotorua took the lead with Damian Orr running and apart from a blocking move from Mooney on the last lap, he was able to take a comprehensive win and more importantly less damage than the Alleycats suffered in their semi final. Rotorua peaking at just the right time for the all important grand final.

We then had the final placing races with Meeanee beating Gisborne for 7th and 8th, Manawatu finally showing some of the brilliance of last seasons win by dispatching the Waikato Raiders in a convincing win for 5th and 6th. The race for 3rd and 4th featured Stratford and Wanganui and it was a brutal affair with Dion Mooney taking the running role for the Vulcans picking his way through littered cars all over the track and claiming third overall. Gisborne were unlucky to come 8th when you consider they only had 7 local cars to choose from and the form of the Stratford Stormers was impressive and hopefully the beginning of a golden run for the team.

Auckland Alleycats v Rotorua Rascals
The Alleycats used up every minute of repair time getting to the  track but managed to front all 5 cars with Tony Baldwin and Steve Gray sitting out the final as reserves. Auckland winning pole and forcing the Rascals right out to the wall for the start. Auckland drew first blood with a massive hit on Rotorua hard man Damian Orr smashed into the apex of turns one and two by Gary Lonergan but it came at a cost with the right rear wheel damaged. Orr was removed on the red light and Scott Tennant was leading from Dale Stewart. Nick Johnson spun while attempting to block Tennant and Shannon Orr spun by Shannon Savage. Lonergans car was effectively toast and then Shannon Savage came to the infield with flames erupting from the car. Rotorua now had the advantage and Dale Stewart took over the lead and Shannon Orr made the block that counted on Scott Tennant, Gary Lonergan making one last attempt to drag the car in front of Stewart on the last lap but Stewart able to avoid and take a sensational victory for the Rascals.

God I love speedway! What a great weekend and although the Alleycats picked up another second place finish, the resurgence of teams like the Bulldogs and the Rascals is great for speedway in the upper North Island. The Huntly track did a great job and as I said earlier, this meeting goes from strength to strength. I don't usually do this but I'd like to pick a 'dream team' from the weekends racing and it goes something like this...

66g Bruce Harding
98v Dion Mooney
835r Damian Orr
833a Craig Chatfield
97h Scott Gallop
333a Tony Baldwin

Now everyone will have their own dream team, but I think for various reasons these were the drivers that stood out to me and provided moments of brilliance over the weekend. Had they had more races I would have included 97h Brad Philpott from the Hawks for his efforts in the open races if they counted! Anyway, I wish Huntly Speedway all the best for another 25 years of racing, you did yourselves proud this weekend.

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Huntly Teams Night 1

PlaceMakers Huntly Speedway
November 15, 2013

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Some meetings just have a special feel, and for us 'Northerners' this meeting each season seems to be the one that really is great fun to attend. The atmosphere gets better every year and indeed the calibre of the teams attending has improved to the point that there are no easy beats or certain outcomes anymore, which is great. In fact there are more teams wanting to attend, than available spots which is a nice position for the promoters to be in. Part of the special feel of the meeting Im guessing is who you go with, the people you sit with and of course the pit walk when you catch up with your favourite team and drivers - for me the Alleycats. Anyway, heres a brief rundown of Qualifying night...

Rotorua Rascals 180 v Gisborne Gladiators 15
The two minute bell was required for Bruce Harding and Dale Stewart, while Steve Gray and Allan Giddons sat out as reserves. Harding was the only one slow off the start line, 61g Jason Jones took the early lead before 835r Damian Orr passed him. Harding spun the leader handing the lead back to Jones before Jones was held up by 353r Stewart. Orr and 853r Johnson then started their run as the leading pair and with Gizzy's runner Jones being held up the Gladiators effectively had no runner. Jones had one good stab at Johnson but was unable to halt the Rascals freightrain and the win was secure with not too much damage, in fact I think most cars finished this race.

