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.