Striking gold at Riverside

Another speedway season has come and gone at Aotea Electric Riverside Speedway, which hosted its final meet of the season in front of an eager crowd of patient fans.

Severe rainfall just hours before the meet soaked the track and delayed the start time, setting the scene for an eventful night of racing.

The fans relented, remaining to witness a number of season-ending title deciders as well as Saloon, Stockcar and Streetstock Memorials, the Sprintcar Southland Championship and Saloon Best Pairs.


An impressive 17 Stockcar contested the Ronnie Tree Memorial, the event rewarding the top three cars but, more importantly to many, the Stirrers trophy.

The cars were the first on track that night, making for a complicated watch with track conditions offering limited grip from the earlier rain.

Despite the wet track, there were just three stoppages in the opening heat, with Riverside drivers Zach Newsham, Kahu Moxham and Adam Naber all halting proceedings.

Beachlands driver Trazarn Ryland- Annabell would continue the strong form he showed on his home track a week earlier, taking the win over Central Motor Speedway’s Brian Taniwha and Riverside’s Shaun Hughes.

The track was drying nicely and had plenty on offer for the drivers once Heat 2 began, with Taniwha getting off to a flying start as the action unfolded behind. The crowd was instantly thrilled when Naber measured Hughes on the main straight, putting him well up the wall before continuing with his rival forced from the race.

Shannon Simon of Beachlands parked up on the back straight later on, causing another stoppage, while Moxham would again pull up in Turn 4 for the third caution. Unfortunately, Race 1 winner Ryland-Annabell failed to get going off that restart, bringing out another red light.

Taniwha would remain trouble-free as the drama unfolded behind, taking the win over Riverside’s Luke Fallow and his clubmate Peter Knight.

Confusion reigned in Heat 3, with Riverside’s Shanan Knight parking up and bringing out the red, heading infield but returning to the track shortly after to battle on.

Several drivers would have wished he’d remained out as he returned to the track to get in amongst everything, the performance seeing him awarded the Stirrers Trophy.

Hughes also came under fire in this race while parked on the back straight. The race was allowed to continue, but unfortunately for Hughes, he was hit hard while parked up by Riverside’s Jenna Tree and Central Motor Speedway’s Casey McEwan, who were in their own heated battle.

Out front again was Taniwha, who was doing it easy, remaining untouched to win heat three ahead of Ryland- Annabell in second and Newsham having his best day out in third place. This would give Taniwha the Ronnie Tree Memorial Trophy, with Tree second and Shanan Knight third.

Adam Naber gave Shaun Hughes a wild ride in Stockcars.


Eight entries were present in their final run of the season at Riverside, but the numbers didn’t matter due to the sheer class and competitive nature of those who showed up to compete for the Rod McLaren Memorial.

Riverside’s Dan Black got off to a flying start in Heat 1, pulling a gap to the field before a caution was called when fellow local Darren McLeod went into the back of clubmate Darcy Hewitt. McLeod backing off caused Mark Dobson to run into his rear, putting both cars out of action, while Hewitt managed to remain running.

Black would again pull away from the pack off the restart, building a lead that he would hold to the end to win ahead of Dunedin duo Ryan Bennett and Jason Gold.

Central Motor Speedway’s Phil Burgess got off to a solid start in Heat 2, with Gold and Riverside’s Graham Williamson both in hot pursuit. Gold and Williamson managed to make a move on Burgess, then went wheel-to-wheel for several laps.

Gold looked to have the race won, coming out of Turn 4 with the lead on the last lap, only for Williamson to charge up next to him on the dash to the line. Gold got to the flag first, the thrilling finish seeing the pair just .069 seconds apart. Burgess capitalised off his strong start to retain third.

The Rod McLaren Memorial and the Best Pairs Championship were both decided in Heat 3, the race again featuring a brilliant battle between Williamson and Gold.

Gold had the advantage of getting to Turn 1 first, but the pair had company as Hewitt joined the party in his most impressive race of the season. Hewitt didn’t look out of place challenging the leaders in the early laps but faded slightly as the race progressed.

A win over Williamson was the icing on the cake for Gold’s fantastic season, the Dunedin driver sitting his car beautifully mid-track, which made Williamson either have to go high to force a pass or wait for an unlikely mistake from the leader.

The victory gave Gold the Rod McLaren Memorial Trophy, with Williamson finishing second in both the race and Trophy battle. Hewitt’s third in Heat 3 wasn’t enough to stop Black from taking third place for the round.

Williamson did, however, get a chance to stand on the top step by taking out Best Pairs in partnership with Black, topping second-placed Gold and Bennett and third-placed Burgess and McLeod.


Streetstocks were on hand to race for the Cecile Kergozou Memorial Trophy, and early crowd favourite Chris Kergozou would be out in Heat 1, his car dropping a cylinder, meaning the family trophy would elude him once again.

The opener had plenty of action, with the track still holding a fair bit of moisture, meaning cars didn’t need much of a hand to rotate around. A mid-race stoppage came when Riverside’s Stu Reid was sent from the track with a flat tyre. Riverside’s Lance Yeo would also be extracted at this point with bumper damage, and just a couple of laps later, it would be Steve Dryden of Riverside sent infield.

Beachlands drivers were just too good in Race 1, with Ben Jenkins taking the win ahead of Mitch Lavender with local driver Troy Dryden offering the crowd something to cheer for with third.

The second race saw a solid hit on Lavender from Riverside’s AJ Lapsley on the back straight, ultimately ending Lavender’s event. Steve Dryden was also looking menacing in this race, trying his best to unsettle the Dunedin drivers with nothing to lose after not finishing heat one.

Dryden’s attention would allow his son Troy Dryden to claim the race win over Dunedin’s Allan Finch and defending Champion Dillon MacHattie of Riverside.

The only stoppage in Heat 3 came with debris on the track. This was an entertaining race with plenty of hits but not resulting in stoppages. Steve Dryden would continuously wait for the leaders, but they were up to the task, avoiding damage and staying out of harm’s way.

MacHattie was strong out front and would claim the win, with Finch placing second and Jenkins third. These results resulted in a three-way tie for first place between Troy Dryden, Finch and Jenkins.

A four-lap runoff would be needed, and Jenkins wasted no time getting to the front and charging off. Finch snuck through to second, leaving Dryden at the rear. These positions would not change, giving Jenkins the Cecile Kergozou Memorial trophy.

Casey McEwan puts a hit in on Riverside’s David Wheeler.


The final Southland Championship of the season to be run was for Sprintcars, and just a small field of cars were entered. Four vehicles from Central Motor Speedway and just the one Riverside entry would battle with defending champion Nigel Colvin of Cromwell on hand to defend his title.

Heat 1 saw Cromwell driver Shanarrah Stronach bolt off to a flying start, clear air helping build a lead that she would take to the finish line for the win. Colvin would need to settle for second, with Riverside’s Ross McKinnel third.

McKinnel would dish up some dominance of his own in Heat 2, showing the opposition that he wouldn’t be a pushover for his club’s championship. This heat would also see Colvin have a lively spin in Turn 2 but manage to keep the car going to rejoin the field.

McKinnel would take a famous race win in front of home fans while Stronach placed second ahead of Colvin, who worked his way back to third.

Points were tight with such a small field going into Heat 3; the championship was anyones for the taking. The key would be to get the best start lead into Turn 1, which Stronach, who started on the outside, managed to do.

Stronach got the nose in front and cleared off early, while McKinnel and Colvin went toe-to-toe for the first couple of laps. By the time Colvin had broken the shackles, Stronach had around a half-straight length lead that Colvin was starting to chew into.

