Wednesday, December 31, 2014

North Island Stockcar Title Night 1

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North Island Stockcar Title
Dec 28-29, Paradise Valley Raceway, Rotorua

The first leg of my speedway holiday was a stop at Paradise Valley in Rotorua for the North Island Stockcar title. The weather looked threatening but nothing eventuated thankfully. The pits were full with nearly 90 cars, the track was looking great and although the crowd was less than I thought would be in attendance for both nights, a fairly tame qualifying night was followed by an action packed finals night and a surprise winner.

Qualifying Night 
Green Group
Heat 1
74b Tony Palmer was first to taste the concrete in turn 3 before retiring while spins for 777p Scott Penn aided by 616h Cody Webster and 9r Malcolm Gray helped by 76p Cameron Renwick had cars in all directions. 94m Caitlin Hayward suffered a flat left front tyre losing loads of places. 218h Aaron Alderton lead for most of the race only having to deal with 78r Tony Savage who blocked him. Alderton spinning him in front of the chasing pack which caused some mayhem. 32p George Frear making the biggest impression in the race moving from 21st to 7th by race end.
Heat 2
A big pile up on the back straight brought on the reds to remove 777p Penn left on the turn 2 wall. Dale Stewart had the early lead from 11r Beau Thompson, before a marauding 67w Kane Hargreaves pushed Thompson and 4h Josh Humble out of his way as he marched to the front in a dominating win. Flat tyre for Palmer ended his slim chances of qualifying while an expensive spin for 95r Dale Stewart dropping him down the order. Two more red lights for a wheel guard on 11r and 78r Savage not retiring on the green. 99p Ron Tye slowed towards the end of the race with a problem. Aaron Alderton and 8r Scott Fredrickson finishing behind Hargreaves picking up good points.
Heat 3
16 cars fronted and once again Kane Hargreaves would pick up a fairly easy win, the lack of 'heat 3' action was a bit of a worry but most of the leading players made it through fairly much untouched with the stirrers turn on each other instead. 72s Bevan Phillips lead early on ahead of 67w and 92g Brett Lloyd, while 18m Joseph Carter hooked up on 141k Matt Nilsson. 9r Malcolm Gray and 4h Josh Humble took to each other before Humble had a go at 32p Frear. Brett Lloyd almost got caught up in the battle between Webster and Nilsson.
Qualifiers: 67w Hargreaves, 8r Fredrikson, 92g Lloyd, 218h Alderton, 72s Phillips and 52r Herbert

Red Group
Heat 1
79s Shane Hurliman repeated Tony Palmer's crash into turn 3 for red group's first heat in identical fashion on the still slippery track. 651a Troy Power lead early before 357p Aaron Iremonger took over and cruised to a fairly easy win in a tame race. 21b Joshua Swannell had needed the 3 minute bell before the race started and whatever gearbox issue he had it reappeared during the race dropping him well back. 88m Ryan Decke spun dropping him back to mid pack while a loud backfire from 44h Anthony McNeill looked to end his race although he rejoined and still picked up good points. 68r Keith Spanheke cruised home in second.
Heat 2
16b Scott McEwen needed the 3 min bell this time. 88m Decke was spun in front of the entire pack on the back straight before Iremonger once again took the lead. In a busy race for Decke he spun 13h Jamie Symons before driving over the front of the car bringing on reds for debris. 34p Rob Mason's car was sounding ill but managed to continue before Decke was caught up in the battle between Troy Power and Ant McNeill. 72r David Rumney making up huge ground after a flat tyre in heat one cost him, grid 19 up to a 5th place finish.
Heat 3
18r Jayden Steiner lead early and in what can only be described as a 'red mist' moment had a crack at 88m Ryan Decke while leading and being in a qualifying position, he would end up being in a runoff for a finals berth. 34p Rob Mason ended Rumneys hopes of qualifying while 44h McNeill lost a wheel and Troy Power lost all steering just laps from the finish bouncing his way around the track to finish. Mason, Spanheke and Iremonger taking the big points. A run off between 115b Grant Hollyman, 18r Steiner and 651a Power turned out to be the race of the night as both Power and Steiner took to each other while leading, the seas parted and Hollyman drove through from a distant third place to claim a place in the finals!
Qualifiers: 357p Iremonger, 68r Spanheke, 34p Mason, 55r Holland, 32w Clifton, 115b Hollyman

