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.