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.