Stratford Stormers 165 v Meeanee Maulers 30
It felt odd not seeing the familiar 81b of Reagan O'Brien roll out of the gates, a real stalwart of the Maulers team while the Stormers had a completely new look to their cars, which was impressive. Their racing would also prove impressive in one of the best races of the night. 81b Grant Hollyman and 407s Todd Duthie were the reserves although 83b Brett Loveridge needed a push start to join the race. 403s Shane Kells got a flyer on the field before Loveridge managed to stop him and the 83b also put 405s Haydin Barker into the turn 2 wall. 85b Tony Palmer took over the lead until 406s Tyler Walker planted him in the wall giving the lead back to Kells. 402s Bevan Phillips very nearly got the ride from hell as Palmer followed him into turn 3 but Phillips just managed to avoid the wall and carry on. Loveridge had picked up a flat right front tyre and then Walker put a huge hit on 82b Jeff Hart, before a melee of cars on the front pit straight left just 2 racing for a moment. The teams then found themselves split, 4 white on one side of the track while the four black Stratford cars were on the other, Stratford taking the upper hand and Bevan Phillips avoiding two late attacks from HB cars to pick up the win. Walker rode up over the front of 82b almost rolling but managing to finish. A great win to the Naki boys.

Manawatu Steelers 35 v Auckland Alleycats 160
This was last years final, and promised to be the race of the night - and for Alleycats fans it was! The Steelers had problems from the get go with 75p Gavin Taniwha not able to take the track due to an electrical problem, robbing the team of one of their best weapons. 838a Shannon Savage sat out for the Alleycats. Auckland won pole and pushed the start as far out to the wall as possible giving Scott Tennant the early lead but as suspected this Steelers team were not going to be outrun by anyone and 94p Williams Humphries took over the lead. Auckland's blockers managed to put 10p Josh Prentice hard into turn 1 and he remained stationery. Then a pivotal moment as 333a Tony Baldwin executing a perfect tap on Humphries as he passed, rolling the Steelers runner and effectively reducing the Palmy boys to two cars. This left 357p Aaron Iremonger and 557p Darrel Wallace (with a flat right front tyre) against the four Alleycats. Lonergan and Chatfield then had the run of the track and despite a late attack by Iremonger, the defending champs were in real points trouble, the Alleycats scoring a massive points haul.

Waikato Raiders 80 v Wanganui Vulcans 105
I had high hopes for the Raiders but with two of their best drivers in new tanks, it was going to be interesting to see how they managed a strong Vulcans team. 69v Ian Barron took an early lead while both of the Huntly tanks were spun in the first corner and 99v Wayne Wright's car began smoking. Hutchby recovered quickly and managed to assume the lead in the very fast tank while 92h Stenson was stuck in the turn 2 wall. Two V cars were stationary at this point and the Raiders appeared to have the upper hand but if Dion Mooney is in your team, anything can happen! He stopped the Hutchby tank with two big hits and also gave Scott Gallop a shot while 96v Francis Potaka took the lead. He appeared to be heading for a great win but slowed on the last lap and 97h Scott Gallop passed him and seemingly took a win, but a countback of laps handed the win and valuable points to Potaka and the Vulcans.

Meeanee Maulers 40 v Rotorua Rascals 155
The Hawkes Bay boys needed a big win, while the Rascals had looked convincing in their first race. 853r Johnson and 86b Cooke sat out this race. 81b Grant Hollyman took an early short lived lead before being spun by 835r Orr and then the familiar 353r Dale Stewart and 835r Orr tandem running style emerged as they reeled off the laps. A read light for 82b Jeff Harts wheel guard after a 358r Shannon Orr hit was the end of the Maulers faint hopes and 4 cars against 2 made it easy running for the leading pair. 83b Loveridge and 85b Palmer ran for the Maulers but couldn't do much and Steve Gray in the tank put 85b up the wall rubbing salt into the wound. A great performance from the Rascals for night one.

Stratford Stormers 140 v Gisborne Gladiators 55
After their performance in the first heat, the Stratty team were firm favourites going into this race and they proved they will be formidable in the finals. 405s Haydin Barker took the lead from lap one and never relinquished it while the outside row of cars stood still at the green flag. 66g Bruce Harding was once again outstanding in his blocking role but after a massive hit by Todd Duthie on 62g Allan Giddons and then spinning the Gizzy tank and then Harding, Gisborne were down to 2 cars, Jones and Harding. Bevan Phillips and Barker just kept clocking up laps and although Harding managed a few stalling manouevers the race was done and dusted, a Stratty win and not too much damage.

