.The weather played ball at Max Motors Family Speedway for our opening night and with the first round of the Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series and a Demolition Derby on offer the people came in their droves, creating a crowd so big that the gates had to be closed, something that we don’t remember ever seeing before during our time here at Te Marua.
For the Speedway aficionado the drawcard of the night was the Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series. This event drew a stellar field with drivers from several other tracks as well as Wellington. We saw from Gisborne, 10g Peter Rees, 127g Ethan Rees and 31g Gary Davis, Stratford driver 25s Wayne Moss, and 6 drivers from Palmerston North, 4p Chad Ace, 36p Jake Baker, 75p Chevron Taniwha, 94p William Humphries, 95p Clive Elliot, 599p Ron Tye and, temporarily driving Damian Mulcahy’s car, 581p Jordan Dare. These drivers joined the ever growing field of Wellington cars to thrill the spectators.
In their first race local favourite 89w Dale Robertson took up the front running from the off and never looked back. Behind him 10g Peter Rees was chasing hard but never quite got there and had to settle for 2nd place. 321w Hilton Parker didn’t have the best of starts going up the wall on the back straight, 31g Gary Davis’s race came to a fiery end and, along with 22w Richard Gaskin, he registered a DNF. The top six place getters in the first race were: 89w Dale Robertson, 10g Peter Rees, 599p Ron Tye, 127g Ethan Rees, 95p Clive Elliot and 94p William Humphries.
The second heat was one for the pensioners with a driver even those of us in our mid-fifties can remember seeing in our childhood taking the win. 95p Clive Elliot led from start to finish and managed to hold off the determined challenges of the two Rees’. 26w Alex Mosley had a race to forget when, after spinning on the front straight, he was collected by several cars which put him on the infield for the rest of the race and ended his night. 31g Gary Davis’ bad night continued when he registered another DNF along with 25s Wayne Moss. Top six placings were: 95p Clive Elliot, 10g Peter Rees, 127g Ethan Rees, 581p Jordan Dare, 89w Dale Robertson and 94p William Humphries.
In their third race the action started early when 321w Hilton Parker and 75p Chevron Taniwha were pushed to the wall in the front straight slowing their progress. 581p Jordan Dare retired early and. along with 321w Hilton Parker, recorded a DNF for the race. 31g Gary Davis, 22w Richard Gaskin and 85w Lance Anderson were all involved in some of the action hindering their movements through the field. 5w Keegan Levien, driving his father’s car while he waits for his own to be completed, led the field home. Top six were: 5w Keegan Levien, 94p William Humphries, 10g Peter Rees, 127g Ethan Rees, 89w Dale Robertson and 95p Clive Elliot.
The first round win of the Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series went to 10g Peter Rees on 50 points, followed by 127g Ethan Rees and 89w Dale Robertson, both on 46 points, they were closely followed by 95p Clive Elliot on 45 points and 94p William Humphries on 43. 5w Keegan Levien on 41points completed the top six.
The Capital Pools and Spas Stockcars drew a big field with a better percentage than normal of locals making opening night. Visiting drivers included 85g Brittany Carpenter, she unfortunately could not be joined by fellow Greymouth competitor Willy Simpson, who having just bought the 31g tank of James Kirk had been hopeful of competing but due to a seat issue was unable to. 174v Brendan Learmouth and 9 drivers from Palmerston North including our fellow Wairarapaite, 72p Tony Norman helped make up the rest of the 26 car field.
In race one 1nz Josh Prentice carried on his form from last season when he easily took the win. 9w Bryce Jensen must be pleased with how well his new car went coming home in 2nd place ahead of two of the in-form Palmy drivers 172p Daniel Burmeister and 15p Luke Miers. In their next race three of the front runners from the previous heat all registered DNF’s leaving the way clear for 55w Todd McLachlan to take the chequered flag from 52w Josh Lockett and 6w Paul Gaskin in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Their final race of the night saw 84p Matt Webb and 172p Daniel Burmeister battling in the lead for most of the race; however this culminated in them tangling and spinning leaving the way clear for the hard-charging 33w Grant Littlewood to take over the lead and the win.
In the Moving Company Saloons we saw a field of 7 with one visitor 46s Daniel Hinton as we don’t count 57p Calvin Honore as a visitor any more. Daniel had a good night winning the third race and being highly competitive in the first two. 34w Matt Eckersley took two wins and a 2nd place to continue his good form from last season. The other stand out driver was 242w Ashleigh Halcrow who took two 2nd places and was involved with the best battle of the night when she and sister Danielle in the 124, fought for spots the whole race through.
In the CDC Concrete Drilling and Cutting Streetstocks we witnessed the best debut in an adult class since that of 5w Keegan Levien, when 74w Caleb Madgewick took two wins and a 2nd place. Most of the action in this class was self-inflicted with 9w Aaron Wilton giving himself an adjustable steering wheel after putting himself into the wall in the first race, and several of the other drivers getting themselves involved in incidents with themselves throughout the night. 17w Byron Sutherland-Old took the other win of the night.
The C & M Transport Modifieds presented a small field that saw the return of 11w Wayne Eveleigh after a decade away. He was driving the fully refurbished ex-1nz of Tama Arapere. In their first race the grand old man of Modifieds 5w Brian McPhee made some good passes to take the chequered flag from 4h Paul Hodson and 17w Jonas England. In race two the reigning North Island champion 17w Jonas England led most of the way before retiring in a cloud of steam leaving the way clear for 4h Paul Hodson to take the win from 57w Ben Cawthra and 11w Wayne Eveleigh. This was also the finishing order of the third heat.
The Kerry Lindsay Engine Re-conditioners Youth Ministocks only got two races on the night due to time restraints. With a field of thirty which included nine visitors and a number of first time drivers we saw, to the credit of all, two extremely clean races that ran from start to finish. First time drivers to impress straight out of the box were 11w Holly McGee and 95w Anthony Pritchard. In the first race the win was taken by 47w Anthony Hocking from 92v Jemma Barnes and 71w Josh O’Keefe. The second race saw 33s Ryan Houghton take the win from 9w Cyrus Crook with the Hodge brothers Seth and Cody entertaining the crowd with a great display of sibling rivalry throughout the race came in 3rd and 4th, with 12p Seth winning the battle over 21p Cody.
The evening culminated in the ever popular Demolition Derby which produced a field of approximately 28 cars. The battle was entertaining and well-fought with the announcer declaring a well-deserved winner in Michael Wood.