Laps were fading quickly, and Colvin’s run had been left too late, with Stronach snatching her second race win of the day and her maiden Southland Championship. Colvin would place second in this race and overall, while McKinnel would cap off a solid day, third in race three and third overall.

Production Saloons

Riverside’s Tony Jones came from well down the pack to claim a well-driven win in Heat 1 of the Production Saloons, topping club-mate Dave McKenzie who led most of the race. It was a Riverside top three, with Fitzgerald third.

Race 2 was more of the same, but easier this time for Jones from a front-row start which set the way for another dominant race win. Fitzgerald moved up a spot from Race 1, claiming second, while Central Motor Speedway’s Liam Ballantyne continued his strong form for third.

Youth Saloons

Youth Saloons saw a big field, and it looked like Cayden Race of Riverside was going to be the runaway winner. A brilliant drive from club-mate Josh McIntyre would see him hunt down the leader, passing him with a couple of laps to run to take the win. Race would secure second, with Beachlands’ Noah Kitto home in third.

There was a great battle over the early laps of Race 2 between McIntyre and Riverside’s Joshua Richardson, the pair clearing off from the field and putting on a great battle until McIntyre negotiated lapped traffic a little better to catch a break. McIntyre would win his second race of the day from there, leaving Richardson to settle for second over Kitto, who was again third.

Lance Yeo gets a helping hand around courtesy of Dillon MacHattie.

Six Shooters

Six Shooters were the heroes of the event, with the grade doing a massive amount of wheel packing early in the day, followed by the Saloons, trying to produce a raceable surface.

Six Shooters featured Southern Sprintcar Series winner Adam Evans of Central Motor Speedway, who jumped back in his car to have a run.

Evans would work away at the front of the pack and battle hard with Riverside’s Duane Cracknell for the front spot. Evans would build a lead as the race went on, taking advantage of a track starting to take great shape under him. He would take the race win from Cracknell, with Ruapuna driver Kirk Hawkins placing third.

The final race for Six Shooters saw Riverside’s Hayden Graves come unstuck in Turn 4, with Cracknell making contact with the spinning car but able to continue.

Up front, it was again Evans who was all class, this time heading off the challenges of Riverside’s Harrison Brown and Daniel Livingstone. These placings are how the race would finish, giving Evans the perfect day out.

Demolition Derby

The Demolition Derby was run with just fourteen cars, showcasing the difficulties with sourcing cars with numbers previously having averaged 70 competitors in years gone by. Josh Chirnside was the last car running in the derby to take the win.

Bikes thrill at Oreti Park Season-Ender

A rescheduled season finish at Southern Bolts & Fasteners Oreti Park Speedway saw the Southland club as the last of the lower South Island Tracks to run a meeting this season; a balmy autumns day is greeting competitors and fans alike.

While only a few spectators were on hand when the meeting kicked off on Saturday morning, numbers grew to a pleasing turnout by the end of Round 1 of racing. All those in attendance were certainly treated to some great racing across all the classes, particularly the Northside Sand and Gravel Southland Classic Sidecar Championship.

Heading into the event, it was a lottery with just four local Oreti combinations entered. The most experienced pair were Gary Wells and Jamie Harpur, a dominant force in the eighties at the venue. They would battle it out against combinations who are still riding at a competitive level now, including the current 2NZ pairing of Paul Humphrey and Chris Chatfield.

Heat 1 would give some form guide as to who was going to be the movers and shakers in this championship, and it took no time for the experience of Wells and Harpur to show as the pair powered into Turn 1 ahead of the pack to remain unchallenged for the rest of the race.

There was a solid fight for the minor placings going on behind, and Humphrey and Chatfield would get home for second ahead of Jase Kennedy and Jonny Casey.

The second heat was a much closer battle up front, with Humphrey and Chatfield leading early before being tactically taken down the inside by Wells and Harpur. Humphrey would try and stick with the new leader, but Wells and Harpur negotiated the corners with expertise, looking smooth and fast to take their second race win. Humphrey and Chatfield held firm for second, while Bradley Sharp and Erwin Tree would steal third.

The Cunningham family open Cunningham Lane in honor of Russell Cunningham.

You would be brave to bet against Wells and Harpur going three from three come Heat 3, and to be fair, despite the margins closing, these guys were still hitting their straps. They put in yet another dominant performance to all but seal the title. Sharp and Tree impressed to finish second, ahead of Humphrey and Chatfield third.

The deciding heat for the Southland Classic Sidecar Championship produced the best battle of the day, with both Humphrey and Sharp getting into Turn 1 ahead of Wells, who looked to bog down somewhat off the start line.

Wells would give chase and make a move on Sharp and Kennedy to slip into second and start to give chase on Humprey. This race was certainly one for the ages as neither combination would give an inch, Humprey and Chatfield looking as if they would cause the upset of the day. Wells and Harpur, however, worked their magic and flew down the outside on the back straight to steal the lead away, a lead that would not be challenged.

Wells and Harpur took the race win and the Southland Championship ahead of Humphrey and Chatfield, who were forced to settle for second in the race and championship.

Kennedy and Casey would get third in this race, but third overall would go the way of Sharp and Tree.

Pee Wees would kick off the day’s entertainment, and no one would get anywhere near Oreti rider Carey Sharp who was dominant in all four heats. Sharp got solid starts in all heats and powered off on the small track to remain unbeaten all day.

The battle for second and third was much more evenly matched, with two up-and-coming Oreti Park riders exchanging results across the day. Heat 1 saw Eva Chapman grab second ahead of Max Cracknell, while those positions reversed in Heat 2. Cracknell also claimed second in Heat 3 when Chapman stalled her bike on the line, but she bounced back to claim second ahead of Cracknell in the final run.

The overall results in Pee Wee were Sharp first ahead of Cracknell, with Chapman third.

A strong field of 125cc Solos were on hand and produced some of the day’s best racing. Heat one saw Oreti Park’s Slade Fordyce take the race win in Heat 1 ahead of clubmate Jack Chapman and Moore Park’s Cooper Lang.

The second race of bikes was dominated by Oreti’s Mauger Kelman, who was all class and used every inch of track available to him to grab early points. Second was club-mate Ollie Cunningham, with Jack Campbell third.

The third heat for 125cc Solos saw Cunningham race off to a fast start and never appear challenged, heading home for a comfortable race win. Second was Fordyce, with Lang home in third.

Kelman was a cut above his competition once again in Heat 4, pulling to an early lead and again taking the checkered flag with ease. Behind him, Chapman’s race would, unfortunately, slip away with a mechanical drama on the last lap, allowing Oreti’s George Kennedy to snatch second.

Kennedy turned on the gas in Heat 5, taking a well-deserved win. The win looked to be going the way of Fordyce but leaving a gap on the last lap allowed Kennedy to swoop through and take the win. Fordyce held second, finishing just ahead of Chapman.

Kelman again would come out hot in Heat 6 and tear apart his rivals, the young local rider showing off his skills to claim his third win in as many starts. Cunningham finished second, with Lang third.

Kelman was again smooth and fast to piece together a perfect day out to bag his fourth race win of the day in Heat 7. Second place went the way of Fordyce, with Kennedy third.

The final race of the day in the 125cc Solos was taken out by Cunningham ahead of Lang, with Chapman third.

Mauger Kelman won all five races in Junior Solos.

This gave Kelman the overall win for the day over Cunningham, with Fordyce would take third overall. Next up on the junior track were the 200cc machines who would battle it out over five heats.

