Dave Gooch NZ champion
The Silver Fox wrote himself into Speedway New Zealand folklore on Saturday night when the 65-year-old took out the New Zealand production saloon car title, a win made even sweeter as his daughter joined him on the podium.
Dave Gooch, previously 7G and now 1NZ, and his daughter Crystal Peach, previously 10G and now 3NZ, were over the moon and quite emotional in the Eastland Group Raceway pits afterwards.
The handshakes, hugs and kisses flowed as they received congratulations from all sides.
It was an exciting finals night with bumper-to-bumper racing across the three finals heats for the 20-car field.
“This feels really awesome,” Gooch said.
“I can’t believe it. It was hard work, though. I just about drove the wheels off the car to get there.”
Gooch won the Professional Fleet Maintenance-sponsored championships with 49 accumulated points, ahead of Huntly’s Wayne Warrender and then Crystal Peach.
Peach had to do it the hard way with a two-car run-off needed to decide third spot.
Her Blenheim opponent Brett Allen tried to push her high on the banked track at the start of their four-lap decider, but Peach outfoxed him, broke away and won it comfortably.
“I was quite scared going into that run-off; I’ve never done one before,” she said.
If her dad is called “Silver Fox”, the term “Blonde Fox” could now be applied to Peach.
“It’s just amazing to make the podium with Dad. That’s the best thing about tonight — I am so proud of him.”
Gooch praised his daughter’s performance, too.
“Oh, mate, it’s unbelieveable how well Crystal raced. I’ve held the lap record for productions at our track for five years and she bettered it. I am very proud of her.”
Peach drove a lap time of 17.2 seconds during the night’s racing.
Gisborne’s Fraser Wright (44G) also made the finals and was handily placed on points until an incident in Race 2 where he was put against the wall on Turn 4 and lost a wheel.
The DNF (did not finish), cost him any chance of making the podium.
Wright deserved better but as the commentators put it, “that’s racing”.
Other Gisborne drivers had plenty to celebrate.
The second-tier division, for cars that did not make the championship final, was won by Sean Robertson (16G), with Matt Shultz (46G) in second place.
“The championships attracted such a high-calibre field and the drivers produced an awesome event,” Gisborne Speedway Club president Neil Gooch said.
“It was an amazing championships night, and the fact that Gizzy drivers took four of the six podium spots . . . well, that speaks for itself.”
The raceway hosts the Burger King Super Saloon Car Series this Friday night, with 20 cars expected.