Woe­ful weather wrecks speedway meet­ings

Matamata Chronicle - - Motoring - By DAVE WAKE­FIELD

The La Nina weather pat­tern New Zealand has suf­fered this sum­mer has not been con­ducive to full speedway pro­grammes.

Meet­ings have been rained off or can­celled through­out the coun­try, in­clud­ing those at Wa­haroa’s Rangeview Speedway.

The in­tended Pic­nic Meet­ing on De­cem­ber 18, where the Mata- mata Chron­i­cle editor was go­ing to race as a pas­sen­ger in a very hot Holden Com­modore, was can­celled.

And the two- day meet sched­uled for Jan­uary 7 and 8 went the same way. An at­tempt to beat the weather was made when the club started the rac­ing a lit­tle ear­lier than ad­ver­tised but only one race was com­pleted on a track too sod­den for reach­ing any great speeds.

The race did hold some in­ter­est be­ing a jalopy street car race and the first one af­ter Mau­rice Hodgkin­son driv­ing the #51RV Com­modore ‘‘ walled’’ club pres­i­dent Frank Millar’s #14D Ford Tel­star.

That was in the De­cem­ber 11 meet­ing while com­pet­ing for the CTRA North Is­land cham­pi­onship.

If ‘‘pay­back’’ wasn’t on the minds of the two driv­ers in­volved, it cer­tainly was on the spec­ta­tors who lined the banks in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a show­down.

Hodgkin­son was mak­ing heavy work of try­ing to gain trac­tion on the wet and deep mud in the rear-wheel drive Com­modore while Millar had the front- wheel drive Tel­star lap­ping con­sis­tently.

It looked like Hodgkin­son was po­si­tion­ing his car to take out the Ford when he spun and sat fac­ing the on­com­ing traf­fic.

All driv­ers avoided the prone Com­modore ex­cept Millar who gave him a head on ‘‘ love tap’’ that left more dam­age on the Ford than on the Holden. Un­for­tu­nately it was the first and last race of the week­end.

Other com­peti­tors put their cars on the track for 10 min­utes of wheel pack­ing fol­low­ing that race but then some­one opened the tap on the heav­enly water truck and com­pletely washed out the meet.

The next meet is sched­uled for Sun­day, Jan­uary 22 where the CTRA New Zealand Youth Min­i­s­tock Cham­pi­onship will be con­tested.

We can only hope La Nina will bring some respite and al­low us to have some real sum­mer weather and lo­cal speedway where per­haps a blos­som­ing rac­ing feud will con­tinue to keep the spec­ta­tors wholly en­ter­tained.

And, just qui­etly, I’ve been told, ‘‘ If every­thing that goes on track, stays on track, it will con­tinue.’’ A quote from Millar.

Mud dog: The sign says it all on a former Wai­heke Is­land vis­i­tor to Rangeview Speedway. All com­peti­tors could be called Mud Dogs lately.

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