Race 1 saw Oreti Park rider Kadin Cracknell take an early win in what was a top ride against strong competition. Second place went the way of Moore Park’s Chase Lang, while local Jack Campbell was third.

Lang would go one better in Heat 2, taking a solid win after getting away from the tape smartly. Campbell would also move up the order with a strong second, leaving Cracknell to settle for third. It was a repeat in the order of placings in Heat 3, with Lang starting to stamp his authority on the field.

An upset was on the cards in Heat 4 when Campbell would ride his best ride of the event, upstaging both previous winners to take the flag, leaving Lang to settle for second ahead of Cracknell.

The final race for 200cc Solos again saw the finishing order shuffled around, Lang finding himself back in the front of the pack, with Cracknell delivering a solid second placing over Campbell.

Overall results went the way of Lang, with Campbell second with Cracknell third.

Sidecars combination Humphrey and Chatfield were hot favourites heading into the event, the current 2NZ team being the benchmark of the grade all season.

They were upstaged in an epic fight with Oreti Park combination Shaun Kerr and Harley Biddle in Heat 1, the winners looking extremely fast considering they are a new combination. They’d hold Humphrey and Chatfield to take the win, leaving the 2NZ second and Jason Harpur and James Dawson in third.

The second heat saw the local riders upstaged by Moore Park duo Ben Morris and Graham Partridge, the pair getting off to a flying start and beating the pack into Turn 1. They rode away from the field with ease to take the race win over Heenan and McDonald and Oreti’s Scott Ayto and Ramon Nikora Balloch.

Kerr would show that his first-up win was no fluke at all in Heat 3; he and Biddle again upstaging Humphrey and Chatfield to take their second win of the event. Humphrey would place second, while Gary Stalker and William Little of Moore Park were third.

Late race controversy was on the cards in Heat 4, where Harpur and Dawson comfortably led over Morris and Partridge. Behind them, Ayto and clubmates Dallas Kelman and Brent Nicholson came into contact, Kelman being deemed at fault. This handed third to Ayto and Nikora Balloch, while Harpur and Dawson held firm for the win over Morris and Partridge.

It looked as if Humphrey and Chatfield would finally get back to the top spot in Heat 5, leading Kerr and Biddle by a handy margin for the majority of the race. The checkered flag was out, and Humphrey powered out of Turn 4 on the way to take the win, only to stop mid-track with mechanical issues which put them out of the race just meters from the line. Kerr and Biddle peeled past for another win, with second going to Morris and Partridge over Kelman and Nicholson in third.

Harpur and Dawson were again in sublime form in Heat 6, getting away from the tapes fast and powering off for another well-deserved win. Behind them in second was Ayto and Nikora Balloch, while third went to Stalker and Little.

Humphrey and Chatfield finally got a clean break to take the lead into Turn 1 in Heat 7, despite a strong challenge from Harpur and Dawson. They would hold firm for a hard-fought win. Harpur rode well all day, and he and Dawson would place second over Morris and Partridge in third.

The final Sidecar race was another quality battle and caused the upset of the day. If you were a betting man, you would have put the house on Kerr and Biddle, but the pairing struggled off the line. Despite putting in one hell of a chase, Heenan and McDonald would snatch a famous win, with Kelman and Nicholson pressing them hard for second, leaving Kerr and Biddle to settle for third.

This result still gave Kerr and Biddle the overall win for the event, ahead of Harpur and Dawson, and Morris and Partridge.

There was an early upset in Solos when Oreti Park rider Dakota Crengle stole the show on a borrowed bike, racing clear to a solid start and pulling away to claim Heat 1 victory on a surface that was testing for the grade early on. Second went to Crengle’s clubmate Finn Reed, with Alex Cunningham placing third.

The current 3NZ, Reed, and Crengle were locked in a tight fight on the opening lap of Heat 2. Crengle would, unfortunately, drop his bike in Turn 3 of Lap 1 but would get back on and try and charge back through the field.

Reed was storming home fast out front and had the race win in the bag as Crengle raced back through. On the last lap, Crengle’s bike high-sided in Turn 1, sending him into the safety fence hard and leaving the young rider injured on the track. Crengle would return to his feet after being checked out and walk from the incident but not return again.

Paul Humphrey and Chris Chatfield were made to work hard in Sidecars.

The win would go the way of Reed, with Lucas Colvin second over brother Ryan Colvin.

The track team went to work on the track surface for some time after this incident, producing a far safer racing surface for the meeting to resume.

Reed stole the show again in Heat 3, taking the win by almost half a lap over second-placed Ryan Colvin, who, this time, upstaged his brother Lucas in third.

Reed did it easy again in Heat 4, the youngster showing why he currently holds the 3NZ and that he’ll be a force in the Solo class for some time to come; his speed and skills are an absolute joy to take in. He would win over Ryan Colvin and Cunningham.

These results would be replicated in Race 5, giving Reed a comfortable win overall for the event, with Ryan Colvin finishing second overall and Lucas Colvin third.

The final grade to run was the Classic Solos, and Oreti Park rider John Tuffley was simply untouchable across all five heats. Tuffley would have looked competitive in the A Grade Solos with the dominance shown, leaving the real battles for second and third.

Oreti Park duo Les Payne and Allan Crosbie battled for the minors in Race 1, with Payne grabbing second ahead of Crosbie. These results would be the same in Race 2, but Crosbie would turn the tables in Race 3 to come home in second.

Payne wouldn’t be upstaged again, however, and would take second over his rival in the final two races of the event.

These results saw Tuffley take the overall win, with Payne earning second over Crosbie.

This meeting was also the unveiling of Cunningham Lane, the entry road to the pits, named in honour of the late Russell Cunningham, who had been an integral part of Oreti Park Speedways’ history as a competitor, sponsor and official for a number of seasons.

This was a fitting way to cap off another successful season of action at Southern Bolts and Fasteners Oreti Park Speedway.

Easter Sunday action thrills colossal Cromwell crowd

Night two of Central Motor Speedway’s Easter Champs took place Easter Sunday, in front of a bumper crowd on a beautiful Central Otago afternoon.

This meeting would see the Central Coyotes Stockcar Team go up against the Southland Spartans in teams racing, The King of Cromwell Sprintcars, the Stockcars’ Mark Nicholl Trophy, the Ron Spriggs Memorial for Saloons, and the Central Otago Production Champs.

Stock Cars: Central Coyotes vs. Southland Spartans

The event started with the Fastlane Spares Teams Trophy up for grabs for the first time, contested between the Central Coyotes and the Southland Spartans, both having won once over their opposition already this season.

The Coyotes team consisted of Casey McEwan, Jacob Boulton, Marcus Scott, debutant Brodie McDonald, and Jayden Nicholl as the reserve driver. The Spartans had father/son duo Peter and Shanan Knight, Jesse Hamilton, debutant Kahu Moxham, and reserve driver Harley Robb.

As the race started it was Scott who cleared away from the pack as the teams went to war. He would lead for several laps before Hamilton would wait to take him out. From there, McDonald took over the lead, well-protected from McEwan and Boulton despite many attempted attacks from the Spartans.

Moxham and Hamilton got dealt to mid-race, leaving just the Knights to try and cause the upset. McDonald was too fast, taking the race for the Coyotes. Scott came home second, and Peter Knight third.

Sprintcars: King of Cromwell

Sprintcars were racing for the King of Cromwell, a chance for someone to sit upon the giant throne at Central Motor Speedway and wear the King’s Crown.

Christchurch driver Steve “The Gasman” Duff fired the early warning shot to his competitors with a faultless Heat 1 win. Duff was fast and managed to hold off Cromwell’s Daniel Anderson, who was setting some fast laps to catch the leader but eventually settling for second, ahead of Jason Scott of Cromwell.

