Waikaraka Park, Feb 1
Brilliant conditions and the pits bursting with cars, all the ingredients you need for a great night of speedway at Waikaraka Park last night. The feature events were the Auckland Saloon title and a Superstock teams race between the Auckland Allstars and the Great Britain Lions in their first run before the NZ Superstock teams meeting in Palmerston North next weekend. The British won this event in style last season and then laid waste to the local cars in the open races.
Auckland Saloon Title
Two groups of about 9 cars each had two heats and then the top eight would compete in a pole shuffle for a final 20 lap feature. Numbers had dropped somewhat from the early indications during the week, but the field was still a classy bunch. Group one heat wins went to 4a Anita Sloot ahead of 3nz Nigel Ross. While Ross would win the second heat ahead of 166h Geoff Webb and 27a Stephen Corry. The track for heat one was pretty slushy but most handled it, 59a Bryan Skelton the only one to encounter any problems and dropped well back during the race. Race two again fairly tame although Ross was able to move up from grid 6 for the win, spins for 75a and 25a dropping them well back.
Group two and 49h Bodie Abrahamson snatched the lead early and took a convincing win from one of the favourites, 48a Phil Towgood. 11a Lynn Yates and 61a Roy Walker having a moment when both cars touched but both able to finish. Heat two for this group had the most action of the night with 21h Steve Williams clearing out for the win while 89a Tom Roberts punctured early. 47a Mark Oldfield spun on turn 2, causing a bottleneck of following cars, 61a Walker riding up over the wheel of heat one winner Abrahamson who would be left with a flat left rear tyre and circling for points only. Towgood and Yates also coming together in the same corner, Yates sent to the rear of field for the restart.. 66r Peter Church finishing second behind Williams.
The top 8 shootout started well for Bodie Abrahamson defeating 166h Webb, 27a Corry but then all hell broke loose in the race off with 4a Anita Snoot and a big rollover in turn 3 for the Whangarei driver stopped the meeting as the ambulance was brought out. Abrahamson then raced against Walker who took the win. Towgood defeated Walker, Williams defeated Towgood and Ross as top points scorer had the measure of Williams for the feature race pole. The 20 lap feature had a full on start with Ross almost overcooking it on the first lap as he took the lead, then a big mid pack pile up of cars in turns 3 and 4 and by lap 3 we had 26a, 27a, 166h, 49h, 63a all on the infield. Ross cleared out in the lead and the rest of the race was the battle between Williams, Towgood and Walker for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Despite some close moments with back markers that's how they finished, Ross winning by over half a lap. Result: 3nz, 21h, 48a, 61a, 66r, 77k, 75a, 11a. All three podium drivers did a victory lap before the presentations which was well appreciated by the crowd. Nigel Ross really is deserving of the success he is picking up this season, always the entertainer at WP, its great to see.
Auckland Allstars v Great British Lions
This was a bit of a turn-up, after some practice hot laps Auckland driver Jamie Fergusson had problems with the car and so the team had 2 races to get the car fixed. When this failed 11a Carl Hodge stepped in. On the hot laps warm up to the race proper, the 01 tank of Daz Kitson had ignition problems and couldn't front so 42a Bernie Fox became 42gb to even things up. Fox was first to strike spinning 5a Steve Guilford as 00gb Neil Scothern took the lead chased by 11a Hodge. 7a Scott Tennant then put in a brutal hit on 04 Chris Fort in turn 3. Hodge was spun and then played aggressor putting Fox up the wall in turn 4. 8a Bryce Marx blocked the British runner and Tennant reading the race perfectly took up the running role for the Allstars. 04 Fort was now running for GB until Marx was able to block him and effectively give Tennant room for a clear run to home. 5a Guilford never restarted from turn 1 and so the three car Allstars took a great win and the impressive trophy. 04gb put in a massive hit on 8a Marx after the chequered flag for good measure! Both teams will need a bit of work before next Friday but it was an impressive showing for essentially a new GB side (Tom Harris will rejoin next week) and the new look Allstars.
28 Stockcars turned up to party and put on some great action, 95a Gary Lonergan picked up the heat 1 win and during the course of the race must have had a small altercation with one of the Wearing clan who now number three cars. This turned into all out war in heat 2 with 37a Ash Wearing and 34a Mark Wearing having goes at the 95a and finally both working together to get the Alleycat. 741a Craig Chatfield took the win ahead of 69a Dave Seymore. 21 Cars fronted for the feature and the war continued with 32a joining in before Lonegan's car expired in turn 4 mid race. 37a Wearing then focussed on 54h smashing into the wall in turn 4, before 57a Aiden Eustace put the Huntly visitor up the wall in turn 2. Chatfield took advantage of the chaos and picked up the feature win. 11a Carl Hodge had the best of the Superstock open races with 2 wins and a second, this driver really getting to grips with the car and not afraid to dish out some hits when needed. 00gb Neil Scothern picked up the other win.