Blue Group
Heat 1
One of the favourites for the title, Damian Orr lead from start to finish in an ominous first up display. Like the other groups, heat one had plenty of spins and unintentional hits, 51m Stewart Turnbull really struggling with his set up. Defending champ 15p Rob Miers slowly made his way from the rear of field start to finish in 5th without too much fanfare. 25r Scott Vireboom one of the only cars not to finish heat one.
Heat 2
32r Nick Johnston needed the 3min bell to fix a gear selector problem while 517s Mark Woods car was steaming up waiting for the green lights. 29r Terrence Peri-Woods required the red lights after a hard backwards hit into the turn 3 wall. 15p Miers had already moved up to 2nd after on 1 lap behind 13r Grendon Beazley who would eventually take the win. 18p Luke Healey was spun by Orr while 422r Ashton did the same to 95m Shane Morgan. 28h Craig Miller was fed into the wall damaging his bumper big time. Beazley and Orr finishing top in this race.
Heat 3
71a Geoff Cook was spun in front of the pack on the hairy turn 1 and 2 big push that Rotorua is famous for, sending cars in all directions, 61r Ricky Yorke unable to refire bringing on reds. 14b Jemma Palmer leading Miers, Johnston and 91a Paul Chatfield at this point. 75r Cameron Narby decided to have a go at a few cars and Rob Miers was able to push his way passed, 53p Todd O'Donnell also receiving some attention from Narby. Miers reeled in Palmer and passed her for the win, and expensive flat tyre for Chatfield dropped him back several places costing him a finals berth.
Qualifiers: 81r Orr, 15p Miers, 13r Beazley, 422r Ashton, 53p O'Donnell, 517s Woods.

Yellow Group
Heat 1
7r Pihi Wikaira didn't make the start and was out for the night. 17p Shane Simpson lead out early while 513r Callum Flavell was spun by the pack on the first corner spending the rest of the race making up places for a 9th place finish. 555r Daniel Holland retired early while 84s Hayden Barker moved to the front of the field in the tank. 73r Andre Rumney and 82r Darcy Meurant both had flat tyres while 93r Brent Stewart was fed into the wall on turn four, and stuck for a lap or two before rejoining. 47m Keegan Orr managed to pass 17p Simpson for second place and 29m Ryan Hunt picked up 4th.
Heat 2
Winner of race 1 Barker blew his clutch lining up for heat two and was out for the night. 669p Brendon Tye was almost put up the wall in turn 4, while 93r Stewart took the early lead. 8h Larry Henderson retired with a jammed accelerator. 15b Micheal Smith put a huge shot on 10a Chanelle Gordon in turn 2 while 17p Simpson was already up to 4th by lap 4. 981r Gray spun on the last lap while 91w Lane sat in 5th. 32s Mark Duthie had made up good ground in both heats quietly picking up a good haul of points. Ryan Hunt taking the heat 2 win.
Heat 3
Keegan Orr's chances were gone pretty quick, caught up in 555r Hollands spin of 15b Smith and then damaged to his car causing him to retire early. 91w Lane was also off early, the car never really looking right all night. 96p Michael Zillwood took Holland out big time in turn 4 bringing on the reds. 93r Stewart, Hunt and Flavell leading at this stage and thats how they would finish, all qualifying.
Qualifiers: 29m Hunt, 32s Duthie, 513r Flavell, 93r Stewart, 74r Hohneck, 17p Simpson

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Stockcar Teams Racing Update 4

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photos by Craig Baker

Small update after a win by the Grizzlies at their home track against the Sunset Slayers. 13 Teams have been confirmed so far for the NZ Stockcar Teams Championship at Paradise Valley which promises to be one of the best titles of the season. The two photos above are of the Greymouth Grizzlies up against the Slayers from Wesport and the Thunder from Nelson, thanks to Craig Baker for the use of the photos, check out his Facebook page or his website HERE.