Heat 2 saw Cromwell’s Shanarrah Stronach start strong, leading for several laps until Joel Myers Jnr of Ruapuna would start to apply the pressure.

Entering Turn 3. Myers Jnr would slide up the inside of Stronach, making contact that sent her into the wall. Both cars continued to race hard, but Stronach soon fell back a couple of spots.

Myers Jnr raced off to take a strong win, only to be relegated to third for the contact, giving Cromwell’s Adam Evans the win over Anderson.

Heat 3 was a fast-paced affair, the only caution coming when John Sievwright lost a side of his wing. Out front in this heat was Evans, who had really found some pace throughout the meeting. Clear air worked wonders, with Evans pulling away for his second win of the meet. Josh “Young Buck” Buchanan of Cromwell was second, and the Californian Kid, Myers Jnr third.

This led to the 20-lap feature to crown the King, and for the second time this weekend, it was an all “Ranch Bar And Grill” front row with Anderson and Myers Jnr starting in prime position, as they did in Friday night’s feature.

It was one-way traffic for Myers Jnr when the lights went green, quickly putting three car lengths over the pack into Turn 2 before boosting away.

That didn’t last for long, however, with an early intervention required following a frightening incident when Buchanan powered into Turn 3 on Lap 2, his car going airborne and sending the impressive young driver upside down in a vicious roll. He would walk away but his car suffered considerable damage.

At the restart, Myers Jnr took off from the pack once again, with Anderson tucking in behind while Dave Kerr and Duff battled for third. With just four laps to run Stronach would spin at Turn 2, causing a caution. Immediately after that, Kerr would get tangled up with Tony Uhlenburg from Kihikihi off the restart, however, Kerr was returned to his original position of third.

Myers Jnr sailed off when the race commenced with just four laps remaining, putting in a stunning display of driving to be crowned King of Cromwell. Anderson would secure second with Kerr holding off Duff for third.

Stockcars: Mark Nicholl Trophy

Stockcars ran three interesting races, all with different starting procedures.

Heat 1 saw a reverse, two-deep Le Mans start. Christchurch’s Murray Greig took off and maintained a healthy lead, despite stoppages for Jayden Nicholl of Christchurch, Brian Taniwha of Cromwell, Shanan Knight of Riverside and Jamie Boulton of Christchurch. Greig would go on to win the heat, ahead of Shannon Simon of Dunedin and Peter Knight of Riverside.

Half the field would start on the front straight and half on the back for Heat 2, which saw Nicholl get taken care of early when Robb took to him at Turn 3, bringing the race to a halt. Following that, a big tangle of cars, featuring Peter Knight, Greig and Simon at Turn 4, caused the second stoppage.

Craig Robb of Christchurch would lead for much of this race, taking the race win over Cromwell duo Jack Honeybone and Jacob Boulton.

The final Stockcar race saw plenty of action, being the last chance for drivers to stake their claim for the Mark Nicholl Memorial Trophy.

While there was plenty of action, there were minimal stoppages. The first of the race was to retrieve Simons’ car, parked at the pit gate. The second was more dramatic, coming when Harley Robb rolled Shanan Knight at Turn 3, bringing the crowd to their feet.

Newcomer to the grade, Carl Gable of Cromwell, would lead this race early, which began with the cars starting five-wide on the back straight.

Gable would soon slip back a spot as Jacob Boulton snatched the race lead. So intense was the hitting and spinning, that Gable, who was spun in second, was able to tale to the infield with an overheating car before eventually returning to the track in the same position.

Boulton would eventually go on to take the race win, Gable second with Craig Robb third.

Overall, the Mark Nicholl Memorial Trophy for biggest stirrer went the way of Harley Robb, with McEwan second and Peter Knight third. Shanan Knight won the Roll Over award, while the points for the night went to Jacob Boulton over Craig Robb in second and Honeybone third.

Gable should be recognised for improving dramatically over the weekend and driving well upfront. Brent Hayston of Riverside was also impressive in his Stockcar debut, following several seasons driving Modified Sprints.

Production Saloons: Central Otago Championship

Production Saloons were running for the Central Otago Championship, and it was a pretty wild event with plenty of thrills and spills. A big crash marred the start of Heat 1, a number of cars colliding on the main straight, including Laura Heads of Riverside, Nik Fraser of Christchurch, Liam Gillies of Dunedin and Jack Taylor of Cromwell.

The race only started to take shape when Gavin Hurring of Cromwell fired out of Turn 2, straight towards the wall like something had broken in his steering. Unfortunately for Dunedin’s Kaleb Marshall, he was between Hurring and the wall, both cars hitting hard and forced from the event.

The race would be won by Dunedin’s Aaron Brookland, who looked very fast early. Second was Vaughan Fairburn of Christchurch with Gillies getting up to third.

Heat 2 also had an ugly start, with Dunedin’s Tyler Kelk giving Cromwell’s Rob Gjaja a helping hand into the wall on the back straight, Kelk’s car propping up Gjajas’, both needing to be separated before fortunately racing on.

When the race resumed, Gilles got to the front and started to pull clear. Cromwell’s Sam McKenzie chased hard in a borrowed car but couldn’t match the pace of the leader. Gilles took the race win ahead of McKenzie and Brookland.

This race also had another dramatic stoppage when Riverside’s Blake Murdoch’s car burst into flames mid- race, putting on a spectacular light show for a lap or so.

Heat 3 was the cleanest of the night, despite a couple of cautions. The first was to retrieve a bumper on Lap 6, while the second was when race leader Gillies almost came to a standstill on the main straight. The driver that had dominated all weekend had suffered a mechanical failure with a few laps to run. Fairburn and Cromwell’s James Woods did well to avoid the slowing car, both almost hitting Gillies as they chased him.

From here Woods threw everything he had at Fairburn, but he was too fast, pulling away to take the win and the Central Otago Championship. Brookland attacked Woods late, slipping past on the line to secure second with Woods third.

Youth Mini Stocks

Youth Ministocks were racing for night two of the Easter Champs, a night dominated by Christchurch driver Jaxyn Houtos.

Houtos was upstaged in Race 1, which was clean and without stoppages.

Cromwell duo Ashdyn Gable and Dylan Jones battled hard up front, but Gable would do enough to claim the win, a fitting finish to his last day as a junior driver. Jones was second with Houtos third.

Heat 2 was another clean and fast race, although this time Houtos wasn’t going to sit in the pack and watch the Cromwell boys eat away at his points lead, racing off to a solid race win. Jones was again the best of the rest with another great drive for second while Cromwell’s Clay Dawson placed third.

There were a couple of spins and tangles in Heat 3, but the race ran caution free once again. Houtos put in a dominant display to take the win over Dawson and Jones, who drove from the rear of the pack to third.

This result gave Houtos the Easter Championship for Youth Ministocks, with Gable second and Dylan Prattley’s consistency paying off for third.

Six Shooters: Easter Championship

Easter Sunday was also night two of the Six Shooters Easter Championship. Heat 1 was the first race of the night, and Harrison Brown of Riverside continued where he left off with a strong race win. Tony Creighton of Cromwell was second with Duane Cracknell of Riverside third.

Heat 2 wasn’t so sweet for Brown, who suffered solid damage after Riverside clubmate Nigel Marshall got crossed up coming out of Turn 4, collecting Brown who scaled the wall on the main straight, ripping the front end out of the car. Brown walked away and remarkably returned for heat three.

