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Brilliant night at the track


THE action on the track was matched only by the sensational fireworks show in the sky above it on Saturday night at the Gisborne Speedway Club.

Eastland Group Raceway drew a big crowd for what turned out to be an outstanding meeting all round.

“It was a fantastic night,” said club president Clyde McGrory.

“Excellent racing, the weather was perfect and I reckon the Jukes Carriers fireworks show was the best we’ve ever staged.”

Pacific Dreams of Hawke’s Bay put on an enthralling 15-20 minute pyrotechnic display.

“It seemed to go forever,” as one speedway fan put it.

“It was so absorbing, brilliant, just so spectacular.”

The main feature of the race night, the Eastland Group “dual” production saloon series, produced outstanding racing with a 19-car field from around the North Island.

“The inaugural race in the series was very successful,” McGrory said. The second event in the series will be staged at the Meeanee track in Hawke’s Bay.

“We had a terrific field, and it looks like it will become an annual event.”

Blake Dear, driving 37G, finished in first equal place on points on Saturday night but lost narrowly to Peter Craddock (63R) from Rotorua in the run-off for first place.

Dear raced well all night and deserved to take good points forward to the second round of the series at Meeanee.

Seth McKay (48G) was leading the series after the first two races, but unfortunately his engine malfunctioned during the final race, and with just a lap to go he had to take the vehicle into the in-field.

Dear had been right behind him, and scooted through to take the chequered flag in race three.

“Seth would have won the series but for that DNF,” McGrory said.

“He was so unlucky. The motor in his car had not long ago been done up.”

McKay, the production saloon NZ driver of the year in the 2020-21 season, clocked a lap time of 17.37 seconds at one stage in the final race.

The rest of the night’s programme was entertainment-plus.

“The four sidechair combinations raced well,” he said.

“They said afterwards the track was so fast and smooth. Their close racing reflected that.”

The stock cars put on another good show too.

“We’ve got a group of young guys with good cars doing so well for the club,” McGrory said.

Jason Jones drove Willow’s Gift (11G) to a first and a second, and was pressing hard for first or second in the feature race until he was spun on turn four with two laps to go.

Nigel Hazelton had a good night in 54G with two wins, Sean Robertson (16G) delivered again in the saloons and chased Ethan Cook (76G) hard in the first two races.

Cook had tyre issues develop in the second race that handed Robertson the win, and in the feature race Robertson got ahead early and won well.

Shaun Kingi (75G) bounced back from disappointments in the streetstocks to win the feature race by half a lap.

New competitor Corbyn Wilson (44G) raced well for Gisborne in the Youth Ministocks.

“All in all it was a tremendous night, with a good sized crowd, and the kids were so excited to see Santa.”

The man in red said afterwards he thoroughly enjoyed the visit, spending an hour circulating around the crowd.

* The Gisborne Giants, or as their many fans have now dubbed them — ‘The G Force’ — took out the superstock “Trio Series” event in Rotorua at the weekend and they did it in style.

The team of three: Peter and Ethan Rees (10G and 127G respectively, and Josh Prentice (5G) were unstoppable.

The title was decided on accumulated points across three races.

“I’ve spoken to a mate of mine who was there and he said the Gisborne team were a level above everybody else,” said Gisborne Speedway Club president Clyde McGrory.

“You have to say the ‘G Force’ name has got a good ring to it.”

THE Saturday night speedway meeting was a great success, with exciting racing, a wonderful fireworks show and Santa mingled with the crowd.

Detailed results —

Production Saloon Dual Series: Race 1: Denton Hodgkinson (22B) 1, Peter Craddock (63R) 2, William Bayliss (979B) 3. Race 2: Seth McKay (48G) 1, Nathan Smith (29W) 2, Brent Hackett (2NZV) 3. Race 3: Blake Dear (37G) 1, Craddock (63R) 2, Brendan Land (53G) 3.

Winner of the Production Saloon Duel Series: Craddock (63R) 1, Dear (37G) 2, Lewi Claypole (716B) 3.

Stockcars: Race 1: Bryce Harding (67G) 1, Hutton (56G) 2, David Kingsbeer (38G) 3. Race 2: Jason Jones (11G) 1, Harding (67G) 2, Hutton (56G) 3. Race 3: Nigel Hazelton (54G) 1, Jones (11G) 2, Hutton (56G) 3. Winner of the Auto Tech Feature Race: Hazelton (54G).

Ministocks: Race 1: Julian Munroe (43R) 1, Jack Wilson (21R) 2, Seabrook (33G) 3. Race 2: Munroe (43R) 1, Ashlee Morton (19M) 2, Jack Wilson (21R) Race 3. George Crawford (971R) 1, Munroe (43R) 2, Campbell Hayes (51M) 3. Winner of The Tool Shed Feature Race: Wilson (21R).

Streetstocks: Race 1: Cody Gooch (6G) 1, Brent Durston (77G) 2, Shaun Kingi (75G) 3. Race 2: Brenden Gooch (10G) 1, C Gooch (6G) 2, Durston (77G) 3. Race 3: Kingi (75G) 1, Durston (77G) 2, C Gooch (6G) 3. Winner of the Rangatira Motors Feature Race: Kingi (75G).

Sidecars: Race 1: Callum Innes and Russell Stuart (22G) 1, Toby Lardelli and Michael Bond (99G) 2, Stu Priest and Kerwin Arnaboldi (52G) 3. Race 2: Innes and Stuart (22G) 1, Priest and Arnaboldi (52G) 2, Clive Ireland and Malakai Pitcher (56G) 3. Race 3: Priest and Arnaboldi (52G) 1, Lardelli and Bond (99G) 2, Innes and Stuart (22G) 3.

Winners of the Trade Zone Feature Race: Innes and Stuart (22G).

Saloons: Race 1: Ethan Cook (76G) 1, Sean Robertson (16G) 2, Evan Mooney (42G) 3. Race 2: Robertson (16G) 1, Mooney (42G) 2, Dean Cook (77G) 3. Race 3: Robertson (16G) 1, Mooney (42G) 2, Cook (77G) 3.

Winner of the Professional Fleet Maintenance Feature Race: Robertson (16G).

DROVE HARD: Gisborne’s Seth McKay (48G) and Blake Dear (37G) were front runners in the inaugural production saloon car ‘Dual’ series at the speedway on Saturday night, and Dear finished runner-up after a run-off with a Rotorua driver. McKay was very unlucky. Picture by Liam Clayton