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

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