As the race resumed, Cromwell’s Blair Smith worked his way to the front and looked to hold a commanding lead. Behind him, Emma Gordon of Cromwell was holding second but would have a rare spin late in the race giving her place away. Smith would go on to win the heat from Cromwell’s George Hedley and Brian Ellison.

The final Six Shooter race, to decide the championship, saw visiting driver Kirk Hawkins of Christchurch start from the front lead early. Cromwell’s Ben Smart would try to gather in the Ruapuna racer but had his own battles to remain in place with Ellison chasing hard, pressuring for second. Hawkins would hold his nerve to claim the win with Smart doing enough for second and Ellison third.

The Easter Champs would go the way of Smith, with Ellison second and Hedley third.

Super Saloons: Easter Championship

The Super Saloons were again a great watch on a big, fast-flowing circuit. There were no cautions across all three heats despite some close battles taking place.

Heat 1 saw Christchurch driver Trevor Elliott hold off a fast-charging Ian Burson of Nelson to take the win, Burson having to settle for second with Cromwell’s Euan Shearing third.

Race 2 was Greig Johnston of Cromwell’s time to shine. Just like in Friday night’s event, Johnston showed that he is a real threat amongst the grade in his first season behind the wheel of his new Hypermac. He was dominant to lead home Burson and Shearing.

Johnston would repeat the dose in Heat 3, this time having to reel in runaway leader Elliott, who got off to a flying start. Johnston’s car always looks fast late on, and this proved to be the case as he caught Elliott and made a pass to take his second win in a row. Elliott settled for second, with Burson third.

Burson’s placing would give him the Easter Championship, ahead of Johnston and Elliott.

Saloons: Ron Spriggs Memorial

The final heat to run would be Saloons, who were running night two of the Easter Championship as well as the Ron Spriggs Memorial. The crowd were looking forward to seeing George Phillips of Cromwell in action, but this would only be short- lived with the 2NZ pulling infield early in Race 1, not to be seen again.

Cromwell’s Steve Robertson would get a chance to stretch his legs in his brand new, homebuilt Mustang Saloon, a car which was lightning fast and took out a fast-paced Heat 1 over Aaron Andrews of Dunedin and Billie Woodhouse.

Heat 2 proved to be a dramatic affair, beginning on the opening lap when Mark Dobson of Riverside was forced to hit the brakes as a car in front of him checked up. This caused Dave McCallion of Dunedin to hit the back of Dobson and then fire off into Andrews, the pair making solid contact but able to remain running. Dobson was then instructed to start from the rear of the field, much to his displeasure.

Next up was Phil Burgess of Cromwell, who led early. Burgess looked in trouble coming out of Turn 2 while in battle with Riverside’s Graham Williamson, coming to a halt and leaving Williamson nowhere to go. The contact shot Burgess towards the infield, collecting Jason Gold of Beachland’s, who was at speed. Both drivers were forced out of the race.

Williamson managed to re-join and would lead from the restart to claim the heat win. Ivan Murdoch of Cromwell claimed second, ahead of Robertson in third.

The final race was an epic battle between Williamson and Willie Woodhouse of Christchurch. Woodhouse had a good early lead, but Williamson would chase down the former 3NZ and pass him for what looked like the race win. Williamson would lead four laps before Woodhouse, in his Stealth, would make the pass that would give him the race victory. Williamson would settle for second with Dobson claiming a well-raced third.

The Easter Championship went the way of Woodhouse, with Williamson second and Dobson third, while the Ron Spriggs Memorial was won by Robertson over Williamson and Woodhouse.

Thrills and spills aplenty in Cromwell at fantastic Good Friday meet

It wasn’t just the Sprintcar’s War of the Wings title fight that put on a spectacular Good Friday showing at Cromwell, with the large support bill also featuring plenty of thrills and spills for a great night of action-packed racing.

In typical fashion, the Saloons put on a fantastic show with some brilliant battles across all three heats. In Heat 1, Riverside’s Mark Dobson and his clubmate Graham Williamson pulled away from the pack following early pressure from Beachland’s Jason Gold. The two southern drivers never relented and managed to clear off.

Williamson had tried to make a couple of moves on Dobson, who was fast but also nervous out front following a nasty run of luck so far this season, a couple of big accidents knocking his confidence in his new Hypermac. Dobson would get the win he was looking for, with Williamson coming home second and Gold third.

Dobson was again at the pointy end of the field in Race 2, however this time he would again have to battle with Gold and Shane Greer, of Beachlands, for a good part of the race. While this battle was unfolding, it was Christchurch driver Willie Woodhouse who would power off to a commanding lead.

The field would come back to Woodhouse when Williamson was spun at Turn 2, bringing out a caution. This was followed by a caution one lap later when Darren McLeod, of Riverside, tagged the Turn 2 wall. The third caution came when Williamson came unstuck at Turn 3, his car stalling and needing assistance to re-join the field.

The stop/start race would eventually come to an end with Woodhouse taking the win ahead of Dobson and Gold.

Production Saloons raced wheel to wheel all weekend.

The final heat for Saloons went the distance with no drama unfolding. It was Dunedin’s Aaron Andrews who put in a remarkable drive to pull away from the pack and take home a solid win. Woodhouse chased hard but would have to settle for second, ahead of Williamson in third.

A small but quality field of Super Saloons hit the track for the Easter Champs. The burning question amongst the grade was around Nelson’s Ian Burson, and if his rotten run of luck would finally end. Burson has been hammered with mechanical woes since the New Zealand title in Dunedin, and this was another test to see if the team had the gremlins sorted.

Burson answered that question in Heat 1, having an epic one-on-one battle with Cromwell’s Ray Stewart at the front of the pack. The pair raced door-to-door, lap after lap, but Burson would get the edge and take the win. Stewart was second with Greig Johnston of Cromwell third.

Heat 2 saw Johnston get the jump on his rivals, holding off an attacking Burson and Stewart in his new Hypermac, which he is quickly coming to grips with. Johnston would take the win, ahead of Burson and Stewart.

The third and final heat saw Christchurch driver Trevor Elliott dominate out front, looking in full control until a late race spin at Turn 3 would see him fall down the order. This mistake allowed Burson to snatch victory from Johnston and Cromwell’s Ewan Shearing.

Six Shooters opened the event, again with a huge field of cars entered. Cromwell’s Blair Smith boosted off to a solid race start, running away from the rest of the field and looking as if he would win with ease. Cromwell’s Tony Creighton would spin at Turn 3 late in the race, allowing the rest of the field to catch up.

At the restart, Sophie Wills, of Cromwell, would slip down the inside of Smith to take the lead with only a lap to run. Wills would snatch victory, leaving Smith to settle for second with Cromwell’s Emma Gordon third.

The second Six Shooters race saw Creighton struggle with a spin at Turn 3 once again, his new car a totally different beast to what he has previously raced in. This was the only incident of note, which saw Riverside Speedway’s Harrison Brown taking a race win after failing to finish Heat 1.

Brian Ellison would place second, with his Cromwell clubmate George Hedley third.

The final Six Shooter race was also a good, fast, and clean affair. It was Hedley who fought off his rivals to bag his second win of the season, ahead of Nigel Marshall, of Riverside, and Brown.

A number of drivers in Youth Ministocks would be having their final weekend in the youth grade before going off into the senior ranks.

Race 1 saw Christchurch driver Jaxyn Houtos dominate, the young driver taking apart his opposition with ease, getting to the front and driving off. The big talking point was the drive of Cromwell’s Ashdyn “Smash” Gable who started this race at the very back of the pack, getting through and settling for second. Clay Dawson of Cromwell would place third.

