Opening meeting 2012
Last Friday was great, but
just wait for Easter at Central Motor Speedway
"Fantastic. Easily the best racing I've seen for a long time,"
is how promoter Jo Gaudion described last Friday night at the
Golden Gate Lodge sponsored Central Motor Speedway.
For the super fast super saloons it was the penultimate round of
the hotly contested Elf Super Cup Southern Super Saloon Series. On
the night first place went to Christchurch's Mark Osbourne, Central
Motor Speedway's Ray Stewart was second and Ian Burson third. The
seventh and final round was raced on Saturday night in Dunedin
where Mark Osbourne added the Elf Cup to a remarkable first season
in Super Saloons that in February saw him crowned 1NZ. Just 14.5
points behind was 3NZ Ian Burson with third going to Central Motor
Speedway's own Mike Verdona for the third time in three years.
At stake for the mighty sprintcars was the Central Otago
Sprintcar Champs. Pretty much true to form these huge horsepower
winged beasties provided the evening's best heart in the mouth
moment when Central Motor Speedway Sprintcar driver Daniel Anderson
became airborne, rolling three times before landing on all four
wheels. Although Daniel left the track in the back of an ambulance
Jo says he's fine and currently repairing his car for Good Friday
and then some Stateside racing in May. The outcome was another
trophy for Central Motor Speedway's Jason Scott, the current South
Island Sprintcar Champion. Club president Andy Erskine was
Right now though Jo says she has fingers crossed that Friday's
fantastic racing will follow through to Easter:- "By rights it
should. We have the final round of the Sprintcar War of the Wings
on Good Friday followed by the Easter Champs for all classes on
Sunday, March 31. Both days have the family-friendly start time of
4pm, and with so much piston action going on in Cromwell we're
hopeful that even hard track racing fans will come over the fence
from Highlands Motorsport Park."
When the 20 or so sprintcars roll into Cromwell for Good
Friday's racing, Christchurch's Ray Baughan leads the War of the
Wings series at 800 points, 60 ahead of Jason Scott who in turn is
50 points in front of Nelson driver Greg Teece. Rounding out
the top six are Christchurch's Matt Honeywell, Central Motor
Speedway's Andy Erskine, Chris Gerard from Nelson and former Black
Cap, Nathan Astle competing in his first season of hard-out
As with all racing at Central Motor Speedway, Good Friday's
programme will feature a number of support classes. Sunday is the
Central Motor Speedway Easter Champs for classes that include Six
Shooters, Saloons, Production Saloons, Stockcars, Youth Ministocks,
Adult Ministocks, Super Saloons. Jo believes that it will be an
afternoon and evening of thrills, spills and great racing from go
NZ Saloon Championship for
Central Motor Speedway
First Souther Islander to win NZ Saloon Car
Congratulations to Blenheim's Rob Flood who in the early hours
of last Sunday morning came away from Central Motor Speedway
as New Zealand Saloon Car Champion 2012/13.
By taking the checkered flag in his first attempt at the
national title, 35-year-old Rob also became the first South
Islander to win it. Two Tauranga drivers Steve Cowling and Brent
McClymont finished second and third respectively with Brent
creating a record of being on the podium at every one of the six
New Zealand Saloon Car Championships held to date.
After Friday night's elimination heats where a good size crowd
was treated to fast, exciting and basically incident free racing,
Saturday served up a car crunching smorgasbord for those who love
speedway for its thrills and spills. Gisborne driver Daniel
Corrin's car briefly, and very dramatically, erupted in flames.
Amazingly damage was relatively minor and he was able to compete in
the title decider, achieving a creditable fourth. Brent McClymont
was also obviously in Lady Luck's good books with his crew able to
rebuild his car in time for the title decider after he drove along
Turn Four's wall and safety fence before 'landing' on all four
wheels. This unintended showmanship was caused by the steering
wheel coming off in his hands.
Unfortunately for Cromwell's Daryl Ainsley, Friday night's
successes in the heats failed to carry through to Saturday where it
all turned to custard. In the title decider, heavy contact with the
track wall forced him to join the crowded infield of crumpled,
punctured or mechanically disabled DNF's. Of the 19 cars that
started only eight finished.
Because of the title decider's late hour start much of the big
crowd, especially the many family groups, had headed home. That
said though, the heats would have shown first time spectators just
how thrilling speedway can be. However it isn't all bad news for
Central Motor Speedway drivers with sprintcar ace Jason Scott on
Saturday night at Ruapuna winning the South Island Sprintcar
Championship title for the third year on the trot.
The winds blew cold but
the action was hot!
