Rivalry fierce for track titles
Speedway played host to the Circle Track Racing Association of New Zealand Production Saloon and North Island Jalopy Streetcar titles on December 11.
Cars from the Northland tracks of Taipa, Kaikohe, Dargaville and Whangarei were in attendance to compete with their Waikato counterparts.
They did not succeed in stopping the home advantage; the closest they got was a fourth placing to #85K Max Andreason, Kaikohe Speedway and CTRA president in the Production Saloons.
Although the record books will show that a Dargaville car gained a third placing in the Jalopy Championship, in actual fact the #14D was driven by Rangeview president and ex-superstock driver Frank Millar.
With a 12-car limit for Saloons on the tight Rangeview track and 14 entries for the Production Saloon title, two unlucky contestants missed out.
This was done through natural attrition in the second qualifying heat and a three-car repechage where only two made the final cut.
Marcus Bullen in the #35RV will wear the #1NZ for the coming year.
He won in a faultless display of championship driving.
Over a three-race event it is not necessary to win every race but it is vital to know your points and placings.
Bullen played that game to perfection and came away with a well-deserved second New Zealand title. He had two wins and a fourth placing.
Playing the same game with maturity beyond his short racing years was #88RV Kayne Sutherland.
He overcame leaking radiator problems to be placed second.
In the first race he was the biggest mover in the pack, passing six cars from the rear of the field to place fifth.
Another fifth and a win will see Sutherland wearing the #2NZ with understandable pride.
The former #2NZ will be changing his number to #3NZ.
Local Damien Laird drove well all day, challenging the leaders and finishing with a fourth, second and sixth placings.
The championship for Jalopy Streetcars was also hard- fought. They are allowed limited contact and this rule was pushed to the limit of the referee’s discretion. It did make for the most exciting racing the Jalopies have turned on in quite a while.
In first place was #2NZ Randolf Bennett, second #51RV Maurice Hopkins and third as stated earlier, #14D Frank Millar.
The battle between Millar and Hopkins was torrid with Millar’s car being ‘‘walled’’ by the #51RV. It may well set up an ongoing racing feud that should entertain supporters in the weeks to come. Hopkins will do well to keep checking his mirrors, as the ex Superstock driver is well versed in the art of ‘‘payback’’.
On December 18, the Chronicle editor has promised to ride in a racecar and write the next article.
I have arranged for the scariest driver to take her out for a spin (maybe literally) so watch out for her in the #55 Gonewong turbocharged Holden Commodore B Saloon with Allan Wong.
I don’t know how she will write the article with her head rotating like something out of The Exorcist. I also know ‘‘payback.’’