A nasty Lap 1 incident in Race 2 saw both Brooke Marshall, of Cromwell, and Toni Lee Best, of Christchurch, come together hard against the Turn 2 wall. Houtos would drive away from his rivals off the restart, grabbing another race win. Dawson would chase hard for second, ahead of Dylan Jones, of Cromwell, in third.

Race 3 also started with a nasty crash on the main straight, Dawson and Cooper Whalon Frans, of Nelson, crashing into the wall, bringing the race to a halt while the safety crew dealt with the incident. This race would continue to be a very stop-start affair with multiple cautions due to cars spinning as the track slicked off under lights.

The race would be called early after Cromwell’s Paige McNally and clubmate Mikayla Colvin had a coming together in Turn 2, giving Jones the win ahead of Houtos and Gable.

Stockcars again put on a good showing despite several cars taking it easy knowing there would be teams racing on Easter Sunday. Cromwell’s Jack Honeybone put in a smooth, clean race in Heat 1 to take top spot ahead of Riverside’s Shanan Knight and Beachland’s Paul Simon.

Heat 2 brought a few tap and spins, but produced some quick-paced action. Cromwell teenager Brodie McDonald upstaged the competition by getting up front and pulling away, taking a solid race win over Simon and Cromwell’s Casey McEwan.

The final Stockcar race saw a couple of cautions for cars stopped on track, but nothing too major as far as big incidents went. Craig Robb of Christchurch would this time upstage his opponents and manage to fight off Woodford Glen clubmate Shi Robb to take the win, with McEwan again third.

The final grade to run was Production Saloons, the grade was over-subscribed throughout the week and was split into three groups, but actual numbers on the day dropped and ended up being three heats with a full field in each.

With such a big field it was always going to be action-packed, the first caution in Heat 1 coming when Nik Fraser of Christchurch stopped in Turn 1. This was followed by Cromwell’s James Woods coming to a grinding halt on the back straight. Besides those two cars stopping, it was a clean opener, with Liam Gillies of Dunedin taking the win over Nelson driver Eddy Frans and Scott Ritchie of Greymouth.

These results changed post-race with Frans being disqualified, elevating Ritchie to second and Kaleb Marshall of Dunedin to third.

Heat 2 would see just the one caution with Cromwell’s Des McTaggart stopping in Turn 3. This would be the heat that Vaughan Fairburn would show his class, the Cantabrian doing a number on the field to bank valuable points in the Easter Championship. Second would go the way of Gillies with Aaron Brookland of Beachland’s working his way to third.

Heat 3 was again a stop/start affair with multiple cars spinning, the race not flowing at any stage. Again, Gillies would work his way to the front of the pack and bag his second win of the event in what had been a dominating performance in a quality field. Cromwell’s Brad McTaggart finished second with Leo Bennett of Dunedin earning a well-earned third.

War of the Wings crown a new champion

There really is something to be said about Easter racing at Central Motor Speedway in Cromwell. It’s Good Friday, and nothing is open, so a big crowd always flocks trackside. It’s early autumn, the temperatures are bearable, and a Nordic- like breeze fills the arena. The cooler the air gets, the hotter the on-track action gets, and that’s exactly what transpired in Central Otago at this year’s final round of the Hydraulink War of the Wings.

Central Motor Speedway would play host to the event, which has this year been dominated by teen sensation Joel Myers Jnr, from California, representing Ruapuna Speedway.

Myers Jnr would roll into the final round with a 55-point buffer over Riverside Speedway’s own teenage sensation Jacob McIntyre, who is the only other driver in the series to lead the championship throughout the year, in what has been a breakthrough campaign for the youngster.

Cromwell’s Mathew Anderson has been the quiet achiever, consistently collecting points on a regular basis to sit third heading into the event, just 20 points adrift of McIntyre.

The meet would kick into life with time trials, which also decided the OEM Quick Time Award for the series which Myers Jnr was leading coming into Cromwell.

Joel Myers Jr, your 2022/23 War of the Wings champion. Image Blake Armstrong

Dave Kerr from Ruapuna would be the only driver to tap into the thirteen-second lap bracket late on, putting him at the top of the table. Myers Jnr was second ahead of Cromwell’s Daniel Anderson. Mathew Anderson was fourth with Connor Rangi, of Nelson, rounding out the top five.

This result would see Myers Jnr win the overall OEM Quick Time Award from Jayden Dodge, of Cromwell, and Rangi.

Heat 1 saw an early restart when Cromwell’s Whetu Taewa came unstuck early. Once the race found its rhythm, a harmless spin between Cromwell’s Nigel Colvin and Jason Scott would see Sam O’Callaghan roll at Turn 2, resulting in the Nelson-based driver heading off to a nearby medical facility. It was another major blow for the team in what has already been a testing season.

It was “The Gasman” Steve Duff of Ruapuna who would lead away off the restart, charging away to a superb race win, the second-generation Sprintcar driver really starting to string together some strong results. Second place went be Daniel Anderson, with Kerr charging home for third.

O’Callaghan and Scott retired from this heat.

Heat 2 saw both McIntyre and Myers Jnr facing off for the first time, and it was McIntyre’s time to shine as he raced off from the front of the grid to build a handy lead until Kerr’s car would come to a sudden standstill at Turn 2, halting proceedings.

McIntyre was out of the blocks fast once again, starting to run clear with Josh “Young Buck” Buchanan of Cromwell in hot pursuit. Myers Jnr was also starting to come through the pack before a second caution was called, when Allan Chapman of Ruapuna and Tony Uhlenburg of Kihikihi came together.

Again, McIntyre would need to be on his game to fight off Buchanan at the start, and that’s exactly what he did. Once again, he was fast out of the blocks before bagging a solid race win that would see him advance to the Top Six Dash. Buchanan drove well to grab second ahead of a hard-charging Myers Jnr in third.

The third and final heat would go the distance with no stoppages and also showcased the speed and class of Rangi who was simply in a league of his own. Rangi raced hard in the early stages of the race with Cromwell’s Finn Cleveland, who is also punching out some solid results late in the season.

Cleveland would lead early but Rangi would chase him down and make a pass on the local driver, racing off to a heat win. Cleveland placed second and Myers Jnr third.

From here the top six cars would go through to ‘The Dash’, which determined the front three rows of the grid for the 30- lap feature finale. Kerr rolled out on track but would take no further part in the event, a disappointing end for a driver who had impressed early. The other cars lining up for the dash were McIntyre, Myers Jnr, Rangi, Daniel Anderson and Duff.

McIntyre got off to a solid start leading early but soon fell to the rear of the pack, his car looking like a real handful in the short sprint. Anderson would upstage his younger teammate, Myers Jnr, to make it an all ‘Ranch Bar & Grill’ front row, with Anderson first, Myers Jnr second, Duff third, Rangi fourth and McIntyre fifth.

The scene was now set for the thirty-lap feature final of the Hydraulink War of the Wings, the heats and dash had produced some stellar battles and an entertaining season had now come down to this race.

Anderson raced off to a fast start, only to be chased down and passed by Myers Jnr. He was lucky to avoid disaster when he rocketed out of Turn 4, hitting the wall and riding it the entire way down the main straight. He did well to gain his composure after the wild ride, before beginning to fight back.

McIntyre had fallen down several spots but was starting to make his charge through the pack until he caught the cushion at Turn 3 on Lap 11, throwing him into the fence in what was an ugly incident.

This instantly bought out the red light, the race coming to a full stop as McIntyre was helped out of his car and made his way infield. The contender was visibly upset that his chances of claiming the series were now done and dusted, also now subject to having to watch the remainder of the race from the inside out.

