Streetstocks may get another go
Streetstocks are one of the more maligned classes within speedway.
They have been the class that promoters tend to wield the axe on when programme cuts have to be made.
But these weekend warriors that battle at tracks around the country have been the feeder class for many a speedway hero.
Bay of Plenty’s Rodney Wood won a NZ Streetstock championship and went on to emulate that feat in a Sprintcar and #2NZ in a Superstock.
Closer to home, Matamata’s Graham Keatinge, Paul Cressy, Mark Edge and Geoff Barron also made their names in Streetstocks.
Keatinge was more successful than Wood within the class with two 3NZ and two 1NZ placings, the last New Zealand Championship coming for him in the 1998/99 season.
Since then he has driven stockcars and now saloons.
Their limited contact rules of racing and light armourment have meant body damage almost too difficult to keep tidy, sometimes looking downright ugly. One wit has previously written: ‘‘ They should all be transported in covered trailers to keep them out of sight of the public.’’
The class has always dealt with antiquated machinery that under their rules of construction can not be improved upon for handling or performance.
This was borne out when one of New Zealand’s finest saloons in years gone by – the Jim Richards HQ Holden Monaro – finished racing as such and was converted into a Streetstock.
Gone were the widened wheels, racing tyres, modified suspension and locked diff to be replaced with the standard road going varieties.
And you can bet your booties the motor Richards was playing with never saw the light of day between those chassis rails again.
The new management of Baypark Speedway is considering recontracting the Streetstocks in the upcoming season after the former management axed them a number of years ago, a move Keatinge thinks would be a mistake. ‘‘Streetstocks will struggle to get sufficient numbers on the track to make a decent spectacle,’’ he said.
‘‘ The racing at Baypark was always fast and hard and with the extra speed came the bigger damage.’’
He also pointed out that with the extra damage came a longer down time for repairs which did and will again mean fewer cars racing in the following weeks. ‘‘If one of the feeder classes is needed to be contracted it’s hard to go past the Production Saloons,’’ Keatinge said.
‘‘They will have the numbers and being non-contact should be able to maintain those numbers throughout the season.’’
One can only wonder that if the Streetstocks do get the nod, will it trigger a resurgence for them?
If they don’t, will it be one more nail hammered into a nearly completed coffin for them in the upper North Island?
Streetstocks: Although it looks very tidy in this photo, this Valiant Charger didn’t always look pretty after a speedway meeting.