Through all the ups and downs of the season, Waikaraka seemed to have saved the best until last and it showed. We had quality and reasonable quantity considering this night rivalled the V8 supercar crowd, there was a decent turn out of the faithful and determined and a friendly hum about the place. The programme included the King of the park title of all the classes up for grabs as well as a ramp jump novelty placed in the infield with some brave souls attempting to launch themselves into the beyond in cars with no form of roll protection beyond standard
demo derby requirements.The points structue of the first two races, determined the grids for the final race from which the first car across the line, won the title of King of the Park for their respective class.
Ministocks started the night off in fine form with 22 entrants, and many looking to add a special trophy to the cabinet. Huntly regulars Mathew Smith (46h) was
running as (4h) and newly crowned 1nz Daniel Thomas was humbly racing still as (55h) and up against a top class of well traveled Aucklanders in good spirit.
Steve Fox (64a)was Mr Consistent with 3 podium placings but not able to crack the title finishing 3rd in the race that counted, but finishing the season in fine form. Greg Mitchell (36a) won race 1, Fox second and Chloe Corban (16a) 3rd.
Race 2 saw Cam Young (15a) take the win, Daniel Thomas 2nd in a storming drive and Fox jnr 3rd. Title race was Fox 3rd, Karl Ross (73a) 2nd and aptly crowned Queen of the park, a very deserving Chloe Corban in a brilliant display of pressure absorbing driving.
Overall, a bit more contact than the class is used to, but certainly some very fast races and some top race craft emerging from these youngsters showing speedway
to be correct in continuing to embrace this feeder class. Who knows how useful this experience is going to be in their lives, when many dont even have a drivers licence.
Saloons started off well with 8 cars facing the starter in their first race. A long time between drinks since Paulus Van Zantvoort has suited up following a major engine destruction many weeks ago and having to await many parts for the new engine. The result saw the Mag and Turbo Monaro back on the track and a rusty first race, but improvement through out the night. Nevano Cowan (12a) and Steve Louden (9a) podiumed all night having some great tussles with hard charger Gavin Hinsley (58a) who picked up a win and a 2nd and some contoversy. The King of the Park title went to Cowan, Louden 2nd and Justin Ross (35a) 3rd. The racing was top notch, but the protest room decided the title and the focus was taken away from
performances seen on the track. That said, Cowan is most definately a deserved winner.
Stockcars were the action class of the night bar none! According to rumours, someone had put something aggressive in the water of all the stockcar drivers
during the week or similar, and it showed. There were stirrers, runners, hitters, spinners, wallers, rollers and much more. Paul Vazey driving Kelly Laytons (93a)
was introduced to the wall and rolled in turn 1 of race 1. That pretty much summed up the ontrack antics for all 3 races and the crowd just loved it. 23 cars started the night and by the end of race 3 there were only 9 cars that received the chequered flag. Certainly an indication of the severity out on the track. There were a few visitors who got straight into the action, Mark Jones (49b), Ricky Kuru driving as
(37g), Chris Moneil (73m) and Paully Rawiri still wearing (137k) on his car and picked as one of the top stirrers if not the points winner for the stirrer of the night. He was interviewed in the pits, and calmly advised all listening how and why he was hitting, the answer was simply crowd entertainment. Paully was merciless on youngster Daniel Knight (45a) who had every corner of his car scarred with waka paint from Rawiri, but also dished out punishment when he was able.
Billy Neal (168a) won the first race, Pick-a-part man Mark Wearing (34a) won the second race and somehow also won the King of the park race also, amazingly
being hastily interviewed on track during the race amongst a red light to wrap up a brilliant night for this hard working hard hitting class.
Modifieds; There was two classes of car on the track tonight. Everybody else, and Jamie Fox. It was as simple as that. He was Super brilliant !! These comments are made trying to be neutral. Foxy has won everything except the national title, and tonight was no different. The racing was top class, the commitment was inspiring, but that Fox fella just drove around the opposition and showed that being a grandfather is no reason to put on a knitted cardy and drive a Daihatsu Charade slowly for a thrill. His humility is sensational, and his crew, competition and fans just
adore this quiet spoken guy who I compare with Possum Bourne although not as internationally recognised, he is no less professional, able and now once again, the
King of the Park. To be accurate, Paul Blakeley (56a) and Scott Lane (19r) were second and third in race one. Allan Haigh (2nz) and Lane were second and third
in race two, marred with a very nasty accident rolling out of the action Mark Wade (29a) surviving intact after a car breaking couple of spins, and also losing
Chris Drube (33a) for the night.