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November 8
Greenstone Park Speedway, Greymouth
Tasman Thunder def Greymouth Grizzlies

Eastern States Speedway, Blenheim
KB Cowboys def Eastern States Titans
Canterbury Crushers def KB Cowboys
Canterbury Crushers def Eastern States Titans

Paradise Valley Speedway, Rotorua
Rees Shield : Wanganui Vulcans def Rotorua Rascals

Woodford Glen Speedway, Nov 15
North vs South
KB Cowboys def Canterbury Crushers
Canterbury Crushers def Wanganui Select
KB Cowboys def Canterbury Invitation
Canterbury Invitation def Wanganui Select

Palmerston North, Nov 15
Palmerston Probables def Manawatu Steelers

Huntly Teams Meeting Night 1
Stratford Stormers def Wanganui Vulcans
Rotorua Rascals def North Island Select
Meeanee Maulers def Auckland Alleycats
Waikato Raiders def Huntly Hawks
Rotorua Rascals def Wanganui Vulcans
Stratford Stormers def North Island Select
Auckland Alleycats def Huntly Hawks
Meeanee Maulers def Waikato Raiders

Huntly Teams Meeting Night 2
Wanganui Vulcans def North Island Select
Auckland Alleycats def Huntly Hawks
Stratford Stormers def Waikato Raiders
Rotorua Rascals def Meeanee Maulers
Stratford Stormers def Rotorua Rascals
Meeanee Maulers def Waikato Raiders

At Woodford Glen, Nov 29
Tasman Thunder def Canterbury Crushers

At Greenstone Park Speedway, Greymouth
Greymouth Grizzlies def Sunset Slayers

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Waikato Stockcar Title

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Waikato Stockcar Title
Huntly Speedway, December 13, 2014

After a tough personal week, the thought of smashing bashing stock cars at Huntly Speedway got my blood pumping so off I went, despite the weather in Auckland not looking too good, the locals posted that the track had a low chance of rain - so thank you for those updates. They proved pretty much spot on with some light rain falling at the end of the meeting but as we have seen this season the Huntly club get the meetings moving pretty fast in these situations, and had the main event completed early.

Cars were split in to two groups - 20 cars in each although the 88h stayed on the trailer - two heats for each group and then points decided the starting position for an all in grand final 15 lap race for the title. Points were not forthcoming through the night although Mintie was on his own doing the commentary which is a pity. A few visitors had dared to enter but no one has managed to wrestle this title from the locals for a long time so it was a daunting prospect for the cars from Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, Bay Park, Kihikihi and Auckland who supported the meeting.

Group 1
55h, 43h, 87a, 33r, 39h, 22h, 13h, 198h, 28r, 49h, 51h, 218h, 8h, 28h, 36h, 32h, 15h, 117a, 99h.

Heat 1  55h Neville Hazelton had pole for the first heat but was left in the the dust of the  frontrunners, 218h Aaron Alderton, 51h Ali Van Amsterdam and 87a Charles Day. Early retirements for 99h and 28h before our first big hit, 33r Kieran Hines spun and smacked hard by Tony Van Lieshout who couldn't avoid him which destroyed the wheel guard and bumper ending his night. Alderton and Van Amsterdam continued a great battle for the lead while Day spun and lost lots of ground. 54h Nigel Hazelton was a popular target spun by Day and also 39h Craig Martin. 117a Dean Mulholland had looked ominous until the last lap as the car lost power and slowly rolled over the finish for points. 218h takes heat one ahead of 51h.
Heat 2  Four cars failed to front but our top two from heat 1 were off the back of the grid while 49h Tony Van Lieshout had pole and lead out well. It didn't take long before we had a lead group of 22h Les Hepworth, 49h, 51h and 218h tussling for the lead. A number of cars punctured in this heat as the corners of turn 3 and 4 developed holes, 55h and 28h from memory. 87a Day couldn't avoid 15h Hadley Dixon's car and was collected by 28h Craig Miller on the back straight, then a red light came on for debris, 198h Patrick Sarjeant couldn't restart bringing the red back on to remove him. 49h Van Lieshout was caught out by the second restart and Van Amsterdam jumped grabbing the lead. We had one more red light in possibly the best race by the Stockcars on the night when 29r Terence Peri Woods was attacked twice by Nigel Hazelton before 8h Larry Henderson smacked into the two cars by the pit gate. Only 10 cars finished with 51h coming home ahead of 218h, 22h and 49h.

