Who better to give his take on the 2018-19 season opener track action last Saturday evening (Oct 20) at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway than the man with the trackside mic, Mike Sentch. Formerly at Highlands Motorsport Park and now running his own business, Central Screening, Mike, who is into his second season of race calling, is easily the most heard of all the many volunteers who give their time to the speedway.
Pleased with the number of spectators who he felt were making the most of the first post winter long weekend, Mike, says the various classes delivered some classy, smooth driving with turn two catching a few out and several relatively new drivers throwing down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms.
“In the productions, regular carrier of the checkered flag, Geoff Friend (11t) found himself under intense pressure from Ron Koole (24t). Talking to Geoff later he said he enjoyed the challenge from Ron and is looking forward to more tussling,” reports Mike. “In the youth ministocks young Lucas Erskine (91t) showed that father and son time spent on the car over winter paid dividends, although the Road Transport Logistics Ltd Youth Ministock Driver of the Meeting went to George Hedley (7t).
“While some classes were a little light on racecars on the track, that couldn’t be said of sprintcars with some 15 in the rolling start for the final 12 lapper. Although reigning Sprintcar King of Cromwell Jason Scott (88t) achieved a pointy end finish, the race went to Jayden Dodge (41t), one of the young guns in his first season as a ‘t’ driver. Pretty much all of the sprintcar drivers showed there were no cobwebs slowing them down. From this taster I can’t wait to see the best of the best on Central Otago clay when Central Motor Speedway hosts the Civil Construction 2019 Sprintcar Title on Friday, February 1 and Saturday, Feb 2. From what I’ve picked up it’s almost certain a 16 year old hot shot from the States will be competing.
“Keeping with open wheelers, Josh Buchanan (43t) posted two well-deserved wins with Jeremy Blacker (22t) looking sharp. Saloons and Super Saloons shared the track with 68 year old Ray Stewart (34t) showing domination on his home track. Which brings me to Saturday, November 10 and Round 2 of the Mag & Turbo Super Cup and the opportunity to witness over 20 of the South Island’s top Super Saloons hurtle their 700 to 800 methanol gulping, flame spitting monsters around the track. Drivers to look out for include former Cromwell locals and NZ1’s Peter Dickson and Shane McIntyre. As Cromwell local Josh Kriel commented after Saturday’s racing it will be interesting to watch just how well visiting drivers cope with the Central Otago clay to put down the power without flying a wheel for most of the race.”
For the first meeting of the season, Mike says full credit should go to volunteers and track officials for such smooth running of the 18 race programme that saw the final racecars leave the track at the family-friendly hour of 8.40pm.