Race three saw Lane and Brian Jessen (6a) second and third on a very well prepared track with only some light blemishes around the centre of the pit bend.
Waikaraka has some brilliant modified numbers and drivers, well done to the tireless promoters of this class, you are well overdue a mention, thanks from
those of us who have enjoyed the resurgence of this class, keep it up.
Streetstocks turned up in good numbers after a long season, 11 cars fronted including Bill Peat (45a) who has been absent for a few race meets and clearly in
the mood to bend some panel steel. He hit and was hit over the entire night recording only one podium,a third in the last race. Craig Mckinney (66a) won the
first race followed by Phil Morrison (10a) and Mark McNabb (12a) in his last race in this chassis as a new car is on the horizon.
Race 2 saw Captain Redbeard Shane Walden (89a) in the Mercedes win a well judged race with Morrison 2nd and McKinney 3rd.
King of the Park for the Streetstocks is a very happy Walden, who won the last race as well, the car he has had to R and D himself as no one else races one, is
proving a winner with Walden resorting to scavenging demo derbies to secure usable parts to keep his car moving. Second was McNabb and third was Peat. All
looks good for another bumper season from this class next season. They have more often than not provided the hits and keep repairing these 30plus year old cars
and somehow find parts to keep them on the track. It must be soon that some more modern machinery will be allowed to be used to ease this rare parts pressure
some teams are having?
Super stocks are a pleasure to watch at any time, but 11 is that much more enjoyable. The racing was fast, spins were hairy and the sound was just a delight. No major carnege in this class, some good hits, but the cars just seemed to shrug off any contact and get back up to warp factor 9 lickety split,and were racing again. Garry Ellis (11a) won the first race followed by Wayne Lucey (816h) and Warrick Ansty (414a) finished off the podium. Race 2 was won by Mark Decke (99a) from Mike Herbert (52r) and Blair Neal (271h) Race 3 and the King of the Park is Mark Decke, second was Herbert, third went to Lucey to round out a good night for the super stocks.
Super Saloons finished the racing for the season and this was a cracker class as well. Neville Stuart (11m) was in brilliant form all night and certainly made all around him sit up and take notice. His first race was almost his last as he hit and was hit, but a well prepared car saw him carry on to record 3 podiums in as many races just missing out on the King title, but certainly a royal display of driving ability. Lance
Jennings (3nz) won race one followed by Stuart and Glen Turner (45a) driving the old style trans am 100% to 3 podiums also. Race 2 saw Stuart win, Jennings 2nd and Turner 3rd.
Race 3 crowned Jennings as the King of the Park, Stuart 2nd and Turner 3rd, but it was in this race the most spectaculor accident of the night occured. Just
out of turn 4 coming onto the front straight John Parlato (16a) tagged the wall and immediately the front came around passing the onlookers in the Auckland Stock and Saloon Car Club (ASSCC) clubrooms upside down rolling heavily and becoming entangled in the safety fence. The decision was made to call the race and end the racing night, but some heroic work from the safety crew, removed the car, fixed the fence and resumed the race all within the cut off time to finish the night properly and more praise to this awesome group of track staff who go above and beyond every racing night.
In the later stages of the night, some hardy souls lined up to put 3 cars over a ramp jump. First was Joe (90) Williams in a Toyota Cressida who well and truly imbedded the car into a station wagon of some sorts and climbed out like another day at the office. This car was almost immediately made ready to go and subsequently went over the ramp twice more finishing off the night. Included out there was Leroy Neil in a Holden Barina which only did the one jump bottoming
out on the ramp and losing lots of speed much to the disgust of Neil. Deon Burgess then jumped a Renault which had only turned up that morning with reg until November and a new wof. It was lowmilage and immaculate and is now scrap. This event flowed in between races and was very well received.
It was a top night, probably the best speedway night of the season, but speedway was definately the winner on the night with many going away smiling and content.
This is fact as many were quickly asked their opinion when the pits were opened and no negative feedback recorded at all. All the thanks to all the people who
put the nights together, to all the sponsors who fork out the hard earned money and product to help the drivers / teams in their pursuit of enjoyment and competition and to the drivers themselves without whom the nights would simply not happen. October 7 seems so close and yet so far away, on behalf of ASSCC, and Waikaraka Park Promotions, have a safe off season and