Saturday night saw the running of the new format of the Capital Pools and Spas Ultimate Stockcar Knockout. This season the event has been run on a two-man team system instead of an individual competition and it attracted quite a bit of interest from the drivers as well as the spectators.
The competition started with a seeding race for the 32 entrants in which their combined finishing points produced their seedings for the qualifying round.
The usual suspects finished at the front with 89w Dale Robertson taking the chequered flag. 4w Keegan Levien, 9r Sheldon Arapere, 96w Brad McGee, 9w Bryce Jensen and 992w Taylor Lampp rounded out the top 6. In the first qualifying race the undoubted favourites, the current GP champion 4w Keegan Levien paired with the current NZ champion 1nzs Tyler Walker, were eliminated early. The Lampp brothers 772p Kyle and 992w Taylor took the win and 74w Corey Small and 43p Quentin Hammond got the second qualifying spot, even though the 43p only completed 2 laps whilst he menaced the other drivers. The next heat saw 172p Daniel Burmeister and 174p Brendon Learmonth provide the most entertainment but unfortunately they both DNFed putting them out of the running. 247w Dave Marshall with partner 96w Brad McGee and 88w Josh Kahui with 46w Ethan Levien were the two pairs that qualified. The third qualifying heat saw another favoured team 9w Bryce Jensen and 15v Callum Sturzaker eliminated. On the back of some sterling blocking by 35p Matt Phippen, his partner in crime, 72p Tony Norman took the chequered flag. 85gm Brittany Carpenter spun several blockers out of her way to help her and her team-mate 242w Ashleigh Halcrow to take the other qualifying spot. The fourth and final qualifying heat produced plenty of action with one of the favoured teams 5w Josh Prentice and 9r Sheldon Arapere eliminated thanks in part to 89w Dale Robertson when he was in block mode. Unfortunately his partner, daughter Ashlee in the 98w, retired to the infield and he was too many laps behind the leaders to make any impact. 6w Paul Gaskin and 669w Brendon Tye showed their teams racing experience as they ran as a pair both blocking when needed. They won the race and took the first qualifying spot with 43w Wayne Richards and 51w Robert Austin taking the other.
The first semi-final produced a lot of action with most of the drivers getting in on it. 247w Dave Marshall led for the first part of the race whilst his partner 96w Brad McGee stirred it up large in the blocking role. 43p Quentin Hammond showed his skill attacking all and sundry, eventually taking out the 247w. 772p Kyle Lampp again took the win for the Lampp team with 88w Josh Kahui and 46w Ethan Levien being the other team to gain a finals berth. The next semi-final was more of a drag race with 6w Paul Gaskin leading from the start, 242w Ashleigh Halcrow attempted to slow his progress but he went on to take the chequered flag and places in the final for his team. 72p Tony Norman ran the whole race in second reasonably untroubled and claimed the last two spots in the final. Before the final was run the remaining Stockcars had a consolation race which turned out to be a consolation for 1nz Tyler Walker who managed to avoid all the action to take the chequered flag. 25w Jarod Higgins took 2nd place ahead of 85gm Brittany Carpenter but most of the spectators eyes would have been on 5w Josh Prentice and 74w Corey Small and their antics as they stirred both themselves and the rest of the field up.
In the final there was all sorts of action with 6w Paul Gaskin starting the race on the brakes allowing his partner to get away to a good start, although not quite as good as that of 88w Josh Kahui. The 88w led for nearly the whole race only to lose the position coming into the finish line as both the 669w Brendon Tye and himself avoided traffic. At the same time the 772p Kyle Lampp and 46w Ethan Levien, who had been pursuing a running battle for most of the race, had a coming together on the back straight that left the 46w on his side. The winners of the Capital Pools and Spas Stockcars Ultimate Stockcar Knockout for 2019 were 669w Brendon Tye and 6w Paul Gaskin, second place went to 88w Josh Kahui and 46w Ethan Levien and in third place were 992w Taylor Lampp and 772p Kyle Lampp.