Group 2
5h, 31h, 16a, 98h, 71a, 114k, 33h, 145a, 169h, 84h, 27h, 14h, 24h, 47m, 616h, 15b, 91a, 44h, 38h

Heat 1  27h Brett Aiken lead from the flag although 5h Andre Stenson had a slow start. 16a David Ingram would have a tough night and it started almost immediately, taken to the infield by 24h Brad Philpott. Next it was 141k Matt Nilsson having a go at the Aucklander before Ingram survived a huge launch by 84h Brendan Vincent. 16a finally pulling infield with a flat left rear tyre. 145a Jessica Peat also had tyre problems but circulated for points. 47m Keegan Orr took over the lead in an impressive drive, the car showing good speed chased by 98h Rhys Beaumont, Aiken and 91a Paul Chatfield. Beaumont when wide on the final turn clipping the wall but retained second place although Chatfield lost his place on the final turn to 44h Anthony McNeil. Orr picked up the win while 15b Michael Smith rounded out the top 6.
Heat 2  169h Rob Neill had pole and all 19 cars made the second heat. 31h Kyle Symons almost had the 71a of Geoff Cook tipped over and sadly this was the closest we came to a rollover even with cash and trophies on offer! 616h Cody Webster got caught up in the hit also. 33h Tyson Wootton was next to try and claim the money with a massive shot on 141k Nilsson not quite getting the result but the PT Cruiser was looking rather second hand with panels coming off everywhere. Red lights for the mess and Wootton sent infield but after a protest that he still had a bonnet he rejoined the field. 16a Ingram was next to bring on the reds after Nilsson got him in almost the identical spot he had been 'got' by Wootton. This brought on the reds and the incident also involved 14h Hazel Brown and 616h Cody Webster. 33h Wootton also retired with more Cruiser parts falling off. 44h Anthony McNeil lead at this stage from Chatfield, Smith, Aitken and Orr and it came down to a 4 way battle right to the last corner before Orr and Aitken half spun each other on turn four, 15b Smith and 91a Chatfield taking advantage to follow McNeil home. 616h Webster finished the race with flames requiring some extinguishing infield.

I didn't get many of the points but going by the starting grid, Alderton had top scored with Van Amsterdam on 39pts, followed by Orr, McNeil, Hepworth and 15b Smith. Chatfield, Van Lieshout, Aiken and Henderson rounded out the top 10 grids in a 25 car final. 218h Alderton immediately took control of the race from lap 1 having looked a class above everyone all night. When 51h Van Amsterdam suffered a flat right rear the most obvious challenger for the title was gone fairly early. Orr, Hepworth and McNeill followed in the wake of Alderton who by mid race had a huge lead. 71a Geoff Cook puts some good shots in on the locals hitting 15h, 31h before getting dealt to himself leaving him facing the wall between turns 3 & 4 bringing on the reds. 98h Rhys Beaumont who had looked very fast all night also retired at this point and 91a Chatfield had just pulled infield too. 33h Wootton had a go at 47m Orr who survived but then bounced out of the hole in turn 3 smashing his right rear shock and his strong challenge ended here. Alderton got the white flag ahead of Les Hepworth, McNeill, Aiken and Smith before our last act of the night had Hepworth spin within sight of a podium finish, recovering for 4th. Final placings: 218h, 44h, 27h, 22h, 15b, 5h, 8h, 28h.

I think this is Alderton's 3rd win of this title if I'm not mistaken, and his driving this season has really stepped up a notch or two with the new car. He will definitely be a contender at Nelson for the NZ title if entered and obviously if he has a little bit of support from other northern track entrants. Keegan Orr was the other driver to really impress along with Tyson Wootton in the very distinctive PT Cruiser which is always good to see. Surprise of the night though was the fact that we still haven't had a rollover in this class at the two biggest meets so far, despite the incentives offered. Take nothing away from the action that was served up but who will finally break the drought?

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2014 218h Aaron Alderton
2013 48h Scott Gallop
2012 Not Held
2011 88h Justin Hutchby
2010 81h Rodney Smythe
2009 218h Aaron Alderton