Manawatu Steelers 105 v Wanganui Vulcans 85
The Steelers needed a big win to qualify and they would have felt good seeing only 3 Vulcans cars able to take the starting grid, both 68v and 96v out. 10p Josh Prentice sat out for the Palmy side. 557p Daryl Wallace took the early lead but with 94p Humphries retiring early it was back to 3 v 3 cars. Mooney put a massive hit into the Taniwha tank and managed to push the wheel guard into the wheel causing a shower of sparks and slowing the Steelers hitman. Iremonger took over the lead for the Steelers but after a huge Vulcans hit on Wallace left the Palmy car twisted and bent in turn 3 and looking somewhat munted, the Steelers hopes were fading. There was heaps of damage in this race and cars were dragging themselves across the line for points. Although Iremonger scored the win, they didn't get enough points to make it count, Vulcans doing enough to make the top four.

Auckland Alleycats 160 v Waikato Raiders 35
98h Justin Hutchby didn't make it out for this race, while Tony Baldwin sat out for the Alleycats. Auckland up against another of the top sides for their second heat, the hometown team almost stole a win when Scott Gallop appeared to take the lead just a lap or two from the end of the race. Lonergan and Tennant had seemed to be running comfortably in the lead until a Dave Moore move had them both tied up in turn 2. Tennant managed to catch and despatch the Raider in a clincal race for the Alleycats. Tennant, Lonergan and Chatfield crossing the line with 92h Stenson coming in third. Scott Gallop's car was toast at races end. Dave Moore had finished off Shannon Savage early in the race but the Raiders couldn't capitalise on the advantage and Auckland qualify strongly for the top four.

Auckland Alleycats
Rotorua Rascals
Wanganui Vulcans
Stratford Stormers

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Teams Update 2

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Eastern States Speedway hosted a teams meeting between Kens Cowboys from Pamerston North, the Canterbury Crushers from Woodford Glen and the local Titans resulting in a win a piece and the Cowboys winning overall on points. Next big meeting is the Huntly Teams which has 8 clubs challenging for the title held by the Manawatu Steelers.
Photos courtesy of Eduard Ets Click HERE, you will need to log into facebook.

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November 2
Top of the South Speedway, Nelson
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies

November 9
Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
Ken's Cowboys defeat Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def Ken's Cowboys
Eastern States Titans def Canterbury Crushers

2012/13 Season Final table HERE  Winners Eastern States Titans
2011/12 Season Final table HERE  Winners Waikato Raiders
2010/11 Season Final table HERE  Winners Palmerston North Pumas

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Huntly Club Night

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PlaceMakers Huntly Speedway
November 9, 2013

With the weather so good, I made a late decision to head down to Huntly for what was basically a club night. With Stockcars on the programme you can always be assured of a decent nights racing as they are one of the bastions of great contact racing and they didn't disappoint despite the fact that some were saving their cars for this weeks upcoming teams meeting. Someone forgot to tell 5h Andre Stenson who probably provided the biggest hit of the night, 44h Anthony McNeill the unlucky victim. Stenson has really adapted well to the new tank and along with 88h Justin Hutchby who stood out as one of the fastest cars racing last night, the Raiders will provide a daunting prospect for any team unlucky to draw them come Friday night. With Mark Caldwell and Scott Gallop in the team along with ex 7k Dave Moore it will be really interesting to see the former Kihikihi driver in a strong team as he has always provided some of the best moments in recent teams meeting with little support.

51h Alistair Van Amsterdam took out heat one, 8r Scott Fredrikson the second heat in a seriously fast car, (the 4th Fredrickson built car as we found out from a great Steve Daniel interview with the Rotorua driver, Dean Mulholland will be driving the version 3 chassis this season) and Hutchby winning a race long battle with team mate Gallop to take the feature ahead of Van Amsterdam who is really impressing in the few meetings I've seen him racing. The rest of the programme included a massive field of 29 MiniStocks, 5 Minisprints, a dozen Productions and about 14 Saloons - 3 of which were Supers. 166h Geoff Webb provided the other big moment of the night after riding up over the wheel of 24h Dan Davis and after a massive nosedive finally flipping over and ending his night in spectacular fashion. Hopefully not too much damage but the car looked a bit grim being towed off - so did the driver!

The meeting was done and dusted by about 9.30pm which was great and a special shout out to the commentary team of Graham 'Mintie' Mead and Steve the Maori who really made the night - lots of great interviews, ticket giveaways galore for the teams meeting and the sound system working well. Lets hope it all gels again for this weeks huge meeting starting on Friday. Eight confirmed strong teams plus I believe the Baypark Bulldogs up against the Huntly Hawks development team. It's always a ripper of a meeting and you would be mad to miss it! I think I heard that Saturday nights racing begins at 6pm, so be aware.

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