Cobwebs were blown away and gauntlets thrown down at Central
Motor Speedway on Labour Weekend Saturday night. With the chill
wind keeping all but ardent fans snuggled in their vehicles parked
around the circuit, most spectators would have driven away well
satisfied with this taster for the huge season ahead --- a calendar
that includes the DHL Saloon Series, South Island Saloon Title,
Xmas Edge Sprint Car Series, New Year GP and the real coup for the
Cromwell circuit, the New Zealand Saloon Champs which is being held
in the South Island for the first time ever.
Blowing cobwebs away is usually a turn of phrase, but a peek
into Whetu Tawea's Production car before the first race suggested
that a good few arachnids who had made the car their winter habitat
were about to get blown away in a big way. While productions may
not be the glamour cars of the speedway, on Saturday they provided
exciting, tight racing in a field that saw ladies represented by
Cromwell's Sabrina Bain and Krystal Gilmore from Wanaka. As club
committee representative for Productions, Whetu has prepared four
cars for sale. At around $2000 and available on a first come
basis they're an inexpensive opportunity to make your name at
Central Motor Speedway.
Productions Overall Winner: Whetu 'Spiderman'
Step up class...
The Six Shooters, another of the more affordable speedway
classes, showed the rules governing these 3.8 litre Holden powered
wingless sprint cars have created a great formula for close, fast
racing where driver skill and nerve is the telling difference. On
Saturday night 21 year old Dunedin accountancy student Matthew
Anderson showed he has both. In spades. In the last race an
unforced error spun Matthew to the end of the pack but unbelievably
within two laps he was once again leader and eventual winner.
Representing 'girl power', 16 year old Brooke Wright is another
driver worth watching. At around $15,000 and tonnes of spectator
appeal, the Six Shooter is a great step up class for youth
ministock drivers and also for older ex-racers to show 'you're
never too old to race!'
Six Shooter Overall Winner: Matthew Anderson
More to come...
A welcome surprise was the appearance of four Stock Cars and the
news from promoter Jo Gaudion that these bad boys will be regulars
at Central Motor Speedway over the 2012/13 season. And with fields
of around 10 expected, it promises to be a bit like watching an
auto mosh pit. Good on Nathan Taylor, Daniel Mulvena, Brad Triggs
and fresh from ministocks, Liam Hopkins for making the effort to
come along on Saturday night. Also hats off to the youth ministock
drivers who wrung out every available horsepower from their little
1200 Datsun engines. There was a moment when young driver and
overall winner on the night, Conner Hopkins came away from a shunt
a little the worse for wear, but we understand he's fine. Jo tells
us two new girls have joined the ranks of youth ministocks racing
at Central Motor Speedway.
Stock Car Overall Winner: Daniel Mulvena.
The pink Rottweiler
There was a good turn out of saloons although sympathies must go
to Paul Wright whose beautifully prepared super saloon wasn't ready
to wake up from hibernation and despite frantic efforts by his pit
crew ended up pushed back into its trailer. No such problem for
Cromwell's Daryl Ainsley who lived up to his philosophy of 'if
you're going to do it, give it 110%'. So much so that in the second
saloon race of the evening he was so focused that unaware the race
had finished clipped slowing competitor Mark Vincent to bloody his
new pink paintwork --- but nothing a few strips of gaffer tape
couldn't fix! In the final of the three races, Daryl threw down the
gauntlet in no uncertain terms to drivers competing in the NZ
Saloon Championship. With a race format that put the gang of three
brutish looking black-painted super saloons out in front of the
lower powered saloon class cars, Daryl caught up, passed two and
then spent the final couple of laps nipping at the heels of the
leading super saloon like some sort of pink Rottweiler. But that
said the extra horsepower of Dion McMurdo's super saloon did help
exiting corners. Though had there been a few more laps available to
Mr Ainsley, who knows. It was great to see Ivan Murdoch handle the
change from production to saloon and Pier Leyser seemed at home in
his new saloon that he'd never driven let alone raced before
Super Saloons Overall Winner: Dion McMurdo
Saloons Overall Winner: Daryl 'Mr 110%' Ainsley
Not necessarily leaving the best to last, the field Sprint Cars
put on a great show with the pilots of these low flying 800
horsepower winged demons driving like there's no tomorrow. With two
newbies, Scott Gordon of Invercargill and Winton's Nigel Colvin,
racing for the first time on Saturday night, promotor Jo Gaudion
deliberately kept the field down to eight sprint cars. Scott
and Nigel are not just new to sprint cars, Jo tells use they've
never driven speedway before. It's the same for Phil Collinson and
Russell Jack who have yet to compete in their new cars. This
definitely shows that as a class, sprint cars are thriving.
Sprint Cars Overall winner: Aaron Cleveland