The other feature on the night’s programme was the second round of the Friday Homes Superstock Tri-Series. In their first heat 95n Alex Hill unfortunately
retired to the infield and 52w Paul Fairbrother, who had taken the early lead, appeared to have mechanical issues and dropped right back. 89w Dale Robertson, who had just returned the chequered flag after his win in his Stockcar, took up the front running and picked the flag up again for another victory lap. Although the 89w won by a large margin the next two cars crossed the line with a hair between them, 46w Ethan Levien was 0.04 of a second ahead of veteran driver 95p Clive Elliott. The next heat saw a different top three with the win going to 22w Richard Gaskin who had taken good advantage of his front grid. 599p Ron Tye held the 2nd place position for most of the race only to be relegated to 3rd place by the persistent and finally successful attempts of 5w Keegan Levien. 52w Paul Fairbrother’s night didn’t get any better when he retired to the infield along with 47b Zach Glenny. Going into the final heat 89w Dale Robertson and 22w Richard Gaskin were tied in the top spot with 46w Ethan Levien and 95p Clive Elliott close behind. Even though 89w Dale Robertson had to come from grid 10 it didn’t take him long to get to the lead and go on to take a good win. 24w Grant Littlewood had his best race of the night taking 2nd place with 95p Clive Elliott coming home in third. The win gave 89w Dale Robertson the overall win for Round 2 of the Tri-Series with 22w Richard Gaskin and 95p Clive Elliott making up the rest of the podium. The Friday Homes Superstocks night ended with the one race 2019 Wellington Champs. Their grid places had been decided by the points accrued during the evening’s tri-Series heats so 89w Dale Robertson was in the hot seat. With the form he had shown all night he was always going to be hard to beat and that proved to be the case when he took the chequered flag 4 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. 46w Ethan Levien, 599p Ron Tye and 5w Keegan Levien were the interest of the race as they waged a race-long battle for the minor placings with 5w Keegan Levien eventually triumphing and taking 2nd place from 599p Ron Tye leaving 4th place to brother Ethan in the 46w. The 2019 Wellington Superstock Champion 89w Dale Robertson, 2nd place 5w Keegan Levien, 3rd place 599p Ron Tye.
The support classes for the night were the Saloons and the Modifieds. In the Modifieds we saw Jason Eveleigh taking a spin in the 11r and Damon Smith in the 18w. Both these drivers showed improvement as the night went on. In their first heat 57w Ben Cawthra won at a canter from 9w Blair McPhee and 17w Jonas England. In their next heat 17w Jonas England made a great outside pass to take the lead and win from 5w Brian McPhee and 9w Blair McPhee. In their final race 17w Jonas England again found the outside line the quickest way round and went on to record his second win. 5w Brian McPhee and 57w Ben Cawthra had almost nothing between them on the line with the 5w getting the 2nd place by 0.05 of a second.
In the Saloon class 9w Craig Burton had a night to forget retiring after a few laps in the first heat and not making it back out again. 13w Scott Hadley continues to show improvement and managed to lead the first heat for several laps before combined woman power overtook him. 24w Ashleigh Halcrow took the chequered flag with 34w Amy Eckersley in 2nd place and 57p Kelvin Honore taking 3rd place. Their next heat was a great example of clean, close racing and was a credit to the drivers involved. For lap after lap the top 4 had nothing between them as they inch back and forth changing positions. At the finish line it was 5w Jaden Munn who got the fall of the chequered flag for his first win, less than a second ahead for his other three rivals, 57p Kelvin Honore, 24w Ashleigh Halcrow and 34w Amy Eckersley. Their final race saw 34w Amy Eckersley take the outside line around 57p Kelvin Honore to the delight of the crowd and go away to win the race. 57p Kelvin Honore took 2nd place with 13w Scott Hadley managing to hold out a fast-finishing 24w Ashleigh Halcrow to take 3rd place.