SPARKS flew in a thunderous start to the Gisborne speedway season on Saturday evening.
The stockcar races had 33 cars lining up for a chaotic dash to the chequered flag at Eastland Group Raceway.
In their first race, two separate crashes left a stockcar on its roof, and the action was interrupted as the track was cleared.
That seemed to calm the drivers’ pre-race jitters, and the rest of their races were free of any significant incidents.
Nick Hutton in 56G was the standout Gisborne driver, with a second and a third. Visitors took out the rest of the top placings.
Good racing was the theme of the night, from runaway leads to fast, door-to-door action; it was a showcase of the drivers’ skill on the track.
The thousands of fans in attendance were treated to what one supporter online called the “best opening meeting ever”.
“It was an unbelievable way to start the season,” club president Clyde McGrory said.
“It was a hell of a good start, with good numbers racing and incredible action.
“We’ve set the bar high for the rest of the season.”
Superstock and stockcar veteran Peter Rees took out the opening round of the MTF Finance Superstock Points Dash.
Rees said he was rapt to win, but it took its toll.
“I’m knackered . . . the racing was real close and real fast. What a beautiful track to race on.”
The superstocks made the most of the excellent track conditions, racking up lap times around the low 16-second mark for the quarter-mile course.
“Stu Priest and Kerwin Arnaboldi raced well in the sidechairs, and Toby and Dylan Lardelli showed they have a lot of potential,” McGrory said.
“We were rapt with the size of the crowd. We had to open up the paddock next to the speedway for parking.
“Also, we had three senior officials from Speedway NZ trackside on Saturday night, and they were over the moon with how well the meeting was run.
“Two of them said it was the best-run meeting they had been to anywhere in New Zealand, which was pleasing to hear and a tribute to our club volunteers.”
The club’s next meeting will be the fireworks extravaganza on October 31.
Detailed race results —
Superstocks, Race 1: Asher Rees (126K) 1, Peter Rees (10G) 2, Clayton Hagen (8B) 3. Race 2: Bryce Steiner (118R) 1, Ethan Rees (127G) 2, Jared Wade (11G) 3. Race 3: Jared Wade (10G) 1, Ethan Rees (127G) 2, Peter Rees (11G) 3.
Feature race: Asher Rees (11G) 1, Benji Sneddon (471K) 2, Liam Lockhead (15G) 3.
Winner first round of MTF Finance Superstock Points Dash: Peter Rees (10G) 1, Bryce Steiner (118R) 2, Scott Penn (77P) 3.
Saloons, Race 1: Sean Robertson (16G) 1, Evan Mooney (42G) 2, Shane Laking (7B) 3. Race 2: Bailey Curtis (221G) 1, Laking 2, Steve Williams (21H) 3. Race 3: Laking 1, Curtis 2, Mooney 3.
Streetstocks, race 1: Shaun Kingi (75G) 1, Sean Gooch (9G) 2, Brent Reddington (46B) 3. Race 2: Reddington 1, Gooch 2, Kingi 3. Race 3: Gooch 1, Reddington 2, Kingi 3.
Production saloons, Race 1: Scott Adams (44G) 1, Lloyd Stuart (34G) 2, Matt Schultz (46G) 3. Race 2: Stuart 1, Seth McKay (48G) 2, Adams 3. Race 3: Stuart 1, McKay 2, Blake Dear (37G) 3.
Stockcars, Race 1: Matt Dunn (93M) 1, Mike Herbert (52R) 2, Kyle Taylor (278P) 3. Race 2: Regan Penn (5B) 1, Ben Ellis (11K) 2, Nick Hutton (56G) 3. Race 3: Penn 1, Hutton 2, Dunn (93M) 3. Race 4: Clinton Cheetham (361H) 1, Brittany Carpenter (85GM) 2, Sean Wepa (45R) 3.
TQ Midgets, Race 1: Dylan MacGregor (17G) 1, Robert Gomm (224G) 2, John Taylor (7G) 3. Race 2: Saul Smith (32A) 1, MacGregor 2, Griffin Law (53G) 3. Race 3: Dylan MacGregor 1, Gomm 2.
Ministocks, Race 1: Henry Steel (61B) 1, Jeremy Browne (18B) 2, Jessie Henderson (454R) 3. Race 2: Steel 1, Keegan Bunce (81B) 2, Browne 3. Race 3: Browne 1, Zach Hatton (4B) 2, Kate Murray (196R) 3.