This Saturday Max Motors Family Speedway hosted the NZ Modified GP and everything pointed towards a great meeting, fine weather, a big crowd, a completely re-laid track and plenty of cars for the Demo derby including some that looked too tidy to be trashed, and for us personally the only cloud on the horizon was NO Pita Pit.
The C & M Transport Modified GP attracted 18 of the best in the class including the winners from the last two times that Wellington hosted the NZ’s, 54gm Steve Thompson and 2nz Richard Pierce. The format was two groups racing two reverse grid heats to gain grid positions for the one race winner take all 20 lap final. Group A had a few problems getting started but once they got the green flag we saw 48gm Atama Holland, in his first race at Te Marua, show the field a clean pair of heels winning by several seconds. Behind him we had several high profile retirements with 2nz Richard Pierce and 119h Bradley Lane joining 11w Wayne Everly on the infield. 24s Carl Hinton finished 2nd in the race with 9w Blair McPhee taking 3rd place. 54gm Steve Thompson came from grid 9 to finish 4th. In their next heat 54gm Steve Thompson made the most of his front grid taking the chequered flag well ahead of 119h Bradley Lane and 12s Jason Kalin in 3rd place. Group B made a better start in their first heat but fared no better in the DNF stakes with 31s Farron Lowry, 17w Jonas England, 32gm Iain Whyte and 21s Newton Gordge sitting out most of the race on the infield. The new 3nz Shaun Bloeman led home the man celebrating 40 years of Speedway driving at Wellington 5w Brian McPhee. 4h Paul Hodson came from grid 8 to finish 3rd ahead of 57w Ben Cawthra. In their next heat 4h Paul Hodson won from the front grid while 17w Jonas England and 31s Farron
Lowry had much better runs finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. 3nz Shaun Bloeman worked his way up from grid 8 to finish in 4th place. 4h Paul Hodson topped the points and so claimed the number one grid in the final with the next three being filled by 3nz Shaun Bloeman, 54gm Steve Thompson and 5w Brian McPhee. Pre=meeting favourites 119h Bradley Lane and 2nz Richard Pierce had plenty of work to do being on grids 11 and 13 respectively. 4h Paul Hodson after doing all the hard work in the qualifying had problems from lap one, dropping back and then retiring to the infield, 54gm Steve Thompson gained the upper hand and led the pack. 17w Jonas England was going really well in 3rd place when he, for the second time in the night, mounted the wall and ended his challenge for the title. 2nz Richard Pierce who is well known for his “Win it or bin it” style of racing, ignored the note to himself on his dashboard (Don’t be a Dick) and managed to produce a spectacular triple roll on the front straight that obviously put him way out of contention. The 54gm managed to put a lapped car between himself and the chasing pack which helped him keep his lead on the restarts.
The race ended up have three different white flag laps as orange lights brought up the green-white-chequered scenario again and again. When eventually the chequered flag dropped 54gm Steve Thompson took the win proving that the Te Marua track really suits him. 3nz Shaun Bloeman crossed the line in 2nd place but was later excluded from the results giving 12s Jason Kalin the 2nd podium spot with 119h Bradley Lane finishing in his usual GP position having finished 3rd for the third year in a row. 5w Brian McPhee came home in 4th place ahead of son Blair in the 9w and 57w Ben Cawthra.
Support classes for the night were the Capital Pools and Spas Stockcars who had plenty of visitors, from the Bay 96b Brandon Symes, 15b
Michael Smith, 14b Gemma Palmer and 74b Tony Palmer made the trip down. They were joined by 9r Sheldon Arapere and 72p Tony Norman, other points of interest were the 53p driven by Josh Patterson, the 13w of Paul Sammons in his first time in a Stockcar and the new Rees tank of 10w Desiree Craike. The class was also joined by a handful of Superstocks which included the 471p Daniel Hole and yes we are writing this correctly the 57w of Josh Prentice. The class seemed to pull out all its stops for the large crowd and there was action aplenty especially on the part of the 12w James Martin. Winners in their two races were 96b Brandon Symes and 46w Keegan Levien.
The Moving Company Saloons had their first race on a slushy track but 242w Ashleigh Halcrow handled the conditions well, making several good passes to take the win from 67w Scott Jones and 57p Calvin Honore. In their next race the 242w Ashleigh Halcrow took 3rd place behind 9w Craig Burton with 3nz Matt Eckersley taking the win. In their final race 242w Ashleigh Halcrow was having a really good race and fighting the battle of the night with 57p Calvin Honore when her front end collapsed causing her car to stop suddenly and the fast following 67w Scott Jones shunted her into the wall. The win went to 3nz matt
Eckersley from 57p Calvin Honore and 67w Scott Jones.
The Kerry Lindsay Engine Re-conditioners Youth Ministocks had 3 visitors 7s William Hart, 43p Kyle Rowe and 99p Eli Gipkins. Race one went the way of 81w Damon Smith ahead of 16w Levi Pou and 24w Keegan Cotter. By the smallest of margins 81w Damon Smith took the next race from 47w Anthony Hocking and 9w Cyrus Crook. In their final race 43p Kyle Rowe manged to break the 81w’s winning streak although he did still come home in 3rd place with one of the improving drivers in the class 777w Shaun Hayman taking 2nd place.
The CDC Concrete Drilling and Cutting Streetstocks also had a couple of visiting drivers from the Bay 9b Phillip McNamara and the sheriff 65b ‘Dirty Dave’ Brand who went on to win their first race ahead of 8w Tristan O’Donnell and 9b Phillip McNamara. Their final race of the night went the way of 74w Caleb Madgewick from 8w Tristan O’Donnell and 17w Byron Sutherland-Old.
Finishing with a destruction derby which is always a crowd favourite we had an old hat win his third derby and receive the $1000 cheque!
There is no racing next week at Max Motors Family Speedway because we will all be up in Palmerston North watching the mighty Wellington Wildcats eliminate all the opposition when they take the ENZED Superstock Teams Champs. (or so we Wellington faithful believe)