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Visitors bolster sidecars field

SPEEDWAY by Murray Robertson

Sidecars take centre stage at Eastland Group Raceway tomorrow night when the Stubbs Contractors Sidecars Champion of Champions title goes on the line.

Around 10 teams will take part, with combinations coming from Auckland, Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay.

The visitors include former 1NZ Russell Stuart and Andrew Parker from Hawke’s Bay, and new 1NZ David “Chuck” Gannon and his swinger from Kihikihi.

Gisborne’s leading combo, Clive Ireland and his swinger Chris Symon (56G), knocked the previous champs off in a heat at the Gisborne track just before Christmas.

Ireland enjoyed the experience hugely and looks forward to having another crack at the top teams.

The combination have raced consistently in Symon’s comeback season.

“The bike is going really well this season,” Ireland said.

The other major contenders from Gisborne, Rob Miller and “Red” George (8G), will be out on the track, too.

“We have solved our engine problems and are ready to race,” Miller said.

“Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong this time.”

Miller has had horrendous problems with his bike’s engine this season, and has had to replace it several times.

The sidecars will race over four heats to decide the championship.

The rest of the 18-race programme includes stock cars, saloons, streetstocks and production saloons.

Gisborne Speedway Club president Neil Gooch said he expected cars from Hawke’s Bay to be there, after the meeting at Meeanee was cancelled.

“We will have extra numbers in most classes,” he said.

It will be the first meeting for production saloons 1NZ Dave Gooch and his daughter, 3NZ Crystal Peach, since the New Zealand production saloon car championships in Gisborne last month.

“We are looking forward to seeing how those new numbers look on their cars,” Neil Gooch said.

The Gisborne fleet of production saloons will be joined by cars from Hawke’s Bay and Rotorua.

“That class has been very competitive all season and we expect that to contine tomorrow night,” Neil Gooch said.

The saloons will be in action again and look for new 1NZ Ethan Cook to lead the charge. His brother Daniel (77G) is away this weekend.

“I’ve been busy since the meeting at Meeanee two weeks ago repairing the broken axle on my car,” Ethan said.

“But it’s good to go and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

The stockcar field should start with about a dozen cars.

“They’ve got the New Zealand championships next weekend at Baypark, and then the Gladiators go to the New Zealand championships in Stratford the weekend after that,” Gooch said.

The drivers in the Gladiators team for that meeting have yet to be confirmed.

“So for the drivers hoping to make that team, tomorrow night’s meeting is important,” Gooch said.

“Streetstock numbers will be around the six-to-seven mark again.

“Points in that class are very close.”

The gates to the speedway open at 6pm tomorrow, with the first race to start at 7pm.