Ri­valry fierce for track ti­tles

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - By DAVE WAKE­FIELD


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.’’

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