Allard wins 'The Goodie'

Iconic Californian Sprintcar racer Jonathan Allard showed what a class act he is when he dominated the recent ‘Salute to Goodie Classic’ at the Racecourse Hotel & Motorlodge Ruapuna Speedway.

The event, raced in the memory of Kiwi Speedway legend the late Noel Goodwin, saw the American back up his win last summer, leading home Auckland’s Max Guilford and local hero Jamie Duff.

Allard showed right from the first heat that he meant business with a dominant performance from near the back of the grid, carving his way through the field.

For much of that race, Max Guilford had led the way, but an official’s error saw the race go one extra lap, and it was on that lap that Allard hit the front. Allard then took out his next heat, making a stunning pass on an early race restart, blitzing past leader Jamie McDonald before building a commanding lead. McDonald hung onto second, fighting off a strong challenge from Wellington’s Stephen Taylor.

In his final heat, Allard stormed from the back of the field once again, surviving a big scare mid-race when he was forced to ‘ride the wall’ down the back straight with heavy traffic spread across the track in front. With local Matthew Leversedge leading the way, Allard had to dig deep to advance up the field, and he got by Guilford but was unable to peg back Leversedge who was a popular winner with the partisan crowd.

Other heat race winners were local’s Connor Rangi and Jayden Dodge, and American teenage sensation Joel Myers Jnr who had celebrated his 17th birthday a couple of days before the event.

Allard’s domination in the heats saw him starting off the front row for the feature, with Max Guilford sharing pacing duties after a fine run through the heats.

The crowd and drivers were well primed for the 25-lap race, but chaos broke out barely half a lap in the mid-field as Matt Honeywell rode the wheel, his car catapulting into a series of end-for-enders.

The Mid Canterbury veteran emerged from his heavily damaged car uninjured but facing a big job to get his car ready for the next night’s racing.

When the race resumed, Allard quickly took control while Guilford and Leversedge traded places a couple of times behind. Guilford broke clear, leaving Leversedge to fight off the rampaging American Myers, who eventually made the pass but was quickly picked off by local Jamie Duff.

With Allard continuing his run through the traffic, the chief interest in the last handful of laps was for the minor money.

Guilford was stuck in second and he almost succumbed to a challenge from the fast-finishing Duff, managing to hang on by a slender margin. Myers wasn’t done, however, and in the late stages he got past Duff, only to get out of shape and drop down the order.

Allard was his usual professional self in victory lane, praising not only the club for promoting such a great show, while commenting that the track was ‘about as good as it gets’, and then thanking the fans for rolling through the gates and supporting the Speedway, even in sub-tropical temperatures.

The night’s other main event was the first batch of heat races for the Wingless Sprints for the third annual Smith Racing Ruapuna Rumble. The drivers responded with 27 entries, producing plenty of hectic wheel-to-wheel racing.

The six heat races saw the honours evenly shared with five different winners. Cromwell’s Brian Ellison was the only driver to take two wins.

Other drivers to claim the chequered flag were Jake Shearing, Laurie Petersen, Kirk Hawkins and Blair Smith. Consistent placings over the night saw Invercargill’s Luke Shearing sitting at the top of the points standings with 56 points, two clear of Hawkins, with Harrison Brown, Ellison and Andrew Marker all locked together in third place on 53.

Defending champion Luke McClymont, who was chasing a third consecutive ‘Rumble’ title, had an indifferent first night and was back in eighth place, needing to get on top of some mechanical issues to become a threat in the next round.

The TQs also had their final outing for the season, and they turned on their usual highly competitive wheel-to-wheel action.

Rookie Ethan Smith and Ben Morgan took out heat wins, while Tyler Warnock won the feature from Kimberley Yeatman with Aaron Findlay.

Harry McIntyre continued his late-season form to take a heat and the Modified Sprint feature, while Courtney Jones won the other heat race.