As the cars fired up again it was Myers Jnr who raced off to a solid start, but only for a brief moment, as Rangi bought the crowd to its feet by making a move on the American and racing away to a handy lead.

Rangi looked unstoppable at this point and both he and Myers Jnr were well clear of the pack, where Duff had worked his way forward to third. Rangi would also hold off the advances of Myers Jnr after another restart for stranded cars, the two young drivers again driving away before, in no time at all, battling with the back makers.

This is where Myers Jnr made his move, with Rangi a sitting duck in traffic. The leader had worked his way through several cars, but the gap he had over the American was gone, allowing him to slide past Rangi before unleashing his skill to drive clear.

The big crowd in attendance had just witnessed an epic battle between two young drivers, and Myers Jnr’s move had certainly bought them to their feet. With the white flag out, the round and series wins were within reach for Myers Jnr, who had won every single final that he competed in throughout the series.

This win was the full stop on a remarkable campaign, and the teenage sensation celebrated taking the chequered flag and the Hyraulink War of the Wings title. Second home was Rangi who threw everything he had at this event, while Duff took a well-driven third.

Mathew Anderson drove a strong race and managed to get himself up to fourth, stealing second place in the series, while McIntyre can still be extremely proud of his achievements to finish third overall.

Epic beachlands battle deliver the goods

Modified Sprints

Jayden Fraser was the man to beat in Modified Sprints, the Riverside driver having been the class of the grade this season. He would smash the opposition in Heat 1 to secure victory over Glen Johnston of Beachlands and Shae McKenzie of Dunedin.

Johnston would turn the tables in Heat 2, despite Fraser having multiple attempts at making a pass. He couldn’t make it stick, giving Johnston the race win with Fraser second with McKenzie third.

Fraser’s redemption came in Race 3, racing off to a fast start and easily taking the win. McKenzie pressured Johnston but would get home in second, McKenzie consistent with his third 3rd placing of the night.

Heat 1 of night two produced a shock winner, with former 2NZ Streetstock driver McKenzie upstaging Friday’s winners to claim his maiden Modified Sprint win. Fraser settled for second, with Johnston third.

Johnston held out a fierce challenge from Fraser in Heat 2, with McKenzie not far off the pace. Those three drivers would remain in those placings when the checkered flag dropped.

The final race for Modified Sprints saw Fraser dominate from out front, smashing his rivals to cap off a big weekend of racing for the Riverside speedster. Fraser’s clubmate Vernon Helms struck some excellent form over the weekend, getting up to second, while McKenzie raced home in third.

Youth Saloons

Youth Saloons provided some excellent clean racing with no cautions until the third heat. Dunedin’s Max Kemp was chased after breaking away to a solid lead. He would fight off clubmate Jayden Cron to take the Heat 1 win, with Cron second ahead of Noah Kitto of Dunedin.

Cron would go one better in Heat 2 following a solid battle with Riverside’s Joshua Richardson, who got away to a good start. Cron would snatch the lead late in the race to claim the win, with Richardson second and Brooke Soper of Beachlands third.

It was newcomer Lachie Robertson of Riverside who bought Heat 3 to a brief stop with a big rollover in Turn 2, the car hitting a rut and firing upside down. At the restart, Cron would again get his way to the front of the pack and go on to win the race. Madi Stewart of Dunedin claimed a well- driven second, with Kemp up to third.

The next day’s Heat 4 saw Kitto hit the wall before passing the green flag, bringing a complete restart. On her last night of racing in the Youth grade, Stewart got off to a flying start, getting past the cars on the front row and powering off unchallenged to take her last-ever win in Youth Saloons. Richardson placed second, with Beachland’s Ashley Bennett fast in third.

The fifth heat was a heartbreaker for Kemp, who was fighting hard with his clubmate Cron when his engine blew, causing the car to catch fire. Kemp was visibly gutted but would return for the finale thanks to a great act of sportsmanship from Richardson, who gave up his car to Kemp to participate.

Beachland’s Max Fleet had a tough race, two spins bringing out cautions. The race win would go the way of Cron, with Soper second and Kitto third. The final Youth Saloon race for the season was fast and tidy with no cautions. It was fitting that Cron would get to the front of the pack and win the race in his last meeting in the grade. Kitto placed second, with Cayden Race of Riverside Speedway third.

With this race done, The Young and The Restless Championship went the way of Cron, Campbell and Schumacher, with Dunedin’s Lycan Cuff – Willman, Lavender and Andrew second and Bennett, MacHattie and Jenkins third.


The Stockcars were as entertaining as always, with Dunedin’s Zane Tuhura in one of those moods where he would inflict as much pain as he could. Trazarn Ryland-Annabell would take an easy Heat 1 win from Dunedin’s Nico Tuhura, with clubmate Liam Squire third.

Ryland- Annabell would start from the front row in Race 2, remaining unchallenged for the second race in a row. Nico Tuhura was second, with Squire rounding out the top three.

The third heat saw plenty of biff and bash, showcasing a Tuhura versus Simon family battle, with three members of each family attacking each other at every opportunity.

Squire would work his way to the front in this heat and remain there to take the win. Savannah Simon drove an excellent race for second, while her father, Paul, settled for third.

The next day, Nico Tuhura was too strong for the opposition taking the opening heat ahead of Dunedin’s Zac McClenaghan and Ryland-Annabell.

The second race saw more action and some solid hits, notably when Riverside driver Adam Naber placed Beachland’s Mike Holley up the wall at Turn 2. Ryland- Annabell would take this race over Nico Tuhura and Shannon Simon.

This left one race to run, with an early stoppage required when Naber put Shannon Simon into the Turn 2 wall. It wasn’t long after this hit that Holley would again be up the wall, this time in Turn 3. When the flag dropped, Nico Tuhura was the first man past the line, ahead of Ryland- Annabell and Savannah Simon.

The results for the Man of Steel went to Nico Tuhura over Ryland-Annabell and Paul Simon, while Zane Tuhura took the stirrers award ahead of Naber and McClenaghan.


Saloons were running a 40-lap race to cap the opening evening off, first running two 10-lap heat races to determine that grid.

Heat 1 saw Christchurch driver Ashton Osborne easily take apart the opposition to bag top points. Second went the way of Dunedin’s Travis Smith, who held off a fast-finishing Aaron Andrews of Dunedin.

Race 2 was another race dominated by a Christchurch driver in a Stealth, this time Peter “Dutchy” Schouten clearing out from the front to bag the win. Ryan Bennett of Dunedin was second, while Andrews was again at the top end of town in third. Andrews would lead the field into turn one of the 40-lap race, having never been beaten in previous years in the event, once again looking the part early. It was only a matter of time before Osborne and Schouten would start to make a move for the lead.

There was an early caution when local driver Wayne Bennett spun but managed to re-join, while Smith suffered steering damage heading into Turn 3, putting him out of the race.

At the restart, Osborne bolted from the field only to come to a grinding halt when Dunedin driver Calvin Todd spun in Turn 2, the leader making light contact with him but able to continue. Riverside’s Mark Dobson was starting to put together some fast laps and began making his way through the field, but a spin late in the race saw the Southlander fall down the order.

Osborne would continue to impress to come home first, winning the 40-lap race with ease. Schouten would be second, and Andrews third.

Saloons were back on Saturday, racing for the Donald Maclean Trophy, Osborne continuing from where he left off in Heat 1 with a dominant win over Bennett and Dobson.

Dobson got away to a flying start in Race 2 while the pack battled hard behind and would take the win, with Gold driving well to get to second and Andrews third.

