Sunday, November 17, 2013

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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