Tuesday, July 01, 2014

BK Supersaloons & Stockcar Rumble

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Burger King Pro Dirt Supersaloon Series
Waikaraka Park, March 1st

Here are a few photos from the final round of the Pro Dirt Series raced at Waikaraka Park last March. Mark Osborne pretty much had the series wrapped up by this stage and really didn't need to overdo it but still showed the class that has made him back to back New Zealand champion this season. Split into two groups, heat wins went the way 24a Ben Harding and Grant Flynn in group one, and 88w Bryan Comerford and 81m Dean Waddell in group 2. Harding's performance in heat two of group one was a standout as he ran the outside line almost around the whole field. Then the BK pole shuffle was completely dominated by 6b Grant Flynn seeing off Dean Waddell who had put out Lance Jennings, Jennings having defeated Kristen Vermeulen. Flynn then probably provided the highlight of the night victorious over 3nz brother Grant and beating 24a Harding in the final shootout, moving up to pole for the final.

The 25 lap final had 1nz Osborne starting way back on grid 9 of the 17 starters, 24a Harding winning the jump for the lead over Flynn in the first corner but a bottleneck of cars would cause some grief with 4m Trevor Rogers almost into the wall and 13b Mick Quin receiving some panel damage. The front four cars would make a break on the field, 24a, 6b, 3nz and 81m until bonnet damage on the 43m John Roberts car would bring on the caution lights. 1nz had moved up to 5th by this stage, before our next couple of incidents including a spin for 4m and a coming together of the luckless 24w Martin Halcrow, who had a miserable night, locked together with Comerford before separating on the back straight only for the 88w to be hit by 66h Craig Marsh. 88w, 66b and 13b all retired at this stage. The battle at the front had been epic only for 6b Flynn's car to erupt into an expensive cloud of smoke retiring 5 laps front the finish, Harding taking the win ahead of 3nz Flynn, 1nz Osborne and local legend Jennings. An excellent evening of Supersaloon racing in a series that is a must see.

Also on the night was the Stockcar Rumble drawing a great field of about 40 Stockcars. This also required a couple of 10 lap heats for each group to find our finals field of 32. Wins for the two groups went to 29a Scott Tennant and 741a Craig Chatfield in group one and 95a Gary Lonergan and an impressive 82r Darcy Meurant for group 2. A number of incidents and retirements probably meant everyone qualified for the 3 heat finals for the Rumble anyway, but who's gonna complain about extra stockcar races on the programme! Rumble heat one provided plenty of biff and bash and a huge number of retirements. 23a Tony Baldwin and 14r Matt Nilsson were into stirring mode immediately while 32a Brad Wearing went for a wall ride in turn 4. 95a Gary Lonergan and 57a Aiden Eustace were both taken out of the lead and held up by 14r giving the lead to Craig Chatfield before the 741a retired to the infield joining 91a also dnf'ing. The 2nz Palmy car driven by Chev Taniwha took over the lead before red lights after a nasty incident, 88a Ian Smith and 14r ploughing into the wall and the 14r reversing out of the wall being collected by 45a Corey Baker. With two laps to go, 57a fired 42h Lance Gribble into the pit wall. 2nz surviving an action packed heat to take the win ahead of Tennant, 34a Mark Wearing, 441h Andy Weir and 22a Leigh Cossey.

Heat 2 had a few gaps on the start grid but no lack of action. 25a Jason Rowe driving over the front of 27h Brett Aitken while 23a held up 2nz pushing him back to last place. Lonergan had the lead ahead of 651a Troy Power before our first big incident, 22a Cossey taking 82r Meurant up the wall with 42h Gribble also involved. Unfortunately the reds came on too quick for Cossey to get down off the wall robbing us of some good stirring and by lap 3 we already had 5 cars on the grass. A spin in turn 4 for 57a dropped him to the rear of the field while 27h was tied up by 61a Leroy Neill. 42h Gribble had another massive hit into the wall in turn 3 while the reds came on for the stricken 145a of Jessica Peat. Lonergan, 10a Chanelle Gordon, Power, Weir and Tennant were the leading bunch before two more red lights stoppages. Gordon spun and retired with 2 laps to go while Neill held up Rowe dropping him well down the field.

Heat 3 had only 18 cars roll out of the pits, a measure of the action we had been treated to. 82r Meurant and 2nz Taniwha lead out for the first lap before being held up by 15a Mike Harris, letting Scott Tennant into the lead. Taniwha then decided to have a go at the locals putting in a huge shot on 45a Baker before 23a landed a heavy shot on the Palmy car. Meurant and Lonergan battled for second place for a number of laps before Taniwha ironically landed the killer hit on Meurant spinning him, Meurant hooking reverse and taking the 2nz to the wall also, both drivers chances gone just laps from the finish. Tennant took an emphatic win ahead of Lonergan, Weir, Ash Wearing, Jason Rowe and Craig Chatfield. Overall points and the Northern Rumble win went to 29a Scott Tennant (99pts) ahead of 441h Andy Weir (92pts) and 95a Gary Lonergan (90) in third. Ash Wearing (89pts) in 4th with 2nz Chevron Taniwha and 651a Troy Power tying for 5th on 83pts.

Superstocks and Ministocks rounded out a great night at WP, two feature events that really proved their worth and an excellent nights entertainment.

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