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.