Overcast and cool weather greeted the crowd at Max Motors Family Speedway on Saturday night as they assembled to watch the Burger King Pro-Dirt Supersaloon show as it rolled into town. Always guaranteed to produce some amazing racing it certainly didn’t disappoint this weekend. The other feature on the programme the second round of the Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series also bought home the action.
After their first round at Baypark, described by some as a ‘smash-fest’, the Burger King Supersaloons field was down a couple on numbers but still managed to present an impressive field of 27 cars. The field was divided into three groups who face each other once, the top 12 points holders went directly through to the feature race with the last 8 spots being decided by a ‘B’ Main. They also thrilled the crowd with a top eight Pole Shuffle to determine grid places for the feature.
First up was the Moving Company Group versus, the Edwards Transport Group. 23p Mick Quin took great advantage of his front grid and his new car, leading from the off and never looking like being beaten. 12a Kristin Vermeulen and 492i Campbell McManaway had a race long battle for 2nd place which finally went the way of the 492i. The big movers of the race were 124m Dan Corrin who came from grid 9 to take 5th place and more impressively 9w Mark Pitcher who moved up 9 places to take 7th.
The next heat saw the Tauranga ITM Group take on the Edwards Transport Group. 62w Dave Speirs in the Nissan turbo powered Hypermac took the early lead but was soon passed by the flying 9w Mark Pitcher, who went on to win the race from 92m Scott Hayward and 77k Rossco Creswell. We can’t believe we are saying this but 21w Donald Gregory drove very conservatively in his new Hypermac, in spite of or maybe because he had the current 1 and 3nz Supersaloon drivers in his pit crew for the night. There were no really big movers in this race with no-one passing more than a couple of people. The final heat before the ‘B’ Main and Pole Shuffle was between the Tauranga ITM Group and the Moving Company Group. The biggest mover in the race was also the winner, 6b Grant Flynn who came from grid 5 behind him came 24a Ben Harding who had held the lead at one time for a few laps and 37m Steve Cowling who also had held the lead for the first third of the race in his ProX race-car.
Next up was the ever popular Pole Shuffle. First to race were 77k Rossco Creswell and 5b Steve Flynn with the 5b taking the win. After that the Pole Shuffle became the Mick Quinn show with the driver of the 23p sending off first the 5b quickly followed by 81m Dean Waddell, 8h Craig Cardwell, 6b Grant Flynn, 124m Dan Corrin and lastly the points leader 9w Mark Pitcher, although the refs deemed him to have jumped the start on this last one and subsequently awarded the race to the 9w.
The ‘B’ Main was the last chance to get a place in the feature and the remaining drivers gave it their all. 16r Mark Osborne had had a nightmare of a night, collecting the wall in his first heat and sustaining enough damage to keep him out of his next heat. This meant that he had to start at the back of the ‘B’ Main but in his inimitable style he managed to get up the field to 7th place and secure himself a place in the feature along with 37m Steve Cowling, 96a Lance Jennings, 126p Asher Rees, 18m Sam Waddell, 21w Donald Gregory, 95b Johnny Browne and 63a Nigel Mouat.
We were excited at the prospect of 16r Mark Osborne starting off the back of the Super Saloon feature. We had seen this scenario here at Max Motors Family Speedway before and he won the race in spectacular style; however this time it was not to be and he unfortunately DNF'ed along with 81m Dean Waddell, 891c Josh Boulton, 95b Johnny Browne, 18m Sam Waddell and the points leader from the first round 8h Craig Cardwell. After the first lap melee and complete restart 9w Mark Pitcher settled into the lead and looked like staying there for the duration however; the Flynn brothers had different ideas and on an orange light restart 6b Grant Flynn took the lead from him Mark Pitcher was not one to just sit back and there ensued a running battle of tit for tat for several laps until the 6b finally prevailed. During this time 5b Steve Flynn was biding his time and first got past the 9w and a lap later took over the lead from his brother Grant and in a great display of sibling rivalry continued the battle right to the chequered flag. 124m Dan Corrin came on strong in the latter part of the race to take 3rd place but ran out of laps to take on the leaders.
The top six finishers were: 5b Steve Flynn, 6b Grant Flynn, 124m Dan Corrin, 9w Mark Pitcher, 27m Chris Cowling and 96a Lance Jennings. With the two Burger King cars coming first and second and displaying such great driving the main sponsor really got their money’s worth.
The Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series had their field supplemented by some new visitors, 88p Jack Miers, 28p Ricky Dykstra, and 18p Zac Dykstra. We also saw the return of two Wellington stalwarts, 54w Mike Pye and 16w Dave Hughes.
In their first heat series points leader 10g Peter Rees took the early lead however; 5w Keegan Levien, driving his father’s car with a new livery, made his move halfway through the race to take the lead and ultimately the win. 10g had to be content with 2nd place ahead of 4p Chad Ace. The most impressive drive was from 89w Dale Robertson who came through from grid 17 to take 4th place with 31g Gary Davis in 5th and 127g Ethan Rees in 6th.
Heat two produced some action for the crowd. 7w Shane Davis got off to a great start only to be spun well and truly out of the lead by the flying 127g Ethan Rees, who had come up through the field to go on to take the race. 89w Dale Robertson and 31g Gary Davis produced the action of the night when the 31g danced up the wall and appeared to float through the air to land in front of the 89w thus slowing the Wellington car enough to allow the 10g of Peter Rees to take the 3rd place from them both. Top six in this heat were 127g Ethan Rees, 88p Jack Miers, 10g Peter Rees, 31g Gary Davis, 89w Dale Robertson and 321w Hilton Parker.
Their final heat saw a continuation of the action with 88p Jack Miers coming in for a bit of attention but as one of the best teams racers of the modern era he was able to get the better of most who had a go at him. 89w Dale Robertson made the most of his front grid and led the race from start to finish with 5w Keegan Levien close behind him. They were followed home by 127g Ethan Rees, 7w Shane Davis, 10g Peter Rees and 4p Chad Ace.
When the points for the night were totted up we had an unprecedented 4-way tie for first place between two Wellington Wildcats, 89w Dale Robertson and 5w Keegan Levien and two Gisborne Giants 127g Ethan Rees and 10g Peter Rees. Unfortunately in our over-regulated society we now have a curfew here at Max Motors Family Speedway and this prevented the running of what could have been a mind-blowing run-off.
Support classes on the night were the Capital Pools and Spas Stockcars. The locals were joined by visitors 94m Caitlin Hayward, 89p Bradley McKee, 83p Dylan Rose and 72p Tony Norman. In their first heat we saw more of the same for this season with 1nz Josh Prentice taking yet another win ahead of 52w Josh Lockett and 9w Bryce Jensen. Their next heat followed a similar pattern with the 1nz claiming another chequered flag and 9w Bryce Jensen taking 3rd again. 669w Brendan Tye managed to obtain the 2nd place. This heat did produce a bit more of the Stockcar ethos that the crowd expects from this class with both 15w Hayden Thomas and 10w Desiree Craike both put up the wall at various times and the 89p Bradley McKee also coming in for some attention. The final heat was a breath of fresh air when most of the field decided to treat the crowd to some fun and games. There was blocking and stirring aplenty, in fact it was a ‘proper’ old school Stockcar race that the fans love. This also produced a totally different top three, the race was taken by 33w Grant Littlewood with 98w Ashlee Gaskin-Robertson in 2nd place and 46w Ethan Levien in 3rd.
The Kerry Lindsay Engine Re-conditioners Youth Ministocks had half a dozen visitors, 16r Ashton Osborne, 43p Kyle Rowe, 47b Nicole Hickmott, 5b Kara Flynn, 16b Hamish McEwan and 58b Jack Lawson, whose family probably may wish that they had decided to call it a day after Gisborne was rained out, as he was involved in a first race incident that put him out for the night, making it a long way to travel for only 1 lap. Winners on the night were: Heat one: 47w Anthony Hocking, 88w Adrian Hume and 16r Ashton Osborne. Heat two: 81w Damon Smith, 9w Cyrus Crook and 47w Anthony Hocking. Heat three: 16r Ashton Osborne, 81w Damon Smith and 47w Anthony Hocking.
The CDC Concrete Drilling and Cutting Streetstocks showed with a smaller field of 7 but they were not short of action which culminated in 74w Caleb Madgewick being rolled in the third heat. 8w Tristan O’Donnell had a dominant night winning all three races. 74w Caleb Madgewick continued his good form with a 2nd and a 3rd and was leading the final heat before 77w Daniel Bouzaid gave him the old heave-ho. 9w Aaron Wilton had a 2nd and two 3rd places with 17w Byron Sutherland-Old taking the final 2nd place.