The final Saloon race was again fast and clean despite Osborne being forced out with steering issues, which opened the fight for the silverware. Gold and Andrews put on a fantastic show, with the latter constantly threatening to pass in a fierce battle for the lead.

Gold would take the heat win ahead of Andrews and Shane Greer of Dunedin.

Victory in the finale saw Gold claim the Donald Maclean Trophy over Andrews and Dobson.

Production Saloons

Friday’s meeting also saw the final night of action for Production Saloons, with the grade not competing on Saturday. You could not fault the driving in the first three heats with just the one caution when Lucy Greer of Dunedin had her bonnet flip over her roof in Heat 1.

Dunedin’s Liam Gillies and Clubmate Aaron Brookland were both class acts across the heats, with Gilles taking the opener over Brookland and Dunedin’s Clay Marshall.

Heat 2 would also go the way of Gillies following a post-race penalty for Brookland. Dunedin’s Tyler Kelk was second, with Brookland pushed to third.

Gillies made it three-from-three in the finale off the back of a charging drive, Brookland was second, and Marshall third.

The feature saw Gillies and Brookland start from the rear and work their way through. Dunedin’s Ricki Pilley would get the lead mid-race, but Gillies and Brookland would eventually get to him before both suffering problems.

Brookland looked to have mechanical issues but still raced home for sixth, while Gillies looked good for the win chasing Pilley before hitting the wall on the last straight while in second. This gave Pilley the win over Dunedin’s Kaleb Marshall and Gillies.

Super Saloons

A strong Super Saloon field was also at Beachlands for the Otago Super Saloon Championship. Christchurch’s Josh Boulton was an early scratching, damaging a rib before racing. A handy replacement was found in the way of three-time New Zealand Champion Mark Osborne of Christchurch.

Cromwell’s Owen Dixon bought out Heat 1’s only caution, hitting the wall hard coming out of Turn 2. Out front, it was Osborne who took apart the opposition, claiming the win from Ray Stewart of Cromwell and Ricky Boulton of Dunedin.

Osborne had an uncharacteristic spin in Turn 3 in Heat 2, his clubmate Trevor Elliott dominating the race from the front, holding off a strong Boulton challenge for the win, with Alister Lister of Dunedin third.

Boulton raced hard off the front in the finale, trailing Cromwell’s Greig Johnston early before eventually powering his way through for the lead which he held until the end on his home track. Johnston capped off a good race with second over Elliot in third.

Boulton would take the Otago Super Saloon Championship, with Elliott second and Johnston third overall.

Chaos & Carnage at Beachlands! Battle of the Streetstocks comes down to the wire

The Battle of the Streetstocks is fast becoming one of the most popular meetings on the calendar at Custom Signs Beachlands Speedway in Dunedin, with the event sponsored by Gillies Contracting this year attracting 30 cars, 15 locals paired off with 15 visiting South Island drivers, racing six heats over two nights.

Heavy rain leading up to the event brought a sodden infield. What was expected to be a damp racing surface was anything but, with Track Manager Russell Stewart putting on a track surface that needed no attention all night, a top job in a testing lead-up.

To kick the night off, each pairing would send a single car out to qualify in the Streetstock Shootout. Dunedin’s Mitch Lavender would bag the fastest time ahead of clubmates Ben Jenkins and Matt Stewart.

All eyes were on Stewart come Heat 1, who was leading on the timing monitor and was in a heated battle with both Jenkins and Lavender at the front of the pack. This race would see a couple of stoppages, the main one when Riverside’s Steve Dryden came together with Scott Palmer of Dunedin, Palmer retiring to the infield while Dryden continued to battle.

What looked like a race win to Stewart took many by surprise with Christchurch driver Jono Garthley collecting the winner’s flag, Garthley not appearing on the timing due to a MyLaps fault, actually taking the win, with his partner, Scott Ashton of Dunedin sixth. Stewart was second with his partner Jono Bower of Riverside suffering a DNF, and Ben Jenkins third with his partner Dillon MacHattie of Riverside also parked up, not finishing.

Heat 2 of the opening night was a good, fast race, bringing just one red light period when Riverside’s AJ Lapsley was stopped with a flapping front guard. The race would restart from there and run the distance without another stoppage. The win would go the way of Beachlands driver Braden Adams whose partner Ben Turner of Christchurch suffered a DNF. Second was New Zealand Champ Paul Leslie of Christchurch, his partner Adam Stewart of Dunedin eighteenth. Corey Schumacher of Christchurch was third, and his partner, Kelly Campbell of Dunedin, also not finishing.

The third heat saw plenty of action, beginning at Turn 1 on Lap 1, when Lapsley was minding his own business looking for a way around the outside of the pack, only for the in-front Adam Stewart to be spun by Palmer, shooting into Lapsley and causing the Invercargill driver to have a remarkable rollover, bringing the race to an early stop. Lapsley would walk away, and once the car was righted, he could remarkably drive it to the infield.

This race saw multiple stoppages, mainly for flat tyres, which killed the race’s momentum. There was a nervous period in the race for Dunedin’s Ben Bisset when he got spun on the main straight; Bisset was parked head-on into an angry pack of cars all coming for him at speed with no gaps to turn around, so the race went red for him to go infield.

Heat 3 would eventually be won by Garthley, bagging some more vital points, with Ashton adding to that total with a solid third. Leslie would snatch second with his partner Adam Stewart not finishing.

After night one, it would be Garthley / Ashton leading the way, ahead of Lavender and Shaun Andrew of Christchurch in second, with Campbell / Schumacher third.

A new day of action on Saturday didn’t make the racing any less dramatic, with an early Heat 4 stoppage required for Jono Bower. Schumacher was strong in this race, fending off solid challenges from several fast cars. He would get home to win the heat, with his partner Campbell scoring good points in fourth. Second went to Garthley, his partner Ashton finishing sixth, while Lavender was third and his partner Andrew fifth.

Heat 5 was the highlight of the night, and it was brutal. Cars that were out of contention went out to put on a show, and a show they delivered.

The race was only half a lap in when Adam Stewart put a killer blow on Schumacher on the back straight. This sent Schumacher into Palmer, who will then feel the full force of Riverside’s Chris Kergozou coming through to tear the back end of his car to bits. Schumacher was ordered off the track with a damaged front bumper. Dunedin driver Jacob Campbell was in menacing form, going after Ashton, which led to Ashton being ordered off the track with a flat tyre. Campbell would then hit Ashton’s partner Garthley, putting both championship leaders to the infield and opening up the competition.

The race looked to be won and done when Blenheim’s Jorden O’Connell-Inns would tear in from Turn 3 at pace, cleaning out Kergozou, who would roll heavily. The Invercargill driver stated in his post-race interview that his car would be fixed, and he would be out looking for O’Connell-Inns.

The race went the way of Mike Jones of Christchurch, with Matt Stewart second and MacHattie third.

The crowd were now amped and ready for the sixth and final race of the event; who would be the Battle of the Streetstock Champions now that the event was wide open?

The race was a relatively clean affair, with Jacob Campbell out early, followed by Palmer and Ashton bringing out red flags.

Up front, Kergozou’s car was repaired from the rollover, and he made a statement that the crowd loved. He was being chased hard, but the Riverside racer, who has never won a race at Beachlands Speedway, wasn’t about to give up the top spot, taking a famous race victory. His partner, Craig Blackler of Dunedin, was tenth. Turner was second with partner Adams ninth, while Jenkins placed third with his partner MacHattie seventh.

At the end of all the carnage, Lavender and Andrew were crowned Battle of the Streetstock Champions, Jenkins and MacHattie were second, with Schumacher and Kelly Campbell third.