It was the Super Saloon face-off that delivered all it was supposed to, and then some. It’s an odds on bet the majority of spectators at Saturday night’s Round 3 of the Vertex Super Cup at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway were hoping for a rematch of the recent Mainfreight 2016-17 New Zealand Super Saloon Champs final where Cromwell local Pete Dickson was first to take the chequer flag ahead of his former boss, Cromwell contracted Shane McIntyre of Hypermac Racing who was literally pipped at the post for second place by Cantabrian Richie Taylor.
After six heats and a pole shuffle hopes were realised for a Champs re-run, Peter and Shane on grids one and two of the feature race. In a case of Déjà Vu -- or should that be Vu Déjà? -- roles were reversed right from the green flag with Shane in NZ3 getting the jump on 1NZ Pete who spent all of the fast and furious 30 laps nipping at Shane’s rear tyres. 3NZ first, 1NZ second and a good few car lengths back, Kane Lawson in 6c third.
In Sunday’s Round 4 of the Vertex Super Cup, the Super Saloons again provided plenty of clay hurling, flame spitting excitement throughout the heats and pole shuffle. The Vertex is a points based series where one strategy to gain bonus points is for pole sitters to elect to start at the back of the field. So there they were at the start of the 30 lap feature race, Pete Dickson and fellow Cromwell contract driver Ray Stewart at the back of the 18 or so racecar pack.
Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway official photographer Mark Mexted reports that both Pete and Ray gathered up a lot bonus passing points to achieve finishes near the pointy end. This is confirmed on the Vertex Super Cup website where on Sunday Pete was first on points followed by Ray. The unofficial points count after four rounds is Richie Taylor first, Ray Stewart second and Pete Dickson third – great to see four Cromwell ‘t’ drivers in the top 10. The Vertex Super Cup podium finishers will be decided at Nelson Speedway over Rounds 5 & 6 on Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11.
In other classes, fans got their money’s worth both nights with some excellent racing. In the Saloons it was great to see Central Motor Speedway’s ‘Baby Boomer’ driver Russell Erskine race hard and fast. From recollection in one heat on Saturday night a little tap sent Russell over the finish line going backwards. In another case of Déjà Vu, Ivan Murdoch on Sunday repeated his wall drive and roll over of several seasons ago. The saloons result for the weekend was 1st, Euan Shearing (69i), 2ndGraham Williamson (21t) and 3rd Camdon Crack (17i).
In Six Shooters the ladies gave the blokes something to think about and in the Sprintcars it was great to watch former Central Motor Speedway Club president Andy Erskine shake off the rust after a welcome return to the track. Productions and Youth Ministocks also kept the crowd well entertained.
The next meeting is on Saturday, March 18 (Otago Anniversary Weekend) with an all-time family favourite, the annual demolition derby. That gives potential competitors a good few weeks to prepare their cars for carnage. Gates open at 3pm, racing starts at 5pm. Modified Sprints will be making a welcome guest appearance.